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Chastain to run Daytona 500 and Coke 600 in CGR-prepared car

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Chastain to run Daytona 500 and Coke 600 in CGR-prepared car
By:
Jan 9, 2020, 6:38 PM

Ross Chastain’s future with Chip Ganassi Racing will finally start to come to fruition this season.

Chastain will compete in two NASCAR Cup Series races in 2020 with Ganassi, competing in the No. 77 Chevrolet owned by Spire Motorsports.

With sponsorship from AdventHealth, one of the country’s largest faith-based health systems, Chastain will drive in the Daytona 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 this season as teammates to Kyle Larson and Kurt Busch.

Larson will also drive an AdventHealth-sponsored No. 42 Chevrolet in the Busch Clash exhibition race next month and the fall playoff race at Kansas Speedway.

“It’s hard to put into words, honestly, what this opportunity means to me,” Chastain said Thursday. “They’ve been saying all along that we’re going to figure it out. When everything went down and (Chip) had to shut down the Xfinity car, Chip kept saying to me, ‘I’m working on it. I’m working on it.’

“They kept saying they wanted me in their race cars. Of course, that’s a lot easier said than done but the whole sales team never quit and that’s the first domino that has to fall. They told me a while back they were working on this.

“It’s great to keep that relationship. It hasn’t always been out in the public.”

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Chastain, 27, ran three Xfinity races in the 2018 season with CGR, winning at Las Vegas. He was scheduled to run the full Xfinity season for Ganassi in 2019 but the deal fell apart in the offseason when the sponsor became embroiled in legal issues. 

Chastain competed in Cup, Xfinity and Truck races in 2019 – and contended for the Truck title – with other teams but insisted all along his relationship with the Ganassi organization remained intact.

The Daytona 500 opportunity with Ganassi will give Chastain a full schedule at 2020 Speedweeks as he will also compete in the Truck Series opener with Niece Motorsports and the Xfinity opener with Kaulig Racing.

“We’re coming back down here in February with the opportunity to win all three races. I’ve won with every team I’m driving for,” Chastain said. “I don’t know how common that is for a driver. It’s not common for me because I haven’t won that many races.

“The Cup series is definitely another level. Talking with the guys I’m working with on this car, we’re coming down here with a chance to win. They told me we’re coming down here with two bullets – a primary and a backup.”

Finding the dollars

Chastain has already planned to compete fulltime in Xfinity this season with Kaulig and run about 10 Truck events for Niece. His Cup schedule remains up in the air outside of the two Ganassi races announced on Thursday.

Chastain said he never doubted Ganassi’s word on the possibility of future driving opportunities but he understood the difficulty in obtaining sponsorship.

“I know how hard it is to do it. We had to find the dollars. AdventHealth wanted to run these races and it was just the perfect opportunity to bring me in,” he said.

“Honestly, how do you give a guy like me the opportunity to drive? AdventHealth only does a select number of races with Chip Ganassi Racing and you give me two of those races when you got guys like Kyle Larson and Kurt Busch.

“This worked out perfect. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Ross Chastain, Spire Motorsports Chevrolet

Ross Chastain, Spire Motorsports Chevrolet

Photo by: Chip Ganassi Racing

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ross Chastain
Author Jim Utter