NASCAR

Ross Chastain pulls Game Cube move to make Phoenix championship

Oct 30, 2022, 4:10 PM | Updated: 5:06 pm
Ross Chastain, driver of the #1 Moose Fraternity Chevrolet, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Xfi...
Ross Chastain, driver of the #1 Moose Fraternity Chevrolet, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 30, 2022 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)
(Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)

Christopher Bell won his way into NASCAR’s championship race, while Ross Chastain used a move more suited for a video game to also advance in Sunday’s thrilling regular season finale at Martinsville Speedway.

Bell had to win to advance to the final four next week at Phoenix Raceway and he pulled it off to give Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota one spot in the finale. Bell also won on the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course in the final race of the second round of the playoffs, so has now twice advanced with victories.

The final four drivers in the Cup Series winner-take-all finale are Joe Logano, Bell, Chase Elliott and Chastain, who bumped foe Denny Hamlin from the championship with his spectacular last-lap scramble.

Chastain pinned his Chevrolet against the outside wall of the 0.526-mile speedway and was sailing at some 70 mph faster than the rest of the field as he went from 10th to fifth to give Trackhouse Racing its first championship appearance.

Chastain credited his video game playing for the dramatic move on the final lap.

“Oh, played a lot of NASCAR 2005 on the Game Cube with Chad growing up,” he said. “You can get away with it. I never knew if it would actually work.

“I mean, I did that when I was 8 years old. I grabbed fifth gear, asked off of two on the last lap if we needed it, and we did. I couldn’t tell who was leading. I made the choice, grabbed fifth gear down the back. Full committed. Basically let go of the wheel, hoping I didn’t catch the turn four access gate or something crazy. But I was willing to do it.”

Bell passed Chase Briscoe, who also needed to win to advance to the championship, with five laps to go to earn the automatic berth into the championship race. It was Bell who was caught in Bubba Wallace’s retaliation of Kyle Larson at Las Vegas and Bell being collected in that crash dropped him to last of the eight drivers.

He knew since then it would take a victory for Bell to race for his first Cup title, and he pulled it off on NASCAR’s oldest track.

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