Monday, June 26, 2023

Ross Chastain Streaks to Victory

Ross Chastain Streaks to Victory

Nashville Super Speedway - Ally 400

Ross and Kyle Larson are the only two drivers to finish in the top-five of all three of Nashville Superspeedway’s NASCAR Cup Series races.


After more than a year without a Cup Series victory – and a couple months of sideways glances and tough conversations following incidents with several competitors – Ross Chastain admits he heard whispers about his on-track performance.


After making Nashville Superspeedway’s 1.33-mile concrete D-shaped oval his personal watermelon crawl, Chastain looked back on those recent struggles with a big, juicy grin and a couple celebratory yells with a sold-out Middle Tennessee crowd with a victory in the Ally 400 NASCAR Cup Series race at Nashville Superspeedway.


Driving the No. 1 Chevrolet for Nashville-based Trackhouse Racing, Chastain collected his first Cup Series victory of the season, the third Cup win of his career and locked down a Cup Series playoff berth.


“It’s absolutely incredible the fight that we have,” Chastain said after smashing a watermelon on the start-finish line. “This is why every little kid out there, anyone in the world, when you get criticized, and you’re going to if you’re a competitor, they will try to tear you down and you’ll start believing it and you can’t do that.


“[You] just keep getting up and trust the process.”


The 30-year-old Florida native completed a weekend sweep after earning the Ally 400 pole position. Chastain led 99 laps overall, including the last 34, all of which came with Martin Truex Jr. bearing down on his rear bumper less than one second behind.


“[This team] brings rocket ships to the track and I just try to get them to Victory Lane,” Chastian said.


“The last couple of weeks have been tough,” added Trackhouse Racing owner Justin Marks. “We have some incredible people on this team. Ross showed today he’s in rare air in this Series.”


Truex, the Cup Series points leader, was .789 of a second behind Chastain, with Denny Hamlin placing third, 2022 Ally 400 champion Chase Elliott finishing fourth and 2021 Ally 400 winner Kyle Larson taking fifth.


Chastain and Larson are the only two drivers to finish in the top-five of all three of Nashville Superspeedway’s NASCAR Cup Series races.


“Just needed to get the lead,” Truex said. “Once we lost it, just too loose on the long runs. Had a lot of speed … overall a good night.”


Tyler Reddick (33 laps led) took Stage 1, but dropped out of contention when he spun entering pit road and lost a tire on Lap 138. Reddick finished 30th, two laps down, while Hamlin (81 laps led) won Stage 2.

Among other notable finishes, Kyle Busch fought back from a flat tire that put him two laps down as well as another pit road penalty to lead 12 laps and finish ninth, Chastain’s Trackhouse teammate Daniel Suarez placed 12th and defending NASCAR Cup Series champion Joey Logano finished 19th.



At the end they were all chasing Chastain, who shared some of his broken watermelon with members of the crowd after he collected the checkered flag.


“It’s just so hard at this level,” said Chastain before collecting his first Nashville Superspeedway signature Gibson guitar trophy. “I don’t care about what happened last month or the rest of my life – this is a freaking Cup win baby.”


Chastain completed the 300-lap/400-mile event in 3 hours and 7 seconds, averaging 132.914 mph, the quickest of Nashville’s three Cup Series races.


Twenty-one drivers finished on the lead lap while 12 leaders exchanged the top spot 21 times. Four caution periods took up 24 laps.



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