A significant milestone start is in the making for Ross Chastain, driver of the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE in the NASCAR Cup Series. By taking the green flag in this weekend’s event at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Chastain will accomplish 100 career starts in NASCAR’s premier series.
A native from Alva, Florida, Chastain made his Cup Series debut at Dover International Speedway in June 2017. By then, he was a full-time Xfinity Series competitor for JD Motorsports. Driving the No. 15 Chevrolet for Premium Motorsports, Chastain finished 20th in his Cup debut. He returned for the Cup Playoff race at Dover in October, where he finished 38th while driving for Premium Motorsports.
The following season, Chastain competed in 34 of the 36-race Cup schedule, making all of his starts with Premium Motorsports. Throughout the season, he earned two top-20 results, including a season-best 18th-place result at Texas Motor Speedway in April.
In 2019, Chastain campaigned in all but one of the 36-race Cup schedule with Premium Motorsports. He also competed the entire Truck Series schedule with Niece Motorsports and on a part-time basis in the Xfinity Series between JD Motorsports and Kaulig Racing. During his Cup tenure, Chastain earned a 10th-place result in the season-opening Daytona 500 and a 12th-place result at Talladega Superspeedway in October. He also led a total of 11 laps and averaged a finishing result of 28.2.
While competing as a full-time Xfinity Series competitor for Kaulig Racing in 2020, Chastain also made a total of eight Cup starts, starting with the season-opening Daytona 500 in February. Driving the No. 77 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE in a partnership between Spire Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing, Chastain was in position to win the 500 until he was involved in a late multi-car wreck that relegated him to 25th in the final running order.
Two days after the 2020 Daytona 500, Chastain was named a substitute competitor for Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 6 Ford Mustang driven by Ryan Newman, with Newman hospitalized after suffering non-life threatening injuries from a final lap accident during the 500. Making his first Cup start with RFR at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in February, Chastain finished 27th after being involved in a late spin. He went on to finish 17th and 23rd during the following two race weekends at Auto Club Speedway and Phoenix Raceway in March before the COVID-19 pandemic put a hiatus to all racing activities.
When NASCAR resumed the 2020 season in May at Darlington Raceway, Newman was medically cleared to return to racing. Chastain, meanwhile, returned the following week at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600. Driving for Spire Motorsports, he finished 21st. He made three more Cup starts for the remainder of the season, all for Spire Motorsports, beginning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July, where he finished 17th. He also competed at Daytona in August, where he finished 16th, and at Darlington Raceway for the Southern 500 in September, where he finished 29th.
Prior to the 2021 season, Chastain was selected by Chip Ganassi Racing to drive the team’s No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE on a full-time basis. The move fulfilled the fruition of Chastain competing with CGR following sponsor DC Solar’s fallout and FBI raid in December 2018, an event that cost Chastain an opportunity to compete with CGR for the 2019 Xfinity Series season due to sponsorship woes and resulted with CGR’s Xfinity team ceasing operations.
Commencing this season with a seventh-place result in the Daytona 500, Chastain has achieved two top-five results, five top-10 results, 40 laps led and an average-finishing result of 18.1 through the first 20 Cup races of the schedule. This includes a career-best runner-up result achieved at Nashville Superspeedway in June along with a strong fourth-place finish at the Circuit of the Americas in May. He and Ganassi’s No. 42 Chevrolet team are currently ranked in 18th place in the regular-season standings.
Through 99 previous Cup starts, Chastain has achieved two top-five results, six top-10 results, 53 laps led and an average-finishing result of 25.7.
Chastain is primed to make his 100th Cup career start at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 11, with the race scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. on NBCSN.