Chastain to reach 350 starts across NASCAR at Darlington

A significant milestone is in the making for Ross Chastain, a full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series competitor for Kaulig Racing and part-time competitor in the NASCAR Cup and Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series. By the time Chastain completes this weekend’s Xfinity and Cup doubleheader events at Darlington Raceway, he will achieve 350 starts across NASCAR’s three major division series (Truck, Xfinity and Cup Series).

A native of Alva, Florida, who grew up as a watermelon farmer for his family’s farm and started racing after watching his father hobby racing, Chastain started his career by winning in late models and Fastruck Series races. His first start within NASCAR’s three major division series occurred at Lucas Oil Raceway in July 2011, where he drove the No. 66 Chevrolet Silverado for Turn One Racing in the NASCAR Truck Series. Starting 15th, Chastain finished 10th in his series debut. He went on to compete in four additional Truck races with Turn One Racing.

In 2012, Chastain was named a full-time competitor of the No. 08 Toyota Tundra for SS-Green Light Racing as he entered the Truck Series as a Rookie-of-the-Year contender. Throughout the 22-race season, Chastain achieved four top-10 results, a career-best third-place run at Bristol Motor Speedway in August and he concluded the season in 17th place in the final standings. He made one start in the No. 07 Chevrolet Silverado for SS-Green Light Racing at Phoenix, where he finished 33rd.

The following season, Chastain competed in 14 Truck races with Brad Keselowski Racing and in the No. 19 Ford F-150 led by Chad Kendrick. His first start with the team was at Daytona International Speedway in February, where he finished 14th. He went on to finish 20th at Martinsville Speedway in April and ninth at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May. He achieved his first top-five result of the season at Pocono Raceway in August. Two races later at Iowa Speedway, Chastain was dominant as he started on pole position and led a race-high 116 of 212 laps, only to be overtaken by James Buescher on a late restart and settle in a career-best second place. He went on to finish third at Talladega Superspeedway in October and second at Phoenix in November following a late battle with eventual winner Erik Jones. He finished in eighth place in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway and capped off his 14-race stint at BKR with four top-five results, seven top-10 results and his first two career poles.

In 2014, Chastain competed in his first seven NASCAR Xfinity Series races along with three Truck Series races. He competed between Viva Motorsports, Hattori Racing Enterprises and TriStar Motorsports in the Xfinity circuit, with his best result being 10th place at Kentucky Speedway in September. He competed between RBR Enterprises and Win-Tron Racing in the Truck Series, with his best result being 11th place at Homestead in November.

For the 2015 season, Chastain was named a full-time competitor for JD Motorsports in the Xfinity Series. Making 31 starts in JDM’s No. 4 Chevrolet Camaro and two in JDM’s No. 01 Chevrolet Camaro, Chastain achieved four top-10 results and a career-best result of ninth place at Daytona in February. He concluded the season in 15th place in the final standings.

Between 2016 and 2017, Chastain continued to drive for JD Motorsports and the No. 4 Chevrolet on a full-time basis in the Xfinity Series. Following the 2016 season, he surpassed 100 starts across NASCAR’s three major division series. He finished 15th in the final standings in 2016 and 16th in 2017. Between June and July 2017, Chastain achieved back-to-back top-10 results, which included a career-best fourth-place result at Iowa Speedway. He also made a total of eight starts in the Truck Series with Bolen Motorsports, where his best result was seventh place at Martinsville Speedway in April. In addition, he made his first two NASCAR Cup Series career starts in both Dover International Speedway races while driving for Premium Motorsports. He finished 20th in his debut at the Monster Mile in June and 38th in his second start in October.

The 2018 season was an eventful season for Chastain, who made 34 starts in the Cup Series, 33 starts in the Xfinity Series and seven starts in the Truck Series. In the Truck circuit, he made a total of seven starts between Beaver Motorsports, Premium Motorsports and Niece Motorsports. His best result was seventh place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in September. In the Cup circuit, he competed in 34 of 36 races with Premium Motorsports. His best results were an 18th-place result at Texas Motor Speedway in April and a 20th-place result at Las Vegas in September.

