Drivers don’t all agree with Chastain’s move at the end of Sunday’s Xfinity 500, call for NASCAR to take action before Phoenix

MARTINSVILLE, VA — Ross Chastain used a move that he learned playing video games and made a highlight reel moment that will be remembered for decades to come on the final lap of Sunday’s Xfinity 500 at the Martinsville (VA) Speedway.

However, if some drivers have a say about it, this will be the first and last time we see a maneuver made like that. I get both sides of the coin here though. On the surface, it was exhilarating. It was ballsy. It was as good as they come.

“I’m an organ donor, Chastain said of the move and what could have gone wrong.

Chastain was 10th on the final lap. Denny Hamlin was 5th. Chastain needed 2 more spots but the two spots were well ahead. So, he did the move he did in a video game and oddly enough, it worked.

Chastain shot out of a cannon and looked like he was on fast forward compared to everyone else and went from 10th to 5th (later 4th after Brad Keselowski was disqualified) to beat Hamlin by 4 points and in his first season with Trackhouse, is going to the Championship 4.

That lap he turned was a track record at that. He went 18.845-seconds which beat Joey Logano’s pole record from 2014 (18.898-seconds). The fastest lap in the 75 year history of the track and two seconds quicker than the top lap of the race.

“Oh, played a lot of NASCAR 2005 on the game cube with Chad (his brother) growing up. You can get away with it. I never knew if it would actually work,” Chastain admitted after the race.

“I mean, I did that when I was eight years old. I grabbed fifth gear, asked off of two on the last lap if we needed it, and we did. I couldn’t tell who was leading. I made the choice, grabbed fifth gear down the back. Full committed. Basically let go of the wheel, hoping I didn’t catch the turn four access gate or something crazy. But I was willing to do it.”

It was a move praised by some.

“Great move. Brilliant,” said Hamlin. “Certainly a great move. When you have no other choice, it certainly is easy to do that. But well executed.”

Chase Briscoe agreed.

“Yeah, I probably needed less laps, that would have been nice,” Briscoe said. “If I would have known that move Ross did, I move done that (laughter).

“He was behind me. Probably 10 car lengths behind me. My spotter told me I think he was needing a point. I saw him coming, I was like, oh, my gosh, he’s cleaning me out here, coming wide open. I saw him go to the wall. I was pretty amazed. I was just cringing when he got to the gate off of four.

“I think all of us have done it on some video games, whatnot. He executed it well. Curious to see what kind worm hole that opens up at the end of these races going forward.”

That’s exactly why this move will be discussed. Who’s to say it won’t happen again and become a last lap norm? There’s a reason we’ve never seen this happen before and to why it looked as crazy as it did. It truly did look like a video game. Is that what we want NASCAR’s premiere series to truly look like?

Kyle Larson doesn’t think so calling it embarrassing. Joey Logano sided with Larson on this topic.

“We all did it as kids,” said Logano. “We all did it in the video game. That’s how you made speed in the video game, that’s what you did (smiling).

“Something we all thought about at one point. At least I thought about it a lot, but never really had the need to do it. Also kind of thought of how many races I could have won here by doing that.

“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 don’t know if it’s the safest thing for the driver or the fans when you have a car right up at the wall hauling the mail like that. What if that fence, gate, wasn’t closed all the way? What if it was bent and caught his car? That’s a big risk that Ross was willing to take. God bless him, that’s awesome.

“I don’t think we need to do that every week.”

His teammate Ryan Blaney noted that he saw the move and said why not do that every week?

“I just saw it and I guess I wish I should have done it.  I guess we’ll all start doing it now coming down to the end of the race,” he says.

Could it happen next week for a championship?

“That’s why I’m saying we probably need to do something about it before next week,” Logano said. “Like I said, the box is open now. It’s going to continue to happen until we do something about it.

“Yeah, I mean, Phoenix presents the opportunity for it, too. A little different entry point and all that. But, yeah, when you’re going for a championship, you’re probably going to do it.

“You’re leading going into the last corner, you’re going to put it in the wall? Geez. It’s cool, it happened once, we don’t need to make this a thing.

“We can’t make it a thing. I mean, hey, the first time it happens, that’s pretty awesome. I mean, if that don’t make SportsCenter’s top 10 plays, I don’t know what does. Race into a championship, that’s crazy.

“I haven’t really talked to Ross. I don’t know how he feels about it. You think about getting bounced off the wall like that, your head is bouncing around like crazy. You touch the fence, there’s no suspension between the car and the fence. You know what I mean? It’s really rough if you start riding the wall like that.

“Like I said, we need to do something about it. It was awesome. If we did it every week, it wouldn’t be very professional at all. But since this is the first time, hey, more power to him.”

Logano warns that it’s not just about the championship, you could literally do this move at any track.

“It can happen anywhere. We’ve seen it happen at Darlington. It has nothing to do with the composite body. The body actually looks pretty good on the thing after doing that. The car doesn’t look that bad (smiling).

“You never need it to run another lap once you commit to do that. You can do that with a steel body, too, because you’re never going to do it again so… Yeah, body had nothing to do with it.”

As far as what stance NASCAR can take to regulate this?

“I mean, I think it’s pretty easy: you can’t hit the wall and gain a position. I think that’s a pretty simple way of looking at it. It’s kind of a dumbed-down version. If you hit the wall, you gain a spot, you should be at the tail end of the field,” he said.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s