Ross Chastain honors family history with watermelon celebrations

from Bob Pokras
FOX Sports NASCAR Writer

This FOX Sports newsletter often covers serious topics on the NASCAR track.

But this is a holiday week for Cup series drivers. And we are a few weeks after the unofficial start of summer (Remembrance Day) and a few days since the official start of summer next week.

So instead of talking about the number of winners, the pressure to enter the playoffs, the wheels of racing cars, feuds of the week or a stupid season, it seems appropriate to talk about … watermelons.

Yes, watermelons. The main thing at the summer picnic. Good food you don’t want to waste… unless you’re Ross Chastain and you’re celebrating victory.

Fans have seen Chastain smash watermelons in honor of his victories. And then he eats them from the ground.

Ross Chastain after his first Cup victory of his career

Ross Chastain after his first Cup victory of his career

Ross Chastain celebrates his first Cup victory of his career with a unique celebration involving watermelon.

It may sound nasty, but he says watermelon is never so sweet.

Chastain, 29, is an eighth-generation Florida watermelon farmer. This is a very organic, very real holiday for him. The more watermelons sold, the better for the family business.

And he doesn’t mind wasting a nice watermelon on the ad.

Chastain or a member of his family do not like picking watermelons. This responsibility rests with Team Trackhouse carrier Roy Miller, who drives the carrier to all races. When he goes shopping for food for the team for the weekend, he will choose the watermelon to break.

“Mr. Roy is the ultimate decision-maker – and his wife – in deciding which watermelon goes to the carrier each week,” Chastain said. “So I have no say in this. It depends on them.

– I gave him advice on how to choose the best.

In fact, Chastain has specific instructions.

“Heavy,” he said. “They have to be heavy for their size. That means there’s a lot of water – 92 percent water.”

Ross Chastain wins his fourth race in the truck series

Ross Chastain wins his fourth race in the truck series

Watch the latest tours of the NASCAR Camping World Series in Charlotte, where Ross Chastain won after a restart.

So yes, Miller goes through the watermelon bin at the grocery store to find a heavy one. Often the heavier ones are yellow at the bottom due to all this water.

“He did a great job, but it was a bit of an inaccurate science,” Chastain said.

As for watermelons, which spoil faster in the summer, Chastain is not very worried. He says they usually last about a month before a new one is needed.

“They are kept in an air-conditioned dump truck,” he said. “So it doesn’t matter what’s outside, our number one [car] the carrier is nice and cool. “

Of course, Chastain doesn’t go around picking watermelons every day. He saved the celebration of winning competitions and announced major sponsors, although he recently made an exception when a student asked him to break a watermelon in honor of the end of the final exams.

He also knows that after victories, fans also want to break watermelons.

“We won the Xfinity race in Dayton a few years ago and I think we dropped out probably 30,” Chastain said. “All night after this race, I just smash them in the field with people. I try, if we have extras, to let other people break them, because that’s cool.

“Everyone knows what that means. That means we won. Sunday night [after the Talladega win], early Monday morning, there is a video of some of my friends opening one that I just watched. That’s really cool. ”

In a strange way, Chastain knows that there are watermelons that don’t eat, don’t break, and actually just sit for as long as possible.

“I have signed my fair share of watermelons,” he said.

Between his two Cup victories, Chastain can’t choose his favorite watermelon smash after the race.

“I can’t put COTA or Taladega in front of each other,” he said. “They were both pretty good.”

But he learns the key to good breaking.

“At the top of the car. This is the secret for me now is to rise higher. I’m pretty short, so I’m getting higher than the ground [and] having more throwing distance is good. ”

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What to watch

This weekend the trucks are racing at Knoxville Raceway and the thing to watch out for is whether the race is an improvement over last year’s disappointing event, which never found its rhythm against the warnings. In fact, almost 45% of the competition was held in mind.

If this time it’s not a better show, it would be hard to argue about a third truck race in Knoxville.

Think out loud

NASCAR announced on Sunday that Clash will return to the Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles next year. The exhibition on February 5 will require NASCAR to rebuild a temporary racetrack at the iconic sports venue.

As I wrote after the event, this is a good move. NASCAR has probably seen things it wanted to improve after this year’s event, and going to another track construction facility would make it difficult for NASCAR to assess any changes, whether it’s formatting, track construction, etc.

If NASCAR wants to make a great event even better, going back to the Colosseum for another year is the right thing to do.

Social spotlights

They said it

“I’m not surprised that we are a winning racing team, because I wouldn’t have started this project if I hadn’t thought, I really believed that there was a possibility to create a new racing team in this sport that could win. It just happened very quickly. That was the surprise. ” – Co-owner of the Trackhouse Justin Marx

Bob Pokras has spent decades covering motorsports, including the last 30 Daytona 500. He joined FOX Sports in 2019 after a time at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @bobpockrass. Looking for more NASCAR content? Sign up for the FOX Sports NASCAR newsletter with Bob Pocrass!

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