Monday, 27 January 2020

NASCAR: Ross Chastain was just replaced twice in 24 hours – Beyond the Flag

NASCAR: Ross Chastain was just replaced twice in 24 hours – Beyond the Flag
15 Dec

Ross Chastain has been replaced by the two teams for which he drove full-time in the 2019 NASCAR season — all in a matter of 24 hours.

Ross Chastain competed in 77 of the possible 92 NASCAR Cup Series, Xfinity Series and Truck Series races in the 2019 season, by far the highest amount among all drivers. In doing so, he even shattered the old record of consecutive starts in all three series to start the season. With 36, he obliterated the previous record of 22.

Per NASCAR rules, the 27-year-old Alva, Florida native was only allowed to compete for points in one of these three series. He opened up the season slated to compete full-time for points in the Xfinity Series for JD Motorsports and in select races for Kaulig Racing.

However, halfway through the 16-race Truck Series regular season, he opted to declare for Truck Series points. As a result, he ended up as Niece Motorsports’ full-time driver for the entire 23-race season

He went on to qualify for the playoffs and ultimately finished in second place in the championship standings with three victories, the first three victories of his Truck Series career.

Meanwhile, he only ended up competing in 19 of the 33 races on the Xfinity Series schedule, although he did win one of his six starts driving for Kaulig Racing at Daytona International Speedway in July. The busiest driver in NASCAR also competed full-time for Premium Motorsports in the Cup Series, albeit not for points. He did miss one race, the June race at Michigan International Speedway, but other than that, he was a staple on the entry list from week to week, competing in 35 of the 36 events.

He recorded his first career top 10 finish with a 10th place finish in the season-opening 61st annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in mid-February, and he added a solid 12th place result in the mid-October playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Before the 2019 season ended, Chastain was confirmed as a full-time driver for Kaulig Racing for the 2020 Xfinity Series season. However, he made clear that he still wants to compete as much as he can in both the Truck Series and Cup Series as well.

After making that claim, he was replaced in both series, in which he combined to compete in 58 of 59 races in 2019, in the matter of about 24 hours.

On Tuesday, Niece Motorsports tabbed Ty Majeski as the replacement for the 2019 Most Popular Driver Award winner behind the wheel of the #45 Chevrolet. Then on Wednesday, Brennan Poole was confirmed as Premium Motorsports’ full-time driver of the #15 Chevrolet.

The Niece Motorsports news really didn’t come as a surprise to anybody considering the fact that they obviously want to have championship eligible driver competing in their full-time championship-caliber truck, and Chastain would not be eligible for Truck Series points because of his full-time Xfinity Series ride.

The Cup Series news, however, was a bit shocking considering the fact that he has driven in 69 of the 72 races for Premium Motorsports over the past two seasons as a non-points-eligible driver and it’s hard to see any other team with a vacant seat giving him that opportunity in 2020.

Next: Top 10 NASCAR drivers of all-time

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Will Ross Chastain end up landing a ride to compete in more than just the 33 NASCAR Xfinity Series races in 2020, or will the Watermelon Man end up competing in just one of the top three series for the first time since 2013 when he competed in 14 Truck Series races?



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