Ross Chastain Brings Back the Watermelon Truck for 1 More Race

Ross Chastain

Getty Ross Chastain arrives at a race at Texas Motor Speedway.

A former Camping World Truck Series driver is heading back to his old stomping grounds one more time in 2021. Chip Ganassi Racing’s Ross Chastain will compete in the race at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 7 while bringing back the watermelon paint scheme.

Chastain confirmed the news on Saturday, July 31, with a video on Twitter. He said that he will reunite with NASCAR team Niece Motorsports for the race, marking the fifth time in 2021. Chastain then revealed that the watermelon truck will serve as his ride as he fights for the checkered flag.

“That’s right, one more ride this year with Al Niece and everybody at Niece Motorsports to drive the [No.] 45 truck,” Chastain said in his Twitter video. “And of course, it’s going to be the watermelon truck.”

The CGR driver did not have the opportunity to compete at Watkins Glen International during the 2020 season. NASCAR avoided the road course outside of Watkins Glen, NY, due to COVID-19 after regularly heading there for decades. Now, however, all three series will return to the track as drivers fight for spots in the playoffs.

Chastain Has 7 Total Starts at Watkins Glen Across 2 Series

Ross Chastain

GettyRoss Chastain competes in an Xfinity Series race at Watkins Glen.

The driver of the No. 42 CGR Chevrolet Camaro has some experience at Watkins Glen in his NASCAR career. He has made two Cup Series starts for Premium Motorsports — now Rick Ware Racing — while driving the No. 15 Chevrolet but has not finished inside the top 25.

Chastain made his Watkins Glen Cup debut on Aug. 5, 2018, but did not make it to the end of the race. He started 32nd overall but suffered suspension issues that limited him to only 77 of the 90 laps. Chastain returned to the road course the following year on Aug. 4, completing the race and finishing 27th while Chase Elliott reached Victory Lane.

As an Xfinity Series driver, Chastain made five starts at Watkins Glen while driving for JD Motorsports. He climbed into the No. 4 Chevrolet and faced off with such drivers as Kyle Larson, Daniel Suarez, and Joey Logano. While he didn’t reach Victory Lane during his time in the No. 4, Chastain posted a career-best 14th-place finish during the 2016 race.

The Truck Series Returns to Watkins Glen After 20 Years

Both the Xfinity and Cup Series regularly raced at Watkins Glen in recent years, but the Truck Series drivers did not take part in the trips. The series has only competed at the road course five times, starting in 1996 and ending in 2000.

Greg Biffle is the most recent winner, racing to Victory Lane on June 24, 2000. The longtime NASCAR driver led 36 of the 62 laps in his No. 50 Roush Ford, holding off teammate Kurt Busch to capture the win. Ron Fellows, Mike Wallace, and Jack Sprague rounded out the top five.

Of the active drivers in NASCAR, only Kevin Harvick and Busch have Truck Series experience at Watkins Glen, but they will not be among the field. Instead, all of the current Truck Series drivers will head to the road course and try to navigate the series of seven turns without sliding off the track or colliding with each other.

The Camping World Truck Series race at Watkins Glen will take place on Saturday, Aug. 7, at 12:30 p.m. ET. FS1 will provide coverage as Chastain and the watermelon truck return. The Xfinity Series race at Watkins Glen will follow at 4 p.m. ET, airing live on CNBC.

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