Watermelon boy Ross Chastain ended his Friday night yelling in Victory Lane at Kansas Speedway after winning the Digital Ally 250. Not only did he win, but he also did it with an underfunded truck from Niece Motorsports who only had 3 Top-10’s all of last season. Now they have their first NASCAR Truck Series trophy.
Chastain’s story is known all too well amongst NASCAR fans. A guy who has cut his teeth racing for underfunded teams. A guy who took the massively underfunded JD Motorsports to the playoffs last season keeping a JR Motorsports team out. Then he gets his big break, a 3-race deal with Ganassi in the Xfinity Series. First race, dominates but gets taken out by Kevin Harvick. The second race, wins. Third race, second. The result of all of that? A full-season deal to drive the #42 in 2019. And then tragedy strikes, sponsor DC Solar gets curb stomped by the US Government and he loses his deal.
In 2019, Chastain is racing everything he can. Trucks, Xfinity, and Cup. Dude hasn’t missed a race this season in any series and it paid off.
The best thing about watching first time winners is the pure ecstasy they display when they get out of the car/truck. It’s even greater when you do it for a small team and you’ve fought through the adversity. Ross’ smile was visible from the press box last night. His victory lane celebration was what you wish every drivers would be like. It was by far the best NASCAR win of the season thus far.
Chastain wasn’t supposed to win Friday night. His truck looked like a fully loaded dump truck on restarts, each time he’d lose a handful of spots. Each time though he would claw his way back to the front. At one point his truck was pointed at the inside wall, yet he saved it.
And sure you can point out Niece Motorsports get their trucks from GMS but they still have to make their trucks fast. They don’t have the budget a KBM, GMS, or Thorsport have. And yeah Stewart Friesen ran out of fuel but Ross was there, pushing the #52 and ultimately that helped secure the win.
Friday night’s truck race is exactly why people say the trucks are the best series in NASCAR. Nine leaders, 22 lead changes, a first time winner, and great racing throughout. It’s what the Cup Series strives to be.
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