Ross Chastain earns full-time Xfinity ride with Chip Ganassi Racing

LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 15: Ross Chastain, driver of the #42 DC Solar Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series DC Solar 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 15, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Ross Chastain’s impressive performances in the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet have led to a full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series ride in the car for 2019, with D.C. Solar as the primary sponsor, the team announced Friday at ISM Raceway.

In fact, it was D.C. Solar principal Jeff Carpoff who lobbied team owner Chip Ganassi to give Chastain a shot, after Carpoff observed Chastain outperforming the quality of his equipment in the No. 4 JD Motorsports ride this season.

The result was a three-race deal that began on Labor Day weekend at Darlington, and Chastain made the most of the opportunity. Chastain won the pole and the first and second stages at Darlington before tangling with Kevin Harvick while battling for the lead.

He won his next start, at Las Vegas, and a week later finished second to Christopher Bell at Richmond. In his three events with Ganassi, Chastain led 270 of 597 laps.

“We’re putting him in the car because we think he can win races and compete for championships,” Ganassi said. “In the short time we’ve gotten to known him, I think you’ve all seen the kind of performance he’s capable of, and I want to thank Jeff for pushing me to hire him.

“I think I told most of you that story, that I could not have pointed Ross out of a lineup of all women and him, before Jeff pushed me into trying this guy out.”

Sitting between Ganassi and Carpoff on the dais in the ISM Raceway media center, Chastain was almost at a loss to assess the giant step in his career.

“I’m just trying not to throw up, honestly,” Chastain quipped. “It’s unreal, honestly. These two guys sitting next to me, it’s a dream just to know ‘em… I didn’t think anything like this would come about, especially not this soon.”

Ganassi also indicated he would like to run a second Xfinity car for John Hunter Nemechek, who picked up his first win in the series in the No. 42 car at Kansas on Oct. 20.

“It’s safe to say that John Hunter has done a good job for us,” Ganassi said. “I like the kid, and I want him around. I’m actively working. Like I said, I’d love to run two cars in Xfinity next year, full time.

“That’d be the best. That’d be the best of all worlds if I could do that.”

Greg Engle