Ross Chastain (@RossChastain), driver of the No. 19 Melon 1 Ford F-150, made his 14th start for Brad Keselowski Racing (BKR) and his second start at Homestead-Miami Speedway during Friday night’s Ford EcoBoost 200 after qualifying in the fifth position earlier that evening.
Chastain struggled with a loose handling Truck early, dropping back to the 17th position by lap four. When the first caution flew on lap five, crew chief, Chad Kendrick brought the Melon 1 Ford down pit road for four tires, fuel and a major track bar adjustment.
When the second caution of the night was displayed on lap 40, Chastain radioed to the team with the feedback that he was still very loose, but Kendrick kept him out for track position.
On lap 63, Chastain brought his Ford F-150 down pit road for four tires, fuel, coming in 11th and restarting 10th, with the pit crew gaining one spot on the restart.
On lap 93, momentum began to shift to Chastain’s side as he moved towards the top 10. The Melon 1 Ford F-150 came in for right-side tires and no adjustments, getting off pit road first and restarting first with 38 to go. Chastain fell into second position before the caution fell again on lap 101.
Chastain brought his Melon 1 Ford in for the final time on lap 130 for a track bar adjustment, fuel and tires. The first attempt at a green-white-checker, Chastain slipped back a few spots. By the final attempt at a green-white-checker, Chastain had positioned himself nicely to solidify an eighth place finish in a well-deserved effort.
The No. 19 BKR team finished the season fourth in the NCWTS owner points standings, 40 points back from first.
“What an up and down day it was for us in the Melon 1 Ford F-150. I have to give a tremendous amount of credit to my team; they never gave up, and were a pleasure to work with all year. The credit goes to those guys who gave me good equipment throughout the season. I want to thank Brad Keselowski, Reese Towpower, Draw-Tite and Melon 1 for the opportunity this season.” – Ross Chastain