In the continuation of the four-part Championship Analysis, Speedway Media takes a look at Ross Chastain. Chastain switched to Truck Series points a few weeks after his big win at Kansas Speedway in May. That decision has worked out as the Niece Motorsports driver finds himself competing for his first-ever NASCAR championship after a long and rocky road.
Ross Chastain – Chastain has a big day ahead of him when Friday comes around as the Niece Motorsports driver competes for the Truck Series title. But he is used to challenges.
How He Got Here: Chastain was originally racing for NASCAR Xfinity Series points at the beginning of 2019. However, the Floridian found success early on in the Truck Series with a string of top-10 finishes. Chastain picked up his first Truck Series victory at Kansas back in May. Due to selecting to receive Xfinity points, the win did not make him eligible for the Playoffs at the time. But, right before the June race at Texas, Chastain declared he was switching points to the Truck Series, in hopes of challenging for the championship by years end.
It has not gone smoothly as troubles arose at Iowa when Chastain won the race but failed the post-race inspection and his win was taken away. He did not let this get him down and two weeks later, Chastain went on to win at Gateway. By doing so, he was able to lock himself into the Playoffs. Quickly becoming a fan favorite, the Floridan continued his consistency, winning at Pocono and showing that he was ready for his first Truck Series playoff run. He hasn’t been able to win during the Playoffs but his top fives and 10s have allowed him to move through and he has built a manageable points lead. By securing a ninth-place finish at Phoenix, Chastain found himself with no voice as he was locked into the Championship 4 race for the first time in his career.
Championship Chances: The Niece Motorsports driver will have to rise up to the pressure in chasing for the title. As noted, this will be the first time Chastain has the opportunity to collect his first NASCAR Series championship. However, that pressure is something the Floridan has experienced throughout his career. Chastain has competed at Homestead before but never for the championship so Friday morning’s practice sessions will have value for the No. 45 Niece Motorsports team. Having already announced his 2020 season plans, Chastain can focus solely on winning the championship. Don’t be at all surprised if he pulls off the victory in Friday night’s race, which most certainly would be the biggest win of his career yet.
Final Analysis: Chastain has come a long way from his early beginnings in NASCAR. He has been through it all. He has gone from being fired in the Truck Series to racing for a competitive team to competing for an underdog team to literally having no ride at all. The Niece Motorsports driver has faced all kinds of circumstances in his life and nothing would be sweeter than to claim the ultimate prize. It could quite possibly be the most popular victory the Truck Series has seen in a couple of years.