By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
After getting his break-out chance earlier this season, Ross Chastain will be rewarded with a full-time ride at Chip Ganassi Racing in 2019. He will be the only driver of the team’s No. 42 DC Solar Chevrolet Camaro SS in the NASCAR Xfinity Series next season.
In his three-race stint with Ganassi this season, Chastain won at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, earned the pole at Darlington Raceway, and finished runner-up at Richmond Raceway. In those three races, he led 270 laps. Prior to his starts with CGR, Chastain had just one top-five and two top-10 finishes this season.
In his 125 starts prior to his chance with Ganassi, Chastain had only led 16 laps in his Xfinity Series career. He was often running just outside the top-10 in the familiar JD Motorsports No. 4.
“I’m an eighth-generation farmer from Florida who was fortunate enough to get a shot in top-flight equipment, Chastain humbly said. “I’m incredibly grateful to everyone, especially my family, who helped me get to this point. I’ve had a great run with Johnny Davis Motorsports and it’s obvious I wouldn’t be in the position I am today without Johnny’s support. I have been racing everything that I can since breaking into NASCAR seven years ago.
“Until DC Solar and Chip (Ganassi) gave me a shot in Darlington, nobody knew who I was. I want to remain humble. I enjoy being the underdog. Excited or thrilled doesn’t begin to capture how I feel about joining CGR full time. I’m eager to take full advantage of the opportunity in front of me. The obvious goal is to win races, compete for an Xfinity Series Championship and represent DC Solar to the best of my ability.”
DC Solar joined the organization in 2015 with Brennan Poole behind the wheel. The company made its Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut last season with Kyle Larson.
“DC Solar is a great example of partnership,” team co-owner Chip Ganassi said. “Since coming to our organization, both of our teams have worked together to build a platform that is beneficial to their business.
“When we first talked about putting Ross in the car this year, this was something that Jeff and Paulette felt strongly about and Ross made the most of the opportunity running well in all three races and bringing home a win and a runner-up finish. We are looking forward to him continuing that success in 2019 and competing for his first NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship.”
Throughout his career, Chastain has often out-performed his equipment. Eight of his 15 top-10s in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series came in underfunded equipment.
Chastain has also earned three top-20 finishes in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with Premium Motorsports. Last month it was announced that he would compete full-time with the Jay Robinson-owned team. The team had only finished inside the top-20 nine times since its’ inception.