For the second time in as many days, a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team departed from a NASCAR XFINITY Series entry. On Thursday, Roush Fenway Racing announced that they will not compete in the series in 2019. The cited a lack of funding.
On Friday, it was Chip Ganassi Racing’s turn.
The news comes in wake of DC Solar’s CEO Jeff Carpoff being raided by the FBI last month. DC Solar was stepping up their funding for 2019 and that in turn allowed CGR to hire Ross Chastain on a full time basis for the upcoming season. It was just the third time since 2007 that CGR had a full season entry in the series.
Chastain, 26, had always driven for smaller budget teams. He did phenomenal in his opportunities, but he wasn’t getting any younger. Instead of having the funding to race full time for a smaller team, he used some of it to bet on himself and make three starts with CGR in 2017. The move would show his hand. Perform with Ganassi and it could lead to more opportunities with better teams. Don’t perform and it would be he can’t perform with a top opportunity. It obviously worked.
The Florida native started on the pole and led the most laps at Darlington, won his second start at Vegas and finished second in his third and final start with the team in Richmond.
Now, the announcement from CGR on Friday leaves Chastain without a ride for 2019. His old team, JD Motorsports, has already filled his seat. The season starts in a little over a month and the only few rides that are even available require funding that Chastain doesn’t have.
“This was a difficult decision for me to make and it comes with much anguish as this is a championship-caliber team, having won six races and finished second in the owners’ championship, and more importantly because it affects a number of good people’s livelihoods,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a statement issued Friday. “Running a car without proper funding is difficult to do.”