Despite His Lack Of Results At Daytona, Can Ross Chastain Pull Off A Surprise At The Crown Jewel Race?

Published 02/12/2024, 10:58 AM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

Ryan Blaney may have hogged all of the spotlight at the end of the 2023 Cup Series season finale but it’s important to remember the man who actually won the race at Phoenix. No one expected Trackhouse Racing star Ross Chastain to take the checkered flag battling against the likes of Blaney, Kyle Larson, and William Byron yet that is exactly what he did. It must have filled the driver of the #1 with a lot of confidence, and he will be looking to bring that confidence and performance into the 2024 season-opener at Daytona as well. However, will Chastain be able to replicate his Phoenix dominance?

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Despite poor results at Daytona, Ross Chastain may prove people wrong

If one looks at the stats of the Trackhouse Racing star at the Daytona International Speedway, they’d realize that there really isn’t anything flattering about them. Since his move to the NASCAR Cup Series, Ross Chastain has taken part in 16 races at the iconic venue and has never been able to finish in the top 5. He does have 5 top-10 finishes at the track which is a decent number considering that he does not drive for a heavyweight Cup team.

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However, not many people consider Chastain to be a potential challenger for the win. But that’s his strong suit. Time and again, the 31-year-old has proven fans wrong about how good he is and what he can or can’t do. The most recent example of that is Phoenix last year when he won the final race against all odds. The year before that, it was the Hail Melon move that put him in the 2022 Championship 4.

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It would not be too far-fetched to assume that the 31-year-old has what it takes to win races when it matters and the Daytona 500 is certainly an event that matters. While his performance in Clash at the Coliseum was not the best, now the #1 knows what they need to work on when it comes to the car. And from a fan perspective, it would be incredible to see an underdog win the holy grail of American motorsports.

The 31-year-old is a native of Florida and in a recent interview, he said that he considered the Crown Jewel event to be a home race. When he was just a fan, Chastain attended races at the Daytona International Speedway more than any other track. So winning in the biggest event held at the venue would certainly be a dream come true and especially when the driver already knows how he’s going to celebrate!

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When The Watermelon Man smashed watermelons all over Daytona

In a recent interview with The Daytona Beach News-Journal, the Trackhouse Racing star revealed his love for the iconic oval track. He won a race at Daytona when he was in the Xfinity Series, and even back then, things were wild. It was in the 2019 season and the 31-year-old was racing for Kaulig Racing. He fondly recalled the wild party he had after his win, which involved smashing up a lot of watermelons.

“That was wild. We spent the whole night smashing watermelons across that infield. If it was ever a Daytona 500 or a Cup win, that would be special, ” the driver of the #1 car said. One can only imagine what the scenes are going to be like on the infield if Chastain actually wins The Great American Race.

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But it is not going to be easy. There is a whole bunch of drivers looking to make a name for themselves and win their first-ever Daytona 500. The competition will be unlike any other race, but whoever comes out the victor will be immortalized, and that’s reason enough to put everything out there on track. And Ross Chastain has never been hesitant to drive his heart out.

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Written by:

Nilavro Ghosh

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One take at a time

Nilavro Ghosh is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports, where he is known for his creative yet easy-to-read writing style. Before taking up his role as a sports journalist at ES, Nilavro has written for some of the top publishing houses, like The Telegraph. While most journalists stop at covering live events and taking the news to the readers, Nilavro goes the extra mile to give fans a platform for them to express their thoughts through his 'race reaction' pieces.
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Edited by:

Ariva Debnath

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