This past October, NASCAR driver Ross Chastain caught the world’s attention when he deployed a “wall-riding” trick he had previously only pulled off in a video game as a kid to jump from 10th to 5th in an actual race. This move was very cool, really dangerous, and got him to the next stage of the Championship. And now NASCAR is officially telling everyone to never, ever do it again.
If you missed it last year, Chastain’s awesome (and maybe a bit reckless) move involved him slamming his car into the outer wall of the track and then gunning it...because he no longer had to slow down to make the turn. This let him whip around the final turn and overtake five drivers in the process. The clip blew up online and went viral. After the dust cleared, Chastain explained that as a kid he had “played a lot of NASCAR 2005 on the GameCube” and while he had pulled off the wild wall ride in the game as a young lad, he hadn’t been sure it would work in real life. But it did, and we all had fun watching him do it. Well, not everyone, apparently…
Announced today in a post on the official NASCAR website, the racing league has officially made it clear that riding the outer wall to get an advantage will no longer be tolerated. NASCAR isn’t creating a new rule to stop drivers like Chastain from wall riding, but instead will cite the existing rule 10.5.2.6.A:
Safety is a top priority for NASCAR and NEM (NASCAR Event Management). Therefore, any violations deemed to compromise the safety of an Event or otherwise pose a dangerous risk to the safety of Competitors, Officials, spectators, or others are treated with the highest degree of seriousness. Safety violations will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
As such, officials will now issue time penalties to “any vehicle that attempts an unsafe maneuver” like that sick wall ride. While NASCAR seems to agree the move was “creative” and more than a little exciting, it also said it poses a large safety risk. Which it does—Chastain was lucky his unorthodox maneuver worked out, rather than ending in a serious accident.
“Basically, if there’s an act that we feel compromises the safety of our competitors, officials, spectators,” Elton Sawyer, NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition said, “we’re going to take that seriously. And we will penalize for that act going forward. Basically, what it would be is a lap or time penalty at the end of the race, so [the wall ride he did] would be a penalty.”
While before this announcement some drivers might have been thinking about trying out the wall ride in a future race, Chastain seemed over it.
“Why it worked? I don’t know, but I have no ideas or plans to ever do that again because it was not pleasant,” Chastain said.
Other drivers were also nervous about the move, admitting it was exciting but dangerous, too.