Ross Chastain went from 10th to 5th on final lap at Martinsville Speedway; Setting a speed faster than the pole while riding the wall
On Sunday, Martinsville Speedway hosted the final playoff elimination race for the NASCAR Cup Series. 8 drivers entered the event with four set to be eliminated ahead of next week’s championship race at Phoenix Raceway.
Watch the Ross Chastain wall riding video from Martinsville Speedway below.
Denny Hamlin and Ross Chastain found themselves in a battle for the 4th and final transfer spot into the championship. Hamlin sat above to cutline for most of the day. However, a slow pit stop ahead of the final restart put Chastain ahead of Hamlin.
With 21 to go, Hamlin shoved Chastain out of the groove for 11th. Chastain shoved him back then ran him wide off the corner. However, Hamlin was able to complete the pass.
With 10 to go, Hamlin had climbed to 8th.
With 3 to go, the two drivers were once again tied for the final playoff spot. Hamlin shoved Byron, taking 5th away. Hamlin was set to advance.
However, on the final lap, Chastain ran 10th. But, as he entered turn three, he grabbed 5th gear. He then stayed in the throttle. He didn’t brake or even lift for the corner.
Instead, Chastain rode the wall with his foot to the floor. The move didn’t even look real but Chastain jumped from 10th all the way to 5th, passing Hamlin at the line.
The official laptime is 18.845 seconds from Ross Chastain. Kyle Larson started from the pole after turning a 19.709 laptime in Saturday qualifying. Joey Logano set the track record in qualifying back in 2014 with a 18.898.
The move has been attempted many times but it’s never been successful. This is a first and you can watch the amazing video below.
Ross Chastain comments after wall riding
“I played a lot of NASCAR 2005 on the Gamecube with Chad and you could get away with it,” Ross Chastain told NBC Sports after the move.
Chastain added, “I never knew if it would actually work. I did that when I was 8 years old.”
“I asked off turn two on the last lap if we needed it. We did. I couldn’t tell who was leading, just made the choice.”
“I grabbed 5th gear down the backstretch and full committed. Once I got ahold of the wall, I basically let go of the wheel.”
“I just hoped that I didn’t catch the turn four access gate or something crazy. But, I was willing to do it.”
“All we asked for is a chance,” Chastain added as he’ll race for a championship next week.
Denny Hamlin comments after being eliminated
“We just didn’t control the race when we had control of it,” Hamlin stated.
“I was actually somewhat happy with how clean it was toward the end there. As crazy as it was with guys on different tires.”
Hamlin said of the move, “It was a great move, brilliant. I mean, when you have no other choice it certainly is easier to do that. But, well executed.”
NASCAR industry reacts to the move
Kyle Larson: “I’m embarrassed that I did [the same move before] because that was pretty embarrassing,” Larson told Matt Weaver.
Larson added, “That’s not a good look for out sport, at all. I think it’s pretty embarrassing.”
Chase Briscoe: “I should have used the wall. That would have been a pretty good deal to use. I thought about it in the past just never was brave enough to do it.”
“He was probably 10 car lengths behind me and my spotter told me he needed a point. So, I was looking in my mirror to make sure I wasn’t about to get drove through. I saw him coming and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, he’s cleaning me out here.’ “
Briscoe added, “Then, I saw him go to the wall and I was pretty amazed. I was cringing when he got to the gate off turn four. I think all of us have done it on some video games. He executed it well and I’m curious to see what kinda wormhole that opens up at the end of these races.”
Carson Hocevar: “Definitely gonna be a Ross Chastain rule added after that.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr: “We’ve seen it before. But, I don’t think we’ve ever seen it work.”
Anthony Alfredo: “So, iRacing turns out to be even more realistic than I thought.”
Rodney Childers: “New track record… Ross Chastain … 18.845.”
Kenny Wallace: “Carl Edwards tried it at Kansas City years ago. But Ross Chastain made it work. One of the most amazing racing moves I’ve ever seen in auto racing history.”