For the first 23 Xfinity Series of the season, Chastain recorded one top-five result and six top-10 results, all while during his fourth season with JD Motorsports. Then, in September, Chastain made his first of three starts in the No. 42 DC Solar Chevrolet Camaro for Chip Ganassi Racing led by crew chief Mike Shiplett at Darlington Raceway. During the main event, Chastain started on pole position for the first time in his career, led a race-high 90 laps and won the first two stages. His strong run, however, was spoiled following a late on-track incident with Kevin Harvick as Chastain ended his race in 25th place. Competing the following race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for JD Motorsports, Chastain returned to the No. 42 team at Las Vegas in September seeking redemption. During the main event, Chastain dominated again as he won the first two stages and led a race-high 180 laps. This time, Chastain sealed the deal after beating Justin Allgaier to achieve his first career win across NASCAR’s three major division series. His first Xfinity career win, which occurred in his 132nd series start and also occurred in the regular-season finale at Vegas, was enough for the Floridian to secure a spot in the 2018 Xfinity Playoffs as he introduced his celebratory trademark by smashing a watermelon.

During his first run in the Xfinity Playoffs, Chastain went on to finish in second place at Richmond in September, which also marked his final start with Chip Ganassi Racing. Returning to JD Motorsports, he finished 12th at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval and 13th at Dover. When the dust settled, Chastain was beaten by Matt Tifft for the final transfer spot to the Round of 8 by three points. He went on to conclude the season in a career-best 10th place in the final standings as he also achieved a career-high three top-five results, eight top-10 results and 272 laps led. Following the 2018 season, he surpassed 200 career starts across NASCAR.

In November 2018, it was announced that Chastain would compete in the No. 42 DC Solar Chevrolet Camaro for Chip Ganassi Racing on a full-time basis for the 2019 Xfinity Series season. The announcement came a month after Chastain revealed plans to compete in the Cup Series for Premium Motorsports. However, the team ceased operations in January when DC Solar was raided by the FBI. Fortunately, Chastain was picked up by Niece Motorsports to compete in the Truck Series on a part-time basis led by crew chief Phil Gould and by JD Motorsports for 30 Xfinity races. In addition, he signed a three-race deal to pilot the No. 10 Nutrien Ag Solutions Chevrolet Camaro for Kaulig Racing.

Competing in all three series’ openers at Daytona International Speedway, Chastain finished third in the Truck Series with Niece Motorsports, 13th in the Xfinity Series with Kaulig Racing after winning the second stage and 10th in his first Daytona 500 start with Premium Motorsports. Through the beginning of June, Chastain competed in the first 12 Xfinity races and recorded a best result of seventh place at Las Vegas in March. He also competed in the first eight Truck races with Niece Motorsports, achieving top-10 results in all of his starts and collecting his first Truck career win at Kansas Speedway in May following a late pass on Stewart Friesen. To cap off his eventful start to this season, he competed in the first 14 Cup races with Premium Motorsports.

On June 4, Chastain declared himself a full-time Truck Series competitor to contend for points and the series title with Niece Motorsports. In order to achieve his goal of making the Playoffs, he would have to win again throughout the regular-season stretch and be scored inside the top 20 in the standings. After finishing in 10th place at Texas Motor Speedway following his announcement, Chastain achieved his second victory of the season at Iowa Speedway following a dominating performance. Following the race, however, Chastain was disqualified due to his truck failing post-race technical inspection and NASCAR awarded the win to runner-up finisher Brett Moffitt. Chastain’s disqualification from winning was a first in NASCAR since Emanuel Zervakis was disqualified from winning at North Carolina’s Wilson Speedway in April 1960 due to an oversized fuel tank.

