Ross Chastain begins the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season Sunday in the Busch Clash at the Los Angeles Coliseum, marking the first of 19 appearances for Worldwide Express on Trackhouse Racing's No. 1 Chevrolet.
Chastain wouldn't be able to race Sunday without Worldwide Express's support and neither would NASCAR.
With the herculean effort converting the 99-year-old football stadium that also hosted two Olympic Games into a quarter-mile racetrack, NASCAR turned to Worldwide Express and its sister brand, GlobalTranz, to ship the concrete barriers used to create the track.
Nine different trucking companies were used to haul the barriers from Fontana, Calif., to the Coliseum in Los Angeles. Fifty flatbed trucks delivered 55 tons of concrete barriers on Jan. 9 and 10. Deliveries were made 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. to avoid disrupting track construction during the day. Once the race is over, the barriers will be removed during the same overnight hours and returned to Fontana.
“As most race car drivers, I have never been a big fan of walls," said Chastain. "I mean we need them and everything, but bad things happen when we hit them. I'm glad Worldwide Express could help everyone out and that's quite a challenge to transport the concrete barriers around. But I hope I don't get very close to them Sunday."
There's probably few drivers as eager as Chastain is to start the 2023 campaign after he enjoyed a breakout season in 2022.
In only his second fulltime Cup Series season, Chastain finished second in the championship points and won two races - Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas on March 27 and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on April 24 - and finished the season with 15 top-fives and 21 top-10s.
The Worldwide Express driver plans on a better experience at the Clash this year after missing the 23-driver main event last year. Because of his runner up finish in the championship standings, Chastain is nearly a lock to make the Clash field no matter what happens in Sunday afternoon's heat and last chance races.
Fox will broadcast the race at Sunday at 8 p.m. EST.
Did you exceed expectations last year?
“I started this Trackhouse project with the goal of being a championship organization. So, I really believed we could do it. It happened very quickly. To get three wins and make it to the final four in our first year (as a multicar team) is a pretty condensed time frame. The challenge now is making that effort and those results repeatable year-in and year-out. I definitely thought we could win, but to put the body of work together with both teams, is surprising in a way. Everyone in this shop rallied around the concept and opportunity and were committed to it. I was just in awe and humbled by it.”
How do you repeat it in the future?
"To make sure that we are consistent year-in and year-out, its about the people. We have to make sure we keep them motivated, valued, and want to come in every day and do their best work. If we do that, sure we will have good seasons and tough seasons, but if you extrapolate that over time we will be a consistently competitive organization. If we set expectations at the beginning of the year, and we consistently look in the mirror and audit ourselves, and determine what is the next right thing to do, then I think we can maintain where we are at."
What did Trackhouse Racing do in the offseason?
"This is probably the most unique off season this sport has ever experienced. The Daytona cars are basically ready to go just as they were when they came off the track last year. It's nice because it has opened up a lot of bandwidth and allowed us to really look at the operations of our company, invest in the culture, people and continue to build a really strong team."
Trackhouse Racing PR