The only incident during Thursdays “Preseason Thunder” was the result of tandem drafting by Michael Waltrip Racing teammates Clint Bowyer and Mark Martin. With Bowyer in front his car went around off the front bumper of Martin. The action was not surprising as this has been the norm in NASCAR’s new age of racing at super speedways.
It’s the comments of Bowyer that should have raised eyebrows.
For all the talk and actions of NASCAR to stop tandem drafting; Daytona testing on Thursday confirmed it is here to stay for the 2012 season. NASCAR has tweaked the size of restrictor plates, eliminated communication between drivers and been vocal about their attempts to limit what some consider “not racing.”
Mixed in with the disappointment and uncertainty of what happened during the incident Bowyer said what everyone knew and what NASCAR officials feared.
Bowyer said the obvious. Despite the cars moving around more, the two-car tandem is still an advantage so “you have to do it.”
Three sets of teammates broke the 200 mph barrier on Thursday. Kyle Busch, who was drafting with teammate Joey Logano, scored the fastest lap of the day at 202.402.
The Daytona 500 will not be 200 laps of tandem drafting. We saw last year that cars could effectively run in packs at times. We also saw that each winner of a restrictor plate race was aided by the tandem draft when it mattered. Tandem drafting may not dominate the day but during at the the right time and the right way will decide the winner in mid-February.