Thursday, July 7, 2022

Ross Chastain: Tired of Being Called an Underdog


KANSAS CITY, KS – MAY 10: Ross Chastain, driver of the #45 TruNorth/Paul Jr. Designs Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Digital Ally 250 at Kansas Speedway on May 10, 2019 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Has the stock for any other driver in NASCAR soared over the past year as much as Ross Chastain’s has? He was a driver who was getting decent results in underfunded equipment, but he never had the shot to prove what he could do in race-winning equipment. Now after an Xfinity Series win last fall and a Truck Series win Friday night at Kansas Speedway, everyone should be keeping an eye on the 26-year-old watermelon farmer.

This offseason, it looked like Chastain was moving to the big-time with a full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series ride at Chip Ganassi Racing. However, when sponsorship fell through Chastain was left searching for an opportunity — any opportunity. He found one with Al Niece’s young Niece Motorsports team.

After celebrating his first-career Truck Series win, Chastain proclaimed that he is tired of being labeled an underdog.

“Man, this stuff is so hard to do,” Chastain said. “We all know it. But until you go through it and just — it’s what America and sports and in the World are all about. Comebacks and underdogs. I’ve been called an underdog my whole career, and I’m tired of that. I get so sick of hearing that. I know they mean well when they say it, but man I just want to win and that’s why I race everything I can. This is so awesome.”

After seven NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series starts this season, Chastain has an incredible average finish of 5.9. Unfortunately, when the season started the Florida native opted to be eligible for the Xfinity Series championship, which means he won’t be grabbing the Truck Series Driver Title this season, but he has a shot to grab the Owner Title for Niece.

Chastain went on to talk about his racing background, and how his NASCAR career has been a learning process to this point.

“I don’t know what’s worth it or not. I just know it’s what I’ve wanted since I was 12 years old when I started racing,” Chastain explained. “I wanted to be a racecar driver and I wanted to be successful and be competitive. Once I won my first race at 14 years old that’s all I wanted to do. I didn’t win a lot growing up. I won probably 50 races. I get into NASCAR and I realize day one practice one at IRP in 2011 how hard this was going to be, because I was the slowest truck there my first time and we went on to finish 10th that night.”

Toby Christie
Toby Christie
Toby is the Founder, and Editor-in-Chief of Toby is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, he is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award-winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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