NASCAR bans real-life wall-riding: ‘We will penalize for that act going forward’
NASCAR driver Ross Chastain caused a stir last year when he used real-life wall-riding – a trick he apparently learned on his GameCube (opens in a new tab) in 2005 – to win five places and set a lap record in the final lap of the Xfinity 500. It was a bold, reckless and absolutely spectacular move, and today NASCAR (via Kotaku (opens in a new tab)) announced that no one would do better to try something like this again.
“Chastain’s run around Turns 3 and 4 at Martinsville Speedway last October made for a thrilling finish as the #1 Chevy moved up five positions through a series of turns, earning enough points to advance to Championship 4,” NASCAR said in a statement ( opens in a new tab). “While the move was exciting and widely praised for its creativity, it also came with an increased security risk.”
“I played NASCAR 2005 a lot on GameCube.” @RossChastain explained his video game move. #NASCAR pic.twitter.com/4jkF6BzAgkOctober 30, 2022
That’s a fair point – if anything, it’s understated. NASCAR race cars are fast – the average speed at the 2022 Xfinity 500 was 113.5 mph (182.7 km/h) – and heavy: NASCAR rules state cars must weigh at least 3,300 pounds (1,500 kg) , more than the curb weight of a 2023 Chevy Malibu four-door. Joke about driving in big circles if you like, but slamming a beast like this into a corner wall at high speed is extremely risky at the best of times.
Because of this, NASCAR said it doesn’t need to establish new rules to curb future events, it will simply begin enforcing existing ones, specifically rule 10.5.2.6.A:
Safety is a top priority for NASCAR and NEM (NASCAR Event Management). Therefore, any violation considered to compromise the security of an event or to present a dangerous risk to the safety of competitors, officials, spectators or other persons is treated with the highest degree of seriousness. Security breaches will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
And because real-life wall-riding is completely unsafe, anyone who tries it in the future will be given a time penalty, which will negate any gains they may have made.
“Fundamentally, if there is an act that we believe compromises the safety of our competitors, officials, spectators, we will take it seriously,” NASCAR senior vice president of competition Elton Sawyer said. “And we will penalize for that act in the future. Basically it would be a lap or time penalty at the end of the race, so that move to Martinsville would be a penalty.”
It was a little surprising that NASCAR officials hadn’t made this decision the moment Chastain decided to do it on purpose, but it was such a bizarre (and, let’s be honest, stupid) stunt that it’s understandable let them be paralyzed with shock. and confusion. But even before the rules were clarified, the likelihood of a sudden rush of NASCAR Cup drivers trying ridiculous video game maneuvers was very low: Chastain said after the race that he had no intention of trying to new to wall-riding, “because it wasn’t enjoyable.”