Ross Chastain's wall ride heard 'round the NASCAR world is as polarizing as, well, Chastain himself has been throughout the 2022 Cup Series season. But, love it or hate it, Chastain's wild maneuver at Martinsville Speedway is the first time the unconventional move has been pulled off during a NASCAR race, and during an appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, NASCAR Chief Operating Officer Steve O'Donnell gave the accomplishment its due as an historic NASCAR feat.
"We've seen similar attempts but never successfully," O'Donnell told on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "In our 75-year history, no one has successfully done that. So, Ross pulled off a first that we all saw, that I don't think anyone was thinking about. When you saw that, I think everyone has described [it] like a video-game move."
While many drivers out there (looking at you, Kyle Larson) would like to see the move be banned from competition, O'Donnell also made it clear that it was completely above board.
"[It was] certainly within the rules," O'Donnell added. "As with anything you see for the first time, you've got to take a look. We've had a number of discussions internally about that move and all the what-ifs. But it's within the rules and [we] believe that's where we'll be for Phoenix as well and something we can evaluate in the offseason."
Of course, just because the wall-ride move is legal today, doesn't mean that NASCAR won't outlaw it next year or a couple years from now. But, while O'Donnell has already heard tons of driver feedback regarding the maneuver, the NASCAR COO reiterated that officials aren't looking to change things up anytime soon.
"I've always heard from some that said that was the coolest move, don't do anything," O'Donnell said. "It's all over the board. It always is. At the end of the day, we recognize we're the government, it's our job to make the call. It's not liked. And if you make half the folks happy and half angry, you usually hit the right tone with whatever call."
"Where we're at today, we're going to go to Phoenix, we're going to race for a championship, we'll see what happens there in terms of on-track and what's executable and look over the off season like we do with all of our rules. But at this point in looking at it, it was a move that was within the rulebook, and really don't think it's right to adjust the rules when, for 35 races, we've been one way and throw a wrinkle in for the 36th."
As for Chastain, when asked on Sunday if he thought the move that advanced him to the Championship Four should be banned, he stayed pretty diplomatic.
"That's for people that we have appointed, that the sport has put in those positions, to make those decisions," Chastain said. "I've just not been around long enough to even have an opinion on it. Do I want us all coming to the ends of the races and flooring it? No. That's not what we want."
"This is a race. This is a competition. Whether you pass somebody on the inside or outside, pass 'em on pit road, pass 'em against the wall, yeah, it's unorthodox and it wouldn't work almost every other time. ... I don't know what they should do. I'm sure that I will talk to them this week. I'm sure that we will have lots of conversations about it. I will give my point of view and my opinion. But I'll let them decide."
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