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Ross Chastain: A final link in three NASCAR lineages

Photo: Jeff Ames/TRE

AVONDALE, ARIZ. – Chip Ganassi Racing’s NASCAR operations and the No. 42 were laid to rest by Ross Chastain in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series championship race at Phoenix Raceway.

Chastain finished 14th and closed out Chip Ganassi Racing’s ties to the No. 42 which date back to 1989.

In 1989, Kyle Petty debuted Felix Sabates’s No. 42 Team Sabco entry with a 4th-place finish at Atlanta.

Petty and Joe Nemechek were the only drivers to win in the No. 42 before it became the No. 01 team in 2001, after Chip Ganassi bought Team Sabco.

The number was resurrected by Ganassi in 2003 when Jamie McMurray became the first of seven drivers to pilot the No. 42 for Chip Ganassi Racing/Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing.

TALLADEGA, AL – APRIL 27: Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 DC Solar Chevrolet, is interviewed in the garage area after an on track incident during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 27, 2018 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Casey Mears, Juan Pablo Montoya, Kyle Larson, Regan Smith and Ross Chastain piloted the No. 42 after McMurray left following the 2005 season.

Between 2006 and 2021, the No. 42 went to victory lane eight times with two drivers – Kyle Larson (six wins) and Juan Pablo Montoya (two wins).

While Ross Chastain never earned a win in the No. 42, he earned as a place in a lineage of history beyond just Chip Ganassi Racing and Felix Sabates.

Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images

Three generations of the Petty family – Lee, Richard and Kyle – raced the No. 42 in the NASCAR Cup Series. Lee earned three NASCAR Cup Series championships and 53 of his 54 career wins in the No. 42.

While Richard only won twice in the No. 42, Kyle earned six of his eight career wins in the No. 42.

Kyle also cemented his place in the number’s history by being mathematically eligible for the NASCAR Cup Series title in the classic 1992 Hooters 500. Fictional racing driver Cole Trickle’s paint scheme for “Days of Thunder” was also loosely based on Kyle’s 1992 Mello Yello scheme.

With the 10th-most NASCAR Cup Series starts of any car number, the No. 42 will likely return to the sport’s premier division some day. Until then, Ross Chastain holds a place in several important lineages of NASCAR history the No. 42 encompasses.

Photo: Jonathan Fjeld/TRE


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