By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Correspondent
Just weeks after earning his first NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series victory, Ross Chastain has switched to earn Truck Series points.
The change will not automatically lock Chastain into the Truck Series playoffs as he was ineligible for Truck points at Kansas Speedway. It does open the opportunity for the Alva, FL native to compete in the Triple Truck Challenge that starts this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.
Chastain will drive the No. 38 Chevrolet Silverado for Niece Motorsports. He enters the SpeedyCash.com 400 as the only drivers to have finished in the top-10 in every truck race this season.
“After much consideration and many conversations, I’ve decided to pursue championship points in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, effective immediately,” Chastain explained. “This shift will allow me to be in the truck race this weekend in Texas, and I’m grateful to everyone at Niece Motorsports for giving me this opportunity.”
As a result of his new points declaration, Chastain’s NASCAR Xfinity Series points total will reset to zero. He was 13th in the championship points standings, 25-points behind the Xfinity playoff cutoff. Chastain has been competing for both JD Motorsports and Kaulig Racing.
With at least three more races scheduled with Kaulig Racing at Chicagoland Speedway, Kansas, and Texas, as well as some with JD Motorsports, Chastain will continue to fulfil his commitments where sponsorship is already in place.
“I’m thankful to everyone at Johnny Davis Motorsports and Kaulig Racing for their efforts this year,” Chastain said. “I will continue to run races for each organization where sponsorship for 2019 has been solidified. I know this is the best decision for me at this time and am thankful for everyone who has and will continue to support me moving forward into 2019 and beyond.”
To make the Truck Series playoffs, Chastain has to at least win a race and make the top-20 in points. That mark held by Jesse Little is currently 91-points. Otherwise, Chastain is 253-points behind the cutoff, held by Todd Gilliland.
“I know it won’t be easy, but I believe this team is capable of making the playoffs and competing for a championship with Ross,” said team owner Al Niece. “Ross, Phil, Cody and every single employee at this team have worked incredibly hard to continue to advance this program.
“We are proud to bring trucks capable of winning to the race track. It takes a lot of work to get there, and we don’t take it lightly. We’re ready to see what the next eight races bring.”
Chastain’s win at Kansas was the first victory for the Niece Motorsports, in just its’ third full year of operation. He is now the team’s only full-time driver this season.