Remember that awesome-as-hell, straight-out-of-the-basement, Nintendo GameCube move a NASCAR racer whipped out at the end of a wild race in Virginia back in October? Yeah, well, the fun-killing schoolmarms who control stock-car rules have said, “Nope, no more of that.”
Recap: Ross Chastain, at the wheel for the Trackhouse Racing No. 1 Chevy Camaro, was in 10th place at Martinsville, the shortest track in NASCAR, and needed a top-four finish or he was out of the playoffs.
Chastain deployed a move he (and many others of his generation) used only in video games 20 years ago — the wall ride, where he motored into the corner at top speed and used the wall to brake and corner his vehicle. It worked: Chastain surged from 10th to 4th in the final turn of a half-mile track to stay alive in NASCAR’s playoff format, and finished second overall the next weekend at Phoenix. It’s truly the stuff of legend.
Ross Chastain rides the wall around the final corners to overtake five cars and reach the Nascar playoffs pic.twitter.com/kMEFQRrHLw— James Dart (@James_Dart) October 31, 2022
And legend is where it will remain, apparently. Per NASCAR reporter Zack Albert, Chastain’s “wall-ride” maneuver is now considered a violation of rule 10.5.2.6.A, which encompasses “any violations deemed to compromise the safety of an Event” or pose a risk to anyone participating in or attending it.
“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,” said Elton Sawyer, NASCAR’s chief competition executive. “And we will penalize for that act going forward.”
So NASCAR’s administration has laid down the law: There will be no more wall-riding. Any attempt to do so is going to incur a lap or time penalty that thwarts whatever intent the driver had going into the concrete.
Chastain, in October, acknowledged it was a high-risk gamble. “But I was willing to do it,” he told NBC. He told a trackside reporter that the move was inspired by NASCAR 2005 on GameCube, which he and his brother Chad played obsessively.
Given that the sport literally traces its heritage to bootleggers running whiskey in the 1950s, Chastain’s buccaneering spirit must be applauded. But yeah, if drivers are busting out a wall ride at the end of every race, the novelty would wear off — and someone would be likely to get hurt.