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Ross Chastain rides wall to Championship 4, eliminates Hamlin

Ross Chastain rides wall to Championship 4, eliminates Hamlin
Oct 30, 2022; Martinsville, Virginia, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Ross Chastain (1) during the Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway. (Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports)

RIDGEWAY, Va. (BVM) — Ross Chastain did what no other driver has dared to catapult his Trackhouse Racing No. 1 Chevy into the NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4 field next weekend.

“I asked off of [turn] two on the last lap if we needed it and we did. I couldn’t tell who was leading and I just made the choice,” Chastain told NBC Sports after the race. “I grabbed fifth gear on the back (straightaway) and full committed. Once I got against the wall I basically let go of the wheel, just hoped that it didn’t catch the turn four access gate or something crazy. But I was willing to do it.”

Pedal to the metal, ride the wall and blow by the competition to gain track position. It’s long been a move made by video game racers, but never tested on racing’s biggest stage. The execution by Chastain at Martinsville Speedway saw him skyrocket from 10th to fifth as the checkered flag flew to edge out Denny Hamlin for the fourth and final spot to contend for the championship next weekend.

“Played a lot of NASCAR 2005 on the [Nintendo] GameCube with Chad growing up and you could get away with it,” Chastain said. “And I never knew if it would actually work. I did that when I was 8 years old.”

It’s a moment that will live on in NASCAR Cup Series history as an all-timer and certainly give Hamlin some nightmares. 

The 2022 season comes down to Chastain, Joey Logano (2018 champion), Chase Elliott (2020 champion) and Christopher Bell, the winner of Sunday’s race at Martinsville. Phoenix Raceway will host the finale televised on NBC Sunday, Nov. 6 at 3 p.m. ET.