HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — Ross Chastain could be very comfy at Waffle Home.
That’s the place he’s seated on a Tuesday morning, two days after ending lifeless final at Talladega, which occurred one week after ending second at Texas, and solely 5 days forward of Sunday’s NASCAR playoff 12-teams-to-eight cutoff occasion on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval, the place he’ll begin the race sitting three positions and 9 factors on the unsuitable facet of that elimination line. So shut, however a lot work to do.
But right here the three-time Cup Collection racer winner is, the maestro behind the Hail Melon maneuver at Martinsville Speedway one yr in the past that grew to become a crossover social media sensation, calmly flattening espresso, over-easy eggs, grits and a peanut-butter-smeared waffle. He is in a brilliant yellow sales space that’s sandwiched straight between an off-duty landscaping crew and 4 vacationing husbands who’ve chosen to sit down throughout the restaurant from their wives. Nobody within the place, not the patrons, not the java-pouring server, not even the batter-splattered cook dinner on the griddle, has any thought that there’s a race automobile driver of their midst.
And never simply any inventory automobile racer however NASCAR’s present lightning rod.
The man who conjures up as many boos as cheers. See: the seemingly 50/50 cut up of reward and mock that adopted the Hail Melon (and a NASCAR rule change to forestall it from taking place once more), even after it reduce via the NFL noise to place NASCAR on the media map and earned him a spot in 2022’s Championship 4.
The man whose title now comes up even when he is not concerned. See: a NASCAR on Fox Instagram submit of Saturday’s Truck Collection battle between Matt Crafton and Nick Sanchez that produced almost 900 feedback. The highest remark reads: “I do not understand how but it surely was Chastain’s fault.”
The man who can not seem to get via a month with out eliciting barb-covered sound bites about him from the game’s largest stars.
Martin Truex Jr. in August: “Get your s— collectively.”
Kyle Busch, identical day: “I received Chastained.”
Denny Hamlin on his podcast after a wreck with Chastain in March: “I feel that Ross would not prefer it after I converse his title within the media and when I’ve