By Toby Christie, Editor — Follow on Twitter @Toby_Christie
Ross Chastain continues to defy the odds of modern day big-time stock car racing as Chip Ganassi Racing and DC Solar have announced the 25-year-old as the full-time driver of the No. 42 DC Solar Camaro in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2019.
“DC Solar is excited to continue its partnership with CGR, and we’re extremely proud to sponsor Ross during the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity season. From the moment I met Ross, I knew there was something special about him, so the decision to support him came easy,” Jeff Carpoff, Co-Founder and CEO, DC Solar said in a team press release. “Witnessing his raw talent, as well as his humility and gratitude for the opportunity, only confirmed that he would be a great representative for the DC Solar brand.”
After years of scraping the bottom of the barrel for under funded efforts, Chastain finally found opportunity at Chip Ganassi Racing with a part-time schedule in the team’s No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro in the NXS in 2018. That part-time schedule led to an eye-opening performance at Darlington, which ultimately led in a crash. Chastain followed up Darlington with his first career win at Las Vegas a couple races later, and he closed out his stint behind the wheel of the No. 42 with a second place effort at Richmond.
Chastain talked about how lucky he felt he has been in arriving at his new team.
“I’m an eighth-generation farmer from Florida who was fortunate enough to get a shot in top-flight equipment. I’m incredibly grateful to everyone, especially my family, who helped me get to this point,” said Chastain. “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.”
In his three starts for CGR this year, Chastain led an incredible 270 of 597 laps. In doing so he secured his seat for next year.
“When we first talked about putting Ross in the car this year, this was something that Jeff and Paulette [of DC Solar] 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,” said team owner Chip Ganassi.
The Florida-native will be an immediate championship contender. The No. 42 team has won a total of five races, between three different drivers (Chastain, Kyle Larson and John Hunter Nemechek) in 2018.
Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images