Ross Chastain still working on 2014 plans
January 15, 2014, Zack Albert, NASCAR.com
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Last Friday night, Ross Chastain's phone rang. Just three days later, he was shaking down a truck for ThorSport Racing in NASCAR Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway.
So what does the promising 21-year-old driver have lined up for this season?
"Every lap I made at the test, how about that?" Chastain joked.
Now he's hoping for another call-up. Chastain, who notched two pole positions in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Brad Keselowski Racing last year, found spot duty for ThorSport in his home state over the course of the two-day test. But the Alva, Fla., native is looking for something more substantial before the 2014 season kicks off.
"I was already talking to (team owner) Duke (Thorson) just on a personal level as friends, and they called me last Friday night to come test this truck since I was down here in Florida," Chastain said Tuesday afternoon, after making his final run of the day in the team's No. 13 Toyota. "It worked out, but we don't have anything signed. I mean there's some things that could happen, but one straw could break it all apart. It's tough not to get too overanxious, but I don't want to put myself in a position ... until it's done, I'm not confident enough in it.
"So I feel like if we can get everything signed or even just a handshake, if we can get that done. As of now, no, we don't have anything and I'm still working on putting myself in the best position to win races next year."
Chastain was in position more than once in his partial, 14-race slate last year, the best of his three seasons to date in the truck series. He was runner-up twice and impressively led multiple laps each time out in his final six starts of 2013.
His unofficial start to 2014 consisted of helping two of the series' top drivers -- defending series champ Matt Crafton and defending Daytona season-opening race winner Johnny Sauter -- search for secrets to drafting with the new truck body style that makes its debut this season. Doing so meant searching for an edge while respecting the new rule that penalizes the tactic of tandem drafting on NASCAR's biggest tracks.
"We tried some different things that NASCAR's letting us do, but there's not a whole lot we can play with, so we did what we could," Chastain said. "Just trying to get them to suck up better. That's the big thing you're going to have to be able to do here to make passes since we can't tandem. You've still got to be able to get to the guy's bumper and that's something that me and my team here right now, we're struggling a bit.
"We just worked on that, and I think we made a little headway, but there's definitely still work to be done."