(WOMR file photo)
NASCAR has outlawed tandem drafting on restrictor-plate tracks in 2014 for the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series, which saw some brutal accidents at the end of the races at Daytona and Talladega last year. The sanctioning body was able to eliminate tandem racing, where one car pushes another car around the track to increase the speed of both cars, in Sprint Cup with engine-cooling rules that make it difficult to orchestrate a tandem draft without overheating the engine. It will try those engine cooling rules plus smaller spoilers in the Nationwide and truck series this year.
In addition to the rules changes NASCAR also issued an edict to the drivers in its two top development series not to tandem draft.
Drivers can still bump-draft, however, they cars can’t be bumper-to-bumper pushing beyond a tap.
At the end of the Nationwide race at Daytona last year, Kyle Larson’s car got airborne, sending pieces of car parts and debris flying into the speedway’s catchfence. The fence buckled at the crossover gate – which can be opened so fans can get to and from the infield – and debris from Larson’s car injured more than 30 fans.
At the end of the truck race at Talladega in October, several drivers were involved in a last-lap accident that destroyed several trucks. While wrecks often happen no matter the style of racing, tandem drafting includes the danger of a driver’s view being blocked when pushing another car. And any sudden move from the car being pushed often will result in a crash. With limited visibility and less reaction time than normal (as well as often having drivers with less experience), NASCAR opted to ban the practice. Pemberton said the ban will be strictly policed.(Sporting News)
So with this edict by NASCAR, the high speed chess match, known as restrictor plate racing at Daytona and Talladega, takes another turn! There is another chapter to come as the drivers and teams figure out another morph to the 200 mph 5 o’clock rush hour, organized road rage, racing that occurs at these plate tracks.
As we all know, there are rule breakers and there are rule makers in this sport, and sometimes they are one and the same. Notwithstanding the previously mentioned fact, if there is a way to find the “gray area” in this edict, the race teams, aka “the rule makers” will find a way to get, as we call it, the “racer’s edge”, working in their favor!
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!