NASCAR Cup Series drivers racing in the Xfinity Series and lower is a fairly touchy subject, but two reasons why it happens are to help them gain experience on a certain track ahead of their main series’ race and give multi-driver Xfinity teams a chance to win races and gain owner points. For Saturday’s Pit Boss 250 at Circuit of the Americas, DGM Racing and SS-Green Light Racing have turned over the #92 Chevrolet Camaro and #07 Ford Mustang to Ross Chastain and Cole Custer, respectively.
Now in his sophomore season as a permanent Cup driver, Chastain has enjoyed a strong start to 2022 as a member of Trackhouse Racing Team. Despite poor finishes in the first two races, he is riding a streak of three top-three finishes in which he led the most laps at Las Vegas and placed second in the two most recent rounds.
At the inaugural COTA weekend in 2021, he took over SSGLR’s #07 for the Xfinity race in place of an injured Joe Graf Jr. and finished thirtieth. The next day, he was fourth in the Cup race. In nineteen career Xfinity road course races, he has four top tens with a best finish of fifth at the Charlotte Roval in 2020. Among his twelve Cup starts on such courses, he has three top tens including the COTA finish.
Chastain has raced in the Xfinity Series since 2014, including full-time campaigns from 2015 to 2018 and in 2020. His last Xfinity campaign saw him place seventh in points as he led all drivers in top tens with twenty-seven in thirty-three tries.
“Ross is a very talented racer, and we’re thrilled for the opportunity to work with him,” said DGM owner Mario Gosselin. “Ross’ recent accomplishments in the Cup Series are truly impressive. We’re humbled and extremely thankful to have him in the #92 this weekend.”
“I love to race, I love to compete. When Mario called and offered me an opportunity to drive his #92 Chevrolet, it was without hesitation, ‘Absolutely yes,'” commented Chastain. “We’ve had three solid races in a row on the Cup side with Trackhouse Racing. COTA is a challenging track, and the more seat time I can get before hopping in the #1 Trackhouse Chevrolet on Sunday, the better. I can’t thank Justin (Marks, Trackhouse owner) and Ty (Norris, TRT president) enough for allowing me to be true to myself and race whenever the opportunity presents itself. I’ve always had a lot of respect for what the DGM Racing group does week-in and week-out and it’ll be fun going to battle with them Saturday at COTA.”
All three DGM cars have been filled by multiple drivers in 2022. The #92 was piloted by Kyle Weatherman in the first five races, during which he finished eighth at Atlanta.
Custer visited Victory Lane in the #07 at Fontana in February, where he led eighty of 165 laps en route to SSGLR’s first win. The #07 is usually driven by Graf, who moves to the #08 for COTA.
SSGLR has an alliance with Custer’s Cup team Stewart-Haas Racing, which allowed the organisation to field the #17 for him at the 2021 COTA race alongside Rick Ware Racing. He finished that race in seventh before being involved in a massive wreck in the Cup event.
Custer, who finished runner-up in the Xfinity championship twice in 2018 and 2019 before graduating to the Cup Series, has top tens in all but two of his twelve Xfinity road starts; his best finish is fourth at Road America in 2018. As a Cup driver, his lone RC top ten in nine tries is a ninth at Charlotte in 2020.
Chastain and Custer are among three Cup drivers entered in the Pit Boss 250 as Bubba Wallace will drive the #18 for Joe Gibbs Racing. As Wallace is in a Toyota, all three manufacturers will have a Cup driver in the race. The inaugural Pit Boss 250 in 2021 was also won by a Cup veteran in Kyle Busch.