NASCAR: Ross Chastain declares for Truck Series points

KANSAS CITY, KS - MAY 10: Ross Chastain, NASCAR driver of the #45 TruNorth/Paul Jr. Designs Niece Motorsports Chevrolet (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, KS - MAY 10: Ross Chastain, NASCAR driver of the #45 TruNorth/Paul Jr. Designs Niece Motorsports Chevrolet (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Niece Motorsports’ Ross Chastain has declared for NASCAR Truck Series points after having previously declared for Xfinity Series points.

In each of the first eight races of the 23-race 2019 NASCAR Truck Series season, Ross Chastain has driven the #45 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet, and the #45 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet is currently in third place in the owner standings, second among trucks driven by only one driver.

But unfortunately for the 26-year-old Alva, Florida native, he had already declared for points in the Xfinity Series as opposed to the Truck Series, so he was not championship eligible.

Now he is, as he has now declared for Truck Series points.

While Chastain will still not be able to get credit for the points that he would have accumulated through the season’s first eight races and his victory in the race at Kansas Speedway will not lock him into the playoffs, he is now in a position where another victory in any one of the regular season’s eight remaining races and a top 20 finish in the regular season championship standings would send him into the eight-driver, seven-race playoffs.

Here is what Chastain had to say about his decision, according to MRN.

"“After much consideration and many conversations, I’ve decided to pursue championship points in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, effective immediately. This shift will allow me to be in the truck race this weekend in Texas, and I’m grateful to everyone at Niece Motorsports for giving me this opportunity.“I’m thankful to everyone at Johnny Davis Motorsports and Kaulig Racing for their efforts this year. I will continue to run races for each organization where sponsorship for 2019 has been solidified. I know this is the best decision for me at this time and am thankful for everyone who has and will continue to support me moving forward into 2019 and beyond.”"

Here is what Niece Motorsports team owner Al Niece had to say about Chastain’s decision, according to MRN.

"“I know it won’t be easy, but I believe this team is capable of making the playoffs and competing for a championship with Ross. Ross, Phil, Cody and every single employee at this team have worked incredibly hard to continue to advance this program. We are proud to bring trucks capable of winning to the race track. It takes a lot of work to get there, and we don’t take it lightly. We’re ready to see what the next eight races bring.”"

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All in all, Chastain’s decision makes sense. Through the first eight races of the Truck Series season, he has not finished outside of the top 10. He has earned one victory, and his average finishing position is an impressive 6.38.

Meanwhile, on the Xfinity Series side, Chastain has not been nearly as successful driving the #4 JD Motorsports Chevrolet and the #10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet through the season’s first 12 races. His seventh place finish in the race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is his only top 10 finish, and his average finishing position is just 16.33.

Before he declared for Truck Series points, he sat in 13th place in the Xfinity Series championship standings, 23 points below the playoff cut line (320 to 297). The chances of him qualifying for the Xfinity Series playoffs had he not declared for Truck Series points would have been bleak at best.

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Ross Chastain’s first NASCAR Truck Series race in which he is set to be eligible to score points is scheduled to take place this Friday, June 7. This race, the 400, is set to be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 from Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET.