LEBANON, Tenn. After more than a year without a Cup Series victory – and a couple months of sideways glances and tough conversations following incidents with several competitors – Ross Chastain admits he heard whispers about his on-track performance. 

After making Nashville Superspeedway’s 1.33-mile concrete D-shaped oval his personal watermelon crawl, Chastain looked back on those recent struggles with a big, juicy grin and a couple celebratory yells with a sold-out Middle Tennessee crowd with a victory in the Ally 400 NASCAR Cup Series race at Nashville Superspeedway.

Driving the No. 1 Chevrolet for Nashville-based Trackhouse Racing, Chastain collected his first Cup Series victory of the season, the third Cup win of his career and locked down a Cup Series playoff berth.

“It’s absolutely incredible the fight that we have,” Chastain said after smashing a watermelon on the start-finish line. “This is why every little kid out there, anyone in the world, when you get criticized, and you’re going to if you’re a competitor, they will try to tear you down and you’ll start believing it and you can’t do that.

“[You] just keep getting up and trust the process.”

The 30-year-old Florida native completed a weekend sweep after earning the Ally 400 pole position. Chastain led 99 laps overall, including the last 34, all of which came with Martin Truex Jr. bearing down on his rear bumper less than one second behind.

“[This team] brings rocket ships to the track and I just try to get them to Victory Lane,” Chastian said.

“The last couple of weeks have been tough,” added Trackhouse Racing owner Justin Marks. “We have some incredible people on this team. Ross showed today he’s in rare air in this Series.”

Truex, the Cup Series points leader, was .789 of a second behind Chastain, with Denny Hamlin placing third, 2022 Ally 400 champion Chase Elliott finishing fourth and 2021 Ally 400 winner Kyle Larson taking fifth.

Chastain and Larson are the only two drivers to finish in the top-five of all three of Nashville Superspeedway’s NASCAR Cup Series races. 

“Just needed to get the lead,” Truex said. “Once we lost it, just too loose on the long runs. Had a lot of speed … overall a good night.”

Tyler Reddick (33 laps led) took Stage 1, but dropped out of contention when he spun entering pit road and lost a tire on Lap 138. Reddick finished 30th, two laps down, while Hamlin (81 laps led) won Stage 2.

Among other notable finishes, Kyle Busch fought back from a flat tire that put him two laps down as well as another pit road penalty to lead 12 laps and finish ninth, Chastain’s Trackhouse teammate Daniel Suarez placed 12th and defending NASCAR Cup Series champion Joey Logano finished 19th.

At the end they were all chasing Chastain, who shared some of his broken watermelon with members of the crowd after he collected the checkered flag.

“It’s just so hard at this level,” said Chastain before collecting his first Nashville Superspeedway signature Gibson guitar trophy. “I don’t care about what happened last month or the rest of my life – this is a freaking Cup win baby.”

Chastain completed the 300-lap/400-mile event in 3 hours and 7 seconds, averaging 132.914 mph, the quickest of Nashville’s three Cup Series races.

Twenty-one drivers finished on the lead lap while 12 leaders exchanged the top spot 21 times. Four caution periods took up 24 laps.

Fin Str Vehicle Driver Team Laps
1 1 1 Ross Chastain Worldwide Express Chevrolet 300
2 6 19 Martin Truex Jr. Bass Pro Shops Toyota 300
3 8 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Ground Toyota 300
4 14 9 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 300
5 7 5 Kyle Larson HendrickCars.com Chevrolet 300
6 5 24 William Byron Liberty University Chevrolet 300
7 22 20 Christopher Bell DeWalt Toyota 300
8 23 43 Erik Jones Allegiant Chevrolet 300
9 11 8 Kyle Busch Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen Chevrolet 300
10 19 16 AJ Allmendinger Celsius Chevrolet 300
11 20 6 Brad Keselowski Solomon Plumbing Ford 300
12 10 99 Daniel Suarez Tootsies Orchid Lounge Chevrolet 300
13 26 3 Austin Dillon Huk Performance Fishing Chevrolet 300
14 16 54 Ty Gibbs # Interstate Batteries Toyota 300
15 9 23 Bubba Wallace McDonald's Toyota 300
16 25 41 Ryan Preece Morton Buildings Ford 300
17 15 48 Alex Bowman Ally Chevrolet 300
18 12 17 Chris Buescher Fastenal Ford 300
19 4 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 300
20 36 7 Corey LaJoie Garner Trucking Chevrolet 300
21 31 21 Harrison Burton DEX Imaging Ford 300
22 28 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Kroger/Ball Park Buns Chevrolet 299
23 3 31 Justin Haley LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet 299
24 17 4 Kevin Harvick Busch Light Peach Ford 299
25 21 10 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 299
26 30 42 Noah Gragson # Black Rifle Coffee Company Chevrolet 299
27 24 2 Austin Cindric Snap On Ford 299
28 33 34 Michael McDowell Love's/Fleetguard Ford 299
29 29 51 JJ Yeley(i) Patriot Mobile Ford 298
30 2 45 Tyler Reddick The Big 615/MoneyLion Toyota 298
31 18 14 Chase Briscoe Mahindra Tractors Ford 298
32 34 77 Ty Dillon Raze Tea Chevrolet 298
33 32 15 Brennan Poole(i) MACC Door Systems Ford 297
34 35 78 Josh Bilicki(i) Zeigler Auto Group Chevrolet 297
35 27 38 Todd Gilliland Serial 1 E-Bikes Ford 296
36 13 12 Ryan Blaney Menards/Pennzoil Ford 146

-- NashvilleSuperspeedway.com --