Stop What You’re Doing And Watch Every Angle Of Ross Chastain Making One Of The Wildest NASCAR Moves Ever

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There are no superlatives that are superlative enough to describe what Ross Chastain did at Martinsville Speedway during the Xfinity 500, but I will try: No one has ever sent it more. No one has ever gone more flat-out than Chastain. If you don’t watch NASCAR but have ever played a video game you will recognize the desperate move, though I’m not sure this even works in a video game.

Here’s some context from Yahoo! Sports:

Chastain went from 10th to fifth on the final lap of the race by intentionally driving his car into the wall at full speed. He accelerated against the wall through the entirety of Turns 3 and 4 and passed five cars so that he would have a chance to win the 2022 Cup Series championship in the winner-take-all title race at Phoenix on Nov. 6.

Christopher Bell won the race and advanced to the final four with Chastain, Joey Logano and Chase Elliott. Chastain’s move on the final lap eliminated perennial title contender Denny Hamlin. Hamlin was in the final four ahead of Chastain via points until the final two corners.

You follow that? This is the last race before the championship and the only way to get in was for Chastain to get ahead of Denny Hamlin in two turns. The only way to do that was to slam the damn thing against the wall. This Twitter caption tells the story fairly well:

Is this allowed? I’m no expert, but it seems to be not-not legal. This is of the “There’s nothing in the rulebook that says a giraffe can’t play football” variety of interpretation.

Denny Hamlin, in the purple-and-blue-and-white #11 Camry is the person who would have been in the final four. Here’s what Hamlin says in the in car:

“I guess we just lost on that…”

Chase Briscoe, who was further back, got a great shot of it and had this reaction:

“If I’d have known that had worked I’d have just done that for the last eight laps.”

Fred Smith, Road & Track’s Motorsports Editor, has perhaps the best take:

Ignoring the irony of Kyle Larson calling a video game move embarrassing, I am reminded of some Canadian wisdom:

They don’t ask how, they ask how many.

If you’re curious, here’s Chastain explaining it himself:

Top photo via NASCAR

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85 Responses

  1. I guess the pit crew slathering Astroglide on the passenger side of the #1 during the final stop was a harbinger of things to come.

    . . . no need to call security, I’ll show myself out.

  2. Truly a WTF reaction watching it live. You can’t crash into the wall if you’ve already made contact with it! Wheeled that beast like a slot car, he did. Perhaps Tony Hawk could supply a few skateboard trucks & wheels in time for the next race? The Moose sponsers made a very wise product placement-Tide & Twitter look on in awe. Loved to see the excitement this wrought to fans, both hardcore & casual.

  3. That was so much fun to watch, and it should never be done again. He was so lucky his car didn’t bounce back toward the inside. If someone had gotten injured during this everyone would be calling for his hide. It was legal, it was exciting, it was a movie quality ending. It will be declared illegal before the next race, and rightfully so. Like the old cartoon said, it’s a teriffic act but he can only do it once.

  4. I don’t think anyone will need to make the move illegal.

    I’d bet Chastain could replay that 100’s of times and only succeed the once. With several outcomes that result in massive destruction. I’m assuming no one is going to want to try it because the possibility of losing everything is just ramped up way more than it already is in nascar.

  5. From a comment on that other site, in response to Kyle Larson’s remarks about that not being a good look for the sport: “That was the most NASCAR thing ever.”

    I think Chase Elliot said it best, when he asked “What in the hell?”

  6. This was frickin’ epic shit! Balls and brains together equals an unbelievable last lap finish. This boy deserves the attention of the entire racing world. What he did is the equivalent to Columbus proving the world was not flat…Or the Wright brothers defying the common logic of their day. Jesus Christ, some unreal shit that was! And thankful that NASCAR did not screw him over for freaking out the entire world. I have a new racing guy here to cheer on and by God I think we see a future champion here.

  7. Disclaimer: I don’t watch NASCAR. That said….

    I don’t get it. The guy saw an opening on the outside and took it. Isn’t that the whole idea? Yes, he scuffed the paint and gouged some sponsor signs – so what?

    I just don’t see why anyone would say he did something wrong when in my mind he did his job and advanced position in the pack.

    1. I was wondering the same… best guess is treating similar to now they review on-track incidents post-race to decide penalties. Nascar doesn’t have a similar steward set up so it wouldn’t happen in real-time like F1, but the nature of this move means it literally can only happen on the last lap. They could then review if a driver “knowingly and intentionally made contact with the wall under acceleration in order to pass.” It’s subjective but seeing the above, I think we can all agree that even under subjective measures it is pretty obvious!

  8. This was the fast lane move back in the 50’s, with Hudson Hornets. The outboard frame rails that allowed for the “step down” chassis made it less likely to sustain serious damage, so it wasn’t uncommon for those drivers like Marshall Teague to put the right side of his Hornet against the Armco railing at short tracks and stand on it- this was called “Darlington Stripes”. Must’ve made for a hell of a light show with all the sparks flying!

      1. They didn’t require them, there were drivers using them. Important clarification.
        Also, Dale liked his seat belts “a little loose” so he could shift around and move around in the seat. Did that kill him? No, definitely not, however it was probably not a great thing to have in a crash.

  9. I look forward to seeing how nascar will ban this. Not doubting as such, it’s just that i’ve seen several decades of fi’s appalling misapplication of rules.
    I’m sure nascar can do better.It’s hard to do f***ing worse

  10. I used to frequent a small track 40 min from there. As far as I can see, the only appropriate response from the car owner would be to dress him down proper for bein’ a damn fool who coulda got hisself kilt, then shake his hand firmly.

    He’ll never pay for a drink in that town-that’s for sure

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