Ross Chastain is moving up to the top flight of stock car racing. On Monday, Chip Ganassi Racing announced he will drive the #42 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season.
“I can’t thank Chip enough for this opportunity,” Chastain stated. “The faith he and the organization showed me back in 2018 was a real turning point in my career, and I am extremely happy for the chance to join the team again especially with all the great guys they have on the #42 and to be able to team with a champion like Kurt Busch. Racing in the Cup Series with a serious contender has always been my goal, and I’m looking forward to joining what is a very strong team. I know I have my work cut out for me, but I’m ready to get to work and help bring more success to the organization.”
Chastain joined the CGR organisation in 2018 as a development driver, breaking through in just his second Xfinity Series start for the team when he won at Las Vegas. Although he had a full-time ride lined up with the team for 2019, the car was shut down after sponsor DC Solar was subject to an FBI investigation. He would instead spend the year as one of the busiest drivers in NASCAR, running much of the Cup, Xfinity, and Truck Series schedules, including a midseason switch to Truck points as he made a run for that series’ title.
After finishing second in the 2019 Truck Series championship battle and winning Most Popular Driver, Chastain moved back to the Xfinity Series with Kaulig Racing. Despite failing to qualify for the season opener at Daytona, he has become one of the most consistent drivers in the series, leading all drivers in top tens (twenty-three) and is the only racer to be running at the end of every regular season event. Chastain enters the 2020 Xfinity playoffs as the eighth seed.
In addition to his Xfinity campaign, the Florida native continued running Truck and Cup races on a limited basis. At the latter level, he has made five starts for Spire Motorsports, two of which were in partnership with Ganassi. After Roush Fenway Racing‘s Ryan Newman suffered injuries in the Daytona 500, Chastain filled in for three races in the spring.
The #42 was vacated after Kyle Larson‘s suspension and firing during the season’s pause due to COVID-19. Matt Kenseth would take over the ride for the rest of 2020, and the #42 currently sits twentieth in the owners’ standings. Bubba Wallace had been offered a contract by CGR but did not answer as he continues to look at other opportunities.
“Ross has been a part of this organization for a few years now, and I am happy to announce him as our driver for the #42 team,” said Ganassi. “In three races with our organization in 2018 and watching ever since, he showed me and everyone else that he is a tenacious driver who wants to win. We believe that Ross will give our team the opportunity to be competitive each week and our sponsors someone to build a program around. Additionally, his racing background has him well-suited to make the move to the Cup Series.”