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April 27, 2024

After making Cup Series debut at Dover, Ross Chastain eager to eventually cash in with Delaware dub

Ross Chastain smiles at Dover.
James Gilbert
Getty Images

DOVER, Del. — Many memories have occurred at Dover Motor Speedway for Ross Chastain. After all, the June 4, 2017 date at the 1-miler acted as Chastain’s NASCAR Cup Series debut, where he piloted the No. 15 Premium Motorsports Chevrolet — donned in the Delaware Office of Highway Safety livery — to a 20th-place finish. His second career Cup start came not even four months later at Dover, with the Delaware Office of Highway Safeway again sponsoring the Chevy machine during his 38th-place result there on Oct. 1, 2017.

Fast forward to 2024, and Chastain — despite starting 22nd in Sunday’s Würth 400 (2 p.m. ET, FS1, PRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) — still holds his history at the track and surrounding area dear.

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As such, it’s only natural for Chastain to want to eventually find Victory Lane at the track where it all started for him in the Cup Series.

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“I’ve wanted the Miles the Monster trophy for a long time,” Chastain said. “I’ve spent so much time up here in Delaware with our Highway Safety programs with Protect and Use Your Melon, and I’ve spent a week with the state fair during the summer. When we used to have two races, I was up here for that whole week leading up to it. So many appearances, so many activations and seeing so many residents here, it’s always been special. It was the catalyst for my first Cup start. We’ve been out the last couple days doing events like we used to, so it’s been really cool.”

In nine career Cup starts at Dover, Chastain has tallied a pair of top-five and top-10 finishes. However, the No. 1 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet driver has amped up momentum there in the Next Gen era, with both of his top fives and top 10s coming in each of the last two seasons. In fact, Chastain is the only Cup Series driver to finish inside the top five in both Dover races in the Next Gen era. Chastain’s 613 laps and 754 laps run inside the top five and 10 at Dover in the Next Gen era, respectively, each rank first.

So, what has clicked at Dover? To Chastain, the answer comes not from the driver but instead from those surrounding him.

“I feel like the team I’m driving for, Phil Surgen and Trackhouse, just brings really fast, really drivable cars,” Chastain said. “They’re pretty compliant across the bumps, they turn good, they have good rear grip, good pit crew. It’s just kind of a culmination of everything. We’ve had that at a lot of the tracks, so why we’ve been able to put it together here, I don’t have an answer for you, but it’s been good.”

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Momentum has not been as uplifting for Chastain lately, with five of his last six 2024 Cup finishes ending with results outside the top 10. However, with his recent success at Dover, perhaps Ross Chastain can pilot the No. 1 to a No. 1 finish at a track with plenty of attachment.

“We’re running good enough. I feel the grip in the cars. We’re close,” Chastain said. “We’re looking for those last little bits to put it together, and then, we have that speed. We don’t have dominant speed, but we’re right there in the mix, and then just getting across the finish line. It’s been the last lap. The last lap goes a little different the last two weeks and totally different feeling. Of course, it doesn’t feel good to finish outside the top 10, but it’s OK. We’ve got the domination there.”