As NASCAR continues to look for ways to improve restrictor plate racing, an announcement was made – the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will both not be allowed to tandem draft. If a pair of drivers are tandem-drafting together, they will both be penalized with a black flag.
“We had a few owners who came to us and said, ‘Look, you’ve got to help us. Just tell them they can’t do it and police it and we’ll help you with it,’” NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said in an interview with Sporting News. “We’ll see how all that works out. It’s a reaction to a lot of things, and part of it you’d have to think that weighs in is the big wrecks.”
Tandem drafting is when the second car in line keeps his/her front bumper against the other car’s rear bumper for multiple laps. The effect creates the ability for the second car to push the front car quicker than two cars running apart.
“You can pull up and bump a guy and hit him, but you just cannot stay (there), you can’t connect,” Pemberton added. “So far what we’ve seen on the track today has been pretty good. … The drivers like the fact that we’re helping with that. The vast majority don’t want to hook up.
“We feel like it will be a better race, a better show with more of a conventional old-school style of drafting.”
Beyond the simple step of outlawing it, NASCAR has implemented the same radiator system to the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series with a pressure relief value. If the water reaches a certain pressure, it will start to spill water and a motor can’t run without water.
Drivers and teams prefer the pack racing with a couple ‘bumps’ here and there – but not pushing – as they don’t have to depend on someone else. With tandem racing, you depended on your partner. Now without being allowed to hook up into partners, drivers will be able to make their own moves.
“You still have to rely on a lot of other cars to work with you in the draft, and two cars are still faster than one, but the fact that you don’t have to have somebody locked onto your back bumper or your front bumper like the tandem racing, it puts a lot more control in your own hands rather than relying on other guys,” James Buescher said.
Another reason team owners requested the change is possibly due to the severity of the wrecks over the past couple of years in both divisions.