On Friday at ISM Raceway, it was announced that Ross Chastain would be the next full-time driver for the No. 42 DC Solar Chevrolet with Chip Ganassi Racing for 2019.
“I’m trying not to throw up right now. It’s surreal,” Chastain said as he shared the announcement in the media center with team owner Chip Ganassi and CEO of DC Solar, Jeff Carpoff.
Chastain ran three races in 2018 with the No. 42 team, and did not disappoint. He dominated at Darlington Raceway, snagged his first career pole and was on pace for a victory until a late-race crash with Kevin Harvick delayed his first career win. That took place later in the season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where he started his tradition of smashing a watermelon at the start-finish line in celebration. His runner-up finish at Richmond would be the third and final time driving the Chip Ganassi Racing car in 2018. But it was enough proof for both Ganassi and DC Solar.
“DC Solar is a great example of partnership,” said Ganassi. “Since coming to our organization, both of our teams have worked together to build a platform that is beneficial to their business. When we first talked about putting Ross in the car this year, this was something that Jeff and Paulette felt strongly about and Ross made the most of the opportunity running well in all three races and bringing home a win and a runner-up finish. We are looking forward to him continuing that success in 2019 and competing for his first NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship.”
Most of the exposure and convincing caught the eye of Carpoff, and Ganassi saw the success Chastain produced in a short amount of races behind the wheel. In the media center, as the announcement was made, Carpoff gave a fist pump in celebration. He was asked if he had any say with hiring Chastain full-time.
“DC Solar is excited to continue its partnership with CGR, and we’re extremely proud to sponsor Ross during the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity season,” Carpoff declared. “From the moment I met Ross, I knew there was something special about him, so the decision to support him came easy. Witnessing his raw talent, as well as his humility and gratitude for the opportunity, only confirmed that he would be a great representative for the DC Solar brand.”
Chastain was definitely nervous, yet excited about the new opportunities.
“I’m an eighth-generation farmer from Florida who was fortunate enough to get a shot in top-flight equipment. I’m incredibly grateful to everyone, especially my family, who helped me get to this point.
“I’ve had a great run with Johnny Davis Motorsports and it’s obvious I wouldn’t be in the position I am today without Johnny’s support. I have been racing everything that I can since breaking into NASCAR seven years ago. Until DC Solar and Chip (Ganassi) gave me a shot in Darlington, nobody knew who I was. I want to remain humble. I enjoy being the underdog.
“Excited or thrilled doesn’t begin to capture how I feel about joining CGR full time. I’m eager to take full advantage of the opportunity in front of me. The obvious goal is to win races, compete for an Xfinity Series Championship and represent DC Solar to the best of my ability.”
Chastain shared that he planned to still race with the Monster Energy Cup Series, as long as schedules did not conflict.