By Eric Young
JOLIET, Ill. — A week after earning his way into the Gander Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs for the second time, Ross Chastain said Friday at Chicagoland Speedway that he isn’t currently working on next year’s plans, but strong runs this year will help bring those plans together.
“I’m just trying to win races, just be competitive,” Chastain said. “I haven’t had any talks on stuff. There’s people I know working on it for me behind the scenes and stuff, but there’s no talks on my end. I just know winning and being competitive, going out there in the 10 car this weekend (in the Xfinity Series) with Kaulig racing and Nutrien, I know if we outperform in that, it will help. But you have to perform and you have to win to get their attention.”
Chastain seemingly earned his way to a playoff berth with a victory in Iowa, but that win was stripped less than an hour after the race when his truck failed post-race inspection. He followed that up last weekend with a win at World Wide Technology Raceway. Now he just needs to make it into the top-20 in points to be eligible.
He said it was a feeling of redemption getting the win in Gateway.
“I could hardly sleep all week after Iowa, I was so mad,” Chastain said. “I just felt like we had the rug ripped right out from under us, which seems to be the norm for me these days. So you just get up and fight. We fought through the appeal. If I never have to go through that again, it will be too soon.”
If you look at the record book for the 2019 season so far, it lists two wins for Chastain. However, his truck has three win stickers on it, one still for the win that was taken away in Iowa.
“We felt like we won them, and the team put them on and I stand behind them 100 percent,” Chastain said. “Those are my guys and girls, and they’re the ones that are giving me the race trucks capable of winning. We won that race in Iowa. yeah, I know we were low. We’re not trying to say we weren’t in the wrong. But the punishment definitely didn’t fit the crime, and we just love everybody knowing that we won three races this year.”
Not only is Chastain competing in the truck series and the Xfinity Series, he’s also running in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series as well. He said it can be challenging bouncing from one garage to the other on race weekends.
“It’s tough,” he said. “Most times there’s only like five minutes between practices.”
He said there is also an issue with having enough “stuff.”
“I’m pretty cheap, so I only have two of everything,” Chastain said. “Two helmets, two Hans devices. So I struggle with that. I need to get off the wallet a little bit. It’s just kind of how I’ve always been. I’ve always carried my stuff with me. You know, the old saying, ‘Have helmet, will travel.’”
“I actually like it that I have the same helmet most of the time,” he added. “It fits me. It doesn’t smell really good, but it smells like me. It’s what I’m used to.”
He said it definitely benefits him to race in all three series.
“So I had three hours of truck practice yesterday,” he said Saturday. “And then today I’ll have an hour of Xfinity and 10 minutes later I’ll be qualifying a truck. So that will help me in the truck for sure.”