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Ross Chastain Snaps 42-Race Winless Streak at Nashville

Ross Chastain will not smash his new Gibson guitar after winning at Nashville Superspeedway. (Photo: Trish McCormack | The Podium Finish)

LEBANON, Tenn. – Despite all the talk about incidents and debates regarding his aggressive approach, Ross Chastain silenced such notions in Sunday evening’s Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway.

After a fifth-place finish in the AdventHealth 400 at Kansas Speedway, Chastain experienced a three-race slump, finishing 22nd or worse from Darlington to Gateway. As a result, the Trackhouse Racing driver dropped from first to fifth in the championship standings.

Following a respectable 10th-place finish at Sonoma Raceway, Chastain and his No. 1 Worldwide Express Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 team aimed to regain their early-season form. And it appeared that they had found it in impressive fashion.

In Saturday’s practice session, the Alva, Florida native posted the third-quickest time and the second-fastest 10-lap average. He backed up those efforts by securing his first career NASCAR Cup Series pole, also marking the first pole for his team.

On Sunday evening, Chastain made his presence known by leading the opening 42 laps. He finished second in Stage 1, regained the lead on Lap 98, and eventually settled in third in Stage 2. Along the way, he accumulated 17 valuable stage points.

By Stage 3, Chastain and crew chief Phil Surgen found the winning combination with their No. 1 car. His Camaro had the pace to compete against the dominant Toyotas of Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin.

Thanks to Chastain’s smooth and steady driving and superb pit stops by the No. 1’s over-the-wall crew, the conversation shifted from controversial storylines to recognizing them as legitimate race contenders.

Chastain and his No. 1 team kept up with the changing conditions at Nashville Superspeedway. (Photo: Trish McCormack | The Podium Finish)

Reclaiming the lead on Lap 267, Chastain was determined to secure his first trip to Victory Lane since the 2022 GEICO 500 at Talladega. And after 42 races, Chastain celebrated as a NASCAR Cup Series winner once again.

Following his trademark watermelon smash, the Floridian processed the intense emotions of his latest stock car triumph.

“That’s just a desire to win,” Chastain said. “I have to tell you, it’s incredibly challenging at this level. It’s the best of the best. It’s where I’ve wanted to be since I was 18 years old, after studying for over 10 years just to qualify better, let alone go race for a Cup win.”

He also addressed both the critics and supporters, particularly regarding his rough stretch in May.

“Throughout this journey, I’m so grateful for my team and everyone who supports me,” he said. “Look, it’s a Cup win. I don’t care what happened last month or for the rest of my life; it’s a freaking Cup win.”

In a role reversal from the Würth 400 at Dover Motor Speedway, a concrete track, Truex secured the runner-up position. Leading for 50 laps, the Mayetta, New Jersey native expressed disappointment with his outcome in the Volunteer State.

For a while, Truex looked like he had the makings to win at Nashville. (Photo: Trish McCormack | The Podium Finish)

“Just needed to get the lead,” Truex said. “Once we lost it, I probably made a move picking the bottom on the restart, but the car was too loose on the long run. I could keep up with whoever was leading, but I couldn’t get off the corner to make a move. Overall, we lacked side-bite, and I burned off the rear tires a little bit too much.

“I was really loose towards the end of the race too. We just needed a little bit more. I’ve got a lot of speed; we just couldn’t get the balance where we needed it to be.”

Likewise, Hamlin, the second-most dominant racer of the evening, observed the aerodynamic struggles for those trailing the leader, not to mention the challenges of finding passing opportunities during long, green-flag runs.

“The side-by-side battles happen because whoever gets out front sets the pace,” Hamlin said. “With all the cars being equal, track position means more than anything else. You just have to fight for it. I saw some great three-wide racing early on during those restarts, but I just wish I had a little more speed. That’s what we needed.”

On the other hand, Chastain had everything he needed with a fast car, an exceptional pit crew, and a support system that believed in him through the highs and lows. By earning a spot in the playoffs, the three-time Cup race winner rewarded his loyal supporters in kind at the 1.33-mile concrete track.

