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AP photo by Stephen Spillman / Trackhouse Racing driver Ross Chastain celebrates after winning Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series race at Circuit of the America in Austin, Texas.

AUSTIN, Texas — Ross Chastain bumped and banged his way around Circuit of the Americas on the final overtime lap Sunday for the first win of his NASCAR Cup Series career, sending upstart team Trackhouse Racing to victory lane for the first time.

Trackhouse is owned by former NASCAR driver Justin Marks and entertainer Pitbull and is in its second season of competition. Chastain, an eighth-generation watermelon farmer from Florida, was kept on by Marks for Trackhouse when he bought out Chip Ganassi's entire NASCAR team ahead of this season.

Chastain celebrated by spiking a large watermelon off the top of his No. 1 Chevrolet.

"It's never tasted sweeter, I tell you," the 29-year-old said — with a piece of rind stuck in his beard — before taking another huge bite.

The two-lap sprint produced the most aggressive action of a long afternoon of racing on the permanent road course used primarily for Formula One. The race had nine cautions and ran 3 hours, 20 minutes.

Chastain wasn't even the leader at the end of regulation — Richard Childress Racing's Tyler Reddick had somehow moved to the front in the previous single-lap run between the eighth and ninth cautions — and Chastain also had to contend with Kaulig Racing's AJ Allmendinger, his former teammate and mentor who won Saturday's Xfinity Series race.

Chastain and Allmendinger restarted second and third, while sitting back in fourth was Hendrick Motorsports' Alex Bowman. Some have chided Bowman for backing into victories, and for a moment it looked as if another would indeed fall in his lap.

Chastain used an aggressive move to get past Reddick and up front, and Allmendinger followed. Bowman also jumped past Reddick and closed the gap on Chastain and Allmendinger as the two friends jostled and bashed for the lead.

The overtime featured four lead changes — Chastain and Allmendinger swapped it twice, and Bowman even got to the front — but Chastain decided the race by divebombing inside of Allmendinger. That spun Allmendinger into Bowman, and Allmendinger went from second to 33rd.

"I was so worried about AJ on that second-to-last restart that I let Tyler drive right by both of us," said Chastain, who led four times for a race-high 31 laps Sunday. "AJ is so good, I've learned so much from him, and it's like 'How do you beat the guy? He taught me so much!'"

Added Chastain, who won for the first time in 121 career starts on the top circuit: "I feel bad about AJ. I mean, he's going to be upset with me, but we raced hard and he owes me one."

Allmendinger was openly annoyed after a mandatory trip to the care center.

"At the end of the day, we all have to look ourselves in the mirror. If you are OK with it, you're OK with it. Each person is different," he said of how Chastain raced him. "I was doing everything I could do to try to sweep the weekend. We were that close. We know we had a shot to win the race."

Trackhouse has been fiercely competitive since the start of the season as its drivers have been terrific in NASCAR's new Next Gen race car. Daniel Suarez, Trackhouse's only driver in 2021, dominated early and led every lap of the first stage before a blown tire destroyed his race on the second lap of the second stage.

And then Chastain, who had led laps this year and was close to wins at both Las Vegas and Atlanta, took over.

Bowman finished second as Chevrolet took the top two spots, while Joe Gibbs Racing's Christopher Bell was third in a Toyota and was followed by Hendrick's Chase Elliott. Reddick was fifth and Team Penske's Ryan Blaney was the highest-finishing Ford driver, placing sixth after starting in pole position.

The season continues next Sunday at Virginia's Richmond Raceway.

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AP photo by Stephen Spillman / Trackhouse Racing driver Ross Chastain steers into the seventh turn at Circuit of the Americas during Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series race in Austin, Texas.

F1's new rivalry?

JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia — Red Bull driver Max Verstappen overtook Charles Leclerc's Ferrari three laps from the end of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, and Formula One's reigning series champion held on for his first win this season and the 21st of his career.

Leclerc won the season opener in Bahrain from pole position the previous Sunday, but Verstappen overtook him on the 47th of 50 laps in Saudi Arabia after some thrilling wheel-to-wheel racing between them. Leclerc congratulated his old karting rival on the radio and later gave him a thumbs-up.

Leclerc missed out on a fourth career win as Verstappen edged him by a half-second, but he remains on top in the standings. Leclerc has 45 points, teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. is second with 33 and Verstappen has 25.

Sainz finished third Sunday — he was second in Bahrain — Red Bull's Sergio Perez was fourth after starting on the pole and George Russell was fifth for Mercedes. Seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton, who battled Verstappen down to the final lap for the 2021 title, managed only one point for Mercedes as he wound up 10th after starting 15th.

The series retuns April 10 with the Australian GP in Melbourne.

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