I cannot stress how INSANE this moment was during yesterday's finish to the Xfinity 500 at Martinsville. I say that because this finish had NASCAR all over everyone's timelines all Sunday long. That includes people that love racing, people who are intrigued by racing, or people that don't even watch racing but thought it was bad ass and deserved recognition. Seriously - LOOK AT THIS FINISH
I know they explained it on the broadcast, but for those unfamiliar with NASCAR these days, there is in-fact a playoff system in place. It's actually been around a while - first called "The Chase" and now simply the "Playoffs" - it's an opportunity for NASCAR to reward multiple aspects of racing. Obviously wins are still the king statistic, but other aspects like stage points, passes made, top 5 top 10 and all of that play a factor to make it a more complete system. So in a nutshell, Chastain HAD to make those last lap passes or be eliminated from Championship contention. That's what makes this move so legendary. A last lap, desperation attempt to keep your championship hopes alive and it pays off. Just throw it into 5th gear and ride the wall - I mean look at how cool the on-board camera looks.
So in summary - Chastain IN, Hamlin OUT with that move.
The social media reaction has been awesome. But like most things in the NASCAR world, there are always those who whine and cry and make everything out to be a big bad issue. Several drivers and others came out and called the move "embarrassing" and "not good for the sport" because it opens up some grey area about things drivers can do to win. Those types of people need to calm down and breathe.
Here's the reality: There are WAY more cons to this move than pros. That's just the bottom line. Here I will spell it out.
- Last ditch effort to finish in a favorable spot
- Widespread attention for the driver and sport when it works
- You can only make this move once because it trashes your car
- The move could fail completely
- Risk of injury if it doesn't work out
- It doesn't work at most tracks at all
- Cars are expensive as hell to replace and teams wont want drivers doing it when its unnecessary
SO - to answer those that say this will become a regular occurrence I am here to tell you - it won't so calm down. Enjoy the insane moment. This will be looked back on for YEARS as a legendary move. Can you imagine the scene if Ross Chastain wins the championship next week now? Cannot wait to see how things shake out in the final race of the season. Enjoy some of the other angles of this here and see what the drivers had to say!