Chris Graythen | Getty Images
Chris Graythen | Getty Images

Ross Chastain aims to ‘blend in more’ at Cup Series level

One of the most anticipated new pairings in the NASCAR Cup Series is Ross Chastain in the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet. Chastain, 28, has competed at the NASCAR Cup Series level for four years, but this will mark the Floridan’s first season with a high-profile perennial competitive team in Ganassi. Chastain drove the team’s Xfinity Series car to his first NASCAR national series win — taking the 2018 trophy at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Chastain competed for Niece Motorsports in the 2019 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship and finished runner-up for the title. Last year he contended for the Xfinity Series championship, finishing seventh in the title run for Kaulig Racing. The watermelon farmer is extremely eager to seize and capitalize on the best opportunity of his career with Ganassi this season.

Ask if he feels pressure to make this big chance work, Chastain, conceded, “yes.”

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“As a racer, yeah. I don’t want to go fail, so, there is no alternative,” said Ross Chastain. “There is no Plan B. We have the farm and will still grow and sell watermelons, but yeah as a racer, I want to succeed, and I want to do my job. Yeah, this is it.”

And, he acknowledged, his reputation for being a hard-charger precedes him at Ganassi. But, perhaps this opportunity means a different approach.

“Yes. Definitely blend in more. I’m not going to let anybody pass. I’m not going to purposely run into anybody. I think that’s maybe been embellished a little bit over the years and I haven’t done any work to diminish it. I’ve embraced it and enjoyed how people view me and how people talk about me. We’ve used it internally with the race teams that I’ve driven for over the last two years to really motivate and find that extra little bit of speed in the race trucks and cars and I would not trade it for anything.

“All those steps and mistakes are what got me here. But yes, definitely blend in a little better. I don’t want or need a line of drivers or crew chiefs or anybody to be lined-up at the car after these races. This is the premier series and I have to elevate to that level. I have a long way to go. This is going to be the biggest step of my career.”