“I Don’t Feel Natural” – Darlington Favorite Ross Chastain Reveals His Struggle at Infamous Track

The story between Ross Chastain and Darlington is often remembered for the wrong reasons. No matter how much Chastain has tried to stay out of controversy and arguments, through some or other medium, his aggression has managed to come into the talk. But as the first race of the much-anticipated NASCAR Cup Series closes in with every passing second, the Trackhouse Racing Team #1 will hope to witness a reversal in his fortunes at the track.

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One of Chastain’s likable attributes is his willingness to keep trying until he gets the desired results. The fans will hope to see a similar approach for him at Darlington on Sunday, a track that has eluded him from a career win.

Ross Chastain looks to finally land a win at Darlington


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Like most other tracks in NASCAR’s schedule, Darlington has a different challenge. The egg-shaped oval is known for being very tough on drivers with narrow ends. Precision is the skill of utmost importance at the track due to the high speed the cars can experience. On the other hand, Ross Chastain is not exactly known for his precision during races, making it even more harsh of an outing for him.

Speaking to the media at Darlington before the qualifying race, he spoke out about how he has only mainly been involved in unfavorable finishes despite having a favorable pace in the car.

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“I don’t know. It’s humbling when I’m on it, and it’s definitely been humbling to me. I don’t know how to describe it. I feel natural when I’m out there. I don’t feel natural running up next to the wall.” said the 30-year-old.

Keeping his head up and moving forward for the next try at winning at the elusive track, he adds, “I just love it up there. It’s been its fair share of mean to me, for good reason. We definitely haven’t gotten the finishes we want. But no matter what, I usually drive out of there with a smile.”

Earlier this year at Darlington, Chastain got into a tussle with Hendrick Motorsports’ #5 Kyle Larson which became a huge point of discussion in the community. With opinions about the crash pouring in from fans and experts, the issue had to be resolved through the intervention of their respective team owners. Chastain has also credited HMS boss Rick Hendrick with helping him understand the necessity of making lesser enemies.

Chastain’s struggles at intermediate tracks


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In 6 races at the iconic track, Ross Chastain has a dismal average finish of 21 and 1 top 5 and a top 10 to his name. The sample space can be considered very small to judge for his lack of wins, but the average finishing position is a bit concerning for the #1 driver. Charlotte, Las Vegas, Michigan, and Texas are some of the other intermediate tracks that he struggles to find results on. There is no doubt about the pace the Chevrolets of Trackhouse Racing can show, but with high speeds, a high amount of control becomes a requisite.

At Charlotte Motor Speedway, Chastain has an average finish of 23.8 with no top 5s or top 10s in recent races to his name. Chastain has only raced at Charlotte on 4 occasions, so again, the pattern of no wins continues. Las Vegas has fared slightly better for him with an average finish of 15.0 with 2 top 5s and 2 top 10s under his belt in 6 starts. Although in comparison to Charlotte and Darlington, he has got much more out of his car in Vegas, he would like to have better finishes certainly.

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Average finishes of 20.5 and 22.0 at Texas and Michigan respectively imply that if one were to take a look at the statistics, they would conclude that out of all variety of racing venues available, intermediate tracks have been the biggest obstacle for him. But now, as the team has entered the playoffs, every track will be equally important to make sure they last until Phoenix. Irrespective of short, intermediate or superspeedway tracks, the drivers will have to deliver the goods to remain alive in the postseason.

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