(Cover Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
By Adam Carabine
In case you missed it, StatChat is counting down the days ‘til the 2023 Daytona 500. Every two days, we will have a new article featuring one of the 36 charters of 2022.
2nd Place – Ross Chastain – 5,034 pts
TRACKHOUSE RACING – CHEVROLET
379 More Points in 2022 than the Year Prior – Does Ross Chastain take the title of biggest breakout driver in 2022? His stats from his 2021 season in the No. 42 for Chip Ganassi are all dwarfed by his Trackhouse numbers this past year. The most important of them all (without factoring in the extra points given each playoff round), Chastain earned 379 more points in 2022. All of the stats in the world can certainly paint a picture of the talent you possess behind the wheel of a race car, but the only numbers that count are the points you’re scoring – and Chastain did just that.
692 Laps Led in 2022 – Ross Chastain’s previous career-high laps led in a Cup Series season was 62. In fact, coming into 2022, his career total for laps led was just 75 laps. He wildly surpassed that, leading 692 laps in 2022, which also just so happened to rank 4th best of all Cup Series charters. It was an impressive year at the front of the pack for Chastain.
2,073 Quality Passes in 2022 – As has been previously discussed in this series, NASCAR measures not just passing stats, but something they call “Quality Passes,” which means a pass made under green flag while in the Top 15. The idea being that passing better competition near the front of the pack is harder than anywhere else. Ross Chastain accomplished 2,073 Quality Passes in 2022, 3rd highest of all Cup Series charters, showing that while a change in equipment may have been beneficial to him this year, he also knows how to get by tough competition.
237 Stage Points Earned in 2022 – Ranking 6th in 2022, Ross Chastain certainly capitalized on stage points to help propel him forward in the standings. While an early win at COTA (the first ever of his Cup Series career, I might add) locked him into the playoffs, he backed that up by finishing 4th in the standings at the end of the regular season. That put him in a good position through the playoffs to make it farther than he ever had before.
1.6M YouTube Views on the “Hail Melon” – You knew there had to be SOME mention of the Hail Melon in this article! Ross Chastain achieved world-wide fame after using the wall at Martinsville to help him into the Final Four. At the expense of Denny Hamlin, Chastain used a video game move to get around the final corner and lock in his spot in the championship race at Phoenix. While it seems like a long time ago, it really was only 3 months ago. There are countless videos of it on YouTube, but the one posted on the official NASCAR page already has 1.6 million views.
Ross Chastain will return to the Trackhouse Racing No. 1 in 2023. There are rumblings that a contract extension is imminent, though nothing has been reported officially as of publishing.
Coming up next in the Countdown to Daytona series – 2022 Champ Joey Logano!
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