Saturday, Jul 02

NGOTS, NXS: Ross Chastain Riding Wave of Confidence as Season Ends

Kaulig Racing and Ross Chastain announced a deal last Tuesday that will put Chastain behind the wheel of the No. 10 Chevrolet full-time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2020. The deal means that the small XFINITY team will field two full-time entries next season with Justin Haley in its No. 11 Chevrolet.

The deal comes while Chastain seeks a driver championship in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series – piloting the No. 45 Chevrolet with Niece Motorsports. Chastain spoke at Kansas Speedway on how the deal in 2020 with Kaulig Racing will help him confidence wise while racing for a championship in the truck series.

"This is the most confidence I’ve ever had- I sleep better at night. I still don’t sleep great, but better at night than I ever had. Just hearing the confidence in my guys and Chris and everyone at Nutrien Ag Solution, as we’re here for the long haul. Short term, more races in the 10 car here at Texas and those truck races; we have to go execute. And we feel like the confidence at Niece Motorsports is high. The parts and pieces, just like Chris and Matt; what Al Niece have given my group, with the No. 45 and 44, what they’ve given us to go race is everything we need."

Four of the five last Gander Outdoors Truck Series races have ended in a top-five finish for the Florida native – including a trip to victory lane at Michigan International Speedway. Chastain later took home two runner-up finishes at Bristol Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway along with a third-place finish at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

Chastain’s day was cut short the last time out because of an accident at Talladega Superspeedway. The driver of the No. 45 Chevrolet started 17th and finished 22nd due to an incident involving nine other trucks in turn four.

“I love racing at Martinsville,” said Chastain on the upcoming race at Martinsville. “This is a tough, fun track and I’m really looking forward to this weekend’s race.  We have a little bit of ground to make up after what happened at Talladega, so I’m going to do everything I can to put this CarShield Chevrolet in Victory Lane and lock these Niece Motorsports boys and girls into the final round of the playoffs.”

In addition to the No. 45 Chevrolet in the truck series, the driver competed in numerous starts across the NASCAR XFINITY and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series this season with Kaulig Racing and JD Motorsports; along with Premium Motorsports in the cup series.

In 18 races behind the wheel of a NASCAR XFINITY Series car, Chastain made a trip to victory lane at Daytona International Speedway in July with Kaulig Racing, along with four top 10 finishes.

Chris Rice, co-owner of Kaulig Racing, spoke where the team stands as they close 2019 and look ahead to 2020 with two full-time XFINITY Series entries.

“We hired AJ Allmendinger to come in. I know our race team is not ready to win at certain racetracks, so we need help to do that,” said Rice. “Justin Haley, somebody that can be so good at making points and doing things, and we get into the playoffs and we kind of failed him. And I have to pick the guys up"

Kaulig Racing, in 2019, goes into Texas Motor Speedway next week having two wins across the organization. The team, between five drivers and 46 individual starts this year, has eight top five and 27 top 10s.

“Chris Rice and Matt Kaulig, they’re investing into this team, they came into this series; I don’t think a lot of people knew what to think, but they’re here and they’re investing,” said Chastain. “And the stuff like, the terrible thing that happened a few days ago, doesn’t slow them down.”

Chastain ended the afternoon at Kansas Speedway 10th in Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300. The No. 10 crew faced adversity going into the weekend as the hauler was involved in a wreck en route to Kansas Speedway that destroyed both the primary and backup cars. The crew quickly pulled the necessary resources together with help from Richard Childress Racing to field the teams second entry.

Kaulig Racing will field two full-time entries with Haley and Chastain in 2020 – along with an occasional third entry.

Chastain sits sixth in points going into this weekend’s truck series race at Martinsville Speedway. He is one of several drivers looking to advance into the Round of 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Brett Winningham

Brett has been following the sport of NASCAR since the beginning of the 2006 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Since Brett was 13, he has had a passion of chasing a job in sports that not many get the opportunity of doing. He has been in the NASCAR media since the middle of the 2010 season. Since then, he has been a part of many racing podcast shows to improve his talents. You can find him on twitter @NASCAR_Brett.


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