The watermelon man is on the move!

One of the big pieces in the NASCAR Silly Season puzzle has just fallen into place.

On September 21, Chip Ganassi Racing announced that current Xfinity Series driver Ross Chastain will move up to the Cup Series next season to drive the number 42 car.

Team owner Chip Ganassi spoke on the hiring of Chastain saying, “Ross has been a part of this organization for a few years now, and I am happy to announce him as our driver for the number 42 team.  In three races with our organization in 2018 and watching ever since, he showed me and everyone else that he is a tenacious driver who wants to win. We believe that Ross will give our team the opportunity to be competitive each week and our sponsors someone to build a program around. Additionally, his racing background has him well-suited to make the move to the Cup Series.”

Chastain was asked about driving for Ganassi again after his second place finish Xfinity Series in Bristol last weekend.  Chastain responded with, “are you kidding me? Of course.  Everybody in this entire garage would. Yeah, who wouldn’t?”

“I can’t thank Chip enough for this opportunity.  The faith he and the organization showed me back in 2018 was a real turning point in my career, and I am extremely happy for the chance to join the team again especially with all the great guys they have on the 42 and to be able to team with a champion like Kurt Busch. Racing in the Cup Series with a serious contender has always been my goal, and I’m looking forward to joining what is a very strong team. I know I have my work cut out for me, but I’m ready to get to work and help bring more success to the organization.”

Chastain, who comes from a 12 generation family of watermelon farmers in Florida, is currently one of the 12 drivers who will compete in the Xfinity Series playoffs that begin this weekend in Las Vegas.  The 27 year old driver has finished 23 of 26 races in the top 10 this season.  He celebrates his race wins by smashing watermelons on the start/finish line and again in victory lane.

Last season Chastain drove in every race possible, at times even running races in the Truck, Xfinity, and Cup Series in the same weekend.  While he has curtailed some of that activity this season, he has stull run several Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series races this season.

feature photo credit: By FullmentalFic – https://www.flickr.com/photos/fullmentalfic/24693280339/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=83443946