Friday, October 28, 2011

Dale Jr. offers his plan to end two-car tandem drafting

   Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been an outspoken critic of the two-car drafting tandems that have become commonplace at Daytona and Talladega this season. He has maintained from the get-go he much preferred the racing in large packs.

   Earnhardt came up on the short end last Sunday, running much of the race in the back of the pack with teammate Jimmie Johnson. The two failed to make a planned run to the front late in the race, frustrating Earnhardt again.

   Friday at Martinsville Speedway, Earnhardt was asked for his suggestion to NASCAR to change the tandem drafting. This was his response:

   "Well, we need to go test, we need to take a lot of race cars out there and test a lot of things and get creative and unique in the ideas and get everybody on the same packaging and go thoroughly through it. We have three days of testing in Daytona and to be honest, you don’t really do a lot while you are testing in Daytona. You have three days, so you fill it up with ideas and gimmicks and carry on, but you don’t really find things that bring a lot of speed," Earnhardt said.

   "You have a rules package in the back of the car as far as shocks and springs and you have such a stringent guidelines on the bodies, but there are not a lot of things to do in three days, so really it is just your burning fuel and wasting a lot of time. When we go to Talladega, we put the car together, you unload it, you make a couple of laps, make sure nothing falls off and you are ready to race. There is not much to it. We could take those three days or invent another test sooner, and take 15 cars or whatever, go down there and go to Daytona or Talladega and try smaller spoilers.

   "I think the spoilers are way too big, when I look at that spoiler, I can’t imagine there was a lot of study that went behind how effective it would be and what it would do, it is just a big square piece of steel, as wide as it could possibly be, and pretty tall. Make the spoiler more narrow, or smaller, run some softer springs in the back to get the cars a little lower. They have to make the hole that we punch in the air a little smaller. Right now, it is so giant it is very easy for another guy to fit up in that void and draft and push all the way around the race track. They need to bring the ceiling down that the car creates by the hole it pushes in the air, the car just punches a hole in the air and they need to bring that hole closer to the ground. Get a little bit more air on the second car’s windshield cause a little more drag on that car. I think the spoiler is just way too big. The corners on the ends, they could cut those off and round that spoiler off, going back to anywhere from 1998 to 2004, that type of spoiler was a little bit better, even smaller than that."

   Earnhardt's proposed change wasn't limited to the spoilers.

   "We have de-tuned the cars so that they go very slow and we have also resurfaced the race tracks to where they have a lot of grip so you could really take quite a bit away from the spoiler on the back of the car before I believe you would start to feel the handling effects of that. Otherwise, that entire thing does is really try and drag it down. Hopefully, we will get fortunate and the fuel injection will throw a few curve balls in the positive aspect that will change the drafting and change the ways the cars work in the draft. You never know and it might not change anything but maybe those going to fuel injection might have some positive effects," he said.

   "I think we can take the spoiler away, get the back down with softer spring or whatever and different shock package in the back of whatever, and make the cars a little tougher to connect to, when you do those two things it will create a little bit of a beach ball effect in between the cars, like it is an imaginary beach ball in front of you. When you drive up to a guy, you kind of push him away. We will be able to open up the motors a little bit, get the qualifying faster, have a little more response in the cars when we are racing and driving them, but yet, we probably will not draft faster than we do now."



  1. I agree with what he is saying. You're effectively going back to old age drafting. No spoiler, less downforce, which reduces pack racing. With that being said you could then give them more power

  2. People wonder why Junior won so many plate races. Because he knows what the heck he's talking about. NASCAR should listen to him. NASCAR has pretty much destroyed racing as hardcore race fans are concerned. Now we take what they give us because we don't have anything else. I think I have been pretty much done watching complete races for about three years now. I watch the first 10 laps, and the last 10 laps. I don't even do that anymore on plate races. I just log in to NASCAR.COM to get the results.

  3. Junior is obviously oblivious to racing reality. The idea of cutting spoilers is the Been There Done That failure called the 5&5 Rule, and the idea that they should create aeropush for these cars? How idiotic can he be? NONE of what he's recommending has ever produced better or safer racing. The 1998-2004 spoiler wasn't smaller than what we have now, Junior.

    This is why drivers need to be made to shut up and race, because the racing says what is right and wrong and it always disproves the pet theories of people - the 5&5 Rule proved cutting downforce and lowering the back deck of the cars is a recipe for failure.

    It's time the racers accept what the racing now is - 72 lead changes at Talladega is superior to anything else. It's what all the racing needs.

  4. opinionated - Junior won so many plate races because DEI had a gimmick - aero work in the transmission tunnel of their cars; once everyone else figured out what they were doing they caught up and made Junior irrelevant.

    BLOVE1130 - you're not going back to old-age drafting, you're going back to cars that can't stay out of the fencing. The sport can never go back to 1980s drafting; it has to stay where it is now because the drivers will never let go of the superdrafts - NASCAR thought the 5&5 rule would make them lift for the corners; they didn't, and they won't let go of the superdraft no matter what shock package or spoiler they try. Robin Pemberton clearly knows this, hence his remark that they don't want the cure to be worse than the disease.

  5. Well said Jr. Now for this year....Team Hendricks needs to get off of their rears and go ahead and wreck out the top chasers besides themselves and then let Jr. win out and win the chase! Then rig it for him next year.....

    If they want to save the sport that is. Attendance is pathetic....Did anyone see the 'dega race? some of these tracks are running at 1/2 capacity and Nascar does not divulge the true numbers...But the sport is hurting....

    Sponsors are not walking away, they are running away! There are going to be some fairly big name racers next season without a full season ride...

    I mean think about it....The points leader drives a car that fields different sponsors...That would have been unheard of just 5-10 years and now it is common place.

    I was just kidding a bit about little E winning the chase as that is not happening, but it would highly benefit the entire sport

  6. Monkees fan,
    You don't have a clue. Restrictor plate racing isn't racing. It's riding around for 3 to 4 hours. It stinks as it now stands.70 to 80 lead changes or not. It's lousy.

  7. 72 lead changes do not happen by just riding around. Ever. They happen because drivers are racing. You have no clue about racing, whoever you are.

  8. I am sorry to see that removing the idiotic plates was not part of his solution. Plate racing is now the norm and is accepted. Too bad.

  9. Ed, removing restrictor plates is not an option and never should be. "Too bad?" What for? It's better this way.