NASCAR driver advances to championship with a trick he learned in a 2005 video game

If I ever wind up in a zombie apocalypse, I know to search every decaying body because it is sure to have ammo or food. Breaking barrels is also suitable for scrounging up goods. These video game tricks really work! Just ask this NASCAR driver.

A NASCAR racer pulled off an incredible and dangerous maneuver over the weekend at the Xfinity 500 that scored him a spot in the championship. It involved running his car into the outside wall and flooring it over the finish line.

It looked like something straight out of a video game, and for a good reason. In a post-race interview, driver Ross Chastain said he learned the risky move while playing NASCAR 2005 on his GameCube when he was eight.

“I played a lot of NASCAR 2005 on the GameCube, which I had growing up,” Chastain said. “You could get away with it, and I never knew if it would actually work [in real life]. I mean, I did that when I was eight years old.”

Chastain was lucky because the trick could have gone dreadfully wrong and ended up in a very serious multicar pileup — because, you know … real life and stuff. However, it wasn’t a decision he made lightly. In a post-race interview, he said he consulted with his crew before attempting to ride the wall. He wasn’t sure what place he was in and wanted to be sure that he “needed” to take the risk.

As he went into the final turn, Chastain went wide and edged up to the wall instead of slowing down and hugging the racing line. Once against the wall, he let go of the steering wheel and floored it, hoping he didn’t hit anything protruding from the concrete like an access gate.

As the rest of the pack slowed to make the turn, Chastain dashed from tenth to fifth place as fast as the friction with the wall would allow, upsetting Denny Hamlin, who was on the bubble. The announcers, fans, pit crew, and even Chastain himself were surprised by the outcome. The wild ride secured his place in the championship — well, maybe.

While NASCAR officials have not indicated they were reviewing the move, as a former race official, I would be surprised if they weren’t. Typically, most racing organizations have rules regarding overtaking other racers. Along with various bylaws involving passing etiquette, we had a blanket regulation that said any driver performing an unsafe pass was subject to disqualification.

I would be surprised if NASCAR doesn’t have a similar blanket clause. Chastain’s maneuver could have put his, other divers’, and fans’ safety at risk. For NASCAR to let it slide would be to invite other drivers to try it with disastrous results. It will be interesting to see if Chastain’s fifth-place finish stands. If it does, you can expect the NASCAR board to review this play in a future rules meeting.