NASCAR: Ross Chastain rides wall to Championship 4 spot

MARTINSVILLE, VIRGINIA - OCTOBER 30: Ross Chastain, driver of the #1 Moose Fraternity Chevrolet, speaks to the media during a press conference after the NASCAR Cup Series Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 30, 2022 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Ross Chastain needed two more positions and made a video game move work to race for the title.

The flagman showed the white flag. One lap remained in the penultimate race of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season. Christopher Bell was comfortably on his way to victory, but Ross Chastain needed two more positions to overtake Denny Hamlin for the final spot in the Championship 4.

That’s when it came to him, a move he learned from playing “NASCAR Thunder: 2005.”

After the race Chastain said,

“My brother Chad beat me doing it at the fictitious, I think it was Dodge Raceway, somewhere in a fake city. Somewhere in Florida.”

It made all the difference because Chastain moved on to the Championship 4 next week at Phoenix Raceway. While Hamlin waits another year for a chance to add a championship to his resume.

I’ve watched NASCAR for the better part of 20 years of my life now, and I’ve covered the series for seven seasons. In that time, I’ve seen fights, wrecks, and leaders blowing a tire in the closing laps. I’ve even seen drivers attempt a move like this, previously.

Yet this time, Chastain made a move that most of us did at least once while playing a NASCAR game, and it worked.

There are so many reasons why none of that should’ve worked. Be it slamming into another car or ramming into the crossover gate in Turn 4. The latter of which he realized halfway through the turn. He said,

“Did not go through my mind as I’m bouncing off the wall, though. I did see it when I was in the middle of the corner, but it was too late. Testament to the wall.”

Furthermore, what drove Chastain to attempt such a move?

“It was fight or flight because we were out. We had already fought trying to stay in, trying all year, right? Everything we’ve done, the points we’ve accumulated, and we fought for it, right? The last pit stop was incredible.”

What makes this more mind-boggling is that it not only worked and he was crazy enough to try it, but it wasn’t even something he prepared for, going into this weekend.

“Our prep this week, it never crosses my mind. I’ve done a lot of sim work this week, a lot of iRacing, a lot of stuff, laps here virtually. Never once did it cross my mind or ever try it.”

I don’t know how much I believe that, considering it’s such a wild idea to pull out of nowhere, but worked, nonetheless.

Featured Image Credit: Eakin Howard/Getty Images