As the ultimate lap of 500 laps started on Sunday, Chastain was in dire straits, trailing Denny Hamlin by two factors within the standings for the ultimate spot within the Championship four and working 10th within the race.
As Chastain entered Flip three, he hit the fuel pedal on his #1 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet and headed proper to the wall.
As chief Christopher Bell, Brad Keselowski, Hamlin and others raced off Flip four towards the checkered flag, Chastain got here flying across the exterior towards the wall at unbelievable pace. He went from 10th to fifth within the last two turns, edging Hamlin by zero.73 seconds.
The transfer was as daring because it was surprisingly profitable, and the swing in factors was sufficient to maneuver him forward of Hamlin into the title finale.
Chastain’s last lap of the race registered at 18.eight seconds, quicker than the lap time of Kyle Larson who gained the pole for the race.
Requested if when and if he ever thought-about such a transfer previous to Sunday, Chastain stated, “I performed plenty of ‘NASCAR 2005’ on the Gamecube with [brother] Chad rising up. You may get away with it. I by no means knew if it might truly work.
Ross Chastain, TrackHouse Racing, Moose Fraternity Chevrolet Camaro launches his automobile into the wall to hurry round Flip four to move Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, FedEx Freight Direct Toyota Camry
Picture by: Lesley Ann Miller / Motorsport Images
“I imply, I did that after I was eight years previous. I grabbed fifth gear, requested off of (Flip) 2 on the final lap if we would have liked it, and we did. I could not inform who was main. I made the selection, grabbed fifth gear down the again. Totally dedicated.
“Principally, I let go of the wheel, hoping I didn’t catch the Flip four entry gate or one thing loopy. However I used to be prepared to do it.”
The wild end capped a outstanding semi-final spherical of the playoffs for Chastain, who had completed second at each Las Vegas and Homestead the final two weekends.
Even with the sturdy finishes, Chastain had issue protecting tempo in Sunday’s race with a number of of his fellow playoff drivers.
Following the ultimate warning of the race, Chastain lined up 11th within the working order, one spot forward of Hamlin, on the restart with 24 laps to go.
Hamlin, nonetheless, was in a position to get round Chastain shortly and in a position to transfer as much as fifth getting into the ultimate lap whereas Chastain was struggling in 10th.
However due to his last-gasp transfer, Chastain edged Hamlin for fifth – and the Joe Gibbs Racing driver might do nothing count on be impressed by the Floridian’s gamble.
“Nice transfer,” confessed Hamlin. “Good. Actually an excellent transfer. When you haven’t any different alternative, it actually is straightforward to do this. However nicely executed.”