Ross Chastain honors family history with watermelon celebrations

Of Bob Pockrass
FOX Sports NASCAR writer

This FOX Sports newsletter often addresses the serious issues of the NASCAR circuit.

But this is a week off for the Cup series drivers. And we are a few weeks away from the unofficial start of summer (Memorial Day) and a few days from the official start of next week’s summer.

So instead of talking about the number of winners, the pressure to make the playoffs, the wheels coming out of the racing cars, the feud of the week or the silly season, it seems appropriate to talk about … watermelons.

Yes, watermelons. The highlight of a summer picnic. Good food you don’t want to waste… unless you’re Ross Chastain and celebrate a victory.

Fans have seen Chastain destroy watermelons to celebrate his victories. And then he eats them off the ground.

Ross Chastain after his first career Cup win

Ross Chastain after his first career Cup win

Ross Chastain commemorates his first career Cup win with a unique celebration involving watermelon.

It might sound disgusting, but he says watermelon never tastes so sweet.

29-year-old Chastain is an eighth generation watermelon grower from Florida. This is a very organic celebration, very real to him. The more watermelons sold, the better for the family business.

And he doesn’t mind wasting a good watermelon on advertising.

The task of choosing the celebratory watermelon is not up to Chastain or a member of his family. That responsibility goes to Team Trackhouse transporter Roy Miller, who drives the transporter with the cars to all races. When he goes shopping for food for the team for the weekend, he’ll pick watermelon for the smash.

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

“I gave him my advice on how to choose the best.”

In fact, Chastain has specific instructions.

“Heavy,” he said. “They should be heavy for its size. That means it has a lot of water, 92 percent water.”

Ross Chastain wins his fourth Truck Series race

Ross Chastain wins his fourth Truck Series race

Watch the final laps of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in Charlotte, where Ross Chastain took a win after a restart.

So yeah, Miller goes through the watermelon basket at the supermarket to find a heavy one. Often the heavier ones are yellow on the bottom, because of all that water.

“He did a great job, but it was some inexact science,” Chastain said.

As for watermelons that spoil faster in the summer, Chastain isn’t too worried. He says they typically last about a month before a new one is needed.

“They are kept in the air-conditioned truck,” he said. “So it doesn’t matter what’s out there, our number 1 [car] the conveyor is nice and cool. “

Of course, Chastain doesn’t go around crushing watermelons every day. He saves the celebration for race wins and big sponsor announcements, though he recently made an exception when a student asked him to break a watermelon to mark the end of his final exams.

He also knows that after the wins, the fans also want to destroy the watermelons.

“We won the Xfinity race at Daytona a few years ago and I think we eliminated probably 30,” said Chastain. “All night after that game, they get them all over the pitch with people. I try to, if we have extras, let other people interrupt them because it’s cool.

“Everyone knows what it means. It 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 am just watching. It’s really great. ”

In a strange twist, Chastain knows there are watermelons out there that aren’t eaten, crushed, and actually just sit around for as long as possible.

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

Between his two Cup wins, Chastain can’t pick his favorite watermelon success after the contest.

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

But he is learning the key to good success.

“The top of the car. That’s the secret for me now is getting higher. I’m pretty low, so get up off the ground [and] having more distance to break down is good. ”

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What to watch

This weekend, the trucks are racing at the Knoxville Raceway and the thing to watch is whether the race is an improvement on last year’s frustrating event, which never found its pace amidst precautions. In fact, nearly 45% of the race was held with caution.

If this isn’t a better show this time, it would be hard to argue for a third truck race in Knoxville.

Thinking aloud

NASCAR announced Sunday that the Clash will return to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum next year. The February 5 show will require NASCAR to once again build a temporary track at the iconic sports venue.

As I wrote after the event, this is a good move. NASCAR probably saw the things they wanted to improve on after this year’s event and going to another facility to build a track would make it difficult for NASCAR to evaluate any changes, whether it be format, track construction, etc.

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

Social spotlights

They said it

“I am not surprised that we are a winning team because I would not have started this project if I had not thought, truly believed, that there was an opportunity to build a new racing team in this sport that could win. It happened very quickly. That was it. the surprise”. – Justin Marks, co-owner of Trackhouse

Bob Pockrass has spent decades in motorsports, including the past 30 Daytona 500s. He joined FOX Sports in 2019 after working at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine, 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 Pockrass!

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