You may recall that late last year, a NASCAR driver by the name of Ross Chastain shocked the racing world by setting a new fastest-lap record with a trick many of you will have tried at home in a video game. Languishing in tenth place, Chastain decided to put the pedal to the metal and ride along the outer wall of the track, overtaking five other competitors and setting a new track record at the Martinsville Speedway.
After the race, Chastain explained in an interview that he got the idea from a video game, saying that he "played a lot of NASCAR 2005 which I had on the GameCube.” There was no penalty for performing the trick in-game, so Chastain tried it out in real life, hoping that he didn't end up catching something on his way around. It was pretty reckless and very dangerous, but it was a big crowd-pleaser as Chastain captured the hearts of GameCube fans across the globe.
Unfortunately, the move didn't capture the hearts of the racing league, as it announced in a post on the official NASCAR website (thanks Kotaku) that it will no longer tolerate any other drivers pulling off similar tricks in the future. Whilst the league admits that Chastain's move was "thrilling and largely lauded for its creativity," it has also stated that it was extremely dangerous and compromised the safety of the event.
Instead of creating a new rule for Chastain shenanigans, the league will point to Rule 10.5.2.6.A going forward, which states that any tricks or stunts that "compromise the safety of an Event" will now be penalized. NASCAR is being a little bit of a party pooper with this one, but it's probably for the best to ensure races are as safe as possible. It's also stated that Chastain's trick last year would've been penalized under these stricter conditions.
"Basically, if there’s an act that we feel that compromises the safety of our competitors, officials, and spectators, we’re going to take that seriously," explains Elton Sawyer, NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition. "And we will penalize for that act going forward. Basically, what it would be is a lap or time penalty at the end of the race, so that move at Martinsville would be a penalty."
So there you have it. If you're an avid NASCAR viewer and were impressed with Chastain's creativity at the time, you'd better cherish that memory because we won't see anyone else attempt it in the future. That's unless they actually want to be subjected to a hefty punishment of course. At least we can always wall ride in our video games, although sticking to the road will probably get you better results.
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