By admin | October 29, 2011
By Richard Allen
Immediately following the Sprint Cup race in Talladega last Sunday the topic of ‘team orders’ was a hot one on this website as well as just about every other NASCAR related form of communication. On Friday in Martinsville as drivers and media sat through an entire day of rain delays and eventual cancellations, the subject was brought up again.
The debate over who was to be paired with who on the final restart and what drivers pushed their Chase for the Championship teammates may be good for causing a stir among all involved, but in reality, it’s pointless.
With NASCAR so heavily dominated by multi-car organizations, there are always going to be team orders. No matter how much people both inside and outside the sport deny or state their disdain for such actions, those actions are going to occur. It would be foolish for teams not to have an understanding that drivers on the track and crews in the garage, whether it be a restrictor plate race or not, are to look after one another.
Looking after one another can occur in a variety of ways. Not getting in each others’ way during green flag pit stops, not being overly aggressive when racing around each other, matching and trading out sets of tires, and any number of other possibilities are available for drivers and crews to assist each other on race day.
As a reminder of how long such cooperation have been going on, in the days of racing back to the line after a caution came out, team drivers made it common and often dangerous practice to slow down and allow their teammates back onto the lead lap.
And for those who would like to put an end to the practice, how could that be handled? Monitoring team radio communications could be done but codes could be used to disguise meanings of what is said. And, of course, team meetings held inside a hauler or back at the shop can’t be watched.
So, can it be legislated that cars from within the same organization cannot draft together? Of course not is the answer to that. The sport already has too many regulations.
The bottom line is team orders are a part of racing. Unless those watching are terribly inattentive and naïve they will know it has always been that way since their have been teams. And, no matter what complaints may be registered by fans, drivers or media, team orders are always going to be part of racing. So to debate the act of team assistance is essentially pointless.
As long as there are teams, there will be team orders.
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