Ross Chastain’s watermelon smash includes trips to the store and a rental car fiasco


Carl Edwards experienced his famed backflip. Tony Stewart climbed the fence. Alan Kulwicki did the Polish Victory Lap (so did Fred Zack, but that’s one more story).

But none of them smashed a watermelon.

Nope. Which is reserved for Florida native Ross Chastain — the speediest watermelon farmer close to, and the most recent initially-time NASCAR Cup Sequence winner.

“It is what the Chastain family has been in for 12 generations,” claimed the 29-year-old, who drove his Chevy to a win very last Sunday at Circuit of The Americas. “My to start with truck journey was a watermelon paint plan. When I was coming into the sport, nobody appreciates who Ross Chastain is, so we had to just go out into the ‘ag’ industry and chat to people we realized.”

They may possibly not have acknowledged back then, but people today in and around the sport surely know who Chastain is now.

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The Alva native is in the midst of a breakout season with Trackhouse Racing — the next-12 months corporation formed by Justin Marks and Pitbull.

Not only did Chastain earn in dramatic manner at COTA — transferring AJ Allmendinger out of the way on the ultimate turn to just take the checkers — but he is completed no even worse than 3rd in 4 of the 6 races this year.

But why does Ross Chastain have to smash a watermelon when he wins?

But again to these watermelons …

Immediately after each individual acquire — Chastain has six in between the Truck, Xfinity and Cup Collection — another person from his pit crew fingers him a watermelon, which he then smashes to the floor from the roof of his motor vehicle.

It begun with his 1st NASCAR get in an Xfinity auto back again in 2018, and has traveled with him ever considering the fact that.

Basically traveled.

“I have acquired them when I’ve landed (at a race) if we failed to have them,” Chastain explained. “Usually, for this crew, Roy, our truck driver, purchases groceries for the hauler each and every 7 days so he can make guaranteed to obtain a watermelon each weekend. He places it ideal in the hallway (of the hauler), appropriate in the lounge, so when we stroll by we see it.

“My men know what that usually means, way too. It is really not just a watermelon sitting there. It’s a symbol of our intention, which is to earn.”

Ross Chastain's watermelon smash started years ago, and is starting to take off.

Ross Chastain’s watermelon smash began years in the past, and is starting to just take off.

If Chastain doesn’t gain — he was -for-120 in Cup going into Sunday’s race — the trophy watermelon stays in the lounge for up to 6 weeks, Chastain stated. After that, the team tosses it (or eats it), and replaces it with a new just one the subsequent 7 days.

Of course, there have been some shut phone calls, also.

“I’ve left it in my rental car prior to,” Chastain recalled. “And I virtually received a truck race previous year, and it was in the rental car or truck. I really believed about it for the duration of a late caution. No person was heading to know where it was at, and I was heading to have to test and describe on the radio wherever my keys had been — properly, they’re in the hauler in my pants pocket in the locker.

“Now, go out to the parking lot — perfectly, I did not know if it was the fourth or fifth row. It is really a white Chevy Malibu, just like each and every other rental motor vehicle. So yeah, that was likely to be complicated.”

Chastain did not conclude up successful that race, but he shut the offer past weekend at COTA, overcoming a shaky ultimate lap — Allmendinger moved him out of the way to briefly just take the guide in advance of Chastain repaid the favor — to acquire his first job Cup race.

The only downfall? He’ll have to get a new watermelon for Sunday’s race at Richmond.

“It truly is an brilliant experience, guy,” Chastain mentioned. “Yeah, it really is just been amazing. This is what we do it for, this is why we grind, to get to this place. It feels really, truly good.”

This write-up at first appeared on The Daytona Beach front Information-Journal: The tale guiding Ross Chastain’s watermelon smash, rental car fiasco


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