SWFL NASCAR driver Chastain set to race full-time in Cup Series

Racecar driver Ross Chastain, a Southwest Florida native, will drive the No. 42 car full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series.

We spoke to the Chastain family recently about how a little boy who grew up working on a watermelon farm in Alva made it to the big stage.

When he was only 13 years old, Ross Chastain dreamed big and fast. Through hard work, those dreams are becoming a reality.

“I was up here chasing that dream of where I’m at right now,” Chastain said. “Like I said, I’m in that dream right now.”

As a kid in Alva, farming was his first dream.

“I just wanted to farm,” Chastain said. “I just wanted to grow watermelons with my dad. I wanted to grow the business.”

That changed when Chastain started to go to weekend races in Punta Gorda.

“Made the decision to put college on hold, put life in the farm on hold, and move up here and try to chase this dream, and the dream was exactly where I am sitting right now,” Chastain said.

Chastain’s dad said he always knew there was something special about his kid.

“It was very exciting, just because it shows that years and years of hard work can pay off,” Ralph Chastain said.

Friend Rusty Hillman was a witness to the work Chastain put into his craft.

“Anytime I will go out to their house to work on the truck or the car, Ross would be right there beside me,” Hillman said. “He wanted to work and do everything he could to finish first.”

Chastain is going to get that chance to finish first for Chip Ganassi Racing in the No. 42 car next season. Chastain is a Riverdale High School graduate. He’s made 79 career NASCAR Cup Series starts over his career.

“My advice to other people and kids would be it’s not guaranteed,” Chastain said. “It’s not a sure bet that you’re going to get that dream career, that dream job. You have to go work for it.”

Reporter:Andrea Guerrero
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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