It’s back to square one for the Florida watermelon farmer turned NASCAR Cinderella story. After losing his originally planned Xfinity Series ride due to a sponsorship fallout with DC Solar, Ross Chastain announced on Thursday that he will return to the #4 JD Motorsports Chevrolet in 2019 for 30 of the 33 race schedule. The other races on the schedule will be ran in the second Kaulig Racing car, the #10. Chastain has ran all but 3 Xfinity Series races since 2015 with JD Motorsports and made the playoffs in 2018. The 3 races he ran elsewhere in 2018 were with Chip Ganassi Racing’s #42 team where he won his first career NASCAR race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He was slated to run the #42 full-time in 2019 but after an FBI raid of sponsor DC Solar, Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) had to shut down its Xfinity Series program due to lack of sponsorship.
Chastain’s deal with CGR was a victory for all young talented drivers without guaranteed funding. In the current state of the sport, it is essential for drivers to gain sponsorship to secure elite rides to compete. Chastain proved himself by over-performing in underfunded teams in all 3 NASCAR National Series, and gained the attention of a major sponsor to secure his chance with CGR. Losing that ride didn’t leave Chastain with nothing, as he still had deals to run a full schedule in the Cup Series with Premium Motorsports, and a part-time schedule in the Truck Series with Niece Motorsports.
Chastain told Jeff Gluck from JeffGluck.com that his Kaulig Racing sponsorship deal with Nutrien Ag Solutions actually carried over from Chip Ganassi Racing, but due to the team shutting down, they looked for a new destination to fill those races and landed at Kaulig.
Blake Koch was originally announced to be running the #4 JD Motorsports Chevrolet in 2019. Koch had successful seasons with Kaulig Racing in the Xfinity Series before losing his ride after the 2017 season. To try to get back into racing, Koch launched his own company, FilterTime, a filter subscription delivery service. The company was intended to help sponsor his return to racing in 2019, but Koch posted the following video explaining why he won’t be racing in 2019:
Excited to see @RossChastain back in the 4 car. I need to give @FilterTime 💯 of my attention at this time. A HUGE opportunity has developed for my business and I will be able to share it with you soon. pic.twitter.com/mapIGwQNJs
— Blake Koch (@BlakeKochRacing) January 31, 2019