- Oct 27, 2005
- Reaction score
- NW Panhandle Texas
Good about time. Bump drafting is good in the straight away BUT NOT in the turns.NASCAR to begin policing bump drafting
Posted: 5 hours ago
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Two days after Nextel Cup champion Tony Stewart said the bumping and banging at Daytona International Speedway must stop before somebody gets hurt or killed, NASCAR decided to begin policing what drivers call "bump drafting."
The practice - slamming into the rear of another car to maintain momentum - is common at Daytona and Talladega, the only two NASCAR tracks that require carburetor restrictor-plates to choke horsepower and limit speeds.
Although this has been going on for years, Stewart thinks it's out of control. And NASCAR apparently agrees.
Nextel Cup officials said Tuesday that spotters in "zones" in the turns on the 2.5-mile Daytona track will feed information to NASCAR, which will then determine whether to penalize cars in Sunday's season-opening race.
The decision came in the wake of Stewart's criticism of bump drafting in superspeedway racing following a particularly wild ride in Sunday's Budweiser Shootout exhibition.
Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition, and Nextel Cup director John Darby outlined a plan to begin policing the bump drafting in Thursday's two 150-mile qualifying races for Sunday's Daytona 500.
"As we go forward in attempting to control bump drafting in those areas, there's going to be some very subjective calls being made," Darby said. "That's the reason we'd like to get this under way as quickly as possible. ... Hopefully we don't have to make a call. But if we do make a call in the twins, it wouldn't be quite as painful as having to make it in the Daytona 500."
Pemberton said penalties for overzealous bumping could range from driving through the pit lane at the pit road speed limit to being parked for repeat offenses.
He said it will be up to the drivers to keep from getting into trouble on track.
"It's a serious matter," Pemberton said. "To leave it in our hands when we're not out there, they may get a call they didn't bargain for."
Two-time Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip, said the new policy could be a problem.
"That's going to be really arbitrary to police because even the most sublime bump drafts at a time when a guy's getting ready to make a move in another direction can result in sending a guy out of control," Waltrip said. "It seems to me it would have to result in a crash before (NASCAR) could react.
"If you bump draft going straight really hard, that's OK. You have to know the other guy is going to continue in a straight line. Even if you barely bump draft him, it would cause a crash if he's starting to make a move."
Darby said NASCAR is going to try to work with the competitors on the situation.
"Every bump draft will not create a penalty," Darby said. "Every time a car touches another car will not create a penalty. Unless it becomes very apparent to us that there is an unnecessary hit, specifically in one of the no zones, we will not issue a penalty."
Darby noted that bump drafting in and of itself is not an offense.
"It can enhance the excitement of the race," he said. "As it transfers to stock cars, and particularly applies to Daytona and Talladega, with the cars running closer together, a bump draft at the right time in the right place is not the worst thing in the world. But it has been turning bump drafting into slam drafting because the hits just keep getting harder and harder and harder."
Pemberton said having officials police bump drafting is not a long-term solution.
"There are a number of things that can be done," he said. "But we have to do it right and make sure that whatever the fix is, the cars are at least as safe as they are now."