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USA Insider Race for the Championship

Why Does Ross Chastain Smash Watermelons? Here's How He Explains The Tradition

Ross Chastain has a messy and satisfying tradition every time he hits Victory Lane that highlights his agricultural roots.

By Tyler McCarthy

One of the most famous figures in NASCAR right now is the Watermelon Man himself, Ross Chastain. But why exactly is he called that? At the series premiere event for “Race For The Championship,” Chastain told USA Insider about how his viral watermelon-smashing tradition came to be. 

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While his aggressive racing style hasn’t made him many friends on the track, off the track Chastain has a myriad of people who tune into his races hoping he’ll make it to Victory Lane and do what he always does: violently smash a watermelon to pieces in a delicious and satisfying act of celebration. 

Other than being a lot of fun, the move actually has its roots in the family business, which Chastain explained to USA Insider digital correspondent Stephanie Gomulka. 

“So, my brother and I are eighth-generation watermelon farmers. I just wanted to raise agriculture up and use my platform to spotlight it when I had the opportunity,” he explained. “I thought of no better way than Victory Lane. The very first time I won in NASCAR, I just sat it down because I didn’t know what to do with it and actually a media member asked what I was going to do with it. I said, ‘I don’t know, probably just bust it open and eat it.’” 

Rftc Ross Chastain Watermelon

He said the media person then asked if they could film the smash and not only did Chastain have a ball doing it, but the moment went viral on social media and became a tradition every time he hits Victory Lane.

“I know people root for me only for the watermelon smashing, but that’s OK,” he added. 

With his name being so synonymous with watermelons, Chastain revealed some people actually make the trip to his family’s JDI Farms in Alva, Florida to get a look at it. Unfortunately, the farm isn’t a tourist attraction, so there isn’t much waiting for them once they do. 

“There have been a few visitors,” he said. “We sell only to chain stores so we’re not like a farmstand or anything that we sell to the public. So they get there and there’s not really anything to do or see and we can’t have them there for very long.”

Chastain concluded his red carpet interview by noting that he is excited for people to get a glimpse at those little personal eccentricities and traditions he and all the drivers who are featured on “Race For The Championship" have. 

“[It’s] just more of a behind-the-scenes peek into us as a sport,” he concluded. “I’m interested to see some of these other guys and what their day-to-day lives have been like. There were times when the line producer was like ‘we want more' and I’m like, ‘This is it.’ Right now for my life and my career and where I’m at in life, this is it. This is everything.'"

“Race For The Championship” airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on USA Network. Meanwhile, you can catch more NASCAR content on Peacock right now.