“I hope this takes NASCAR to the number one moment on SportsCenter.”
On Sunday, Martinsville Speedway hosted the final playoff elimination race. The race ended with the highlight of the decade.
Ross Chastain pulled a hail mary on the final lap at Martinsville Speedway. The move will be discussed heavily this week and people will remember it for decades to come.
With 1 to go, Chastain was running 10th and needed to gain two positions in order to advance into the championship round. Hamlin was running 5th, five positions ahead of him.
As he entered turn three, he grabbed 5th gear. Instead of braking for NASCAR’s tightest corner, he remained in the throttle.
With the car on the outside wall, Chastain rode the wall like he was on ‘arcade mode’ and drove passed 5 cars in the process. Chastain went from 10th to 5th and will now race for a championship next week at Phoenix Raceway.
Surprisingly, Chastain beat Hamlin to the line. He also set the track record at 18.845, faster than Logano’s 2014 qualifying run.
It’s a move that’s been attempted many times. But, it’s never worked. And in this case, it was a huge success.
Ross Chastain walks through the wall ride at Martinsville Speedway
“I’ve seen a quick clip and I can’t believe I’m the guy driving that Moose car,” Ross Chastain stated.
“The first time I ever saw that was on a video game, Gamecube 2005. My brother Chad beat me doing it at the fictitious Dodge Raceway somewhere in fake, Florida.”
“It never crossed my mind. I’ve done a lot of sim work, a lot of iRacing. A lot of laps here, virtually. Never once did it cross my mind to try it.”
“I had a flash back in my head, taking the white flag. I thought, ‘If it wrecks, ok we don’t make it. But, it might work, so I’ll try it.’ “
“I hope this takes NASCAR to the number one moment on SportsCenter. If we’re going to do it, let’s go all the way.”
Was he worried about the gate?
Every race track has a gate to allow haulers to exit and enter the infield. In this case, that gate is located in turn four.
Throughout history, we’ve seen gates shred race cars. Notably, Michael Waltrip at Bristol Motor Speedway.
“Halfway through the corner, I saw it and I had not thought about that,” Chastain stated.
“I did see it when I was in the middle of the corner. But, it was too late. Testimate, to the wall.”
“We did something that noone else has ever done. That’s hard to do, in just the world that we live in. I definitely would not work in a modified but it worked in the Next Gen car.”
“It was some hard hits. It didn’t feel great. The control arms might both be broken on the right front. The great thing about these cars is if it’s not bent, we can race it next year.”
“I think we’ve been crashing race cars here for, I don’t know how long this place has been opened. Is it 75 years? For 75 years we’ve been crashing cars and I just crashed another car.”
“We are a traveling circus. We are a circus and I’m proud to be in this circus.”
Will there be a new Chastain rule?
“When you apply it to the Cup Series, there are rules. There are a lot of rules out here. I didn’t know how it would all work out. I didn’t know if the physics would work, to make it around the corner. But, it did and I’m sure glad it did.”
“I grabbed 5th gear and everything went blurry. So, I had to ask Justin,” Chastain said as he wasn’t sure how many cars he passed.
“I committed to the wall, early and it didn’t slow down. It was fight or flight because, we were out. The wiring in my head, I’m an organ donor, so maybe they’ll study it one day.”
“That’s for the people we have appointed to make those decisions,” Chastain stated.
“I’ve just not been around long enough to even have an opinion on it. Do I want us all coming to the end of these races and just flooring it? No. That’s not what we want.”
“This is a race, a competition. Whether you pass on the inside or the outside, on pit road or against the wall. Yeah, it’s unorthodox and it wouldn’t work almost every other time.”
“In a scenario for it to be worth it to work, like that car’s destroyed. The upper control arms are bent, I had no brakes coming across the finish line.”
“Like, that’s not something that everybody’s just going to go do now. But, I don’t know what they should do. I’m sure I will talk to them this week and we’ll have lots of conversations about it.”