Ross Chastain (@Ross Chastain)
finished 14th at Daytona International Speedway in the No. 19 National Watermelon Association Ford F-Series on Friday night. The Brad Keselowski Racing (BKR) driver made his inaugural start for BKR (@TeamBKR) in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' NextEra Energy Resources 250.
Chastain qualified in the 16th position to begin the season, and the No. 19 National Watermelon Association Ford F-Series had a solid start by pack racing early in the race. With the first caution flag waving on lap 25, Crew Chief Chad Kendrick directed the No. 19 Ford F-Series down pit road for four tires and fuel.
The yellow flag waved for the second time on lap 54. Kendrick called Chastain back to pit road for four tires and fuel after narrowly dodging a major incident that could have ended his race early.
Another quick caution waved on lap 62 for an engine failure, and Kendrick brought Chastain down pit road to top off the No. 19 National Watermelon Association Ford F-Series with fuel.
The yellow flag waved again on lap 77 for debris with Chastain in the 21st position. With enough fuel for Chastain to make it to the finish, Kendrick elected to keep Chastain on the track as the green flag waved on lap 81. The second to last caution waved on lap 91 with Chastain getting caught up in a multiple car incident sending him to pit road twice to repair front end damage and deliver fuel to the No. 19 BKR machine. Chastain restarted in the 23rd position for the final restart.
On the last lap, shortly after crossing the start / finish line, a major accident broke out behind Chastain, which locked him into the 14th position at the time of the final yellow.
"You never know what to expect here at Daytona," said Chastain. "Both my spotter (T.J. Majors) and crew chief (Kendrick) kept telling me to hang back and try to stay out of the mayhem. We missed it for the most part, but eventually got clipped just enough to make a difference on the National Watermelon Association truck. It was still a nice start for the team though, and we're looking forward to the rest of the season."
Chastain and the No. 19 BKR Ford F-Series return to the track at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia on April 6th. The Kroger 200 will air live at 1:30 P.M. EDT on SPEED.