By Toby Christie, Editor – Follow on Twitter @Toby_Christie
Rides in top-flight equipment in the NASCAR Xfinity Series do not come easy. It typically takes a driver – regardless of their talent – bringing a pile of their own cash if they want to show what they can do in a premier vehicle in the series where names are made.
Ryan Preece is the latest example of what can happen when a talented racer hits the racing lottery. A season ago, Preece – who was an amazing NASCAR Whelen Modified Series driver but was failing to garner attention from top teams in the Xfinity Series — opted to forgo a full-time season with an underfunded race team, and instead lumped his season-long sponsorship funds together for a couple of one-off opportunities with Joe Gibbs Racing.
It was a hell of a gamble, an ultimate betting on yourself moment, and it paid off in a big way for Preece. His first race for JGR came at New Hampshire, a track that the NASCAR Modified driver was very familiar with.
Preece started sixth and was in the mix all day long before settling for a second-place finish. In his next start, at Iowa, Preece would take the checkered flag. His impressive first two races with the super team earned him a couple of more starts, when the season ended, Preece had a win and four top-five finishes in four starts.
Preece became a hot commodity overnight.
Fast forward to 2018, and Ross Chastain is hoping for a similar scenario.
Chastain, who hails from Alva, Florida, has been opening eyes for the last couple of years. Driving for Johnny Davis, Chastain has certainly been outperforming his equipment, as he has a pair of 4th place finishes in his career at Iowa Speedway. He has also recorded a total of 12 top-10 finishes in 128 NXS starts.
Now, he will get a chance to see what he can do in Chip Ganassi Racing’s DC Solar No. 42 Camaro for three events, and its all thanks to DC Solar wanting to give a real hard-working racer a shot.
“My wife Paulette and I have gotten to know Ross through some of our relationships off the track and have admired his hard-work and willingness to do whatever it takes to continue progressing his racing career. We appreciate and respect those qualities and when the opportunity arose for that hard-work to be recognized, we were happy to jump in and help support that effort. This strong combination of talents with both team and driver will be exciting to watch and we can’t wait to see what they can do together,” said Jeff Carpoff, Co-Founder and CEO, DC Solar.
Chastain is obviously chomping at the bit for his big break.
“This opportunity with DC Solar and Chip Ganassi Racing is unbelievable,” Chastain said in a team press release. “I want to recognize Johnny Davis for all that he has done for my career and express how proud I am of our performance this year. I am also very thankful to grow my relationship with Jeff and Paulette Carpoff and look forward to having this opportunity in the No. 42 DC Solar Chevy in the NASCAR Xfinity Series car for these races.”
Chastain will be behind the wheel of the No. 42 car in the Xfinity Series in Darlington (Sept. 1st), Las Vegas (Sept. 15th), and Richmond (Sept. 21st).
Photo: Sarah Crabill/Getty Images