NASCAR to penalize tandem drafting
January 11, 2014, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – NASCAR officials will penalize teams in two of its three national series this season for what is commonly known as "tandem drafting."
The rule will be enforced at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway, the only two tracks where restrictor plates are used and drafting is predominant.
Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition for NASCAR, said Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series teams were told of the change last year.
Tandem drafting is the process of two cars hooking up nose to tail to increase their overall speed. It became prevalent in Sprint Cup Series competition before engine-cooling rule changes increased the chances of overheating the engines.
"They can draft," Pemberton said Saturday at Daytona. "We worked on the cars, worked on the cooling (systems), the spring package the spoiler, in an effort to help separate (the cars) a little bit.
"You can bump draft; you can bump draft a guy up (through the field), but you can’t hook up on the bumper and just lay on the bumper. So far what we’ve seen today has been pretty good."
If it is determined that teams are using the tandem draft during a NASCAR race, the teams in question will be black-flagged. If the infraction occurs during practice, the teams will be black-flagged and their times disallowed. Practice session times are used to determine the starting lineup when qualifying is cancelled due to inclement weather.
Teams were reminded of the change today at Daytona and told that the procedure included on-track activity here.
"We told them this morning, if they hook up in testing, they’ll get a black flag," Pemberton said.
During a race, "It’s a race procedure call and we will regulate it from the (officials) tower," he said.
"There are a lot of different experience levels in (the two series). For the most part, it was well received. The concern was 'how are you going to regulate it and what are the tolerances?'
"I think we’ve established so far what the tolerances are, and so far they’ve accepted that and worked around it for all of this practice."
James Buescher, who is making the move from the Truck to the Nationwide Series this year, said he preferred pack racing to tandem racing, because in pack racing "you kind of get to control more of your own destiny.
"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," he said, "but the fact you don’t have to have somebody locked onto your back … or front bumper … it puts a lot more control in your own hands."