NASCAR Truck Series: Ross Chastain, Niece Motorsports impressing in 2019

HAMPTON, GA - FEBRUARY 22: Ross Chastain, NASCAR driver of the #45 OEM2 Powerd by TruNorth Niece Motorsports Chevrolet (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
HAMPTON, GA - FEBRUARY 22: Ross Chastain, NASCAR driver of the #45 OEM2 Powerd by TruNorth Niece Motorsports Chevrolet (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images) /

In addition to competing full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ross Chastain has finished in the top 10 in all three Truck Series races so far in 2019.

Although Kyle Busch has dominated the last two NASCAR Truck Series races, Ross Chastain has also impressed so far this season. While he is ineligible to earn Truck Series points as a result of the fact that he earns points as a full-time Xfinity Series driver, he has finished inside the top 10 in every Truck Series race thus far this season.

In fact, if the 26-year-old Alva, Florida native were eligible to earn Truck Series points, he would be in second place in the championship standings.

Nobody in NASCAR had a more eventful offseason than Ross Chastain. In the Xfinity Series, he lost his new ride with Chip Ganassi Racing. He eventually re-signed with JD Motorsports for 30 races and Kaulig Racing for three races. Additionally, he signed to compete part-time in the Truck Series for Niece Motorsports.

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This all took place after Chastain signed with Premium Motorsports to drive full-time in the Cup Series, although he is ineligible to earn points in that series as well.

Chastain has thoroughly impressed in the Truck Series driving the #45 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet so far this season. In the NextEra Energy 250 at Daytona International Speedway, he survived the multiple wrecks to finish in third place.

In fact, during the the season-opening NASCAR race weekend at the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) high-banked Daytona International Speedway oval in Daytona Beach, Florida, Chastain completed all the laps in all three races. The day after the Truck Series race, he drove the #10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet in the Xfinity Series season opener, the NASCAR Racing Experience 300. He won stage two of this race, led 23 of its 120 laps and finished in 13th place.

To cap off the race weekend in the 61st annual Daytona 500, Chastain wheeled his #15 Premium Motorsports Chevrolet around all the wrecks to finish in a career-high 10th place.

The following race weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Chastain performed admirably once again in the Truck Series race, the Ultimate Tailgating 200. He finished in 10th and seventh place in stage one and stage two, respectively. On the final restart, he gained a few positions to finish the race  in sixth.

Most recently, in the Strat 200 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Chastain demonstrated the speed of his #45 Chevrolet. He started the third race of the 2019 Truck Series season in 16th place and drove up into the top 10. However, after a pit stop, he stalled his car. As a result, he lost several positions, but he still recovered to finish in 10th.

While Niece Motorsports have not yet announced their driver lineup for the next Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway, it is believed that Reid Wilson will drive the #45 Chevrolet. Timothy Peters is a regular contender at Martinsville Speedway, but his deal with Niece Motorsports was only for the first three races of the season.

Both Chastain and Niece Motorsports have certainly elevated their performance as of late. Chastain is a wheelman, as evidenced by the fact that he earned his first career Xfinity Series victory last year at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He has definitely performed at a high level driving the #45 Chevrolet. Truck Series drivers and fans alike know that he is a threat to win a Truck Series race this season.

In addition, the experience that Chastain has earned from competing in all three NASCAR series has aided Niece Motorsports. Peters has recorded two top 10 finishes in the season’s first three races, and he currently sits in 12th place in the championship standings.

The impressive performances from these two drivers stems partially from the alliance that Niece Motorsports have with GMS Racing. The commitment of Niece Motorsports team owner Al Niece to improving the team is evident. So far, the 2019 season has been a career season for the team, and only three of the season’s 23 races have been contested!

Over the past few Truck Series seasons, contending teams such as Red Horse Racing and Brad Keselowski Racing have folded. While teams closing is certainly disappointing, the fact that other teams take advantage of this to improve their equipment is not.

Niece Motorsports upgraded their equipment and hired two talented drivers in Chastain and Peters, and they have benefited greatly because of it. They hope that their momentum will continue and that they will become a true force to be reckoned with in the Truck Series.

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Niece Motorsports and the rest of the NASCAR Truck Series field are set to get back into action at Martinsville Speedway. They are set to compete in the Martinsville 250 at the track on Saturday, March 23. Fox is set to provide live coverage of the race beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET.