Following last weekend's Budweiser Shootout, where the bump-drafting madness moved Tony Stewart to predict that someone would get killed if NASCAR didn't get a handle on the practice, series officials have leapt into action.
Perhaps impressed by the popularity of Olympic short-track speed skating in which judges frequently disqualify skaters based on their opinions of the "fairness" of bumping during competition, NASCAR is establish establishing "no-zones" at Daytona International Speedway, policed by
"spotters" who are to report bump-drafting incidents to race officials, who in turn will hand out penalties as they see fit. Or not. We'll get to see this in action for the twin 125 mile qualifying races and the Daytona 500. Ought to be interesting.
(More ranting after the jump!)
Everybody understands the real problem of course - superspeedways like Daytona and Talladega were built when cars were simpler and slower (and closer to "stock"... but that's another rant) and tracks were designed by the seat of the owner's pants. When technology and race car engineering really took off, speeds shot over 220 mph, and NASCAR (rightly concerned about driver and fan safety) slowed the cars back down by restricting engine power. But of course, NASCAR has even more technology and engineering, so the new-era superspeedway cars can virtually be driven 100-percent wide-open all the way around the track. Want to go faster than wide-open? You have to draft... and the closer the better. Lots of cars drafting closely in single file works better still, and bump-drafting becomes the only way to fly.
Want to make bump-drafting in the corners go away? Fire up the bulldozers and flatten the banking. Make the drivers drive through the corners, not just ride around. No "judges," no ad-hoc penalties = no problem.