NASCAR driver Ross Chastain is in a difficult position this week. He finished first in the NASCAR Truck Series race Sunday, but his No. 44 Chevrolet failed its post-race inspection, and as a result, he was disqualified and stripped of his checkered flag.
Brett Moffitt was then declared the winner, and Chastain and his team, Niece Motorsports, are appealing NASCAR’s ruling. Chastain was disqualified Sunday after NASCAR’s inspection found the front of his truck “extremely low,” which violated ride height rules.
If the watermelon farmer turned NASCAR driver loses his appeal, he still needs to win another race and be among the top-20 drivers in the standings to qualify for the playoffs. And he has just six more races left in the regular season to do that.
“I love the position I’m in,” Chastain told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Monday. “I like having my back against the wall.”
And he supports his team fighting through the appeal process, saying: “We don’t give up.” The appeal is set for Wednesday morning, per NBC Sports.
Chastain argued that he and his team don’t feel disqualification is appropriate here because the height of the truck was not a purposeful adjustment nor did it offer an advantage. He continued on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio:
“I’m not backing down from the fact that we beat everybody. … We stomped everybody’s tails out in Iowa, and I’m proud of that and our Niece Motorsports team is proud of that. A little technical hiccup there after the race isn’t going to take away the fact that we start started 19th [and] won both stages. We were able to drive past trucks. We never got passed once all day.”
Earlier this month, Chastain and Niece Motorsports announced he’d be competing for a Truck Series championship, switching over from the XFINITY Series. And because of that, NASCAR rules say his Truck Series win from Kansas Speedway in May doesn’t count, and he had to start over with zero points. That was with eight races remaining in the regular season.
The 26-year-old Florida native admitted he obviously has a bias when it comes to winning his team’s appeal with NASCAR. But he argued tech ride height when the truck is being inspected is not the same thing as how low it rides on the track — although everyone is still held to the same standard regardless.
Chastain also said that it doesn’t make much of a difference anyway because the trucks are already so low they’re “scrubbing the ground.”
He doesn’t agree with a lot of fan reactions on social media — especially the ones that accuse his team of purposefully making an adjustment after the pre-race inspection — and he called out SiriusXM NASCAR Radio host Dave Moody too.
Comparing it to identifying a strike zone in baseball without technological help, Chastain said it’s nearly impossible for an average person to tell the difference in a legal and illegal height. He continued on the radio show:
“I stand by everything we do. We have something pretty incredible — something that I’ve never been a part of in the Truck Series, where you have a group of guys that pushes as hard as this group does and makes as much speed. …
“In my opinion, I really don’t agree with [the accusations], thinking that we did something during the race. Cars can be modified tremendously and illegally, man. I don’t agree with that, and I hate that that stuff gets talked about because it’s just not the case.
“Anybody in the sport — and you included — knows that tech ride height is not indicative of how low the race car is on the track. And I wish that was explained a little better. And I hate that the sport’s in a point that people don’t understand the difference between tech height and dynamic height on the race track.”