Ross Chastain: The Story Behind the ‘Melon Man’ Nickname for the New NASCAR Cup Series Driver

Published 12/06/2020, 7:00 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)


Many NASCAR drivers have a nickname or moniker that defines them. Richard Petty is known as ‘The King.’ Dale Earnhardt Sr is known as ‘The Intimidator.’ Jimmie Johnson is called ‘Superman,’ Kyle Busch is known as ‘Rowdy,’ and there are many more. However, Ross Chastain has a unique nickname, ‘The Melon Man.’

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As it turns out, Chastain’s family comes from a watermelon farming background. In fact, he often celebrates race wins by smashing a watermelon to the ground in Victory Lane. With two Xfinity and three Truck wins, that is a grand total of five smashed watermelons.

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His second race win came at the Daytona International Speedway after a 2018 Xfinity win in Las Vegas. Obviously, he had to find a memorable way to celebrate, and the family helped him with that.

Winning at Daytona was an ultimate bucket list item I got to cross off,” Chastain said.

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“I went there every Fourth of July with my family, sat through all the rain delays, camped outside turn one. My whole family was there, and my brother ran on the infield to bring me a watermelon to smash. I still get goosebumps. The hair on the back of my neck stands up just thinking about that moment.”

What lies in the future for Ross Chastain in NASCAR Cup Series?

Since that Daytona win, he has won three Truck races in the 2019 season. So, Kansas, the World Wide Raceway, and Pocono got the watermelon treatment. Admittedly, he has yet to win a race in the Cup Series but is racing with Chip Ganassi Racing in 2021. Who knows, maybe he will get a chance to smash a watermelon in the Cup Series at last.

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His best-ever finish in NASCAR’s top tier is 10th place at the 2019 Daytona 500. Since he has performed well at Daytona often, the 2021 race could be his best chance for a maiden Cup victory.

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Dhruv George

11663 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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