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December 19, 2023

Ross Chastain 2023 season in review

Ross Chastain, driver of the #1 Worldwide Express Chevrolet, looks on during the parade lap prior to the race at Indiana.
Meg Oliphant
Getty Images

Editor’s note: This continues a series where we review the top 20 drivers in 2023 NASCAR Cup Series points.

Season in review: Ross Chastain
No. 1 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet
Crew chief: Phil Surgen
Final 2023 ranking: 9th
Key stats: Two wins, 10 top fives, 14 top 10s, 640 laps led, one pole position

How 2023 ended: Chastain earned his second career – and second consecutive – NASCAR Cup Series playoff berth in 2023. His win at Nashville Superspeedway locked him into the postseason where he was eliminated in the Round of 12. Although he fell short of the Bill France Cup, Chastain ended the season with a win at Phoenix Raceway that clinched him ninth place in the final standings. The second-year Trackhouse Racing driver was ousted from championship contention after a tough playoff run that included a pair of DNFs – crashes at Talladega Superspeedway and the Floridian’s “home track” at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He had four top-10 finishes in the 10-race playoff run but also three results worse than 20th place. Chastain closed out his second season with Trackhouse Racing by leading 157 of 312 laps at Phoenix and is the only driver in the series technically on a “winning streak” to start 2024.

Best race: Statistically speaking, Chastain’s most impressive outing was his career first win at Nashville Speedway from pole position. He led a race-best 99 laps and eased to almost a 1-second victory over Martin Truex Jr. to officially claim a playoff berth and take over second place in the season standings.

RELATED: Ross Chastain scores first win of 2023 at Nashville Superspeedway

Other season highlights: Chastain equaled his career-best win total (two) by scoring multiple victories for the second straight season. He led the NASCAR Cup Series championship standings for seven weeks and was ranked either first or second for 12 weeks – a full third of the season. He led at least 90 laps in a race five times and his pole position at Nashville was a career first.

Stat to know: While he fell short of his career-best numbers in 2022, Chastain still turned in a season to remember and equaled his best win total (two). His lead lap finishes (28) is a career-best mark, and he also topped the 600-laps led threshold for a second consecutive year. Only four drivers bettered his total of 10 top fives.

Quotable: “I don’t really know how to comprehend that maybe in a couple years we’re still doing this. I’m human. I go back to my past. I’ve had things taken away that were a sure bet. I thought it was a one-direction all the way up the mountain. Had to go find another mountain to climb. We found it. We’re climbing it. I feel as long as I get up, do my best, put my work in, go to work and surround myself with good people, trust our processes. … we’ll see.”

RELATED: Ross Chastain dominates Phoenix Cup finale

Looking ahead: Although Chastain obviously would have liked to advance farther in the championship hunt, he did achieve his first career pole position, led more than 600 laps and proved his resiliency at the end of the season, hoisting a trophy even when he was out of playoff contention. Statistically, Chastain proved both his consistency and his resiliency. He now has victories on a diverse set of tracks, from road courses (Circuit of The Americas) to superspeedways (Talladega) to the 1.33-miler at Nashville and the Phoenix mile. It showed that his amazing championship runner-up showing in 2022 was absolutely not a fluke and instead the establishment of a driver ready and skilled to contend for the title year after year.