Ross Chastain’s ‘Hail Melon’ move to sneak into Championship Four will be NASCAR penalty in 2023
Ross Chastain may have pulled off the wildest move in NASCAR history when he rode the wall in Martinsville to sneak into the Championship Four in the last Round of 8 race. But other drivers will not be able to follow his lead.
Dubbed the “Hail Melon,” Chastain used the wall to speed around other drivers to get a spot in the final race of the season. The dangerous move was lauded by motorsports figures, but fellow competitors took issue.
Similar moves will be penalized in 2023.
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“Not a new rule,” NASCAR Vice President of Competition Elton Sawyer said. “I think we all remember the last-lap move at Martinsville in the fall. Brought a great deal of excitement, a great deal of exposure to our sport. But it also came with some scrutiny.
“This is not new language. Basically if there’s an act that we feel that’s compromising the safety of our competitors, officials, spectators, we’re going to take that seriously. We will penalize for that act going forward. Basically it would be a lap or time penalty at the end of the race. That move at Martinsville would be a penalty in 2023.”
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NASCAR cited rule 10.5.2.6.A, which states, “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.”
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Chastain finished second to Joey Logano for the championship.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.