Ross Chastain used video game cheats to win a championship slot.
On the last corner of the very last lap of the Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway this Sunday, NASCAR driver Ross Chastain was in a tough spot. The seventh-generation watermelon farmer turned pro racer was in 10th place in his Trackhouse Racing Team Chevrolet Camaro cup car.
He was also down in the championship against his three other rivals: Christopher Bell, Joey Logano, and Chase Elliot. Bell himself won the race to secure a spot in Championship 4, but it was Chastain who was the star of the Xfinity 500.
With a move the driver says was inspired by his time playing NASCAR 2005 on the Nintendo GameCube, Chastain took himself from 10th to 5th, securing his spot in the Championship 4. Chastain used "wallriding," a sim racing term, to win his spot. Please look at the footage below, and let's backtrack for those out of the loop.
The Championship 4 are four drivers who qualified across the NASCAR season, so securing this fourth spot was critical for Chastain and his team. The highest finishing driver of the 4 is declared the champion. This means a driver can have fewer regular season points than another but be seeded higher due to more wins.
"Wallriding" is precisely what it sounds like. Players in racing games put their cars into a wall, then mat the gas, using centripetal force to keep their vehicle glued to the wall at full throttle.
The result is usually a bit of a hack in-game, as the car will often simply rocket around a given corner without a speed reduction. Over the years, it's become a meme among the sim racing community, as evidenced by the reaction from iRacing's Twitter account below.
Chastain says he'd considered the move previously, only now having an opportunity to make it work after asking his team if it was needed to get into the Championship 4.
"Played a lot of NASCAR 2005 on the GameCube growin' up," says Chastain. "You could get away with it, and I never knew if it would actually work." Prior to making the move, rival Denny Hamlin was on for the number four spot. You can see Hamlin's #11 FedEx on the left of Chastain's red #1 car as the two cross the line.
Chastain's move wasn't appreciated by all, with some calling for a quick fix in the rules to prevent further use of wallriding, and fellow driver Kyle Larson saying it was "not a good look for our sport." Larson concluded by saying it was "embarrassing."
Opinions on the move itself aside, Chastain now finds himself in contention for the championship after what is undoubtedly the motorsports move of the year, and one that will go down in racing history.