Most of the racing world, even Denny Hamlin, seemed to be impressed with Ross Chastain’s last-ditch effort to land a spot in the NASCAR Cup Series Championship.
In what has been described as a “video game move,” Ross punched it into the corner at Martinsville yesterday, and rode the wall around turn 3 at an extremely high speed. It shot him past a number of drivers, including Denny Hamlin, and he was able to gain enough spots to put him into the final four.
It also set the record for fastest lap ever at Martinsville.
Was it impressive as hell? Yes. Was it dangerous? Yeah, probably? Does it probably have bigger implications for the future of the sport? Yeah, it might.
I’m not sure if NASCAR will implement a “Ross Chastain Rule,” banning that type of maneuver in the future, but it’s not hard to see why it’s probably something they don’t want happening on a regular basis.
Sure, it’s entertaining as hell, and Chastain executed it perfectly, with the perfect combination of circumstances to make it work, but if it leads to drivers wrecking across the finish line each week, it’s gonna be a problem (especially the safety concerns around the Next Gen cars).
Ross Chastain explained the move following the race:
“I played a lot of NASCAR 2005 on the GameCube with Chad growing up and you could get away with it. And, I never knew if it would actually work. I did that when I was eight years old. I grabbed fifth gear, and I asked off of two on the last lap if we needed it, and we did.
I couldn’t tell who was leading. I just made the choice. I grabbed fifth gear down the back and full committed. Once I got up against the wall, I basically let go of the wheel. Just hoped that I didn’t catch the turn four access gate or something crazy. But, I was willing to do it.”
And while most people seemed to think it was pretty damn cool, one driver was pretty vocal about the move, calling it “embarrassing” and bad for the sport.
And that driver is Kyle Larson… who pulled the same thing last year (without the success).
“It’s just a bad look… I’m embarrassed that I did it at Darlington. Maybe if I didn’t do it last year, people wouldn’t even think to do that, so I’m embarrassed myself and glad that I didn’t win that way.
It’s not just a good look. Not a good look. … It’s embarrassing.”
Here’s Larson trying it to pass Denny Hamlin last year.
Hamlin made a good block, but it probably would’ve worked if Hamlin was lower on the track:
Another Championship driver, Joey Logano, shared a similar sentiment, not going as far to call it embarrassing, but was more fearful of the future use of the move:
“We probably need to make sure it doesn’t happen again because I don’t think it’s quite a good thing, it’s very dangerous bouncing around the wall like that. All it takes is the car to lift up a little and you’re into the catch fence.
As spectacular as it was, as much as it worked, the problem is now the box is open, right? Now every Xfinity race, every Truck race, every Cup race, no matter the track, this wall riding is going to be a play. That’s not good. That’s not good.
I mean, it was awesome, it was cool. It happened for the first time. There’s no rule against it. There needs to be a rule against this one because I don’t know if you want the whole field riding the wall coming to the checkered flag.”
I think Joey is probably pretty spot on here and we can expect NASCAR to make some kind of rule on the move this week, but nevertheless, pretty gutsy move by Chastain… and best of all, it worked.
The NASCAR Cup Series Championship race featuring Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, Ross Chastain and Christopher Bell is Sunday, November 6th at Phoenix Raceway.