Chastain rebounded the following race with vengeance after scoring a late win at Gateway’s World Wide Technology Raceway and collecting a $50,000 for winning a Triple Truck Challenge race. This time, Chastain’s win at Gateway was ruled official. After finishing seventh at Chicagoland Speedway and fourth at Kentucky Speedway the following two races, Chastain made himself Playoff eligible after moving into the top 20 in the standings. The following race, he achieved his third victory of his career/season at Pocono Raceway and he entered the postseason as a title favorite. During the Playoffs, Chastain achieved three top-five results and five top-10 results as he made the Championship Round at Homestead-Miami Speedway. During the finale, however, he finished fourth at Homestead and fell short of his first NASCAR championship to Matt Crafton. Despite the final outcome, he logged in a successful season in the Truck circuit, where he recorded three wins, a pole, 10 top-five results, 19 top-10 results, an average result of 8.6 and 591 laps led before concluding the season in a career-best second place. In the end, he was named the 2019 Truck Most Popular Driver.

Chastain’s on-track success in 2019 did not only come from the Truck Series. At Daytona in July, while piloting Kaulig Racing’s No. 16 Ellsworth Advisors Chevrolet Camaro, Chastain led a 1-2-3 finish for the team across the line as he achieved his first victory at Daytona, second of his Xfinity career and the first NASCAR win for Kaulig Racing. Despite teammate A.J. Allmendinger being disqualified from third place for failing post-race technical inspection, Chastain’s victory and teammate Justin Haley’s runner-up result were deemed official by NASCAR. He made a total of seven additional Xfinity starts since June, where he also finished in second place at Texas in November behind Christopher Bell while driving for Kaulig. Overall, he capped off the 2019 Xfinity season with a win, a pole, two top-five results and eight top-10 results between JD Motorsports and Kaulig Racing.

On the Cup side, Chastain made 35 starts in the No. 15 Chevrolet for Premium Motorsports. His best results were a 10th-place result at the Daytona 500 in February and a 12th-place result at Talladega Superspeedway in October.

In total, Chastain made 77 starts across NASCAR’s three major division series in 2019. Early into the season, he broke Kyle Busch’s record in competing in the most consecutive races across all three series to start a season. Following the 2019 season, he surpassed 300 career starts across NASCAR.

Three months after winning at Daytona, Chastain was named a full-time competitor of the No. 10 Nutrien Ag Solutions Chevrolet Camaro for Kaulig Racing led by crew chief Bruce Schlicker for the 2020 Xfinity Series season. Prior to the 2020 season, he also planned to compete in select Truck Series races with Niece Motorsports and in the No. 77 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE sponsored by AdventHealth in the Cup Series for the Daytona 500 and the Coca-Cola 600. His No. 77 ride was under a partnership between Spire Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing.

Chastain started the 2020 season by finishing in eighth place in the Truck opener at Daytona with Niece Motorsports. For the Xfinity opener, however, he initially failed to qualify for the event, along with teammate A.J. Allmendinger, due to mechanical issues. Nonetheless, he was able to compete when veteran Jeff Green relinquished his seat at RSS Racing. Chastain went on to finish 22nd in the Xfinity opener. For the Daytona 500, he made a late charge to the front until he was involved in a multi-car accident and settled in 25th place.

Through September 2, Chastain has made eight starts in the Truck Series with Niece Motorsports and has recorded one top-five result and five top-10 results. He has also made seven Cup starts between Spire Motorsports and Roush Fenway Racing, where he served as an interim competitor for the injured Ryan Newman. His best results in the series include a 16th-place run at Daytona in August and a pair of 17th-place results at Auto Club Speedway in March and at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July.

Through the first 22 Xfinity Series races of this season and as a full-time competitor, Chastain has recorded one stage win, two Dash 4 Cash $100,000 bonuses, nine top-five results and 19 top-10 results. He is currently in third place in the Xfinity regular-season standings and is 420 points above the top-12 cutline to make the Playoffs and with four regular-season races remaining. Thus far, his average result is 8.8.

While Chastain is set to compete in this weekend’s Xfinity and Cup races at Darlington, he will also be sporting a special white, red, blue and gold paint scheme to his No. 77 Spire Motorsports/Dirty Mo Media Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE on the Cup side while paying tribute to the late NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt and his 1976 Hy-Gain Chevy.

Catch Chastain’s milestone start on Sunday, September 6, at Darlington Raceway for the Cook Out Southern 500, which will occur at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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