A victory or another stellar finish Sunday at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway will secure Ross Chastain and his second-year Trackhouse Racing team a spot in the Cup Series Championship race at Phoenix Raceway on Nov. 6.
He’ll bring lots of momentum to this most important race.
He's driven the No. 1 Chevrolet to second-place finishes the last two weeks at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway - the first two races in the three-race Round of 8. At the conclusion of Sunday's final Round of 8 race in Martinsville, the top four drivers will compete in the winner-take-all title race in Phoenix.
Chastain arrives at Martinsville second in the standings among the eight playoff drivers, just 19 ahead of the final transfer position.
If he advances, it could become the fastest a driver has ever earned a place in the championship race with just 150 career starts, breaking Chase Elliott's mark of 184 starts when he raced for the title in 2020.
It's not going to be easy.
The .526-mile, flat Martinsville track in southern Virginia is often crowded and treacherous to say the least. In April, Chastain started 27th and navigated through traffic before finishing fifth - his first top-five finish ever at Martinsville.
He’ll sport the familiar black and red paint scheme of the Moose Fraternity in Martinsville. After practice and qualifying Saturday, Chastain will visit the Moose Lodge in Bassett, Virginia at 3:30 p.m. ET.
The long-time Chastain supporter rode with the 30-year-old Alva, Florida native to victory lane at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in April. It marked the No. 1 Chevrolet’s second victory of the season and came just weeks after Chastain won a thrilling three-wide battle in the final lap at Circuit of the America’s in Austin, Texas for his first career victory.
It's been a stellar season for Chastain and the Justin Marks-owned Trackhouse Racing team who are competing in their first season together.
Chastain has earned 13 top-fives, 19 top 10s and led 692 laps. He has the most top-five finishes of any driver in 2022 and is tied for the most top-10s with Chase Elliott. In laps led, he ranks third most among his peers.
NBC will broadcast Sunday's Cup race at 2 p.m. ET.