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Ross Chastain honors family history with watermelon celebrations

By Bob Pockrass
FOX Sports NASCAR Writer

This FOX Sports e-newsletter usually tackles the intense subjects of the NASCAR circuit. 

But that is an off week for the Cup Series drivers. And we’re a number of weeks previous the unofficial begin of summer season (Memorial Day) and some days away from the official begin of summer season subsequent week. 

So as a substitute of speaking in regards to the variety of winners, the strain of creating the playoffs, wheels coming off race vehicles, the feuds of the week or foolish season, it appears acceptable to speak about … watermelons.

Yes, watermelons. The staple of a summer season picnic. meals that you simply don’t need to go to waste … until you’re Ross Chastain and celebrating a win. 

Fans have seen Chastain smash watermelons in celebration of his victories. And then he eats them off the bottom.

Ross Chastain after his first profession Cup win

Ross Chastain commemorates his first profession Cup win with a novel celebration involving watermelon.

It may look gross to you, however he says the watermelon by no means tastes so candy. 

The 29-year-old Chastain is an eighth-generation watermelon farmer from Florida. This is a really natural, very actual celebration for him. The extra watermelons bought, the higher for the family enterprise. 

And he doesn’t thoughts losing watermelon for the publicity. 

The job of choosing out the celebration watermelon doesn’t fall on Chastain or a member of his family. That accountability goes to Team Trackhouse hauler driver Roy Miller, who drives the transporter with the vehicles to all of the races. When he goes looking for meals for the group for the weekend, he’ll select the watermelon for the smash. 

“Mr. Roy is the end-all decision-maker — and his spouse — in deciding what watermelon goes within the hauler every week,” Chastain stated. “So I haven’t got a say in it. That’s as much as them. 

“I’ve given him my recommendation on how you can decide the perfect one.” 

In reality, Chastain has particular directions. 

“Heavy,” he stated. “They ought to be heavy for its dimension. That means it is received quite a lot of water — 92 % water.” 

Ross Chastain wins his fourth Truck Series race

Watch the ultimate laps from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Charlotte, the place Ross Chastain pulled off a victory after a restart.

So sure, Miller goes by way of the bin of watermelons on the grocery retailer to discover a heavy one. Often the heavier ones are yellow on the underside, as a result of all that water. 

“He’s finished an ideal job, however it’s been a little bit of inexact science,” Chastain stated. 

As far as watermelons going unhealthy extra shortly in the summertime, Chastain isn’t too involved. He says they usually final a few month earlier than a brand new one is required. 

“They’re stored within the hauler air-conditioned,” he stated. “So it does not matter what it’s outdoors, our No. 1 [car] hauler is sweet and funky.”

Of course, Chastain isn’t going round smashing watermelons every single day. He saves the celebration for race wins and large sponsor bulletins, although he just lately made an exception when a scholar requested him to smash a watermelon in celebration of the top of ultimate exams. 

He additionally is aware of that after wins, followers need to smash watermelons, too. 

“We received the Xfinity race at Daytona a number of years in the past, and I feel we busted most likely 30,” Chastain stated. “All evening after that race, simply busting them all around the infield with folks. I attempt to, if we now have extras, let different folks bust them as a result of that’s cool. 

“Everybody is aware of what which means. That signifies that we received. Sunday evening [after the Talladega win], early into Monday morning, there’s a video of a few of my buddies busting one open that I’m simply watching. That’s actually cool.” 

In a bizarre twist, Chastain is aware of that there are watermelons on the market that aren’t eaten, aren’t smashed and are literally simply sitting round for so long as attainable. 

I’ve autographed my fair proportion of watermelons,” he stated. 

Between his two Cup victories, Chastain can’t decide his favourite watermelon smash following the race. 

“I can not put COTA or Talladega forward of one another,” he stated. “They had been each fairly good.”

But he’s studying the important thing to smash.

“Top of the automobile. That’s the key for me now could be getting up greater. I’m fairly quick, so getting greater off the bottom [and] having extra distance to throw down is nice.” 

Looking for more NASCAR content? Sign up for the FOX Sports NASCAR Newsletter with Bob Pockrass! 

What to observe for 

This weekend, the vehicles race at Knoxville Raceway, and the factor to observe is whether or not the race is an enchancment on final 12 months’s irritating occasion, which by no means discovered its rhythm amid the cautions. In reality, practically 45% of the race was run underneath warning. 

If it isn’t a greater present this time round, it could be robust to argue for a 3rd truck race at Knoxville.  

Thinking out loud 

NASCAR introduced on Sunday that the Clash will return to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum subsequent 12 months. The Feb. 5 exhibition would require NASCAR to as soon as once more assemble a brief racetrack on the iconic sports activities venue.

As I wrote after the event, it is a good transfer. NASCAR possible noticed issues it wished to enhance on after this 12 months’s occasion, and going to a different facility to assemble a observe would make it troublesome for NASCAR to guage any adjustments, whether or not that’s to format, observe building, and so forth. 

If NASCAR needs to make an ideal occasion even higher, going again to the Coliseum for an additional 12 months is the proper factor to do. 

Social highlight  

They stated it 

“I’m not shocked that we’re a profitable race group as a result of I would not have began this undertaking if I did not assume, actually consider, that the chance existed to construct a brand new race group on this sport that might win. It’s simply occurred actually shortly. That’s been the shock.” — Trackhouse co-owner Justin Marks 

Bob Pockrass has spent many years overlaying motorsports, together with the previous 30 Daytona 500s. He joined FOX Sports in 2019 following stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene journal 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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