Ross Chastain has a handshake deal with Jay Robinson to drive full-time in the Monster Energy Cup Series for Premium Motorsports in 2019.
The 25-year-old racer from Alva, Fla., is in his first season in the No. 15 Premium Motorsports Chevrolet. He finished a career-high 18th at Texas Motor Speedway earlier this year but is running for points in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
While Chastain's visibility has risen exponentially this year with his success under the Chip Ganassi Racing banner, Robinson has never doubted his driver's talent.
"Ross was plenty good when he got here," Robinson said. "He drove for us here, at this track, a year ago and did well. Certainly, a Cup car is different than an Xfinity car, and I think he's benefiting from us going to tracks for a second time. In the case of Dover, that's more than that for him because of last year's races.
"But after going through the schedule and going to these tracks a second time around, experience helps. Communication with the team has evolved and gotten better. We know more of what he's looking for as for as the feel of the car. We've just learned each other basically as time has gone on. It's a good relationship."
Running with underfunded teams is nothing new for Chastain. Since his Camping World Truck Series debut in 2011, many of his opportunities were with organizations operating on a limited budget. But when given the chance to race with top programs such as Brad Keselowski Racing in trucks or Ganassi Racing in the Xfinity Series this season, Chastain has been competitive. When he raced for Keselowski, Chastain's average finish was 10th, and he posted two poles.
Chastain is likely to continue his path with Ganassi Racing in Xfinity next year. On the Cup side, Robinson says he won't hold Chastain back, should a better opportunity come along. But for now, there's no one else Robinson would rather have driving his car.
--- Racin Boys ---