Chastain confirmed for No. 42 at Chip Ganassi Racing

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 01: Ross Chastain, driver of the #45 TruNorth Chevrolet, during qualifying for the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series The Strat Las Vegas 200 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 1, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

Ross Chastain will race fulltime in NASCAR Cup series behind the wheel of the No. 42 Chevy for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2021.

The team confirmed the news Monday.

The 27-year old Florida native will replace veteran Matt Kenseth who was called into fill the seat in May replacing Kyle Larson who had been fired in April for uttering a racial slur during the broadcast of an iRacing event. Larson remains suspended by NASCAR.

Chastain currently races for Kaulig Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity series. He is winless in that series so far this season but did advance to the Playoffs and is eighth in the series standings. He has five second place finishes including in the most recent Xfinity race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

In 275 starts across the Xfinity and Truck series, Chastain has 3 wins in Xfinity and 2 in the Truck series.  One of his Xfinity wins came at Las Vegas in 2018 in one of three Xfinity races for Ganassi. He was scheduled to compete fulltime in the Xfinity series in 2019 for the team, but funding fell apart.

“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 No. 42 team,”Chip Ganassi, Owner, Chip Ganassi Racing said. “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.”

Chastain entered 34 of 36 Cup races in 2018, 35 of 36 in 2019.  In his 79 starts in the NASCAR Cup series his best finish was 10th in the 2019 Daytona 500. Ganassi fielded a Cup car for Chastain in this year’s Daytona 500 and Coca-Cola 600. He finished 25th and 21st, respectively, in those races.

“I can’t thank Chip enough for this opportunity. 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,” Chastain said. “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.”

Greg Engle