Ross Chastain Gets Warm Welcome From NASCAR Fans Ahead of Practice at Phoenix

by Jonathan Howard
(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Tonight is practice for the NASCAR Cup Series Championship race and Ross Chastain could be the fan favorite in Phoenix. The Melon Man as he is often called made his way into the garage ahead of practice and was met with a raucous crowd of fans. That move at Martinsville has won over the fanbase it seems.

That’s saying a lot with Chase Elliott just a stall or two down from the No. 1 Chevy. It’s even wilder to say that when you think about where Ross Chastain has come from this season. He is the story of the year, Trackhouse Racing is the team of the year, and it’s all culminated to this.

A Championship 4 appearance is great, but with the season this team has had, they have their eyes on a championship. Phoenix Raceway is not known for having the most amazing Cup Series races ever. However, the Next Gen car has been able to spice things up a bit this year.

Ross Chastain is not the favorite to win the race or the Bill France Cup. However, that doesn’t matter. This race could go to anyone and with the format of the Championship 4, all that matters is the other three drivers. Chastain showed that he’s willing to do just about anything to win, so expect him to put it all on the line.

The Trackhouse Racing driver was able to put down a time of 27.019 seconds during practice, the fastest lap among the Championship 4.

Ross Chastain Did Not Practice Wallride Ahead of Time

The biggest moment of these playoffs was undoubtedly the move Ross Chastain made at Martinsville. No one has ever done it. It may never be done again. If it is done again, there is no guarantee it would work. There was a lot that went into that one singular moment. For a few seconds, Chastain was Superman.

For Chastain, it wasn’t something he had planned. It was just a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing that took a hold of him. Even when Joey Logano and his fellow drivers pressed him on it during media days, Chastain insisted it wasn’t preplanned. How could he plan that?

The crew chief said they needed a couple of spots, so Ross Chastain got the spots and then some. Whatever it takes, that’s the bar that he’s set.