Professional athletes will do what it takes to win and a NASCAR driver just proved that. Ross Chastain tried a tricky move from a video game and catapulted himself from 10th to 5th place, which qualified him for the NASCAR Championship. In a clip that's gone viral, Chastain launches his car against the wall of the track during his last lap. And, just like in a video game, the move helped him move way up in the rankings.
When asked where he came up with the idea, Chastain confessed that it's something he's been thinking about for awhile. He recalled playing a lot of NASCAR 2005 on GameCube with his little brother. At 8 years old, he tried the move, but he was never quite sure if it would work in real life.
“I grabbed fifth gear, asked off of two on the last lap if we needed it, and we did,” he said in a post-race interview. “I couldn't tell who was leading. 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.”
So why did it work? Those who know basic physics may already have some idea. Racing is all about centripetal force. Without it, the large cars would simply fly off the track once they hit high speeds. How much force do you need to stay on the track? The basic equation states that force is equal to your mass times your velocity squared, divided by the radius of the circle.
Normally, during a race, the force is generated by the friction between the tires and the track. Going into turns, drivers usually need to slow down because, otherwise, they wouldn't achieve the proper force to make the turn. Instead, Chastain decided that he'd use the friction between the wall and his car to create force. This allowed him to maintain speed, instead of having to slow down.
While the decision rocketed him past the other drivers, who had decreased acceleration, it did create a lot of damage to Chastain's car. This is why a move like this can really only be used on the last lap of a race.
So, for anyone whose parents told them to turn off the video games, Chastain's incredible way of qualifying for the NASCAR Championships is proof that you can learn useful tricks while gaming.
NASCAR driver Ross Chastain pulled a move out of a video game in the last lap of an important race.
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) October 30, 2022
Watch live reaction to Chastain's bold move, which placed him in the NASCAR Championship.
The other drivers couldn't believe what they were seeing.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) November 1, 2022
Watch two NASCAR experts explain why Chastain's move was a success.