AVONDALE, Ariz.– Ross Chastain, 20, runner-up in Friday night’s Lucas Oil 150 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Phoenix, had the line of the day after listening to veterans Brendan Gaughan and Matt Crafton expound at length on the quality of young drivers in the series.
Though Chastain had just lost a closely contested race to first-time winner Erik Jones, 17, he could still muster a sense of humor when he sat down at the dais in the media center.
“First, I just want to say that I’m glad ‘senior hour’ is over,” Chastain quipped. “I think they were rambling there a little bit. But, no, they’re good guys. I love to race with them. I’ve learned a lot from both of them, on and off the track.
“There’s a reason they’ve been around for so long. I can only hope I’m around half as long as they are, because that would be a success in my mind.”
Gaughan finished second in Friday’s race. Crafton ran fifth, and, with a 46-point lead over Ty Dillon heading to the season finale at Homestead, simply must take the green flag in that race to lock up the series championship.
Richard Childress Racing announced Saturday the hiring of Mike Coughlan as technical director, a move that should bolster the engineering efforts of a Chevrolet team that already has made significant strides in that area.
Coughlan, from Surrey, England, has 15 years’ experience in Formula One competition, serving as a chief designer with such marquee teams as Ferrari, McLaren, Williams, Benetton and Arrows. Coughlan also has experience in NASCAR competition, having worked with Michael Waltrip Racing in 2010 and 2011 before returning to F1.
Coughlan will report to Dr. Eric Warren, director of competition. RCR also added Mark McArdle as full-time director of racing operations in August.