Racing driver Ross Chastain has stunned the NASCAR world by pulling off a move you’d only expect possible in a video game. In the final lap of the 500-lap race, Chastain forced himself into the outside wall and stepped on the accelerator, going from 10th to 5th place in the final two turns and making his way into the NASCAR Cup Series title race and eliminating his opponent Denny Hamlin by 0.73 seconds.
If you’ve ever played a racing video game, you may be aware of the term ‘wall-riding’. Essentially it’s a controversial move where you purposely use the walls on the boundaries of the track to exploit the game’s unrealistic physics and power ahead of your opponents – what Chastain seems to have done in real life.
In a post-race interview, Chastain himself admitted the move was inspired by his days playing ‘NASCAR 2005’ on the Gamecube with his brother as a kid. He said of wall-riding that “you could get away with it” in the game, but that he “never knew if it would actually work” in an actual race – turns out the physics aren’t so unrealistic, given he was able to pull it off.
The move could have been incredibly dangerous, though, and the NASCAR driver admitted that he “let go of the wheel and hoped he wouldn’t catch the turn four access gate or something crazy,” which could have been game over.
Chastain’s move is bound to spark controversy, and we wonder how many other racers will attempt the move now that he’s shown it can be done successfully. Will NASCAR think up a deterrent for wall-riding, or will it become accepted as part of the game?