Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) announced today that Ross Chastain will pilot the organization’s No. 42 entry in the NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) beginning in the 2021 season. Chastain, a CGR development driver since 2018, is currently competing full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS), where he qualified for the playoffs for a second time following a runner-up finish at Bristol Motor Speedway over the weekend.
For the driver known by many as “The People’s Champion” because of hard driving on the track and his humble manner and likability off the track, this will be his first time racing for CGR in the NCS, but not his first time competing as a member of the organization. Chastain first competed for CGR in 2018, behind the wheel of the No. 42 Chevrolet in the NXS. In the three races Chastain ran for the team that year, he earned the pole award at Darlington, a win at Las Vegas, and a runner-up finish at Richmond, which helped him earn a spot in the NXS playoffs.
Chastain was set to race full-time for CGR in the NXS in 2019, before unforeseen circumstances kept the team from competition. Undeterred by the setback, Chastain raced a stellar full season with the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoor Truck Series (NGROTS) in 2019, winning three races and finishing the year runner-up in the driver standings. Additionally, Chastain competed in the 2020 Daytona 500 and Coca-Cola 600 with technical assistance from CGR.
Chastain began his racing career at the age of 12 at Punta Gorda Speedway in his home state of Florida, racing in both late model stock cars and Fastruck Series events. During his short-track racing career he scored 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 will be the sixth driver to compete full-time for CGR in the No. 42 car and joins a crew that has four playoff appearances in the last five seasons.
NOTES OF INTEREST:
- Series’ Regular – While he has eased his weekend racing schedule this season, Chastain has been one of the busiest drivers across NASCAR’s national series since making his first start in the NGROTS in 2011. Following three seasons of racing in the NGROTS, Chastain continued to make starts in that series while he began racing in the NXS in 2014. In 2017, Chastain added NCS duties to his busy weekends, running nearly a full season in both 2018 and 2019 while also competing in the NXS. He also raced full-time in the NGROTS in 2019, where he won three races and finished second in the points standings. In total, Chastain has 352 starts in NASCAR’s three top series, with three wins in the NGROTS and two wins in the NXS. Since 2017, he has continued to make starts in all three national series.
- Melon Man – Chastain, a native of Alva, Fla., earned the Melon Man nickname for his family history in the watermelon farming business. For eight generations his family has been involved 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 at the finish line.
- Chip Ganassi, Owner, Chip Ganassi 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. 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.”
- Ross Chastain, Driver No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro: “I can’t thank Chip enough for this opportunity. 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.”
— Chip Ganassi Racing
Photo Credit: Nigel Kinrade Photography / NKP Photo