Trackhouse Racing co-owner Justin Marks announced Wednesday that the team will “preserve” Ross Chastain’s viral Martinsville “car as best as possible.”
The move comes in wake of NASCAR stating there is a time penalty in 2023 for the wall-hugging move Chastain performed in the final lap to secure a spot in the championship. However, this is “not a new rule,” NASCAR vice president of competition Elton Sawyer said, per the Associated Press. Rule 10.5.2.6.A states “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.”
Chastain was running 10th and on the verge of being eliminated from the playoffs last October. He decided to try a move that he did as a kid while playing on the GameCube with his brother—flooring it along the wall.
“I grabbed fifth gear, asked off of two on the last lap if we needed it, and we did. I couldn’t tell who was leading,” he said, per the AP, after the Martinsville race. “I made the choice, grabbed fifth gear down the back. Full committed. Basically let go of the wheel, hoping I didn’t catch the turn four access gate or something crazy. But I was willing to do it.”
He finished fifth and advanced to the championship. Not only did his jaw-dropping move go viral but so did the reactions of other drivers and spotters.
Coleman: How Trackhouse Is Trying to Change NASCAR
Sawyer said there were internal conversations but NASCAR waited until after the season to analyze the situation and rulebook. He said, per the AP, “This is not new language. Basically if there’s an act that we feel that’s compromising the safety of our competitors, officials, spectators, we’re going to take that seriously. We will penalize for that act going forward. Basically it would be a lap or time penalty at the end of the race. That move at Martinsville would be a penalty in 2023.”
Marks initially tweeted Tuesday evening, “Might just leave that Martinsville car alone for a while…” And it seems this will be the case. He shared Wednesday, “So, the good news is these cars are strong. Because of that, the Martinsville ‘wall car’ came back from the race with 90% of its parts re-usable. Which means keeping that car exactly as it came off the track as a show car would cost Trackhouse hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Given the ruling, Marks felt its best to preserve the car, adding “Ross’ move at Martinsville was a historic moment and should be preserved for the fans for years to come in physical form. This sport isn’t just about the balance sheet, it’s about passion and moments and people.”