Ross Chastain will fill in for Ryan Newman at Las Vegas on Sunday.
Roush Fenway Racing said Wednesday that Chastain would take over the No. 6 car for at least one race as Newman recovers from his awful crash on the final lap of Monday’s Daytona 500.
There is no timetable for Newman’s return to the car. He was released from Halifax Medical Center earlier Wednesday after showing “great improvement.” Newman was taken immediately to the hospital after safety crews extricated him from his car and was listed in serious condition after he was admitted Monday night.
Sunday at Vegas will be the first time in 650 races Newman has missed one. His consecutive starts streak of 649 is tied with Jimmie Johnson for the longest among active Cup Series drivers and dates back to the start of the 2002 season.
“First and foremost, our focus remains with Ryan and his family as he continues to recover,” Roush Fenway president Steve Newmark said in a statement. “We also want to express our sincere gratitude to all of those who have offered support and taken the time to send their thoughts and prayers to Ryan, his family and everyone at Roush Fenway Racing.
“The NASCAR community has long prided itself on being a close-knit family. That is never more evident than during these types of moments, and we want to express our appreciation to everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing as well as Kaulig Racing for allowing Ross to fill in for Ryan in the No. 6 on such short notice.”
Chastain, 27, has made 72 career Cup Series starts. He was involved in a late pileup in the Daytona 500 when he was battling for fourth with Ryan Preece. The two cars collided entering Turn 1 on lap 200 and triggered a nine-car crash.
Chastain has become NASCAR’s biggest underdog story over the last two seasons. He got a part-time ride with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Xfinity Series team in 2018 and proceeded to win the pole in his first start. After crashing with Kevin Harvick in that Darlington race he then won at Las Vegas in his second start with the team.
That success led to what should have been a full-time ride with CGR in 2019. But the team shuttered its Xfinity program after the FBI raid of sponsor DC Solar, a Ponzi scheme that was masquerading as a solar energy company.
Chastain ended up racing full-time for points in the Truck Series in 2019 after he had immediate success with Niece Motorsports to start the season, and also raced part-time in the Xfinity Series and in all but one Cup Series race. Chastain won three Truck Series races a season ago and finished in the top 10 in 19 of 23 races while finishing second in the points standings to Matt Crafton.
This season Chastain is competing full-time in the Xfinity Series with Kaulig Racing after winning the July Daytona race for the team.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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