Carl Edwards had his famed backflip. Tony Stewart climbed the fence. Alan Kulwicki did the Polish Victory Lap (so did Fred Zack, but which is a different story).
But none of them smashed a watermelon.
Nope. That’s reserved for Florida native Ross Chastain — the fastest watermelon farmer around, and the most up-to-date 1st-time NASCAR Cup Sequence winner.
“It is what the Chastain relatives has been in for 12 generations,” claimed the 29-calendar year-outdated, who drove his Chevy to a acquire past Sunday at Circuit of The Americas. “My to start with truck ride was a watermelon paint scheme. When I was coming into the activity, no person understands who Ross Chastain is, so we experienced to just go out into the ‘ag’ market and discuss to people we knew.”
They may possibly not have identified back then, but persons in and close to the activity absolutely know who Chastain is now.
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The Alva indigenous is in the midst of a breakout season with Trackhouse Racing — the next-12 months business fashioned by Justin Marks and Pitbull.
Not only did Chastain win in extraordinary style at COTA — going AJ Allmendinger out of the way on the closing change to consider the checkers — but he is finished no even worse than 3rd in four of the 6 races this period.
But why does Ross Chastain have to smash a watermelon when he wins?
But back to those people watermelons …
Right after every single win — Chastain has six among the Truck, Xfinity and Cup Series — someone from his pit crew palms him a watermelon, which he then smashes to the floor from the roof of his motor vehicle.
It began with his 1st NASCAR acquire in an Xfinity car back again in 2018, and has traveled with him at any time since.
“I have purchased them when I have landed (at a race) if we did not have them,” Chastain claimed. “Usually, for this crew, Roy, our truck driver, buys groceries for the hauler each and every 7 days so he would make absolutely sure to purchase a watermelon just about every weekend. He puts it ideal in the hallway (of the hauler), proper in the lounge, so when we stroll by we see it.
“My fellas know what that indicates, too. It really is not just a watermelon sitting down there. It really is a image of our purpose, which is to gain.”
If Chastain will not win — he was -for-120 in Cup going into Sunday’s race — the trophy watermelon stays in the lounge for up to six weeks, Chastain mentioned. Soon after that, the workforce tosses it (or eats it), and replaces it with a fresh new 1 the subsequent 7 days.
Of class, there have been some shut calls, too.
“I’ve remaining it in my rental motor vehicle just before,” Chastain recalled. “And I just about received a truck race past year, and it was in the rental car. I truly imagined about it during a late caution. No person was likely to know the place it was at, and I was heading to have to check out and describe on the radio wherever my keys were — properly, they’re in the hauler in my trousers pocket in the locker.
“Now, go out to the parking lot — nicely, I did not know if it was the fourth or fifth row. It can be a white Chevy Malibu, just like each individual other rental auto. So yeah, that was going to be difficult.”
Chastain didn’t end up successful that race, but he shut the offer last weekend at COTA, overcoming a shaky closing lap — Allmendinger moved him out of the way to briefly just take the direct in advance of Chastain repaid the favor — to gain his 1st profession Cup race.
The only downfall? He’ll have to get a new watermelon for Sunday’s race at Richmond.
“It is an wonderful feeling, guy,” Chastain said. “Yeah, it really is just been great. This is what we do it for, this is why we grind, to get to this location. It feels actually, definitely excellent.”