Chastain takes a piece of NASCAR, Martinsville Speedway history

RIDGEWAY, Va. – A brave, first of its kind move that took place at Martinsville Speedway last fall was remembered Tuesday.

Desperate times call for desperate measures and when the chance to compete for a NASCAR Championship is in front of you, you have to seize the opportunity. That’s what Ross Chastain did back in October. Needing to finish ahead of Denny Hamlin, he pinned his car against the wall starting in turn 3 all the way through turn 4– all gas, no brakes to pull off the video-game like move that has since been dubbed the “Hail Melon”.

Clay Campbell and Ross Chastain relive his "Hail Melon" move from October 2022 (WSLS)

“About halfway I remember letting go of the wheel because I didn’t know what was going to happen and I thought I made it this far and if something happened now it would be really bad,” Chastain said Tuesday as he returned to the track for the first time since pulling off the bold move. “So I let go immediately but the forces just pulled my arms.”

Martinsville Speedway invited Chastain back to the historic track for his historic move, allowing him to take a piece of the history with him--part of the wall between turns three and four.

“There’s been so much history here in 76 years and to add that to everything that has happened prior to that point is phenomenal,” said Martinsville Speedway track president Clay Campbell. “I mean, as I said, there’s nothing we could compare that move to. Nothing like that has ever happened.”

“It’s just amazing how many great drivers that have raced here, how many races we’ve had here over the years and I’m proud we were able to be in a piece of something special,” Chastain added.

NASCAR has since pumped the brakes on Chastain’s move, citing a rule that outlines the safety risks posed to other drivers and even spectators. As for thr piece of wall removed it will live on either at the speedway or possibly the NASAR Hall of Fame as Ross Chastain has forever left his mark here at the Paperclip.

About the Author

Eric is no stranger to the Roanoke Valley. He is a Roanoke native and proud graduate of William Fleming High School.

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