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« What we hear(and don’t hear) may be more important than what we see in Daytona test | Main | Don’t over legislate because 2×2 will eventually die a natural death »

Rules aren’t working so NASCAR just orders drivers to race in big packs

By admin | January 12, 2012

By Richard Allen


Since last year’s Daytona 500 drivers have spent entire races on the two restrictor plate tracks of Daytona and Talladega running in tight two car tandems. And since that time a number of fans and competitors have voiced their disdain for that style of racing.

In an effort to reduce the number of laps drivers could run 2×2, NASCAR has enacted a series of rule changes. Radiators and overflow tanks have been reduced in capacity, grille openings reduced, restrictor plates opened up, springs softened and spoilers shortened in attempts to break up the tight drafts. And even with all of those edicts, the 2×2 form of racing continued in Thursday’s test session.

After not only making a number of mechanical changes, NASCAR even went so far as to prohibit driver to driver radio chatter in hopes that the inability to communicate would discourage the practice.

However, the first day of pre-season testing at the Daytona International Speedway revealed that little had changed. Cars continued to log lap after lap in tight formation. Drivers only appeared to separate a bit and switch places in line for show more than out of necessity.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. confirmed that little had changed when at an evening fan appreciation appearance he indicated that drivers were not being entirely honest in regard to how long they could push another car. He said that the rear car could push essentially as well as before the rule changes.

So, it appears that to get drivers to race in bigger packs, NASCAR is going to resort to the old parental standby of, “Just do it because I said so.”

In a Friday afternoon press conference, the sanctioning body’s vice president for competition, Robin Pemberton, offered drivers some words of ‘encouragement’. “The message will be coming down to them soon,” the VP said of NASCAR’s desire to see pack racing during the drafting sessions of Friday and/or Saturday.

And to further clarify what that word is, Pemberton went on to say, “They know it’s in the best interests of everyone to get out there in larger groups.”

In other words, “You’re going to go out there and run around in packs whether you want to or not.” And to continue translating for Mr. Pemberton, “This race is not going to end up as a 500 mile 2×2 chess match.”

In his own words, Pemberton did go on to indicate that small doses of tandem racing were OK, just not a full race worth.

Ultimately, it is almost a certainty that there will be large packs of cars riding around the Daytona International Speedway before the end of this test, and very likely in the big race itself. The tandem drafts may well be broken up, not because the rules caused it but because NASCAR said so.

Here is a companion piece to this column titled, ‘Don’t over legislate because 2×2 will eventually die a natural death’

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Topics: Articles |

6 Responses to “Rules aren’t working so NASCAR just orders drivers to race in big packs”

  1. Offkilter Says:
    January 12th, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Geeze… How n the hell can they police that? Pemberton and his bosses are losing credibility with anouncements in team meetings such as that. Just goes to prove that governing bodies alot of times are not as smart as the ones they govern.

  2. The Mad Man Says:
    January 13th, 2012 at 5:53 am

    I wonder how many Double Secret Probation Fines will be issued for not following the official edict from on high?

  3. Bill B Says:
    January 13th, 2012 at 7:18 am

    This doesn’t give me much hope that they will solve the 2×2 issue. I personally can’t stand the 2×2 racing but fixing it by ordering drivers “to not do it” is a lie. In the end the drivers will do whatever they can to go faster or get an edge. I find it hard to believe that with all the engineering knowledge in the garage that someone hasn’t figured out a way.

  4. Russ Says:
    January 13th, 2012 at 8:17 am

    At some point you realize that theres not much to say about something. Although I guess it will be interesting to hear at what lap the parade will be allowed to break into the pairs so the racing can start.

  5. Sue Rarick Says:
    January 13th, 2012 at 10:08 am

    I believe it was at Talladega a few years ago that NASCAR had the bump zones and got so dictorial that the drivers just rode around single file for the majority of the race and bored everyone (including themselves).

    I could see them doing it again. With them all 2×2 racing in the last 50 miles.

    What’s sad is all they had to do was to put a radius to both the front and rear bumper areas. Ever try to balance two basketballs for any length of time? Same theory. You could push for a short period but you’d spin for a long time push.

  6. Kevin Says:
    January 13th, 2012 at 11:48 am

    I don’t like the idea of NASCAR making a rule that you can’t draft 2×2, drivers will find a way around it. Cars were still going 3 miles an hour faster in a tail-nose-tail-nose formation yesterday. However, it is nothing NASCAR hasn’t done before in ruling that cars cannot bump draft in the corners a few years ago. Bottom line is, to get the cars to stop pusing one another, the nose & tail can’t line up. In this scenairo, they’ve got to cut the rear bumper out of the cars. Same as they did a few years ago to the front bumper. If there is nothing there to push, there won’t be any pushing!