RICHMOND, VA – The final box score shows Ross Chastain started third but finished second in Friday night’s GoBowling 250 at the Richmond Raceway. But, that doesn’t tell the whole story.
Chastain, initially did qualify on the Inside of Row 2 but had to drop to the rear prior to the start of the actual race itself for an unapproved adjustment on his No. 42 Chevrolet. So, the box score says third but it was actually 39th.
That could have been a big hit to his playoff hopes. Instead, he drove another stellar race in coming from the back to the front.
By the end of the first stage, Chastain finished 10th. In the second stage, he finished fourth. That netted him eight stage points.
To add to that, he finishes runner-up and now sits fourth in the playoff standings, 18 points to the good. It was exactly what Chastain needed.
The best case scenario would have obviously been a win, but a runner-up was next best. With this being his final start with Chip Ganassi Racing for the 2018 NASCAR XFINITY Series season, he moves to an lower budgeted ride back with JD Motorsports next week.
That’s why he needed to score as many points as he could have in Richmond in order to get a good enough advantage to not drop outside of the top eight after the checkered flag flies at Dover in two weeks. If he can manage this 18 point lead on the cutoff spot, then he will make the Round of 8 in a JDM car.
How big would that be?
That’s why his runner-up was so crucial on Friday night.
In his three starts with Ganassi, he finished in the top two in in two of them including a win last week. He led over 90 laps in Darlington, 180 of 200 laps in his win at Vegas and now a runner-up in Richmond.
He’s made a case that he’s deserving of a top ride.