Chip Ganassi says Ross Chastain still part of team, hopefully its future

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Team owner Chip Ganassi said Ross Chastain remains in his long-term vision.

But that vision won’t include the No. 42 Chevrolet during the 2020 season.

Chip Ganassi Racing announced Matt Kenseth as the replacement for Kyle Larson, who was fired two weeks ago for a racial slur.

Chastain was slated to drive full time in the Xfinity Series for Ganassi in 2019 before a sponsorship deal imploded and has remained under contract with the team. He was considered a leading candidate for Larson’s ride before Kenseth was named to fill the seat for the remainder of the season.

‘SUPER EXCITED’: Kenseth explains his feelings and expectations about returning

MORE: Highlights of Matt Kenseth’s career 

“I would say we’re on a plan with Ross,” Ganassi said in an interview Monday. “This plan was sort of not congruent to that plan, if you will. The fact that Matt was available gave us some options there. It’s not about who we didn’t find, it’s about who we did find.

“But (Chastain) is still a part of this team, and I hope Ross has a future with this team.”

Ganassi said the team’s deal with Kenseth is through the 2020 season, which could restart next month after being on pause for six weeks because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We said let’s just do something for 2020 here and make sure it’s the right thing for all of us,” Ganassi said. “I hope it is. But right now, it’s just 2020.”

Chastain has been driving full time for Kaulig Racing in the Xfinity Series. He also has driven in both Gander Outdoors Truck Series races and had started every Cup series race this year.

He has driven the No. 6 in place of Ryan Newman since the Roush Fenway Racing driver was injured in the Daytona 500. Newman was cleared to return Monday by NASCAR, so that stint has ended

During Monday’s NASCAR America at Home episode (at the 2:00 mark of the video above), analyst Jeff Burton said it would have been difficult for Chastain to join a playoff-contending Cup ride at Ganassi while also contending for the Xfinity title with Kaulig.

“The speculation has been Ross Chastain,” Burton said.  He was at Chip Ganassi Racing and did a really good job there. His sponsorship deal fell apart. He did not get his Xfinity ride there, and so it seemed like a natural fit (to replace Larson).

“The problem with that is he joined Kaulig Racing, and coming into this year, many of us picked him to be the favorite for the Xfinity Series championship. So although Cup and Xfinity are at a different level, the commitment that you make to your car owner, sponsors and all those things, they matter. So if you’re going to run a full Cup Series, compete for points there, you can’t in Xfinity. You can’t do both. So I felt like that was going to get complicated for Ross. I don’t know that was the deciding factor, but I’m sure it played a role.”

Ganassi said the team would be requesting a waiver from NASCAR so Kenseth could contend for the Cup playoffs despite missing the first four races.

Kenseth, 48, also provides a stable, successful presence to Ganassi, who told the Associated Press that the veteran lacked any “baggage” as a family man, Daytona 500 winner and 2003 Cup champion.

“Well anytime you’re going through a transition, you want to make sure you cross off as many variables as you can,” Ganassi said. “It’s not only a transition from a driver point of view, it looks like it’s going to be a different season than we’re used to. How you adapt to that and how you meet that challenge is going to be important come year end when you start adding things up.

“And Matt’s the kind of guy, and (teammate) Kurt (Busch) for that matter, it’s good to have guys with that kind of history and playbook and racecraft available to you.”

NASCAR suspends Chase Elliott one race for incident with Denny Hamlin


NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one Cup race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600, the sanctioning body announced Tuesday.

“We take this very seriously,” Elton Sawyer, senior vice president of competition, said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “The incident that happened off Turn 4, again after looking at all the available resources — in-car camera, data, SMT, which basically gives us (a car’s) steering, throttle, gives us braking — it was an intentional act by Chase in our opinion.”

Hendrick Motorsports stated that it would not appeal the penalty. Corey LaJoie will drive the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports this weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway. Carson Hocevar will drive LaJoie’s car this weekend.

Hendrick Motorsports also stated that it would submit a waiver request for Elliott to remain eligible for the playoffs. Sawyer said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “I don’t see any reason at this point in time why wouldn’t (grant the waiver) when that request comes across our desk.”

