Ross Chastain will graduate to NASCAR’s top tour in 2021.
Chastain, 27, who has been under contract to Chip Ganassi Racing since 2018, will replace Matt Kenseth in the No. 42 Chevrolet, a source close to the driver confirmed.
The Alva, Fla., native, who is currently contending for the NASCAR Xfinity Series title in the No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet, addressed his desire to run for Ganassi when he was asked by RacinBoys.com on Friday night.
“Are you kidding me, of course,” Chastain said after finishing second at Bristol MotorSpeedway. “Everyone in this whole entire garage would, yeah. I mean, yeah. Who wouldn’t? Everybody would.”
Chastain is currently eighth in the NXS standings after the Playoff grid was reset following the regular-season-ending race at Bristol. He has 13 top fives and 23 top 10s in 26 starts this season. His average finish of 7.9 is a career best, but Chastain is still seeking his first win of 2020 in Xfinity. Over the last seven seasons, Chastain has 184 NXS starts with two wins—his first at Las Vegas with Ganassi Racing in 2018 and his second last year at the July Daytona event with Kaulig Racing.
“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. 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," said team owner Chip Ganassi. "We believe that Ross will give our team the opportunity to be competitive each week and our sponsors someone to build a program around. Additionally, his racing background has him well-suited to make the move to the Cup Series.”
As for his Cup record, Chastain has 79 starts over the last four seasons with a variety of teams. His best result was 10th in the 2019 Daytona 500 driving for Jay Robinson in the No. 15 Chevrolet. He competed in two races for Ganassi in 2020—the Daytona 500 and the Coca-Cola 600—and was tabbed to drive the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford earlier this season when Ryan Newman was sidelined following his horrific wreck at Daytona.
The journeyman racer, who has continued to compete in NASCAR’s top three tours, elected to run for the Gander RV & Outdoor Truck Series title last season with Niece Motorsports. He won three races and finished second after a fourth-place finish at Homestead.
When asked whether he would curtail his extra racing to concentrate solely on Cup in 2021, Chastain replied, “It’s a constant balance right now. Truck races, Cup races, focusing on Xfinity. There’s no doubt that we backed off of a number of races this year to focus on this 10 car. Not nearly as many races in Cup, just dabble in it and dabble in trucks as well when I can.
“The run that Al Niece, Phil Gould, Cody Efaw and I went on, what we did last year, was absolutely incredible. Last night when I came here and ran (the truck race at Bristol on Thursday) and I get the blessing, I’m all for it. But, yeah, it’s a constant battle for me to balance running so many races. We ran 70-some races last year. That’s a lot. That’s a lot of airline miles. It's a constant battle for a group of us drivers."