Ross Chastain eager to have Ryan Newman back in No. 6 car

LAS VEGAS, NV - FEBRUARY 21: NASCAR Cup Series driver Ross Chastain (6) Roush Fenway Racing Ford Mustang sits in his race car in the garage area prior to the opening practice session Friday February 21, 2020 for the Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, NV. Chastain is filling in for Ryan Newman as he recovers from a crash he had on the final lap of the Daytona 500 earlier this week. (Photo by Will Lester/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Ross Chastain is happy to fill in for recuperating Ryan Newman as long as he is needed in the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford.

On the other hand, Chastain would be just as happy if Newman were able to return to the car sooner rather than later.

Newman has been sidelined since suffering a head injury during a vicious wreck on the final lap of the season-opening Daytona 500 in February. Though he hasn’t been cleared to race medically, Newman is spending the weekend at Phoenix Raceway.

“Just as guys and as people, it’s just good to see him and see him walking around,” Chastain said after qualifying 24th in Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series time trials. “As a person it’s just good to see him. He has a lot of information in that noggin of his. He has degrees that I probably can’t even spell. He understands these race cars and has given me a lot of information.”

Chastain has no idea how much longer he’ll be needed in the No. 6 Ford.

“We’re just happy he’s alive,” Chastain said. “I want him in the car tomorrow—if he could get in it. He already told me he could drive it without the (seat) insert. If I wasn’t back in time for practice, he said he would practice it.

“I don’t think they would allow that. I think we all know that. I want him back as soon as possible. It has been a great experience and a lot of learning on my side, but I would love for him to be able to get back in the car right now.”