Ross Chastain catapulted himself into online virality after purposefully laying his No. 1 NASCAR Chevy Camaro ZL1 against the wall at Martinsville Speedway, never lifting and charging past his competitors at a blistering speed to secure a slot in the championship round. Trackhouse Racing, who fields Chastain’s No. 1 Chevy, announced that it will preserve the battered Camaro race car as a testament to the historic wall ride in the wake of NASCAR’s decision to ban the move.
On January 31st, 2023, NASCAR announced that it will penalize any driver who attempts to execute a maneuver similar to Chastain’s. Wall riding is classified as eligible for penalty in concordance with section 10.5.2.6.A of the NASCAR rulebook, which states, “Safety is a top priority for NASCAR and NEM (NASCAR Event Management). Therefore, 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. Safety violations will be handled on a case-by-case basis.”
Chastain’s wall ride has been colloquially referred to as the “Hail Melon,” referencing the Chastain family watermelon farm, and garnered over 100 million views in just two days online. In response to the sanctioning body’s ban on wall riding, part-owner of Trackhouse, Justin Marks, released a statement on social media outlining the team’s intent to preserve the No. 1 NASCAR Chevy from Martinsville in its current state as a show car, meaning its components will not be torn down for use in other Cup Series events.
“The good news is these cars are strong,” Marks wrote. “Because of that, the Martinsville ‘wall car’ came back from the race with 90 percent of its parts reusable. Which means keeping the car as it came off the track a show car would cost Trackhouse hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Marks added that the decision took some time, but the news of NASCAR’s wall ride ban helped the team make up its mind on the matter. “We’ve decided to preserve the car as best as possible. Ross’s move at Martinsville was a historic moment and should be preserved for the fans for years to come in physical form,” he wrote.