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Fans and drivers alike have love/hate relationship with 2X2 racing

By admin | July 4, 2011

By Richard Allen


After the third of four restrictor plate races scheduled for NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series in 2011, there was no shortage of opinions from fans and drivers regarding the style of racing being employed on the tracks in Daytona and Talladega.

Basically since the inception of the carburetor restrictor plates used on what would be NASCAR’s two fastest tracks the cars have raced in huge packs for the entire event distance. Now, due to some recent modifications to cars and tracks the style of racing has changed dramatically. Drivers now choose to race closely tied together in pairings of two, which allows for maximum speed.

Both the Daytona International Speedway and the Talladega Super Speedway have been resurfaced in recent years which has given drivers a very smooth track on which to race. That, in turn, lets cars follow closely behind one another without being broken apart by the bumps on the track. Also, team engineers have worked to improve the cooling systems of cars so that the trailing car can follow behind for longer periods of time without overheating. These two changes, along with a change in mindset of the drivers and teams, have brought about the difference.

The fact is the new form of racing has provided record numbers of lead changes on these two tracks and very exciting finishes. At the same time, however, this style of racing has drawn plenty of scorn from drivers and fans despite those lead changes and close finishes.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was clearly frustrated during the late stages of the Coke Zero 400 this past weekend in Daytona and was not shy about voicing his displeasure to the media after the checkered flag fell. A number of other drivers joined in the chorus of condemnation when given their turns at the microphone.

Also, fans have strong opinions on the matter. Immediately after the race on Saturday night I posed the simple question of, “Good race? Bad race?” on the Twitter social networking site. A flurry of reaction came flying in.

The poster @2001MUgrad wrote, “Sorta feel like my night was a bit wasted honestly.” Another poster, @bdub2000 opined, “Tonight’s race was a waste of my effort to watch.” There were several other messages that may be better left unprinted here.

But while the detractors were probably most numerous in voicing their opinions, there were plenty of fans who posted in support of the so-called ‘Noah’s Ark’ racing.

Twitter participant @jsmith123nv wrote, “Very entertaining and the winner in doubt until the end. 30 cars had a realistic chance to win the race. NFL parity.” And, @p38lightning said, “Other than the fact that it looks weird, it has provided great finishes and pretty good action throughout.”

So the bottom line in regard to the fans seems to be that there is a decidedly mixed reaction. But, no one appears to be in the gray area. Opinions seem to be strong one way or the other.

I’m sure the driver standing in victory lane at the end of each of the plate races held so far might, at least for one day, be considered a fan of the 2X2 style. Perhaps even those who avoided the late race carnage in Daytona and managed to gain points on the competition may have at least withheld their negative comments.

There will be one more plate race in 2011 at Talladega. Even if NASCAR wanted to, there is little that could be done to change the way things are right now. Mid-season would not be the time to enact some type of drastic change to bring the big packs back, especially with that final plate race being held within the Chase for the Championship.

So, love it or hate, you’ve got one more ‘Noah’s Ark’ race to look forward to this season.

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9 Responses to “Fans and drivers alike have love/hate relationship with 2X2 racing”

  1. Nascarxtm Says:
    July 4th, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    What is so great about 3/4 of the cars having been wrecked at the end of the race? Nascar says it tries to control costs, does away with testing which allows the teams to put the best product on the track, and then allows this kind of 2×2 racing to continue. It doesn’t make sense for the drivers, owners, or fans.

  2. Sue Rarick Says:
    July 5th, 2011 at 10:08 am

    When I was on the track this spring for talladega’s donate and drive for the storm victims I think I remember what I’d call a chicane on the back stretch………using that would eliminate the need for restrictors and bumper buddy racing.

    Failing that I will do what I have done most of the year. Read about the races that are plate races and fuel mileage races.

  3. Richard Allen Says:
    July 5th, 2011 at 10:17 am

    I accidently deleted this comment. I believe it was by Bill.

    “People who think that having 30 guys in position to win the SPORTING EVENT right up to the last lap are NOT sports fans. They are reality television fans.”

  4. Tom P. Says:
    July 5th, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Not my idea of racing. Get ride of the plates or dump the Daytona July race entirely for a short-track event in a better venue.

  5. Tyler West Says:
    July 5th, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Daytona in July is the best!! If people don’t like the drafting go watch something else. If you want to dump something dump a bunch of those stupid cookie cutter tracks like Chicago, Kansas, California and Las Vegas. They all suck! I hate to tell everyone but the plate races are the best thing going. It would be better if they were unrestricted though but then people would complain that the pack is not staying together. Either way it’s good racing. Yeah, crashes happen but that’s because guys make mistakes and that is part of it. Without Daytona, who cares about the rest of the schedule! Daytona is and always will be the best! In my opinion dump Indy, that is a boring race!! Riding in single file lines is not racing. Competition is the name of the game no matter how they achieve it. Daytona forever!!!

  6. Charles Says:
    July 5th, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    While I dont like plate racing in general, the 2 by 2 racing I like better at Daytona!

    But at Talledaga I prefer the “pack racing”!

    If Nascar would get speeds to average over 200 mph at both of these tracks, I think drivers would have more respect for all the moves and bumping and it would cut down on alot of wrecks!

    Seems NASCAR has Ralph Nader making rules at Daytona and Talledaga!

    It was good to see Ragan get his win!

  7. Scott Says:
    July 5th, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    It was great to see Ragan win, far as the race, cut the power down on the cars, maybe cut a cylinder down or 2, bring back the sling shot! Maybe put 6 cylinder motors in!

  8. sylvia richardson Says:
    July 5th, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    JUST STUPID RACING. Thats not racing thats like 5 yr old playing tag. nascar your days are numbered.

  9. midasmicah Says:
    July 5th, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Hey Tyler West. There’s drafting and there’s uh, racing. There is a difference. Watching two cars do a square dance move on the racetrack doesn’t make for much excitement Please no more dosey-does. As for watching the race…well I did and it’s my right to gripe when I want to. Hope Kentucky’s a good race.