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Ross Chastain has elected to pursue championship points in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series in 2019, per a statement released by Chastain on June 4.
As of this weekend’s race at Texas Motor Speedway, Chastain will be competing for points in the Truck Series, with his points accrued in the Xfinity Series being removed. Per NASCAR’s rules, he starts with zero points at Texas.
“After much consideration and many conversations, I’ve decided to pursue championship points in the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series, effective immediately,” Chastain said in the release. “My Niece Motorsports team has been very fast all year, and we have a tall order ahead of us to get both in the top 20 in points and win a race before the playoffs start. But that’s a mountain we’re willing to climb. This shift will allow me to be in the truck race this weekend in Texas, and I’m grateful to everyone at Niece Motorsports for giving me this opportunity.”
Chastain will drive Niece’s No. 38 at Texas, having previously driven the organization’s No. 45. Kyle Benjamin, who had already been announced as the driver of the No. 45, and Angela Ruch (No. 44) will be his teammates.
“I’m thankful to everyone at Johnny Davis Motorsports and Kaulig Racing for their efforts this year,” he said. “I will continue to run races for each organization where sponsorship for 2019 has been solidified. We have some wonderful partners at both organizations, and I’m fortunate they stand behind my decision, as well. I’m still going to go out and fight as hard as I can for wins.”
Prior to this weekend, Chastain had participated in all 34 races across the three series in 2019, driving for four teams. The veteran won the Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway in May, giving Niece Motorsports its first series win. He’ll miss his first race when he does not drive in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series this weekend at Michigan International Speedway.
Chastain has competed two Xfinity Series races for Kaulig Racing this season in the midst of his main effort in JD Motorsports’ No. 4. He has also been driving for Premium Motorsports (No. 15) in the Cup Series. It’s unknown what other races in which he will compete in 2019 aside from a trio of previously announced starts for Kaulig in the Xfinity Series at Chicagoland Speedway, Kansas and Texas.
Chastain will have to make his way into the top 20 in points and win a race before the playoffs in order to compete for the series title, as his Kansas win and other 2019 Truck results will not count. The regular season ends Aug. 10 at Michigan, with the playoffs beginning the following week at Bristol Motor Speedway.
He has finished in the top 10 in all eight Truck races this year, with three of those efforts in the top five, and has completed all but one lap in the division in 2019.