Matt Sullivan | Getty Images
Matt Sullivan | Getty Images

Ross Chastain going ‘week to week’ with Roush fill-in gig

FONTANA, Calif. — Ross Chastain has no timeline on how long he’ll be in the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford as Ryan Newman remains sidelined following his crash on the last lap of the 2020 Daytona 500 earlier this month.

“It is week to week. It’s whatever they want to do,” Chastain said Friday ahead on-track activity at Auto Club Speedway.

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Chastain will be in the car once again for Sunday’s Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). He has double duty with his full-time Xfinity Series ride at Kaulig Racing and the No. 10 Chevrolet on track for Saturday’s Production Alliance Group 300 (4 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Newman visited the Roush Fenway Racing shop on Wednesday but will remain out of the car.

“I talked to Ryan last week,” Chastain said. “I missed him at the shop. I had to fly out Wednesday with Nutrien Ag Solutions so I didn’t get a chance to catch up with him.”

Roush Fenway Racing president Steve Newmark also said last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway there is no timeline for Newman’s return.

“I can tell you what his timetable would like to be, which is as soon as possible, but there are some other hoops he’s got to jump through before that happens,” Newmark said. “Right now, we’re just taking it one step at a time. … He has expressed unequivocally that this is where he wants to be and he wants to be back in a race car.”

In that same availability, Newmark said “our arrangement with Ross is that if we need him, he should be available.”

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For Chastain, the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas was a learning experience. The 27-year-old used Newman’s steering mechanism but it was a bit too tight for his liking. On the plus side, he did earn a stage point for the No. 6 camp in the opening 80-lap run before a combination of factors and a late-race spin led to a 27th-place finish.

“Everybody at the shop made it as seamless as possible to plug in,” Chastain said. “Obviously, trying to fill somebody like Ryan Newman’s shoes is an impossible task. To me, he’s larger than life in how he carries himself on and off the track. They made it great.

“Got to the track. Did a lot of things right but towards the end of the race, definitely did some things wrong so a lot to build on.”