Ross Chastain – Buckle Up South Carolina 200 Race Preview

Race: Buckle Up South Carolina 200 (147 laps / 200.8 miles) | Race 9 of 23
Track: Darlington Raceway
Location: Darlington, South Carolina
Date & Time: Friday, May 10th | 7:30 PM ET
Tune-In: FOX Sports 1 | Motor Racing Network (MRN) | Sirius XM Ch. 90

No. 45 Buckle Up South Carolina Chevrolet Silverado RST
Driver: Ross Chastain | Crew Chief: Phil Gould

– Chastain Returns: NASCAR Cup Series star Ross Chastain will step back into the seat of Niece Motorsports’ No. 45 Chevrolet for the next two upcoming races at Darlington Raceway and North Wilkesboro Speedway. This Friday will be Chastain’s second planned start of five this year, coming off a fifth-place finish in his last outing at Circuit of the Americas. In addition to the next two, Chastain will drive the No. 45 in back-to-back events at Pocono Raceway on July 12th and Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park on July 19th.

– Chastain’s Darlington Stats: Chastain has two Truck Series starts under his belt at the track dubbed “Too Tough to Tame”, both of which came driving for Niece Motorsports. His best result in the trucks was a 13th-place effort in last year’s event. Ross has also made nine Cup Series starts at Darlington, posting a pair of top-fives with a personal best of third in 2021. In nine Xfinity Series races, Chastain has one top-five (second in September, 2020) and three top-10 finishes. He also won his first-career Xfinity Series pole here in 2018.

– Gould’s Darlington Stats: Phil Gould owns three top-five finishes in five Truck Series starts as a crew chief at Darlington Raceway, all of which were delivered by Carson Hocevar. Hocevar finished runner-up in the 2022 event, and was fifth here last year. Gould has also called six Xfinity Series races at this track with a best finish of 11th by drivers Brian Scott and Elliott Sadler in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

– On the Truck: Chastain’s No. 45 Chevrolet Silverado RST will race with support from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, highlighting their Buckle Up South Carolina ‘Click It – Don’t Risk It’ campaign. His Niece Motorsports entry will carry the same branding as the race entitlement sponsor for the Buckle Up South Carolina 200.

– Recapping Kansas: Kaden Honeycutt delivered a statement effort which resulted in a career-best run at Kansas Speedway. Despite starting the furthest behind of all his Niece Motorsports teammates in 23rd, he aggressively made up ground early on. By the end of stage one, the No. 45 team had positioned themselves in fifth place, and gained a spot the following run to finish fourth in stage two. Honeycutt would hold onto his track position and bring the Niece Products of Kansas Chevrolet in fourth place at the checkered flag.

– Mosack Victorious in Kansas: Part-time No. 45 driver Connor Mosack took home his second-career ARCA Menards Series victory over the weekend while driving for his family-owned team, Pinnacle Racing Group. Mosack plans to make his second start for Niece Motorsports in the upcoming race at WWT Raceway on June 1st.

– Owner Points Outlook: Coming off their best finish of the year in Kansas, the No. 45 team has jumped into the top-10 in owner points. Currently 10th in the standings, the entry is holding onto the final spot in the NCTS owner Playoffs by a mere seven points over ThorSport Racing’s No. 88 team.

– Quoting Chastain: Of all the tracks on the Truck Series calendar, why did you choose to add Darlington to your schedule?

“Darlington has always been one of my favorite tracks because of how challenging it is on us drivers. I love the tracks that you have to manage all the little details because it feels so rewarding when you hit everything right. Phil Gould and this team have shown a lot of speed at this place over the past few years. Every time I get the chance to drive for Al Niece, I feel confident that we have a shot to contend for the win, but even more so especially at a track where they’ve had recent success at. I’m looking forward to racing there and encouraging everyone to buckle up.”

– Quoting Gould: With all of Ross’ experience at Darlington, are you able to get more aggressive in terms of the setup for him here?

“Yeah, for sure, and we have a lot of good history there. Working with Carson the past few years, that was one of his best tracks and he was really good there. I feel like a lot of our notes that we made over the years working with him can be translated with Ross driving that will make us just as competitive, if not even more competitive.”

About Niece Motorsports: 
Niece Motorsports is owned by United States Marine Corps Veteran Al Niece. In 2024, Niece Motorsports enters its ninth season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Niece also owns Niece Equipment, which has for over 40 years provided clients with reliable products at competitive prices. Niece Equipment’s reputation is built on service, integrity and dependability. The company provides water and fuel/lube trucks that are engineered with quality and durability in mind for the construction and mining industry. Follow the team on Facebook and Instagram @NieceMotorsports as well as X @NieceMotorsport.

About the South Carolina Department of Public Safety: The South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) includes the Highway Patrol, State Transport Police, Bureau of Protective Services, Office of Highway Safety and Justice Programs, and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Hall of Fame.

SCDPS has approximately 1,300 employees serving across the state, providing a wide range of public safety services focused on making South Carolina a safer place to live, work and raise a family.