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Ross Chastain Itching to Get Behind The Wheel at SpeedFest

Ross Chastain is ready to get back to racing this weekend at Protect Your Melon - Buckle Up SpeedFest at Crisp Motorsports Park.


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The NASCAR Cup Series returns to action on February 4 with the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum. However, Ross Chastain couldn’t wait any longer to get back behind the wheel.

Chastain, who drives for Trackhouse Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series, will compete in the Pro Late Model portion of Protect Your Melon – Buckle Up SpeedFest at Crisp Motorsports Park on Saturday, driving for Rackley W.A.R.’s Late Model program.

After a few weeks with his family on their watermelon farm in South Florida, Chastain is eager to get back into a race car.

“I’ve got the itch, I’m ready to get back in the car,” Chastain told Racing America. “We’ve taken our offseason. I’ve been down at the farm in South Florida where my family is at. I’m ready to race something.”

It’s only fitting that Chastain’s Late Model appearance takes place at Watermelon Capital Speedway at Crisp Motorsports Park. This year, the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety joined the event as a title sponsor, as part of their ongoing Protect Your Melon – Buckle Up program with Chastain encouraging drivers to use their seat belts on the highway.

Watch Protect Your Melon - Buckle Up SpeedFest 2024 on Racing America

“Working with the Georgia Office of Highway Safety, we’ve ran stuff at Atlanta before. My brother’s raced for them, and we’re looking to do more. They teed it up to us what we could do and promote their message more and reach more Georgia residents, and racing at Cordele came to mind.”

Chastain cut his teeth racing Late Models, mostly in his home state of Florida, before embarking on his NASCAR career. However, he hasn’t raced a Pro Late Model in more than a decade.

“I haven’t been in a [Pro] Late Model since before I got to the Truck Series in 2011. I’m going to have a lot to learn. I’m not going to be able to make it there early to test. All I’ve been able to sit in the car at the Rackley shop outside of Nashville. I’m going to have a lot to learn, but nobody’s going to be smiling more than me, though.”

Chastain has always had the urge to get back behind the wheel of a Late Model during that absence. However, he spent many of those years focusing all of his effort and energy towards maximizing his NASCAR career.

“Early in my career in NASCAR, I had to decide if I wanted to concentrate and put real effort and dollars into NASCAR racing or Late Model racing. I had to ask myself, do I want to be the best NASCAR driver I can be, or do I want to be the best Late Model driver I can be?

“That’s a tough decision, because I grew up watching Late Models. I grew up wanting to get in one, and did, and was very fortunate to win races at New Smyrna in a Limited. That tells you how long ago it was, there were three classes of Late Models at Speedweeks at New Smyrna.”

In that sense, SpeedFest will be a full-circle moment for Chastain. Now, he’s at the highest level of the sport with four Cup Series wins to his credit over the past two seasons. He’s also able to use that platform to draw attention to the race and to his partnership with the Georgia Office of Highway Safety.

“It’s something I’ve watched before, and now we’ve got half of Georgia coming to watch. Any time I can bolster racing, I can just try to bring more people in and use this incredible platform we have at Trackhouse in this 1 car to bring more fans in, and hopefully more subscribers, it’s going to be cool.”

Fans unable to attend Protect Your Melon - Buckle Up SpeedFest can tune in live on RacingAmerica.TV. Click here to subscribe today and watch both the Super Late Models and Pro Late Models in action on January 19-20.

-Photo credit: Will Bellamy/Racing America

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SpeedFest 2024 at Crisp Motorsports Park - January 19-20