NASCAR May Have a New Way to End Tandem Drafting

Clint Bowyer driver of the #33 Chevy 100 Years Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam Club 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 23, 2011 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

 

NASCAR fans remember what happened at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway during the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Tandem Racing. Drivers were making deals to find a dance partner. Fans recognized the lack of true racing throughout the field and showed their displeasure by staying away and complaining to NASCAR. NASCAR definitely does not want a repeat of this in 2012.

While we had tandem racing, fans still saw some great battles for the win at Daytona and Talladega, including Trevor Bayne’s final lap dash in the Daytona 500 and Jimmie Johnson last gasp victory at Talladega. We also saw David Ragan capture his first win at Daytona in July and Clint Bowyer’s win at Talladega in October.

As a result of the tandem racing, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race directory John Darby and Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton issued a technical bulletin on Friday that goes into effect for preseason testing and SpeedWeeks at the Daytona International Speedway.

According to the bulletin, NASCAR intend to “detune” the cooling system used in the Sprint Cup cars, downsizing the radiator from five gallons to two gallons; they’ll also downsize accumulators(overflow cans) from one gallon to a half-gallon.

The restrictor plates used on the engines will be reduced by 1/64 of an inch compared to 2011, and cars will have to run softer springs and a smaller rear spoiler to make them more challenging to drive in the corners.

Darby and Pemberton believe the smaller radiators and accumulators will make the cooling systems less efficient and will stop cars from running tandem in the draft, forcing them to spend more time in fresh air in order to keep temps lower.

Sprint Cup teams will have a chance to test the new specifications on January 12-14 at Daytona before returning for Speed Week on February 17th.

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