The search is over for a third career Cup win for Chastain. (Photo: Trish McCormack | The Podium Finish)

“You have to rely on your team, trust the process, educate yourself, have faith in a higher power, and keep getting up and going to work,” Chastain said. “I got to tell you, there has been a lot of self-reflection throughout all of this.

“I had a group of people who believed in me and never let me get down. They bring rocket ships, and I just try to guide them to Victory Lane.”

Stage 1 Top 10 Results
  1. Tyler Reddick
  2. Ross Chastain
  3. William Byron
  4. Martin Truex Jr.
  5. Denny Hamlin
  6. Chase Elliott
  7. Kyle Busch
  8. Kyle Larson
  9. Christopher Bell
  10. AJ Allmendinger
Stage 2 Top 10 Results
  1. Denny Hamlin
  2. Martin Truex Jr.
  3. Ross Chastain
  4. William Byron
  5. Christopher Bell
  6. Bubba Wallace
  7. Chase Elliott
  8. AJ Allmendinger
  9. Kevin Harvick
  10. Erik Jones
Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway Race Results
Finish Start Car No. Driver Sponsor/Make Status
1 1 1 Ross Chastain Worldwide Express Chevrolet Running
2 6 19 Martin Truex Jr. Bass Pro Shops Toyota Running
3 8 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Toyota Running
4 14 9 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Running
5 9 5 Kyle Larson Chevrolet Running
6 5 24 William Byron Liberty University Chevrolet Running
7 22 20 Christopher Bell DeWalt Toyota Running
8 23 43 Erik Jones Allegiant Chevrolet Running
9 11 8 Kyle Busch Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen Chevrolet Running
10 19 16 AJ Allmendinger Celsius Chevrolet Running
11 20 6 Brad Keselowski Solomon Plumbing Ford Running
12 10 99 Daniel Suárez Tootsies Orchid Lounge Chevrolet Running
13 26 3 Austin Dillon Huk Performance Fishing Chevrolet Running
14 16 54 Ty Gibbs (R) Interstate Batteries Toyota Running
15 9 23 Bubba Wallace McDonald’s Toyota Running
16 25 41 Ryan Preece Morton Buildings Ford Running
17 15 48 Alex Bowman Ally Chevrolet Running
18 12 17 Chris Buescher Fastenal Ford Running
19 4 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford Running
20 36 7 Corey LaJoie Garner Trucking Chevrolet Running
21 31 21 Harrison Burton DEX Imaging Ford Running
22 28 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Kroger/Ball Park Buns Chevrolet Running
23 3 31 Justin Haley LeafFilter Guter Protection Chevrolet Running
24 17 4 Kevin Harvick Busch Beer Peach Ford Running
25 21 10 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford Running
26 30 42 Noah Gragson (R) Black Rifle Coffee Company Chevrolet Running
27 24 2 Austin Cindric Snap On Ford Running
28 33 34 Michael McDowell Love’s/Fleetguard Ford Running
29 29 51 JJ Yeley Patrot Mobile Ford Running
30 2 45 Tyler Reddick The Big 615/MoneyLion Toyota Running
31 18 14 Chase Briscoe Mahindra Tractors Ford Running
32 34 77 Ty Dillon Raze Tea Chevrolet Running
33 32 15 Brennan Poole MACC Door Systems Ford Running
34 35 78 Josh Bilicki Zeigler Auto Group Chevrolet Running
35 27 38 Todd Gilliland Serial 1 E-Bikes Ford Running
36 13 12 Ryan Blaney Menards/Pennzoil Ford Accident

Rob Tiongson is a sports writer and editor originally from the Boston area and resides in the Austin, Texas, area. Tiongson has covered motorsports series like NASCAR and INDYCAR since 2008 and NHRA since 2013. Most recently, Tiongson is covering professional basketball, mainly the WNBA, and women's college basketball. While writing and editing for The Podium Finish, Tiongson currently seeks for a long-term sportswriting and sports content creating career. Tiongson enjoys editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography. Moreover, he enjoys time with his family and friends, traveling, cooking, working out and being a fun uncle or "funcle" to his nephew, niece and cat. Tiongson is an alum of Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and St. Bonaventure University's renowned Jandoli School of Communication with a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism.

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