The wall in turns 3 & 4 at Martinsville Speedway is now one of the most famous walls in all of NASCAR – thanks to Ross Chastain.
During the penultimate race of the 2022 season, Chastain pulled an incredible video game-looking move to put the pedal to the metal, ride his car all the way around the outside wall, and pass enough cars to punch his ticket to the championship race the following week.
Well now, that wall is being removed so that it can be preserved as a tribute to one of the most insane moves in the sport’s history – and potentially even add it to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Chastain joined Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell today as the wall was removed, and was even presented with his own piece of the wall to remember the incredible move by.
And Ross also had the honor of pulling the wall out himself – although he probably had to pull it a few inches more than where it was sitting before that last lap.
Speaking on the Chastain’s move, which has since been dubbed the “Hail Melon” in tribute to Chastain’s family’s history as watermelon farmers, Campbell talked about the exposure that the sport received after the race:
“It is amazing that something like this, that we’re not talking about the winner. We’re not talking about anything else that happened on the track. We’re talking about the move that Ross made, the ‘Hail Melon.’
Usually, when something takes precedent over the race win itself, it’s usually not for a good reason. This was for a perfectly good reason. So many people were so amazed by it.
The talk that it generated at the water cooler on Monday was off the charts. The exposure that that got – social media, television, it was the talk of everybody. And it still is. So, you know, it’s just it’s kind of a once-in-a-lifetime deal.”
The irony, of course, is that while NASCAR will no doubt use that moment to promote the hell out of the sport and this year’s races at Martinsville, the sport also banned Chastain’s move at the beginning of the season.
Back in February, NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition Elton Sawyer confirmed that the video game move would in fact be a penalty going forward:
“Basically, if there’s an act that we feel that compromises the safety of our competitors, officials, spectators, we’re going to take that seriously. And we will penalize for that act going forward. Basically, what it would be is a lap or time penalty at the end of the race, so that move at Martinsville would be a penalty.”
So while they don’t want him to do it again, seems they’re plenty happy to capitalize on the fact that he did it once.