Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain just stunned everyone in NASCAR. He went from 10th to fifth on the final lap at Martinsville Speedway with a historic video game move and punched his ticket to the championship four.
Chastain was below the cutline entering the final turn. It appeared that Denny Hamlin would beat him by a mere two points after a back-and-forth battle. Instead, Chastain floored it entering the Turn 3 and rode the wall. He destroyed the right side of his car, but he passed enough cars to reach the championship four. This included Hamlin, who he nosed past at the start-finish line.
“Oh, played a lot of ‘NASCAR 2005’ on the GameCube with Chad [Chastain] growing up,” Chastain said during his post-race interview. “You can get away with it. I never knew if it would actually work. I mean, I did that when I was eight years old. I grabbed fifth gear, asked off of [Turn] 2 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 4 access gate or something crazy. But I was willing to do it.”
Chastain is now ready to pursue a championship. He joins Las Vegas winner Joey Logano, Martinsville winner Christopher Bell, and regular-season champion Chase Elliott. He will now head to Phoenix Raceway and try to cap off a historic season for Trackhouse Racing.
Chastain Made NASCAR History With His Move
The video game move that Chastain learned while playing an underrated console was good enough to punch his ticket to the championship four. It also simultaneously made NASCAR history.
As NBC Sports pointed out, Chastain’s time on the final lap was 18.845 seconds. Bell’s best lap time was 20.297 seconds. This was a distinct difference. Chastain’s lap was also the fastest-ever Cup Series lap posted at Martinsville Speedway.
The fastest time ever posted by a Cup Series driver at Martinsville Speedway was back during the 2014 season. Joey Logano set a record time of 18.898 seconds during the first round of qualifying, which punched his ticket to the second round. He ultimately finished qualifying third overall for the spring race. Logano then ran fourth while Kurt Busch won.
“There needs to be a rule against this one,” Logano said about Chastain’s move after calling it spectacular. “I don’t know if you want the whole field riding the wall coming to the checkered flag.”
Another Driver Did Not Appreciate the Move
Chastain’s move to ride the wall sparked a variety of comments. Some drivers called it “bonkers” and “spectacular” while also calling for some rule changes to prevent this in the future. Kyle Larson, who tried something similar at Darlington Raceway during the 2021 playoffs, spoke about the move during the media scrum.
Larson acknowledged that he probably inspired Chastain back when he tried to steal the win from Hamlin. He also surprised some reporters by saying that it wasn’t great for the sport and that he is glad that he didn’t win using this method.
“I’m a bit — I don’t know — embarrassed that I did because that was pretty embarrassing, honestly,” Larson told reporters. “That’s not a good look for our sport. At all. I don’t know what you guys think. Probably think it’s cool, but I think it’s pretty embarrassing.”