This weekend will mark the seventh race in the first 15 that Elliott will have missed. He missed six races after breaking his leg in a snowboarding accident in early March. Elliott, who is winless this season, is 29th in points.

Elliott and Hamlin got together shortly before the halfway mark in Monday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

As they ran together, Hamlin forced Elliott toward the wall. Elliott’s car slapped the wall. Elliott then made contact with the right rear of Hamlin’s car, sending Hamlin into the wall.

“I got right-rear hooked in the middle of the straightway,” Hamlin said after the incident. “Yes, it was a tantrum. He shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

Said Sawyer on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio: “In the heat of the battle, things happen, but they have to learn to react in a different way. … Our drivers need to understand that you have to handle that in a completely different way than hooking someone in the right rear and putting them in harm’s way, not only with just a major head-on collision like Denny had, but also other competitors.”

Sawyer also said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “nothing gave us the indication that on that particular contact with the fourth-turn wall … that anything was broke” on Elliott’s car and could have caused him to come down and hit Hamlin’s car in the right rear.

NASCAR also announced that Scott Brzozowski and Adam Lewis, crew members on Michael McDowell‘s team, had each been suspended two races after McDowell’s car lost a tire in Monday’s race.

Winners and losers at Charlotte Motor Speedway


A look at winners and losers from Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway:


Ryan Blaney — Blaney stopped his winless streak at 59 races and gave team owner Roger Penske his second major race victory in two days. Blaney had the best car but had to fight through restarts late in the race to win.

William Byron — Byron, the winningest driver this season, barely missed getting victory No. 4. He finished second and scored his fifth straight top 10.

Martin Truex Jr. — Truex logged his third top five of the season.

23XI RacingBubba Wallace was fourth and Tyler Reddick fifth, giving 23XI Racing a pair of top-five finishes for the first time in a points race.


Jimmie Johnson — The seven-time champion admitted having problems adjusting to the Next Gen car on a 1.5-mile track. He crashed early and finished last.

Legacy Motor Club — It was a bad night for Jimmie Johnson and his team’s drivers. Johnson finished last in the 37-car field. Noah Gragson was 36th. Erik Jones placed 32nd.

Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin — Two drivers who had strong cars didn’t make it to the finish after crashing near the halfway point. Hamlin said Elliott “shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

NASCAR Xfinity Series results: Justin Allgaier wins at Charlotte


CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier finally broke through for his first win of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season Monday night.

Allgaier stretched his last fuel load over the final laps to finish in front of John Hunter Nemechek. Cole Custer was third, Austin Hill fourth and Ty Gibbs fifth. Gibbs ran both races Monday, completing 900 miles.

The win also was the first of the season for JR Motorsports.

Charlotte Xfinity results

Xfinity points after Charlotte

Justin Allgaier wins NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway


CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier won a fuel-mileage gamble to win Monday night’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Allgaier stretched his fuel to outlast second-place John Hunter Nemechek. Following in the top five were Cole Custer, Austin Hill and Ty Gibbs.

The victory was Allgaier’s first of the year and the first of the season for JR Motorsports. He has 20 career wins.

MORE: Charlotte Xfinity results

After a long day at CMS, the race ended at 11:25 p.m. The race started Monday morning but was stopped twice because of weather before it was halted with 48 of 200 laps completed so that the Coca-Cola 600 Cup Series race could be run.

When the race was stopped, Gibbs, Nemechek and Allgaier were in the top three positions.

Gibbs won the first two stages.

Stage 1 winner: Ty Gibbs

Stage 2 winner: Ty Gibbs

Who had a good race: Justin Allgaier has had good cars in previous races but finally cashed in with a win Monday. He led 83 laps. … John Hunter Nemechek, in second, scored his fifth top-two run of the season. … Cole Custer scored his sixth straight top-10 finish. … Ty Gibbs lasted 900 miles for the day and led 52 laps in the Xfinity race.

Who had a bad race: Sam Mayer was running 10th when he spun off Turn 2. He finished 35th. … Sheldon Creed finished three laps down in 28th.

Next: The series moves on to Portland International Raceway in Oregon for a 4:30 p.m. ET race June 3.