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DARLINGTON, S.C.– Ross Chastain held his head high as fireworks went off around the track following Sunday evening’s Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

Chastain completed tops amongst non-playoff vehicle drivers as the NASCAR Mug Series opened up its 10-race postseason stretch at the 1.366-mile South Carolina oval. The third-place outcome confirmed that Chastain and also the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing group could be surrounding a potential race victory before Trackhouse Competing absorbs the operation in 2022 and also Chastain becomes the second driver alongside Daniel Suarez.

However it was who Chastain was racing against at the end that added an added pep to his step– Kyle Larson.

“It was truly amazing to claim we were close on rate to the 5 auto,” Chastain stated. “That’s crazy. We were close at Nashville (Superspeedway) and we were close below. Similar bundle, you understand, you see a fad. We’ll keep functioning on that.”

The race rebooted for the last time on Lap 331 of the 367-lap, 500-mile marathon occasion, and Chastain elected to take the inside lane with the Choose Policy, which shed him a number of areas and lined him up with a row separating him from race victor Denny Hamlin and Larson at the front. It was lessons learned from earlier in the race that moved him to make that instant choice.

“Previously in the race, I rebooted 2nd alongside Kyle and I simply lit ’em up and I have actually fought with that essentially my entire profession,” Chastain claimed. “I have actually been functioning at it yet I simply didn’t get a great launch, then I was just extremely paranoid because I was running 3rd, took second and afterwards I went back to sixth. I thought I would cut my losses the remainder of the night. Made a pact with myself after that and also I needed to stick to it due to the fact that I claimed I was going to take third if I ever before had the chance again, and also I did.”

Chastain described that he was “simply on ice” on the outdoors groove, so a possible pass on Larson for second in the closing laps needed to have actually happened in the lower groove. It was his expertise on restarts that admittedly requires work.

“It wasn’t the tire wear, it was what’s finest for me,” Chastain said. “The bottom was the very best for me, although I surrendered a row and surrendered a spot I understand looking at the sheet, however we would certainly have been in 5th or sixth if I had taken the outside. I’ve reached improve at restarts.”

The top-five result was Chastain’s third of the 2021 season as well as the first because his 2nd location in July at Nashville.

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