Flashy Racing Moves Explained | God's World News

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Flashy Racing Moves Explained

01/01/2023
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    Ross Chastain rides the wall on the final lap of the NASCAR Cup Series Xfinity 500. The race was held at Martinsville Speedway on October 30, 2022, in Martinsville, Virginia. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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    Ross Chastain got the idea to ride the wall from a video game called NASCAR 2005. (Benj Edwards/Ars Technica)
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    Ross Chastain speaks to reporters on November 3, 2022. (AP/Matt York)
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    Ross Chastain drives at Martinsville Speedway on October 30, 2022. (AP/Chuck Burton)
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Videogames and physics collided at a November NASCAR race—literally.

As drivers entered the final lap at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia, Ross Chastain found himself in 10th place. To reach the championship, he would have to do something fast, fast.

He remembered a videogame he used to play: NASCAR 2005 for Nintendo GameCube. In the game, drivers could hug the wall to slingshot past other racers at superspeed. He and other NASCAR drivers had joked about trying the move in real life. One had even attempted it—without success. But just maybe . . .

Chastain shifted into fifth gear, slammed his car against the wall, took his hands off the wheel, and floored it. The crowd watched in disbelief. His car rocketed around the curve, launching him into fifth place—and into the championship.

Fans and experts alike had never seen anything like it. Even Chastain could hardly believe it. “I have questions,” he said after the race. “How did that work?”

According to Dr. Diandra Leslie-Pelecky, a former physics professor and a contributor to NBC Sports, it comes down to centripetal force.

Imagine swinging a ball tied to a string in a circle. Why doesn’t it just shoot off in one direction? Centripetal force pulls it toward the center, causing it to turn.

But what about an entire racecar going 80 mph? That takes four tons of centripetal force—and it all falls on the tires, says Leslie-Pelecky. When rounding corners, racecars lose precious speed.

By riding the wall, Chastain took pressure off his tires. The wall provided the extra force needed to keep up speed, allowing him to slingshot past his competitors. At that speed, he faced more gravitational force (g-force) than an astronaut launching into space.

Chastain’s bold move received nearly as much attention as the actual championship. A clip of the moment went viral, receiving over 12.5 million TikTok views.

“It’s wild just to try to comprehend how far this has really went [sic],” says Chastain. “People that are overseas in Asia or Mexico, people that don’t normally talk about NASCAR are talking about it.”

Not everyone’s a fan. Some drivers consider the move unsportsmanlike. They worry it will become a common practice. Others point out potential danger. They cite Chastain’s recklessness and the damage he could have caused.

Was Chastain’s strategy a brilliant combination of physics and videogame logic? Or was it a real-life cheat code—taking skill out of the game to win at all costs?

Maybe winning isn’t always worth the risk—even if it makes a great show.

Why? When winning is everything, anything goes. Sometimes we need to prioritize safety and sportsmanship over success.