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NASCAR Driver Uses Crazy Physics Technique From Videogame to Surpass Other Racers

A NASCAR driver beat many other vehicles to the finish line by utilizing a last-second physics trick. Ross Chastain took a calculated risk to advance five positions by driving his car against the wall like he was playing Mario Kart. We cannot stress this enough: we are not playing a practical joke on you.

By using the maneuver, which he claimed to have seen in a video game, he was able to jump up from tenth to fifth and wow the audience.



Chastain claims that he did not learn the trick from Mario Kart Double Dash, but from an older GameCube game.

In a post-race interview, he remarked, “[I] played a lot of NASCAR 2005 on the GameCube with [my younger brother] Chad growing up. “You’ll probably get away with it. I had no idea if it would truly function.”

“I mean, when I was eight years old, I did it. On the final lap, I asked driver two if we needed fifth gear and, sure enough, we did. I was unable to identify the leader. I decided and shifted into fifth gear at the back. 100% devoted. In essence, I let go of the steering wheel and hoped I wouldn’t hit the turn four access gate or something ridiculous. I was prepared to do it, though.”


If you are not concerned about things like ripping your car to pieces, the approach appears to work in both video games and apparently real life. Yet why?

In a typical race, you (a dull person who refuses to crash into the walls) rely on the friction between your tires and the road to turn the car using a “centripetal force.” This will also be beneficial if the track slopes in the direction of the inner curve, but let’s avoid making matters more difficult by diving into that now.

Your mass times your velocity squared, divided by the circumference of the hypothetical circle you are making, gives you the force needed to keep moving in a circular motion (F = m v2/r). A low force will cause you to exit the circle and either create a much larger circle or crash into a wall.

As was previously indicated, the force is produced by friction between your tires and the track, which is good for the majority of road users but not for anyone who wishes to take a turn at extremely high speeds to win a race without going off the track. Fortunately, as you have probably already noticed in the equation, there are various ways to make this centripetal force (and thus spinning) attainable. You can widen the corner, start shedding mass quickly (like throwing out vehicle seats as if you were on Wacky Races), or reduce your acceleration (like most drivers do).

The majority of competitors in the race slowed down as they approached the bend, but Chastain opted for secret strategy number three: adding additional turning force independent of tire-track friction. He turns the automobile using the force of the wall.

Of course, the car also experienced friction from the wall, which would have slowed it down, but not by enough to make up for the time he saved by being able to round the corner at a speed far greater than he could have done with just conventional turning. Although the aforementioned films demonstrate that his car was immediately damaged, the damage was insufficient to exclude him from the race on this final lap.

He was able to qualify for the NASCAR championship because to the extra spots he got through physics (and playing just the proper amount of videogames as a kid).

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