Chad Knaus has seen a lot during his lengthy career in NASCAR, so it would take a lot to impress him. That said, Jimmie Johnson's legendary crew chief, who now works as vice president of competition at Hendrick Motorsports, was pretty damn impressed by what he saw from Ross Chastain last weekend at Martinsville Speedeway.
During a Wednesday appearance on FOX's RaceHub show, the seven-time Cup Series champ gave his take on Chastain's championship-run-saving wall-ride move at the Xfinity 500. Knaus was clearly in awe of the maneuver, but he also understands why there are many big names in NASCAR who think it has no place in the sport.
"It's spectacular, necessary, I get it that it worked and he pulled it off," Chastain said. "I don't know how I feel about it deep in my heart to be honest with you. I think it's a good one-time thing. I don't think the industry needs to see that kind of thing happening consistently. I think that could be a problem, right? But we'll see what happens."
While Knaus is skeptical about the legitimacy of the wall-ride maneuver going forward in NASCAR, he thinks that this weekend's championship race at Phoenix Raceway would be a more-than-doable location for a repeat. Maybe even from Chastain himself?
"I think you could absolutely do it at Phoenix," Knaus continued. "I think the track lends itself to it, once again, you're going into those corners, you're going to be lifting, you can commit and go for it, yeah. I don't like that, I don't think it's a good thing."
Again, Knaus is extremely well aware of the safety implications of the wall-ride move, which he also touched on.
"I think there's a few knock-ons that I think could go wrong," he pointed out. "For instance, I've seen cars hit with the right sides and climb up on the wall. So what happens if you commit to that, and you climb up into the wall and ship off into the stands?"
"There's a lot of safety things to go on, what if you hit that access gate? What if you ricochet off that wall into somebody else There's a lot of bad things that can happen with that. But, the way the game is right now, it's a Hail Mary move and it's there and it's legal."
It is legal, as Knaus said, and NASCAR probably won't be making moves to ban it anytime soon. But, as far as a repeat goes, while Knaus said it's possible for us to see it again in Phoenix, this time NASCAR officials will be ready. That means the potential for a caution flag to be thrown. Simply put, officials would be forced to make a judgement call on a situation that they had never really previously thought about, which usually means the introduction of more rules. Eventually.
"In Phoenix the track is much wider, and you enter Turn 3 much further away from the start/finish line," Knaus said. "If somebody jumps up there, they very easily could throw the caution flag."
"I really hate that we're in this position and NASCAR is in this position. If there's anybody out there that doesn't like rules, it's me. I hate to put NASCAR in a position to make a judgement call. I don't know what happens [next], we're just going to have to wait and see."
MORE: Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus Once Dominated NASCAR, But Their Relationship Was Full of Speed Bumps
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