Ross Chastain hopes for a first at Nashville

NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 29: Ross Chastain (#92 DGM Racing Use Your Melon Chevrolet) looks on during practice for the running of the NASCAR Xfinity Series Tennessee Lottery 250 on June 29, 2024, at Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon, TN. (Photo by Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Defending Nashville race winner Ross Chastain likes his chances to become the track’s first repeat winner. The driver of the No. 1 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet is still racing for his first win of the season, although he is ranked 12th in the current 16-driver Playoff standings based on points.

The 31-year-old Floridian has seven top-10 finishes and a pair of top-fives this season with 118 laps led and one stage win. Yet his consistency – an 12th place average finish – has kept him high in the standings and ranked among those with wins already.

A good showing this weekend is especially important to him and it has been a venue where he has shined. Chastain has never finished worse than fifth in the three Nashville races with a runner-up (2021) and fifth place effort (2022) in addition to his win last year.

“This town means a lot to our team,’’ Chastain said of Nashville, noting that is where Trackhouse Racing team’s executive headquarters is based.

“To finish fifth and first with Trackhouse has been great, there’ve been some good parties at Tootsie’s after these races I can tell you,’’ Chastain said with a smile.

As for securing that first victory of 2024, “Just need a little more speed,’’ he said, adding, “Now the entire sport is trying to do that so it doesn’t matter if you’re leading, you want to be a half-tenth better or if you’re 30th you want to be that half-tenth better.

“For us, I feel like we’re a really consistent 10th-place car. A good restart, we’ll go to sixth and a bad restart, I go to 14th. So, it’s just a little bit, it’s just crumbs now to get to that top five. And then you see it, with top fives then you win. You put yourself in position.”

Chastain starts 20th Sunday. Last year he started from the pole.