NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie Ross Chastain has had his fair share of bad luck early in the 2012 season but it appears that luck is beginning to turn around as the Florida teen notched his second top 10 of the season in the Melon 1/South Carolina Watermelon Association Toyota on Saturday afternoon at the Pocono Raceway.
Chastain qualified for the NCWTS Pocono Mountains 125 in 20th with a lap of 55.11 seconds on the tricky three-corner, two and an half speedway in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. “I just messed-up a bit in qualifying and got us behind some trucks that we should not have been behind.”
At the drop of the green flag of the 50-lap sprint Chastain proved his SS Green Light Racing entry was strong passing three trucks on the outside before the end of the second lap and moved up five spots in the races first five laps. “I drove as hard as I could at the beginning because I wanted to get by as many as I could,” Chastain said. “I was able to get by a bunch going into one when they all dove to the bottom and again coming out of one because I stayed up on the outside.”
“We had some radio problems during the race; it was fine in practice and qualifying but I could barely hear the spotter, I couldn’t hear Bryan (crew chief Bryan Berry) and he couldn’t hear me. I was yelling that the truck was tight, but they couldn’t hear me and we didn’t it adjusted on our only stop, so we had to run with what we had.”
Ross was able to avoid several close calls during a series of three quick cautions just past the midway point of the 125-mile race. “For all the bad luck we’ve had, it was sure nice to have some good luck for a change. I think the closest one was when Hornaday and Harraka crashed and I was able to get by that one and then they started crashing up ahead. We made it through it and that’s all that counts.”
“Everybody gave each other a lot of room at the start and we all got spread out but after that first caution came out and after that I don’t know... Man, it was on after that,” Chastain said of the contact following the second and third cautions. “We had a clean race and a good pit stop; it was an eventful race even though it really didn’t look like it.”
Ross had a good battle with several trucks including John Wes Townley, Jason White and Justin Lofton over the last ten laps of the race but was able to hang on and bring the Melon 1/South Carolina Watermelon Association Toyota home in tenth place behind first-time winner Joey Coulter. “Townley and Lofton were a little faster than we were and they were able to get by.”
“Overall it was a much needed top-ten finish and the timing was good for all of our supporters and the various watermelon boards,” Ross concluded. “Top-tens are good to keep everyone excited.”
With his tenth place finish, Chastain picked-up one position to seventeenth in the NCWTS point standings halfway though the 2012 campaign. The truckers next head to the VFW 200 at the Michigan International Speedway on Saturday, August 18th.
Source: SS Green Light Racing