Ross Chastain begins the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season Sunday in the Busch Clash at the Los Angeles Coliseum, marking the first of 19 appearances for Worldwide Express on Trackhouse Racing’s No. 1 Chevrolet.
Chastain wouldn’t be able to race Sunday without Worldwide Express’s support and neither would NASCAR.
With the herculean effort converting the 99-year-old football stadium that also hosted two Olympic Games into a quarter-mile racetrack, NASCAR turned to Worldwide Express and its sister brand, GlobalTranz, to ship the concrete barriers used to create the track.
Nine different trucking companies were used to haul the barriers from Fontana, Calif., to the Coliseum in Los Angeles. Fifty flatbed trucks delivered 55 tons of concrete barriers on Jan. 9 and 10. Deliveries were made 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. to avoid disrupting track construction during the day. Once the race is over, the barriers will be removed during the same overnight hours and returned to Fontana.
“As most race car drivers, I have never been a big fan of walls,” said Chastain. “I mean we need them and everything, but bad things happen when we hit them. I’m glad Worldwide Express could help everyone out and that’s quite a challenge to transport the concrete barriers around. But I hope I don’t get very close to them Sunday.”
There’s probably few drivers as eager as Chastain is to start the 2023 campaign after he enjoyed a breakout season in 2022.
In only his second fulltime Cup Series season, Chastain finished second in the championship points and won two races – Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas on March 27 and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on April 24 – and finished the season with 15 top-fives and 21 top-10s.
The Worldwide Express driver plans on a better experience at the Clash this year after missing the 23-driver main event last year. Because of his runner up finish in the championship standings, Chastain is nearly a lock to make the Clash field no matter what happens in Sunday afternoon’s heat and last chance races.
Fox will broadcast the race at Sunday at 8 p.m. EST.
Ross Chastain, Driver of the No. 1 Worldwide Express Chevrolet
What makes Trackhouse different?
“I think it’s the people that makes the difference. It’s a breath of fresh air and it’s a place where people really have the opportunity to shine.”
Does it feel any different entering this season?
“Last year there was so much unknown. The year before that I had just signed a contract Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR). The one thing about last year that made me feel a little bit more comfortable was that I had the same guys on the No. 1 at Trackhouse as I did on the No. 42 at CGR. The excitement was high last year and then we missed the main event at the LA Clash and finished last at the Daytona 500. That was a pretty humbling moment to stumble out of the gate like that. We did a reset and got ourselves regrouped for the rest of the season. I think things are a little calmer going into this season. I have the same group of guys again this year, and we have a year under our belt with this version of the car which is helpful.”
You had some bumps in the road last season along with a lot of success. How are you approaching this year?
“I certainly learned a lot from last year. It was an arrival year, running in the top-five, top-10, winning a couple of races in the Cup Series. Its such a small and special group of men and women who came before me and accomplished that. I’ve spent years trying to get here, trying to get my name out there enough to try and get hired to drive someone’s racecar. Maybe my name doesn’t need to be talked about every week (laughs), for some sort of action on the track. Maybe some weeks we can just fly under the radar, without any drama, get wins and top-fives.”
Justin Marks, Founder and Owner of Trackhouse Racing
Did you exceed expectations last year?
“I started this Trackhouse project with the goal of being a championship organization. So, I really believed we could do it. It happened very quickly. To get three wins and make it to the final four in our first year (as a multicar team) is a pretty condensed time frame. The challenge now is making that effort and those results repeatable year-in and year-out. I definitely thought we could win, but to put the body of work together with both teams, is surprising in a way. Everyone in this shop rallied around the concept and opportunity and were committed to it. I was just in awe and humbled by it.”
How do you repeat it in the future?
“To make sure that we are consistent year-in and year-out, its about the people. We have to make sure we keep them motivated, valued, and want to come in every day and do their best work. If we do that, sure we will have good seasons and tough seasons, but if you extrapolate that over time we will be a consistently competitive organization. If we set expectations at the beginning of the year, and we consistently look in the mirror and audit ourselves, and determine what is the next right thing to do, then I think we can maintain where we are at.”
What did Trackhouse Racing do in the offseason?
“This is probably the most unique off season this sport has ever experienced. The Daytona cars are basically ready to go just as they were when they came off the track last year. It’s nice because it has opened up a lot of bandwidth and allowed us to really look at the operations of our company, invest in the culture, people and continue to build a really strong team.”
Trackhouse Racing PR