Ross Chastain joins CGR and the No. 42 team for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Season in an announcement on Monday, September 21st.
In an announcement on Monday from Chip Ganassi Racing, the organization reveals that Ross Chastain will pilot their No. 42 entry in the NASCAR Cup Series starting in the 2021 season. Chastain is a CGR development driver since 2018 and is now racing full-time in the Xfinity Series for Kaulig Racing. He is competing in the Xfinity Series Playoffs for the second time after his runner-up finish at Bristol Motor Speedway this past weekend.
Team Owner Chip Ganassi, Happy with Decision
“Ross has been a part of this organization for a few years now, and I am happy to announce him as our driver for the No. 42 team,” said team owner Chip Ganassi in Monday morning announcement. “In three races with our organization in 2018 and watching ever since, he showed me and everyone else that he is a tenacious driver who wants to win. We believe that Ross will give our team the opportunity to be competitive each week and our sponsors (see him as) someone to build a program around. Additionally, his racing background has him well-suited to make the move to the Cup Series.”
Ross Chastain – The People’s Champion
Chastain, given a title as ‘The People’s Champion’ because of his aggressiveness on the track and humble and likable manner off the track, joins CGR for the first time in the NASCAR Cup Series. It is not Chastain’s first time racing for the organization, as he last drove for them in 2018. In that season, Chastain piloted in the No. 42 Xfinity Series entry for three races. During his Xfinity ride with CGR, he was able to earn a pole award at Darlington, a win at Las Vegas, and a runner-up finish at Richmond, helping Chastain earn a spot in the Xfinity Series playoffs for the first time.
“I can’t thank Chip enough for this opportunity,” says Ross Chastain the new driver of No. 42 Camaro Chevrolet for CGR. “The faith he and the organization showed me back in 2018 was a real turning point in my career, and I am extremely happy for the chance to join the team again especially with all the great guys they have on the 42 and to be able to team with a champion like Kurt Busch. Racing in the Cup Series with a serious contender has always been my goal, and I’m looking forward to joining what is a very strong team. I know I have my work cut out for me, but I’m ready to get to work and help bring more success to the organization.”
The Best Laid Plan Doesn’t Pan Out
Set to race full-time for CGR in the 2019 Xfinity Series season, Chastain did not compete because of sponsor unforeseen issues. Keeping his concentration on racing, Chastain went on to stellar full-time season in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series in 2019. Chastain was able to continue into the 2020 season with technical assistance from CGR for the Daytona 500 and the Coca-Cola 600.
Chastain’s Racing Career
Starting his racing career at the age of 12 at Punta Gorda Speedway in his home state of Florida, Chastain was racing in both late model stock cars and Fastruck Series events. During his short-track racing career, he has over 50 wins in feature events, including the 2011 World Series of Asphalt at New Smyrna Speedway, winning three of eight events in the series.
Chastain is now the sixth driver to compete full-time for CGR in the No. 42 car and joins a crew with four playoff appearances in the last five seasons.
Across NASCAR’s Top-Three Series, Chastain is a Busy Man
While Chastain has eased his weekend racing schedule this season, he is one of the busiest drivers across NASCAR’s national series since making his first start in the Truck Series in 2011. After three seasons of racing in the series, Chastain continues to make starts in the Truck Series while he began racing in the Xfinity Series in 2014.
In 2017, Chastain added NASCAR Cup Series duties to his busy weekends, running almost a full season in both 2018 and 2019 while competing in the Xfinity Series. He also raced full-time in the Truck Series in 2019. Chastain has three race wins and came home with a second in the series points standings. In total, Chastain has 352 starts in NASCAR’s three top series, with three wins in the Truck Series and two wins in the Xfinity Series. Since 2017, he continues to make starts in all three national series.
The ‘Melon Man’ Honors Family Tradition
Chastain, a native of Alva, Fla., has the ‘Melon Man’ nickname to honor his family history in the watermelon farming business. For eight generations, his family has a tradition in watermelon farming, and Chastain continues to work on the family’s land when his schedule allows. True to his nickname, Chastain’s signature move after a race win is to spike a watermelon on the finish line.
With this news in the books, now fans await the next domino to fall in this year’s Silly Season as Ross Chastain keeps his focus on winning in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs.