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Ross Chastain Wallrides Into NASCAR’s Championship 4

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Yesterday, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell won the Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Raceway to seal his place into the Championship 4 field at NASCAR’s season finale, and absolutely no one cared. The spectators, the broadcasters and even the other drivers were in disbelief over what happened behind Gibbs. Trackhouse’s Ross Chastain put his right foot to the floor and rode the wall to book his place in the Championship 4.

Ross Chastain’s video game move to advance to the Championship 4 | NASCAR

With the white flag in the air, Ross Chastain was just beneath the playoff cut-line with his rival Denny Hamlin provisionally sitting in the fourth and final position into the next week’s winner-takes-all finale in Phoenix. With Chastain in tenth place and Hamlin in fifth, it seemed like the Trackhouse driver’s pursuit for the championship was about to end. However, Ross Chastain decided to literally ride the wall at full throttle through the final two turns, passing five other drivers, including Hamlin, before crossing the finish line. Chastain finished ahead of Hamlin with the desperation move to clinch his place in the finale.

When asked post-race about the move on NBC, Chastain answered:

“I played a lot of NASCAR 2005 on the GameCube with Chad [Chastain, his brother] growing up and you could get away with it. And, I never knew if it would actually work. I did that when I was eight years old. I grabbed fifth gear, and I asked off of [turn] two on the last lap if we needed it, and we did.”

“I couldn’t tell who was leading. I just made the choice. I grabbed fifth gear down the back and full committed. Once I got up against the wall, I basically let go of the wheel. Just hoped that I didn’t catch the turn four access gate or something crazy. But, I was willing to do it.”

If I had to summarize the praise Chastain received from pundits and competitors, I’d use the words of NBC commentator and NASCAR Cup Series race winner Jeff Burton, “I have never seen anything like that before in my life.” However, the adoration wasn’t universal. Kyle Larson said that the move was embarrassing and “not a good look for the sport.” An ironic position considering that Larson attempted a similar maneuver at Darlington last year and was fired for using a racial slur two years ago. Kyle should go punch some drywall about it.

Though, the driver who lost the most was far more gracious. Hamlin said to Racer, “It was well executed. I didn’t think of it (as embarrassing like Kyle Larson said). These are the rules we play. You got to race inside these walls, and he found a way to do it better than us on the last lap.” Ross Chastain now finds himself in a position to win the NASCAR Cup Series Championship next Sunday at Phoenix Raceway.

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