Chastain began deepest within the area (25th) among the many 4 title contenders on Sunday at Phoenix Raceway however had made his method into the highest 10 by the beginning of Stage 2.
By the ultimate laps of the race, his No. 1 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet was the quickest automotive on the monitor and was closing on chief Joey Logano. Chastain ended up ending third, 1.2 seconds behind Logano.
Regardless of speculation all week about whether or not Chastain or one other driver would try to copy his last-lap, wall-riding transfer to achieve positions at Martinsville, there was no such drama in Arizona.
“I didn’t suppose it might (work). I believe we have been going too quick right here,” Chastain mentioned. “I believed it might at Martinsville and really feel like I used to be very blessed and lucky that it did. However not right here.
“I believe we did every little thing proper there on the finish. That was a heck of a drive by us.”
The journey right here
After the race, Chastain appeared targeted extra on the lengthy, winding journey that had introduced him to a place on Sunday to compete for a Cup Sequence championship.
“It’s unimaginable to construct from 2021. To have my household push me away from the farm to chase this dream,” he mentioned. “For my mother, my dad and my brother to return out and maintain pushing me, maintain supporting me and maintain being there for me.
“However as we speak was all about profitable the large trophy and we got here up just a bit bit brief.”
Ross Chastain, TrackHouse Racing, Worldwide Specific/AdventHealth Chevrolet Camaro
Picture by: Jasen Vinlove / NKP / Motorsport Images
A career-changing 12 months
Nonetheless, Chastain, 29, loved the perfect season of his NASCAR profession.
He received his first two Cup races – at Circuit of the Americas and Talladega – and completed with 15 top-five and 21 top-10 finishes in addition to second within the sequence standings.
“Who had the No. 1 automotive second in factors on their bingo card on February 1? That is fairly wild,” Chastain mentioned. “It is a continuation of lots of people believing in me. To construct every little thing collectively to return drive this automotive, there are such a lot of group homeowners and so many crew members which have put within the work.
“It’s fairly wild to battle for a Cup Sequence championship and to have a automotive quick sufficient to chase them all the way down to the top.”
Contact with Elliott
Chastain – who has been criticised throughout the season by a few of his fellow rivals for making premature strikes in races – did get caught up in an incident Sunday with fellow title contender Chase Elliott.
On a restart on Lap 200 of 312, Elliott lower to the within simply in entrance of Chastain. Chastain had the place and didn’t raise, moving into the again of Elliott’s automotive and sending him into the wall.
Chastain wasn’t about to take the blame on this one.
“I bought to the left of (Elliott) and noticed an erratic transfer that he made to show left to cowl it however I used to be already there,” he mentioned. “It’s not how I need to race them or these guys.
“I wanted different Chevys up there to battle these different guys. It’s not what I need to do, however I really feel like I had place on him and he tried to cowl it late.”