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In the update to the NASCAR rules for the coming 2023 season NASCAR have made a move to address the much lauded but equally controversial “Haul the Wall” move that Ross Chastain pulled off on October 30th in the penultimate race at Martinsville in the 2022 season. Rather than add or rewrite the rules, they have decided to basically underline one already in place. We take a look at this decision below.
NASCAR have referred to rule 10.5.2.6.A to state that any “wall riding”, “Haul the wall”, or “Doing a Chastain” as it has become colloquially known, moves will now incur a penalty. Likely a time or lap penalty. Removing potential advantages of the maneuver makes it unlikely to be attempted in the future.
For those that were living under a rock for the last 3 months we will show and explain exactly what that move is here, but a full article in available on the link below as well. It was met with both amazament and trepidation from both the Governing body of NASCAR and the drivers, as although it worked this time ( in spectacular fashion is has to be said) If it didn’t work the risks may well outweigh the reward.
What is Haul the Wall?
On the last lap of the penultimate race of the NASCAR season Ross Chastain found himself racing for a place in the final four, and struggling to get up to the top spots that would shoehorn him into it.
On the final two corners he kept his foot down, hit the wall and used it to rocket past 5 spots and get him into 5th, cementing his place in that championship race the follow week at Phoenix. No description of this “Haul the Wall” manoeuvre we have read, (including our own) has managed to do justice to just how incredible a move this was so you can check it out for yourself on the video below.
11 Minutes of the same 8 second clip ( from different angles) and watching it still doesn’t get old. However as much as we have watched it, we can be fairly sure that the officialdom at NASCAR have put in way more viewing hours than we have, and although undoubtedly impressed with the courage, decimation and let’s face it foolishness, of the move they really did have to do something about it.
Which brings us to now, February the 1st 2023, at least where i am, and NASCAR have released a clarification on whether the “Haul the wall” move, or “Doing a Chastain” is going to be acceptable in the future.
NASCAR Bans the Haul the Wall Move.
So with the statement released (today) doing a chastain, while winning the plaudits of fans and other motorsports, will no longer win you places, points, or playoff places. Nascar has banned the move, or at least suggested it breaks existing rules (saving a rewrite or addition) and will be punished as such in the upcoming seasons.
Nascar rule 10.5.2.6.A ( lotta rules in NASCAR!) states the following.
“any violations deemed to compromise the safety of an event or otherwise pose a dangerous risk to the safety of competitors, officials, spectators or others are treated with the highest degree of seriousness”NASCAR Press Release
NASCAR’s VP of Competition, Elton Sawyer explained that it is not a new rule, and that it can just be applied to this situation.
“Basically, if there’s an act that we feel that compromises the safety of our competitors, officials, spectators,” Sawyer said, “we’re going to take that seriously. 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.”Elton Sawyer Vice president of Competition NASCAR.
That penalty, although it is stated it would be dealt with on a case by case basis, is likely to be a time or lap penalty it was went on to state.
Why has the “Haul the Wall” Move been banned.
Well despite both being successful in its execution and incredible to watch it was incredibly risky. While a lot of work on the safety of walls and catch fences has been done to improve safety in NASCAR they are not designed to be driven against at 100 plus miles an hour. ( outside of video games) and although Chastain pulled this video game move off it could have gone much worse not only for him but for the spectators and other drives in the field.
Had there been a gate left slightly open, or if it had been bent out of space by a previous touch then the video above could have been even more dramatic than it already is. Remember at this stage of the race there had been 40 or so heavy NASCAR race cars going round Martinsville for 499 laps. This means the track has seen a car of some description do almost 20,000 laps.
This obviously has a wear on the track, and if at any stage one of those cars had clipped and damaged the wall before Chastain’s move to the extent it wasn’t as smooth as it was then his car could have caught that, just like if a gate was slightly open or jutting out.
Had that happened the car was travelling around 100 miles an hour next to others, and the sudden impact could have either stopped it violently, or catapulted it across the track or into the catch net.
While crashes happen, often, in NASCAR they should be avoided wherever possible and riding the wall is not the best way to go about this!
Other Rule changes for the 2023 NASCAR season
Although we will cover this is a separate article, seeing as you are here the banning of Haul the Wall came in with a few other rule changes ( or interpretations) of note, and we have listed them here. you can check them out in more detail here on the site.
- Wheel loss outside of pit road: Will now be a 2 race suspension for 2 crew members, reduced from 4 races.
- Stage Breaks removed from Road courses
- Extra minute to repair cars damaged: Up from 7 previously
- Points requirement for playoffs removed: No longer required to be top 30.
- Fire retardant clothing compulsory
- Changes to Wet Weather packages: See longer article.
This is not all of them and you can check out the full changes in the article linked below.
While doing a Chastain may now be consigned to NASCAR history, and we may never see a “Haul the Wall” Move again I think we can all say we are pleased it happened, and even more pleased he pulled it off.
It could have gone very differently and we are thankful it didnt.So NASCARs response of a it was exciting, amazing to see, and lets never do that again is both fair and frankly what most of us are thinking.
At some point it would have been tried again, and although the stars aligned for Ross Chastain to pull it off, it would be incredibly surprising if it happened again without incident.
So we can be thankful we saw it, thankful we have the videos, and thankful we have drivers with that level of competitive spirit, but like a trying a skydive, base jump, or anything else that makes little sense on the surface and think we can say, thanks – once was enough. As Chastain himself said, only right the last words are his, after his flying lap
“Why it worked? I don‘t know, but I have no ideas or plans to ever do that again because it was not pleasant,”Ross Chastain