Ross Chastain will move into the NASCAR Cup Series full-time next season with Chip Ganassi Racing, the team announced Monday.
Ganassi has tabbed the 27-year-old Chastain as the next driver of the No. 42 Chevrolet. The Florida watermelon farmer is familiar to the Cup Series, having made 79 career starts since 2017, including full seasons in both 2018 and ’19. Chastain was as a substitute driver for Roush Fenway Racing earlier this year for the injured Ryan Newman.
“I can’t thank Chip enough for this opportunity,” said Chastain. “The faith he and the organization showed me back in 2018 was a real turning point in my career, and I am extremely happy for the chance to join the team again, especially with all the great guys they have on the 42 and to be able to team with a champion like Kurt Busch.
“Racing in the Cup Series with a serious contender has always been my goal, and I’m looking forward to joining what is a very strong team. I know I have my work cut out for me, but I’m ready to get to work and help bring more success to the organization.”
Although Chastain is currently a championship contender in the Xfinity Series with Kaulig Racing, he’s been tied to Ganassi for years. A three-race Xfinity Series deal in 2018 netted Chastain his first career win in Las Vegas, and it appeared Chastain was getting his big break for 2019 when DC Solar signed on for a full season. However, the sponsorship evaporated before the year began following an FBI raid of the company’s offices. CEO Jeff Carpoff was charged and later pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering.
Former champion Matt Kenseth has driven the Ganassi car most of this season after Kyle Larson was fired for using a racial slur while on iRacing on Easter. However, Kenseth admitted on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio earlier this month he “more than likely” was not going to be driving again in 2021, making the Ganassi seat one of the top available in silly season.
“Ross has been a part of this organization for a few years now, and I am happy to announce him as our driver for the No. 42 team,” said Ganassi.
“In three races with our organization in 2018 and watching ever since, he showed me and everyone else that he is a tenacious driver who wants to win. We believe that Ross will give our team the opportunity to be competitive each week and our sponsors someone to build a program around. Additionally, his racing background has him well-suited to make the move to the Cup Series.”