Ross Chastain hasn’t had the opportunity to race as much as he would have liked to this NASCAR season.
That won’t be the case though this weekend at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway, as Win-Tron Racing confirmed that the likable Florida driver will pilot the team’s No. 35 Toyota Tundra in Friday night’s Ford EcoBoost 200.
Chastain won’t just compete for Win-Tron Racing though. On Monday, TriStar Motorsports announced that the Alva, Florida native will also compete in the NASCAR Nationwide Series season finale in Saturday afternoon’s Ford EcoBoost 300.
The challenges of competing in two races this weekend could be daunting for any driver, but for Chastain, the opportunity is one he’ll embrace and hope to bring Win-Tron Racing their best finish of the season.
Roughly two and a half hours south of his hometown, Chastain will bring a recognizable partner for his third and final NCWTS race of the year, Watermelon.org and the National Watermelon Association (NWA).
Bob Morrissey, the executive director of the National Watermelon Association offered his thoughts on this weekend’s partnership.
“On behalf of the nationwide members of the National Watermelon Association, we are delighted that Ross (Chastain) will once again drive the “Watermelon” machine in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series finale. With his help, let’s all enjoy some delicious watermelon available year-round and go racing!”
The National Watermelon Association was organized in 1914. Originally it was called the "Melon Distributors Association," but as the organization grew and the goals became more defined, the name was changed (in 1945) to the "National Watermelon Growers & Distributors Association".
In 1979, Growers & Distributors was dropped from the name, resulting in the current "National Watermelon Association." NWA has members in 30 states. Its purpose of the Association is to promote the best interests of the Watermelon Industry from production to consumption.
“Getting the opportunity to run the fourth year in a row at Homestead is almost surreal,” said Chastain, who hoists a best finish of second, twice in 43 NCWTS starts. “It’s the closest track to where I grew up, so we’ll have a lot of hometown people in the stands to watch and root us on. That’s humbling enough.
“I can’t thank Mark (Smith) and everyone at Pro Motor Engineering, along with Kevin (Cywinski) and Nate (Thiesse) and the guys at Win-Tron Racing for this great opportunity. Without them, this would not be possible. I’m looking forward to Friday night.”
Statistically speaking, the South Florida racetrack has proven to be one of the best for the 21-year old driver. In three previous start, Chastain hoists two top-10 finishes, including a personal best effort of eighth last November after starting fifth.
“I don’t know what it is, I just really like the track,” Chastain added. “It’s a great facility with a predominant racing groove and often reveals some intense racing. I don’t expect anything less with a championship on the line and all. But, if we have our opportunity to shine in front of all the heavy-hitter stories around, you better believe we’re going to try and see if we can’t steal the win. 2012 brought a surprise winner. We’re hoping we can do the same two years later.”
Nate Thiesse, co-truck owner of Win-Tron Racing shared equal enthusiasm about having Chastain behind the wheel of the No. 35 Watermelon.org / National Watermelon Association Toyota Tundra in the 23rd race of the season.
“Ross is a fine young man and such a talented driver,” he said. “We’ve been watching him over the past couple of years and his progression as a racecar driver has been astounding. We’re glad he’s on our team for Friday night’s season finale and hope we can close the curtain on the year with a strong performance.”
Win-Tron Racing PR