What Is The NASCAR Wall Ride?

What Is The NASCAR Wall Ride

NASCAR as a motorsport is no stranger to unconventional tactics being used by racers to gain an edge in competition. For a long time, one such technique was the wall ride. Read on to learn about the wall ride and its use throughout NASCAR history.

What Is a Wall Ride in NASCAR?

The wall ride is an incredibly rare technique applicable to cornering a turn during a NASCAR race. The normal method used by NASCAR drivers when approaching a turn is to reduce the speed of the vehicle by braking and attempt to get as close to the inside of the track as possible to minimize the distance covered at a lower speed. In contrast, the wall ride involves very little braking, completely factors out taking the inside lane of the track, and involves little to no steering at all. 

When performing a wall ride, a driver will angle the vehicle so the stock car will be parallel to the track's guard wall and will then force the body of the car against its surface. By doing so, the NASCAR driver forces the car to use the wall almost like a guide rail. The aim is for the wall to steer the car so that the vehicle never has to decelerate. This maneuver causes considerable damage to the vehicle and has only been seen once in NASCAR history.

Has a Wall Ride Been Performed in NASCAR History?

The only known instance of a wall ride outside of video games was in 2022 when Ross Chastain used one at Martinsville Speedway. Chastain's use of the wall ride was the first time the bizarre method had ever been used in competition and its usage contributed to Chastain setting a record lap time at Martinsville with an 18.845 final lap. His risky move payed off, as he passed a sufficient number of competitors during the wall ride to advance to the championship race. 

Chastain noted that the idea for his usage of the wall ride actually came from his days playing NASCAR video games on the Gamecube in his youth. While setting some impressive records, the wall ride caused considerable damage to Chastain's vehicle and, had it not been used in the final lap of the race, would have rendered the car inoperable for the rest of the event. A former watermelon farmer, Chastain is sponsored by the National Watermelon Association and smashes a watermelon from atop his car after every victory. As a result of Chastain’s association with the wall ride technique, it has become popularly referred to as the “Hail Melon.”

According to new 2023 NASCAR guidelines, drivers who attempt a Hail Melon will be issued a time penalty. Such a wall ride maneuver has only ever been used once and is so counterintuitive and damaging to the vehicle performing it that there is little chance of NASCAR drivers wishing to perform it. The only driver to ever use the technique, Ross Chastain, has even been quoted as saying that he has no plans ever to use the wall ride again. The possibility of a penalty makes it unlikely that this maneuver will ever be attempted again, leading the NASCAR wall ride to be forever known as a Hail Melon.


What is a Hail Melon in NASCAR?

In NASCAR, a Hail Melon is an illegal technique in which a driver executes a pass while riding along a wall, not fully in control of the car. A Hail Melon has only been executed once successfully, by Ross Chastain at Martinsville in 2022. Rule clarifications by NASCAR forbidding the move, and its inherent danger, make it unlikely that a Hail Melon will be attempted again.