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Ross Chastain Helps Preserve A Piece Of His Infamous 'Hail Melon' Wall Ride
Ross Chastain returned to Martinsville Speedway to help remove a section of a wall he damaged with his infamous wall ride.
NASCAR driver Ross Chastain is helping preserve a physical piece of the most sensational and viral moment of his career — his famous wall ride at Martinsville Speedway that propelled him into contention for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series championship.
On Tuesday, the Watermelon Man returned to the scene in Virginia where he assisted in removing the scraped and damaged section of the wall he used to propel himself past the competition and make an improbable jump from tenth position to fifth in October, narrowly earning him enough points for a spot in the Championship 4.
According to NASCAR.com, the section of the wall will be preserved, scuffs and all, to commemorate Chastain’s video game-style move. So, it was only fitting that the man himself climbed into a Kubota forklift to personally help remove part of the SAFER barrier he messed up so spectacularly mere months ago. He also took a moment to reflect on what it meant for him, his team and his NASCAR legacy.
“It’s more about what it provided for us at the time,” Chastain told the outlet. “It’s not about now. It’s about the wall and what this will symbolize for us forever. I mean, this thing will never be touched. It will always be dirty, scratched up and scraped to the end of time. And for me, that’s just a good, physical large reminder of what that did. It let us go fight for a championship the next week in Phoenix.”
Chastain took to Instagram to share a highlight reel of both the move and his role in preserving it this week, joining the chorus of fans who have dubbed it his "Hail Melon" moment worthy of its place in NASCAR and Martinsville history. Sure it was literally something he learned to do in a video game, but who's to say where good race strategy comes from?
Well, in this case, NASCAR.
Although the maneuver went viral and brought all eyes to Chastain for a brief moment in time, it’s not something the sport is going to allow going forward. In February, the league addressed the move stating that it will recommit to enforcing rule 10.5.2.6.A, which demands all drivers mind their safety and the safety of other competitors at all times. So, while Chastain’s move at Martinsville in October went without penalty at the time, any attempts by him or any other driver to replicate it in the future will be considered in violation of that rule.
Surprisingly, despite all the stunt did or him, Chastain agrees with the decision.
“I think it was the right call. I don’t want to get beat by it, for sure," he said Tuesday. "I don’t want to do it again to beat somebody. So I just want to beat them straight up."
The driver added: “And the rule cemented that the car and the wall and, like I said earlier, it’s all staying intact. And we’ll be able to use this. This is a bright spot for our sport. It’s a bright spot for this track, and selfishly, it’s a bright spot for me.”