Ross Chastain to run Daytona 500, Coke 600 in Ganassi-Spire alliance

by Justin Nguyen

Chip Ganassi Racing and Spire Motorsports have partnered once again. On Thursday, the NASCAR Cup Series teams announced Ross Chastain will drive the #77 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE in an alliance for the 2020 Daytona 500 and Coca-Cola 600. AdventHealth will sponsor the effort.

“To have the opportunity to run the Daytona 500 is awesome, and it’s great to do it this year with AdventHealth on board my car,” Chastain stated. “I’ve only had one start in the Daytona 500, and can’t wait to run that race again in what I know will be a competitive car. I’m also looking forward to racing the Coca-Cola 600. That’s another iconic race that all of us want to win.”

Chastain was a busy driver in 2019, running a combined seventy-seven national series (Cup, Xfinity, Truck Series) races, including all but one Cup round. After opening the season racing for Xfinity points, he switched to Truck points in June, from which a three-win campaign helped push him to a second-place championship finish and Truck Series Most Popular Driver honours. He also scored a win at the Xfinity level at Daytona International Speedway. In the Cup Series, he recorded his first career top ten at the Daytona 500 with Premium Motorsports.

For 2020, he will race for the Xfinity title with Kaulig Racing. He ran six races for the team in 2019, with whom he won at Daytona.

Chastain, a CGR development driver, last ran a race for the team in 2018. Racing on three occasions in the #42 Xfinity car, he recorded his first series victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Although his part-time success was supposed to lead to a full-time ride with the team in 2019, misfortunes befell the team after its sponsor was subject to a federal investigation, leading to its demise.

The #77 is not the first time CGR and Spire have collaborated. When Spire was formed, the fledgling team’s maiden start in the 2019 Daytona 500 with the now-retired Jamie McMurray was also a CGR partnership; he finished twenty-second in the #40. In its first season, Spire shuffled through a variety of drivers and recorded a surprise rain-shortened victory at Daytona’s July race with Justin Haley. The #77 finished thirty-sixth in the 2019 owners’ points.

AdventHealth will also sponsor CGR’s Kyle Larson for the exhibition Busch Clash and Daytona 500. The Florida-based medical system, a partner of Daytona International Speedway, has sponsored Ganassi on various occasions, including appearing on Larson’s #42 when he won the All-Star Race in 2019.

“We’ve been a proud supporter of Chip Ganassi Racing since 2016, and I’m really excited to further expand our winning partnership by teaming-up with both Kyle and Ross,” AdventHealth Chief Strategy Officer David Banks added. “This collaboration is something all of our employees across the nation can get excited about. We had a great run with Kyle last year and are excited about the 2020 season. […] We are looking forward to continuing that momentum and success together in 2020.”

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