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Breakthrough Time? Ross Chastain Returns to Nashville, His Statistically Best Track

Ross Chastain is seeking his first NASCAR Cup Series win of 2024, but Nashville could be the perfect place for the Trackhouse Racing driver to have a breakthrough.


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While Ross Chastain and the No. 1 Trackhouse Racing team haven't been particularly dymanic over the last six races, the team hasn't been bad by any means, either. Over that stretch of races, Chastain hasn't finished outside of the top-12, and he's even peppered in three of his seven top-10 finishes on the season in that span.

The driver, who has won two NASCAR Cup Series races in each of the last two seasons, doesn't have a win yet this season, and he doesn't hide that he is disappointed that he and his No. 1 team haven't found victory lane through the opening half of the 2024 season.

"I'm not surprised, but I am disappointed," Chastain said of his winless drought. "Just trying to put together weekends like we did at [Nashville and Phoenix last year]. Now, we've had shots at other ones, for instance this year at Las Vegas comes to mind. If I don't speed on pit road, we have a shot to race for the win. We were as fast as the 5 (Kyle Larson) and 45 (Tyler Reddick), we were right there with them. I feel like small mistakes when we've had the speed, and other times some not-so-glaring issues like balance being just a little bit off."

If they can minimize the mistakes this weekend, it could spell the big breakthrough for the Watermelon Man and his team.

The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Nashville Superspeedway for the Ally 400, a race that Chastain is the defending winner of, and for Chastain, he considers last year's race where he started from the pole, and led 99 laps on the path to victory, a career highlight.

“Last year at Nashville was a career highlight for me for sure. It was one of those weekends that you dream about," Chastain explained. "We went out and performed really well. Now, there was times I was questioning if I was coming out the other side of a corner, and there was times that I deliberately lifted to get out of a situation that I didn't think it was worth it. I'm really proud of that and I've been trying to put something together like that in a lot of weeks since (laughs).”

While Chastain put it all together for the win last year at the 1.333-mile track, one random win could be chalked up to luck, a strategy call, or just finding that right adjustment at the right time. However, that simply isn't the case for Chastain at Nashville. Not at all.

There are no asterisks next to him because when you expand what the Alva, Florida driver has accomplished over the course of the three NASCAR Cup Series races that have been held at the 1.333-mile concrete oval in Lebanon, Tennessee, you start to see that he is without question the best driver at the track. And this is without a doubt the 31-year-old driver's best track, statistically.

In three starts at Nashville, Chastain has registered a win, a runner-up finish, and on his one off day, he came home with a fifth-place effort.

If you don't have your calculator at the ready, no worries, that equates to an average finish of 2.7, a series-best, at Nashville Superspeedway. And don't forget to factor in that Chastain has pulled off these numbers driving two different generations of race cars, and with two different race teams -- his current Trackhouse Racing team and Chip Ganassi Racing.

Chastain is flat-out good at Nashville Superspeedway, and the Nashville market, as a whole, is an important one for his race team Trackhouse Racing, which originally planned to house the team in Music City before buying the Chip Ganassi Racing facility in North Carolina.

The NASCAR Cup Series star will also get to check off a bucket list item this week as he is set to pilot a JGS/CRA All-Stars Pro Late Model Tour entry prepared by Rackley W.A.R. at Nashville Fairgrounds in the Battle of Broadcway 150 on Thursday evening, a race to be aired for subscribers of Racing America (Click here to subscribe).

"I'm super excited. The Fairgrounds track is one I've wanted to race at since I was 12 years old and was googling other races and late model races, pro truck races around the country," Chastain said. "I was trying to see what other people were doing, look at their bodies and see what different classes did for setups. I was just looking at pictures and the Fairgrounds would come up and once I got more into the sport, and obviously my Nashville ties with Trackhouse. We talk a lot about Nashville and spend a lot of time there and the Fairgrounds race is one that has been on my bucket list. I was able to put together a program with Rackley W.A.R. and Tootsie's, and Trackhouse let me go do that so it's going to be cool moment when I finally pull on track there. 12 year old Ross is going to be really excited."

After clocking in the fastest time in opening practice on Thursday afternoon, Chastain will look to notch a win at the historic race track in Nashville.

Photo Credit: Jonathan McCoy, Overbey Photography

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