Who would’ve thought Ross Chastain would be the buzz of the NASCAR world a half dozen races into the 2022 Cup Series season? Yet the eighth-generation watermelon farmer and first-year driver for Trackhouse Racing is precisely that after earning career victory No. 1 this past weekend at Circuit of The Americas in Austin on the heels of finishing second, second and thirst, respectively, the previous three races. While some observers might be surprised by Chastain’s almost immediate success with his new team, boss man and team owner Justin Marks hasn’t been.
“Trackhouse is — it’s an investment in the people,” said Marks, a former NASCAR driver. “The pitch was: Let’s build a great team together, let’s do all of this together. That was the inside of the building pitch. The outside of the building pitch is this sport is ready for challengers. It’s ready for disruptors. It’s ready for people to come in and challenge the status quo and how we do things, have some fun, look good, try to be fast, win races, have a good time doing it. I just have always been authentic about my mission. I just take a lot of pride in seeing everybody’s smiles and happiness today.”
With a slew of strong results over the past month, Chastain certainly won’t arrive at Richmond this weekend as an underdog. In fact, he’ll be widely considered one of the favorites to go to Victory Lane. So if that happens, no one — and perhaps least of all Chastain and Marks — will be surprised.