Ross Chastain will make his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut in the AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway, driving the #15 for Premium Motorsports. The announcement was made on Friday.
“This wasn’t something I was exactly searching for, but it presented itself and I’m ready,” Chastain stated. “I want to thank Johnny Davis for putting it all together. He has helped me so much in this sport and now is helping me get into the Cup series, so I can’t thank him enough.”
Chastain drives for Davis’ JD Motorsports team in the Xfinity Series. He has raced for the team since 2015, recording four top-10 finishes in the team’s #4 car with a best finish of 9th at the 2015 Alert Today Florida 300 at Daytona International Speedway. After the first ten races in 2017, he is currently 20th in the driver’s championship. He also races in the Camping World Truck Series, driving the #66 for Bolen Motorsports; after five races, he has two top-10s. In 50 career Truck starts, he has 15 top-10s, two poles and a best finish of 2nd at Iowa Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway in 2013.
For the Dover race weekend, he will compete in the Truck, Xfinity and Cup races. For all three races, his vehicles will be sponsored by the Delaware Office of Highway Safety, while being designed with the watermelon paint scheme that frequently appears on his #4 Xfinity car; Chastain was a watermelon farmer before he started racing at the age of 13. The upcoming weekend’s scheme and sponsorship will be used to promote the “Protect Your Melon” campaign, urging drivers and passengers to wear their seat belts.
“As a race team we spend a lot of time on the road and it is almost a daily occurrence to see someone not obeying the rules of the road and to see people young and old not wearing their seat belts,” Davis commented. “I am very thankful that OHS has chosen us to help share their message and I believe that it will help save some lives.”
“This partnership is extra exciting to me because OHS and JDM have found a way to promote two causes that are closest to my heart – safe driving and agriculture,” Chastain added. “We have a lot of ideas for the ‘Protect Your Melon’ campaign that will get the fans at Dover involved. I can’t wait to see more watermelons at the track and more people wearing seat belts everywhere.”
“My goal Sunday is to finish all the laps and minimize mistakes. Anything else will be a bonus. I’m not looking at it as an audition by any means, but it’s a chance for me to get some great experience.”
The first race of the Dover tripleheader weekend will be the Truck Series’ Bar Harbor 200 on Friday, June 2. Saturday will be the Xfinity Series’ OneMain Financial 200, with the Cup Series’ AAA 400 Drive for Autism on Sunday, June 4.
Featured image courtesy of Mark J. Rebilas, USA Today