Crew Chief Hails Ross Chastain and His Driving Style Ahead of NASCAR Cup Debut with Chip Ganassi Racing

Published 01/05/2021, 12:28 PM EST
AVONDALE, ARIZONA – NOVEMBER 08: Ross Chastain, driver of the #45 CarShield Chevrolet, stands by his truck during qualifying for the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Lucas Oil 150 at ISM Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)


Chip Ganassi Racing’s hiring of former Xfinity Series driver Ross Chastain created quite the buzz in the NASCAR community.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

‘The Watermelon Man’ occupies the seat alongside Kurt Busch and will focus on revitalizing the team’s fortunes in the upcoming campaign.

There is a bit of steel and grit to the way the Florida native races. A few drivers in the Truck and Xfinity Series have had complaints about his aggressive driving style in the past.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

But his Crew Chief at CGR, Phil Surgen, believes that it is a ‘give and take’ in the sport. And he is absolutely pleased with the fact that Chastain fits the mold of the no-nonsense driver at the team.

Ross Chastain is going to stand up for himself and the team in certain situations, says Surgen

Speaking in an interview, Surgen stated, “It’s huge for me and the guys to know that you know, there’s a guy out there that just it’s gonna give us a hundred percent of his effort.

“And he’s gonna stand up for himself and stand up for the team in situations that some guys just kinda lay over. Obviously there’s a little give and take with it all, we’ve got to use our head and be aggressive when we need to be.

“And not do anything that might jeopardize us later in the race or getting wrecked later on or something like that.”

DARLINGTON, SOUTH CAROLINA – MAY 21: Ross Chastain, driver of the #10 Nutrien Ag Solutions Chevrolet, stands on pit road during the national anthem prior to the NASCAR Xfinity Series Toyota 200 at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Chastain enters the Cup Series with a reputation for fighting hard, with spirit and enthusiasm. Surgen believes that ability to take on rival drivers when needed is deemed respectful by a lot of people.

“But at the same point, if we’re getting roughed up, then the guy doing the roughing needs to get a little bit back. And we know that Ross isn’t going to be bashful when it comes to doing that.

“And a lot of the guys really respect that,” concluded Surgen in response to the question.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The Chip Ganassi Racing No.42 comes with decent NASCAR experience

Chastain is not a newcomer to NASCAR, by any means. On the contrary, he comes with a pedigree of winning races in both the Xfinity and Truck Series. Last season, he finished a career-high 7th in the Xfinity Series with an impressive tally of 15 Top-5 finishes.

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 15: Ross Chastain, driver of the #10 Nutrien Ag Solutions Chevrolet, climbs into his car during qualifying for the NASCAR Xfinity Series NASCAR Racing Experience 300 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Piloting the No.42 at CGR, though, means an extra layer of responsibility and expectations. But with what is known of Chastain thus far, he will certainly look to make a good impression in his first full-time season in the Cup Series.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Bhargav Gopal

927 articles

Hailing from Bengaluru, Bhargav is an F1 and NASCAR author for EssentiallySports. He is a huge fan of Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing. Bhargav also has an MBA in Sports Management from the Symbiosis School of Sports Sciences, Pune.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT