Sanctioning body bans Chastain’s wall-hugging Martinsville move

Sanctioning body bans Chastain’s wall-hugging Martinsville move

MARK LONGAssociated Press

CHARLOTTE — NASCAR has essentially banned the “Hail Melon” video game move that Cup Series driver Ross Chastain used at Martinsville Speedway to fight his way to the championship finale.

Last year, Chastain crashed on gas and deliberately crashed into the wall so the energy would accelerate his car past his rivals. The move propelled him into the decisive final race for the NASCAR title on the four-place finale, and was hailed by motorsports personalities around the world.

But his fellow NASCAR competitors thought Chastain’s trick was both dangerous and contrary to the spirit of fair competition. NASCAR said Tuesday that the jaw-dropping pass Chastain made on the final lap will be a penalty in 2023.

“It’s not a new rule,” said Elton Sawyer, NASCAR’s vice president of competition. “I think we all remember the last lap move at Martinsville in the fall. Brought a lot of excitement, a lot of exposure to our sport. But it also came with a lot of scrutiny.

People also read…

NASCAR cited rule, which states that “any violation deemed to endanger the safety of an event or pose a dangerous risk to the safety of competitors, officials, spectators or others shall be treated with the highest degree of gravity”.

Sawyer said there was an internal discussion about needing to “do something,” but NASCAR waited until the end of the season to collaborate, study the data and dig into the rulebook.

“It’s not a new language,” he said. “Basically, if there is an act that we believe compromises the safety of our competitors, officials, spectators, we will take it seriously. We will penalize for this act in the future. Basically it would be a lap or time penalty at the end of the race. This move to Martinsville would be a penalty in 2023.”

Chastain was about to be eliminated in the playoffs when he overheard a running move he used on GameCube with his brother, Chad, as a kid. He slammed his car against the outside wall, let go of the steering wheel, and slammed the pedal to the ground.

It worked like in the video game. Suddenly, on the final turn of the Martinsville short track, Chastain’s car looked like it had gone into hyper-speed while everyone was pushing.

Going at least 50mph faster than everyone else, he passed five cars in seconds to claim the final spot in the title chase.

He finished second to Joey Logano in the Championship Finals in Phoenix.

Other notable changes for the NASCAR’s Cup Series in 2023:

Losing a wheel will no longer be a four-race suspension for the team leader and two crew members. It will be a two-race suspension for two crew members if it happens beyond pit road.

There will be no more stage breaks on the road courses. NASCAR will still award points at the end of stages, only without the artificial caution.

NASCAR will give teams seven minutes on pit road to work on their cars if they are damaged in a crash. It was six minutes last year before being increased to 10 minutes for the Cup qualifiers.

Restart areas will be increased by 50%: 25% more space before the start/finish line and 25% more at the end. The rule change goes into effect for the first five events of the season and will be reassessed from there.

NASCAR removed the top 30 point requirement for drivers trying to qualify for the playoffs. Drivers will still be required to participate in every event unless they get a waiver (usually for injury).

The mufflers will be used in the season-opening Clash, an exhibition race that will be held at the Los Angeles Coliseum for the consecutive year of the season. Mufflers will reduce engine noise and create an atmosphere better suited for fan conversations.

NASCAR will use new in-car recording systems that will provide more powerful crash data. This is a significant improvement over the black box technology first used in 2002 after the death of Dale Earnhardt at Daytona International Speedway.

NASCAR has officially designated eight locations where wet weather (wet tire) kits will be available in 2023: the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Busch Light Clash), Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Martinsville, Milwaukee, New Hampshire, North Wilkesboro (All- Star Race), Phoenix and Richmond. NASCAR will have “wet” tires in case NASCAR wants to race in wet conditions.

Be the first to know

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *