By: Ashley McCubbin
When Ross Chastain announced he would be running the full NASCAR Cup Series schedule for Chip Ganassi Racing, focus shifted on what could be possible in one of the best opportunities of his career.
The performance may not be going as envisioned, but for Chastain, it has not changed his goals of focusing on scoring a win this year.
“Our process in preparing for a race does not change – it’s only ramped up and we’re pushing harder,” he told NEWS FROM THE PITS.” It’s with that goal of winning. We are competitive people and competitive thinkers. I think competitively about everything in every aspect of my life, most of the time with myself to do better. That can be hard sometimes because it can feel like I’m on a spinning wheel and I just can’t catch up. It’s how I’m wired.
“I wake up and my mind instantly goes to competition about something, what I want to accomplish and what I need to do to get there. We’re not backing down. These guys are here late and up early. We have a lot of things we want to accomplish.”
Although he was seventh in the Daytona 500, Chastain has not posted a top-10 since, and crashed out of two events. However, there has been some hope on the horizon with six top-10’s through 10 races.
“It’s been humbling, for sure,” he commented. “There have been a lot of things that I’ve just done wrong behind the wheel… the small details of driving the car. We’re working down a path with no practice of trial-and-error at these races to see what works for me and what works for the car. We have to be better. We’ve been pretty honest with ourselves and pretty transparent with each other in what we see. You can throw a lot of that on me. There are a lot of things in the car that I have to keep doing better. We’ll keep working toward that.”
With continuing to build the notebook, Chastain feels he can get closer to those original goals when they return to these tracks through the second half of the year. Though right now taking “first couple of at-bats” against teams with years of experience, it’s not easy.
“I never realized how much I appreciated practice coming up through the different series and in my time in the Cup Series over the last few years,” he added. “Man, what I wouldn’t give for a few laps of practice.”