Ross Chastain – Buckle Up South Carolina 200 Race Recap

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

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

Start: 6th
Stage 1: 6th
Stage 2: 8th
Finish: 1st
Driver Points: N/A
Owner Points: 7th

– Key Takeaway: Five years to the date of Niece Motorsports’ first race win, Ross Chastain delivered the team its ninth NASCAR Truck Series victory at Darlington Raceway. Chastain, who has driven for the team in some capacity since 2018, was emotional following the finish of the race which ended just past midnight. Team Owner, Al Niece, was in attendance to witness the victory, making it a special night of many reasons for the organization.

– Ross Chastain’s Post-Race Thoughts: Interviewer: Ross, as much as that watermelon smash will be the highlight of this race, the other punctuation was that restart. How much grit does this track require?

“Grit, I don’t know. It takes Phil Gould, it takes Niece Motorsports. We have been trying to win at Darlington. This is where my career changed, where my life changed forever! For better or worse, however all this works out. That first opportunity with CGR (Chip Ganassi Racing) and Spire to put me together with that group and the year before, see me pumping the honey wagon, getting the honey wagon over off of turn two, to now finally getting the Florida Watermelon queen here. It’s Florida Watermelon season. They’ve been with me for so long with Ms. Deborah. And Mother’s Day weekend; my mom’s here, the moms in our group. And to win it with ‘Click It, Don’t Risk It’ with the South Carolina Department of Public Safety. This ‘Protect Your Melon’ campaign is something that funded my career for several years, and now to have these cool moments that we get to have it on these trucks and cars on Friday and Saturday, and it’s so cool. We won Darlington.”

Well, after that epic burnout, you were welcomed with your team and that watermelon. Just how satisfying is it standing on top of that truck and smashing that watermelon?

“Well, Dad drove this up yesterday from the farm. I was down there Monday and Tuesday, and Dad drove these up. He drove through the night to get up here. There’s so much sacrifice from so many people back at the farm and those in the ag industry. That’s why you see me talk about watermelons and talk about agriculture. There’s so much misinformation, there’s such a small percentage of our population in charge of feeding the rest of the world. Not that a watermelon is part of anybody’s every day diet, like I’m trying to shovel this down right now. It tastes so good, but a watermelon farmer just won Darlington. And for everything this means for Niece Motorsports. I think five years ago to the day we won our first race, and we’re back in victory lane!”

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.