By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
The ‘Cinderella story’ of Ross Chastain comes to an end after the Bar Harbor 200 at Dover International Speedway. The 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff driver was eliminated despite a number of impressive moves late.
Following a caution with 37 laps to go, Chastain was busted for speeding on pit road in his No. 4 Delaware Office of Highway Safety Chevrolet Camaro SS. He restarted at the tail-end of the field, and on the outside looking in for the Round of Eight.
In 10 laps, Chastain made his way through the lapped traffic to the bumper of fellow Playoff driver Matt Tifft. A nudge sent Tifft sliding into Chase Briscoe, bringing out the final caution of the race on lap 180.
On the final restart, Chastain sliced his way through the field, climbing up to be just outside the top-10. He stalled just behind Elliott Sadler, allowing Tifft to catch up.
Unable to make further headway, Chastain was left searching as Tifft regained the final transfer spot for the Round of Eight. When the checkered flag waved, the JD Motorsports driver was three points behind the cutoff.
“Too many mistakes on my part,” Chastain admitted. “I sped on pit road trying to roll up to those guys, doing the best we could. That put us behind and we were playing catch-up from there. We had the car, looking at it now, to do it, to pass those guys. He (Tifft) ran into me down there after the lugnut check, but I’m not sorry at all.
“This 4 car and everything we’ve done with JD Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing to help me get here. This is awesome, I don’t apologize for anything we do on the racetrack. It’s racing, we were in the heart of it. We did our job coming here and we have a lot to be proud about.”
After his elimination, Chastain now sits ninth in the Championship Points Standings, 15-Points ahead of Brandon Jones. The best points position he could earn in the Playoffs is now fifth place following the next elimination after ISM Raceway.
Until then, Chastain will continue to drive the No. 15 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.