Ross Chastain is extremely passionate about two things: stock car racing and watermelons.
The Chastain family has been in the watermelon business for 12 generations, and when he was just 13, Ross started working on the family's farm in Alva, Florida. Chastain's NASCAR nickname is "The Watermelon Man," — or just Melon Man if you're in a hurry — but the melon-based moniker isn't just because of his family's farming legacy.
Let's just say that if you thought Carl Edwards' backflip celebration was the wildest celebration in NASCAR, think again. Ross Chastain is arguably the most creative post-race celebrator in the sport, because every time he wins a race, he smashes a watermelon. As of now, Chastain currently has eight wins across NASCAR's three premier series: four in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, two in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, and two in the NASCAR Cup Series, But, here, we'll just look at four of Chastain's best watermelon smashes from over the years.
2018 Xfinity Series Win at Las Vegas
For the watermelon smash that started it all, we head to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the 2018 DC Solar 300. Driving the No. 42 Chevy for Chip Ganassi Racing, Chastain dominated on the way to his first career win in NASCAR. Before smashing one of his prized melons on the start-finish line, Chastain was extremely humble in victory.
"Holy cow! I'm just a watermelon farmer from Florida — I'm not supposed to do that," Chastain said. "This shows you anything in your life is possible."
2019 Xfinity Series Win at Daytona
When Ross Chastain raced to victory at the 2019 Circle K Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway, it didn't just mark his second Xfinity Series win, but the first win for his team at the time, Kaulig Racing. What followed was an electric post-race interview, and a watermelon smash of epic proportions on Victory Lane.
Now, you may be asking yourself, "Where does Ross Chastain's watermelon-smashing celebration come from?" Thankfully, he was kind enough to answer that question in an interview with For The Win back in 2019:
"I always wanted to bring watermelons with me, and they are a big part of why I'm here, no doubt about it. I knew companies, and I went to them and said, 'I want to be the farmer in NASCAR,' and they liked it," Chastain said.
"So then from there, we just wanted to do something, and I just held [a watermelon] at Vegas in my first NASCAR win. And then we were talking about it in the media center, and I was like, 'I've gotta do something with this watermelon! I've gotta go smash it.' I just want people to remember it and think of [agriculture] and watermelons when they see me."
Don't worry, Ross. You're definitely NASCAR's official poster boy for watermelons.
2019 Truck Series Win at Pocono
The 2019 Truck Series season was a dominant one for Ross Chastain and Niece Motorsports. He racked up three wins that year, with his final one coming at the Gander RV 150 at Pocono Raceway. After playing around with an inflatable melon with the fans for a little while, Ross eventually got out the real deal, taking it on a victorious trip to Smash City.
You probably noticed that Chastain's watermelon antics after the Truck Series race left quite a mess. So does he just leave the melon guts on the track for track crew to clean up?
"No," Chastain told For The Win. "At Iowa [Speedway], they brought a fire truck in, and I hosed it out. I wanted to. At Pocono, they brought me a broom and a shovel, and we shoveled it out."
Clean up on aisle victory!
2022 Cup Series Win at Circuit of the Americas
Ross Chastain's most important watermelon smash came on March 22, 2022 at COTA in Austin, Texas. Driving the No. 1 Chevrolet for the Pitbull-owned Trackhouse Racing Team, Chastain held off A.J. Allmendinger on the final lap to nab his first career Cup race win. Chastain's first Cup win no doubt came with a whole bunch of emotions, so for this particular watermelon smash, he turned it up a notch by standing on his race car.
Speaking of watermelons (which I've been doing for this entire article), reporter Jenna Fryer just had to know: does Ross Chastain hit up the family farm for his watermelons? No way, he wouldn't let those go to waste!
"We buy them at the grocery store, just like everybody else does," Chastain said. "My food comes from the grocery store, and our watermelons for NASCAR Cup Series victories do, too."
In another post-race interview following his big-win at COTA, Chastain further elaborated on the whole watermelon-buying process before a race and what it really means for him and his team:
"Usually, for this crew, Roy, our truck driver, buys groceries for the hauler every week so he makes sure to buy a watermelon every weekend. He puts it right in the hallway (of the hauler), right in the lounge, so when we walk by we see it."
"My guys know what that means, too. It's not just a watermelon sitting there. It's a symbol of our goal, which is to win."
So, now you know. When Ross Chastain hits the track, he's doing it for the W: the win and the watermelon.
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