NASCAR severely curtailed and occasionally banned the on-track bump-n-grind because it didn't want drivers taking each other out and compromising the spectacle of good racing. At the same time, drivers were being fined and reprimanded for colorful outbursts and language. The aim was to keep the racing clean and the sponsors happy, but while it might have worked for the corporate backers, the fans, the drivers and the racing were all suffering.
That was so 2009. In 2010 drivers won't have to be "robotic sponsor shills too frightened to make waves," and trading paint is back on the menu. Said the series' VP of competition, when it comes to bumping the overseers "will put it back in the hands of drivers, and we will say 'Boys, have at it and have a good time,'" and drivers will be allowed a greater degree of personal expression. The new, looser NASCAR just wants competitors to keep things "within reason," and we have a feeling drivers will be exploring those boundaries pretty quickly.
The cars are also coming in for revisions, with a rear spoiler setup eventually replacing the current rear wing. The goal is to improve downforce and the look of the car. Will all of this improve the racing? It can't hurt, because when it comes to NASCAR, how can you even call it racing if there's no rubbing?
[Source: ESPN | Image: Streeter Lecka/Getty]