Chastain The Contender Reemerges at Nashville Superspeedway

Getty Ross Chastain celebrates a win at Nashville Superspeedway.

The Ally 400 weekend came to a close with Ross Chastain winning his first race of the 2023 Cup Series season. He capped off a historic weekend for Trackhouse Racing while returning to his contender form.

The driver of the No. 1 Chevrolet Camaro kicked off the weekend by winning the pole at Nashville Superspeedway, the first time in Trackhouse Racing history. He then went out and led 99 laps at the organization’s home track while securing bonus points in the first two stages.

“That’s just a desire to win,” Chastain said about his massive post-race burnout. “I got to tell you, it’s just so hard at this level. It’s the best of the best. It’s where I’ve wanted to be since I was 18 years old, from studying for over 10 years just to qualify better let alone go race for a Cup race win.

“Along the way, the journey, I’m so happy that my group is here, everybody that supports me. Yeah, look, it’s a Cup win. I don’t care what happened last month, the rest of my life, it’s a freaking Cup win.”

With the win, Chastain punched his ticket to the playoffs. He also added another style of track to his list of wins. His first took place at a road course in Circuit of the Americas and his second was at Talladega Superspeedway. Now he has a traditional oval on his resume.

The win was significant for Chastain considering that he returned to the playoffs. It was even more important for Trackhouse Racing. The Justin Marks-founded team calls Nashville home.

“We started this company in Nashville, Tenn., with two employees — me and Ty Norris — four years ago,” Marks said after the race, per Trackhouse Racing. “And for us to win… it’s a home race, it’s a home win, it’s amazing. …It’s been a tough couple of weeks, and we just needed something big to happen for this team.”

This Race Weekend Brought Back The Old Chastain

GettyRoss Chastain eats a watermelon at Nashville Superspeedway.

Following a crash at Darlington Raceway, Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick called out Chastain for wrecking other Chevrolet drivers. Trackhouse Racing owner Justin Marks responded by saying that he would take a “more active role” in Chastain’s development.

The weeks after these comments featured unexpected performances by Chastain. He had two finishes outside of the top 20 followed by a 10th-place finish at Sonoma Raceway. The aggressive Chastain was gone while a seemingly timid replacement was behind the wheel of the No. 1 Chevrolet Camaro.

The Ally 400 was a different story. Chastain won the pole, and he had what appeared to be the best car in the field. He led laps early and then chased down Martin Truex Jr. during the final stage of the 300-lap race. Once he took the lead, he checked out and rebounded from a difficult stretch.

“You have to go to your people, trust in the process, read your books, trust the big man’s plan upstairs, just keep getting up and going to work,” Chastain told NBC Sports after exiting his No. 1 Chevrolet.

“I got to tell you, a lot of self-reflection throughout all this. I had a group that believed in me, and they didn’t let me get down. They bring rocket ships, and I just try to point them to Victory Lane.”

Chastain Previously Put the Field on Notice at Nashville Superspeedway

The Florida native bounced around between the national series early in his career as he drove for multiple teams. However, the 2021 season was when he truly put the Cup Series field on notice.

Chastain entered the inaugural Cup weekend at Nashville Superspeedway with three top-10 finishes for Chip Ganassi Racing. He was seventh in the Daytona 500, fourth in the rain-shortened Circuit of the Americas race, and seventh at Sonoma Raceway.

Chastain then headed to Nashville Superspeedway and delivered a strong performance. He started 19th overall and steadily worked his way through the field before the final stage. Chastain also rebounded from a speeding penalty before finishing second overall in what was a career-best finish.

“It’s positive. The guys got goosebumps there at the end driving through the field,” Chastain said about his performance after the race. “I get out of the car, and they’re like, ‘Man, we haven’t had that in a long time. I hadn’t either.”

This debut at Nashville Superspeedway was only a glimpse of Chastain’s success at the Tennessee track. He returned in 2022 with Trackhouse Racing and finished fifth overall after securing bonus points in the second stage. Chastain then delivered a dominant performance in 2023 to score his first win at Nashville Superspeedway.

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