NASCAR: All eyes are suddenly now on Ross Chastain

Ross Chastain, Chip Ganassi Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Ross Chastain, Chip Ganassi Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) /

Amid the Kyle Larson controversy, all eyes are suddenly now on Ross Chastain in regard to competing in the NASCAR Cup Series for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Kurt Busch’s contract with Chip Ganassi Racing expires after the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season. It was believed that the team would give a good look in the direction of Ross Chastain at this time, assuming the 2004 champion did not sign a contract extension for the team.

We are now four races into the 2020 season, and all eyes have shifted to Chastain as being a potential driver for Chip Ganassi’s organization in the near future — as in 2020.


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Kyle Larson has found himself at the center of a major controversy, resulting from when he stated the N-word during a virtual NASCAR race on iRacing at Autodromo Nazionale Monza which was being streamed live on Twitch on Sunday night.

Larson was first suspended by Chip Ganassi Racing without pay, then he was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR until he at least completes sensitivity training. He was also been suspended indefinitely by iRacing. But perhaps most significantly, he was cut by two of his major primary sponsors, Credit One Bank and McDonald’s, and suspended indefinitely by Chevrolet.

Notably, both sponsors only terminated their deals with the 27-year-old Elk Grove, California native. They did not cut ties with Chip Ganassi Racing.

The writing was on the wall.

Chip Ganassi Racing proceeded to fire Larson.

Several highly reputable sources brought up the fact that Chastain is still in the mix at Chip Ganassi Racing, even though he has driven for the team in just three races, and that was back in 2018 in the Xfinity Series.

The possibility has been floated of Chastain driving the #42 Chevrolet full-time this year, and this was even before Chip Ganassi Racing made it official by firing Larson.

Chastain had a deal lined up to compete full-time for the team at NASCAR’s second highest level for the 2019 season after impressing in his three starts there late in the 2018 season. He dominated at Darlington Raceway before he was taken out in a crash involving Kevin Harvick, he dominated and won at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and he placed second at Richmond Raceway.

But ironically enough, sponsorship issues were what prevented that full-time deal from happening. Legal issues with primary sponsor DC Solar caused Ganassi to shutter operations, and they have never reopened.

Now sponsorship and relationship issues for Larson have shifted the focus to Chastain at the Cup level.

If Chastain ends up driving the #42 Chevrolet this year, he would be eligible to compete for the championship. He has competed in each of the season’s first four races, including the most recent three at Roush Fenway Racing behind the wheel of the #6 Ford as the replacement for the injured Ryan Newman.

He competed in the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway through a partnership between Chip Ganassi Racing and Spire Motorsports.

It would mark the second consecutive season that Chastain has entered competing for points in one series and then declared for points in another. He currently sits in fifth place in the championship standings in the Xfinity Series driving for Kaulig Racing.

Last season, he shifted his points eligibility from the Xfinity Series to the Truck Series after 12 Xfinity Series races and eight Truck Series races. He had been competing for JD Motorsports and Kaulig Racing in the Xfinity Series and ended up competing full-time for Niece Motorsports in the Truck Series.

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As Adam Stern stated, there is “no word yet that such talks are underway”. But even with that being said, it is clear that all eyes are on Ross Chastain in terms of the #42 Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing’s NASCAR Cup Series team — and for this year, especially with Kyle Larson officially out.