One of the great things about Fantasy NASCAR is that it forces players to look deep in the field. While it is unlikely that Ross Chastain helped you win a contest outright, there was a lot of reason to be excited about him in 2019.
Chastain served notice right away that he required fantasy attention. Starting 36th in the Daytona 500, he worked his way to 10th without a scratch on his car. While that was his only top-10 of the season, he would later earn a second top-15 on the aero-restricted superspeedway of Talladega.
Anything can happen in the draft and drivers who bide their time can often move up with attrition once 'Big One' crashes thin the field. But that was not all that was going on there. Both former plate tracks rank as Chastain’s best courses with average finishes in the 20th-place range. That means he has had minimal downside over the course of the past couple of seasons and a really solid upside.
Equally important, Chastain never gave up on a race. For a driver at his level commanding a bargain basement salary cap, results in the top 25 are very attractive. Chastain earned six of those during the course of the season, but he was just outside that mark with a 26th- or 27th-place result on six other occasions. Chastain was running at the end of 91 percent of his starts.
Perhaps his biggest recommendation from 2019 was his positive place-differential ranking. Chastain finished better than he started in all but five races. Three of the times he failed to advance through the field were because of mechanical issues.
When everything was tallied up at the end of the season, Chastain had the best place-differential of all drivers with a +5.37 on the strength of an average finish of 28.2. That gave him an adjusted finish of about 23rd and there are a lot of mid-cap drivers in the field who would like to lay claim to an effort in that range.
There is every reason in the world to expect Chastain to be under your competition’s radar screen again in 2020. Last year he qualified outside the top 30 in 31 of 35 races, so you really have to look for him on the grid. Increasingly, it’s been a lot easier to find him in the final rundown.
Three Best Tracks
Daytona (20.3 in 3 attempts)
Talladega (21.8 in 4)
Charlotte Roval (23.0 in 2)
Three Worst Tracks
Homestead (30.4 in 2)
Richmond (31.8 in 4)
Kansas (30.8 in 4)
Victories: None (Best finish = 10th, Daytona 500)
Top-fives: 0 (.111)
Top-10s: 1 (.028)
Top-15s: 2 (.055)
2019 Finishes at or above rank = 19 (52.7%)
2019 Driver Profiles
30. Daniel Suarez