NASCAR: Ross Chastain's daring wall-riding move legal for now

The daring wall-riding move Ross Chastain used Sunday at Martinsville to advance in the NASCAR playoffs will remain legal at least for now.

In an interview Tuesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s show, “The Morning Drive,” NASCAR’s chief operating officer, Steve O’Donnell, made clear Chastain’s move was “within the rules.”

Desperate to make up positions on the final lap of Sunday’s race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Chastain entered Turn 3 full-throttle and deliberately drove into the SAFER barrier to rim-ride Turns 3 and 4.

He was shockingly successful – vastly increasing his speed and earning five positions in two turns which allowed him to edge Denny Hamlin for the final spot in the Championship 4 this weekend at Phoenix.

While the right-side of Chastain’s No. 1 Chevrolet suffered some damage it didn’t even look like it had been in a major accident. His final lap was timed at 18.845 seconds. The fastest previous lap in the race was set on Lap 7 of 500 by Kyle Larson (20.508 seconds).

The move has actually been tried before in NASCAR competition – most recently by Larson against Hamlin at Darlington in September 2021 – but never successfully.

“As with anything you see for a first time, you’ve got to take a look. We’ve had a number of discussions internally about that move and what-ifs,” O’Donnell said.

“That’s within the rules, and believe that is where we’ll be for Phoenix, as well, and then something we can evaluate in the offseason.”

A viral moment

The move has garnered attention – both praise and criticism – from fans, competitors and even competitors in other sports.

Several drivers after the race congratulated Chastain on its ingenuity but hoped NASCAR would outlaw the practice for fear drivers would use it at Phoenix this weekend or in the future.

That will not be the case at least for now.

“At this point in looking at it, it was a move within the bounds of the rule book,” O’Donnell said, “and (we) really don’t think it’s right to adjust the rules when for 35 points races we’ve been one way and throw a wrinkle in it for the 36th.”

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