Restrictor Plate Racing: The Open Communications

2009 Daytona 500 080

(workingonmyredneck file photo)

While at the Daytona 500, last Sunday, WOMR was listening in on the race teams with his scanner and was witness to something very strange for the race teams.  It was the first time in all his years of attending NASCAR events that he ever heard race drivers from various teams communicating directly with one another!

Usually the driver will pass a message to another driver via their spotter, since all the spotters are congregated in one spot high up on top of the grandstands at the racetrack.  however, since the racing at the restrictor plate racetracks, Daytona and Talladega, has taken a new twist in how they draft the race teams have decided that open communications between certain drivers may be in the race teams best interest.

It is well documented that the driver that is doing the pushing is doing so completely “blind”.  He must totally rely on the driver that he is pushing to pick the “holes” and safely snake their way through the pack.  Conversely, the driver getting pushed must rely and trust that his “pusher” will not shove him into, or position the tandem in a spot that will take “a world class recovery” to proceed!

With those caveats in mind, some of the NASCAR race teams went to Racing Electronics during Speedweeks requesting them to design a racing radio with the appropriate team frequencies and tuner, that the driver could easily use to communicate with some of the other race teams throughout the Daytona 500.  What was heard over several frequencies during yellow flag lulls in the race was drivers talking to other drivers trying to make deals on how they were going to team up and draft in the next segment of the race.

It was kind of like the old TV show, “Let’s Make A Deal”!  I found this idea as somewhat foreign to racing!

Even though the concept of, as Darrell Waltrip coined the phrase, “CO-OPETITION”, appears to have a place in restrictor plate racing from the safety aspect, still it just is strange.  Nevertheless, in light of the fact that the pusher is pushing blind, it might help the safety aspect of this type of restrictor plate racing.  Additionally, it will allow the driver to make his own deal directly with another driver without going through  the spotter, thus eliminating any confusion and interpretation.

When does the “CO-OPETITION” end and the “every man for himself” racing begin?  Is this good for NASCAR racing.  You be the judge.

What are your thoughts on this “open communication” thing?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.