CGR hires Ross Chastain to replace interim driver Matt Kenseth for 2021

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

Chip Ganassi Racing has announced their new driver of the No. 42 for the 2021 season. And, no, it’s not Bubba Wallace.

The team — who previously offered Wallace a contract and an ownership stake, according to a report — has elected to Ross Chastain. He has been affiliated with the team for several years.

Dyna-Gro Seed Chevrolet driver Ross Chastain leads the field during the NASCAR Xfinity Series Food City 300
Ross Chastain leads the field during the NASCAR Xfinity Series Food City 300 (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

When Kyle Larson was fired by the team after using a racial slur on a live streaming event, we suggested that Chastain would replace Larson. We did not know it would be several months later, as Matt Kenseth would be hired on an interim basis to finish out the season. Chastain will take over for Kenseth.

He will return to the NASCAR Cup Series after filling in for Ryan Newman at Roush Fenway Racing following his horrific accident in the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in February in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Presently, Chastain is a full-time driver in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with Kaulig Racing. He has had two Xfinity Series wins in 184 career starts.

“Ross has been a part of this organization for a few years now, and I am happy to announce him as our driver for the No. 42 team,” Ganassi said in a release provided by the team. “In three races with our organization in 2018 and watching ever since, he showed me and everyone else that he is a tenacious driver who wants to win. We believe that Ross will give our team the opportunity to be competitive each week and our sponsors someone to build a program around.

“Additionally, his racing background has him well-suited to make the move to the Cup Series.”

The Alva, Florida native has competed in 79 career Cup Series events since the 2017 season. He nearly competed in the entire Cup Series events in 2018 and 2019, missing just three races, for Jay Robinson’s team.

He has one career Top 10 finish in the 79 starts. Chastain finished 10th in the 2019 Daytona 500.

“I can’t thank Chip enough for this opportunity,” Chastain said. “The faith he and the organization showed me back in 2018 was a real turning point in my career, and I am extremely happy for the chance to join the team again especially with all the great guys they have on the 42 and to be able to team with a champion like Kurt Busch. Racing in the Cup Series with a serious contender has always been my goal, and I’m looking forward to joining what is a very strong team.

“I know I have my work cut out for me, but I’m ready to get to work and help bring more success to the organization.”

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