“I Thrive on This” – Ross Chastain Opens up on Facing Pressure Ahead of NASCAR Cup Debut in 2021

Published 01/10/2021, 10:50 AM 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 (CGR) have had few reasons to celebrate in the past few seasons in the NASCAR Cup Series. New recruit Ross Chastain will certainly look to provide the side with some more, as he heads into a new challenge in 2021.

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Undoubtedly, driving alongside Kurt Busch and with the objectives set forth by the team, the pressure is bound to be on Chastain. However, the ‘Watermelon Man’ believes that it is a good kind of nervousness going into the new season.

Chastain stated, “The most pressure that I’ve ever thought about, to dream about, it’s more than I’ve ever put on myself. I’ve got more weight on my shoulders, and I feel like I have more responsibility.”

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Ross Chastain believes chance with CGR is an ‘opportunity of a lifetime’

“People might look at this opportunity and look at it as an opportunity of a lifetime which it is and we have the potential, we have all the tools sitting on the table right in front of us. We just have to walk up and pick them up in the right spot,” Chastain added.

“I’m a tool for Phil Surgen, my crew chief, I’m a tool for Chip putting that car. And then everybody else, we’re all just people and we do our jobs and we use all of our tools to the best of our ability,” he said.

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)

With a moderately successful season in the Xfinity Series with Kaulig Racing last year, Chastain outlined his credentials as a proper Cup Series driver. He admits that the pressure that comes with racing full-time in the Cup is something that he strives to thrive on.

The stakes are even higher coming into the NASCAR Cup Series

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Chastain continued and said, “I don’t feel like it’s pressure in a bad way, I thrive on this pressure. It’s what wakes me up in the morning. I don’t want to sound it like I’m nervous, I am, but it’s like a good nervous.”

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)

Having driven in the Truck and Xfinity Series before, the 28-year-old has shown glimpses of his racing potential. However, the Cup Series division is clearly a whole different ball game altogether.

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With a few wins and some good amount of experience under his belt, there is scope for Chastain to improve further and truly showcase his best.

It will therefore be intriguing to watch out for him as he gets down to driving with Chip Ganassi in a few months’ time.

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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.

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