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It was a hot day in Alabama. Brad Keselowski and Roger Penske weren’t disappointed with the heat or the Talladega race but they were in the minority and it was likely because they were sitting in Victory Lane. As expected, there was a lot of drama from the drop of the green flag but not a lot of it was because of the racing in the large pack. Most of the drama was coming from the concern the drivers had for the water and oil temps and how closely they needed to watch their gauges. Unfortunately, fans and drivers alike thought it was more about water and oil temperatures and lot less about actual racing.
From this fan’s view, even though there was the large pack of cars running nose to tail, two and three wide, there wasn’t a lot of racing for position going on. It appeared the drivers were trying to keep a reasonable distance between each others bumpers to maintain a lower water temperature, (which, of course, would lead to a lower oil temperature), so they might at least still be running when it came down to the final laps. Yes, it was obvious they wanted to maintain a certain position on the track and not fall too far behind, but it was also obvious that there was more concern about maintaining the temperatures than anything else.
Even with all of the efforts to maintain what was considered to be safer operating engine temperatures, there were still a lot of engine failures although admittedly it was hard to tell if some of them were normal part failures or temperature related. In fact, from this fan’s view, I don’t think any of the failures were related to overheating, but that does not mean that it didn’t affect the racing as a whole.
It is my opinion, and I am usually on NASCAR’s side and do respect what they do but, this time I think they blew it. I have to agree with the words of several drivers that insinuated there has to be a better way to control the tandem drafting than with temperatures. Surely they can come up with “something” other than that.
It is also my opinion that this is what happens when a sanctioning body tries to run things by audience poll. I’m not saying they shouldn’t listen to input from the fan base and it has been my experience over the years they don’t usually make “knee-jerk” decisions but, I think they tried a quick fix that may have worked for one track and one type of condition. All tracks have a different character and it is a definite given that air temperatures change pretty much daily in any location. Maybe the best way to solve the problems of today’s high-tech racing is to use some of the old technology, (as Michael Waltrip has said several times in the last several years when asked his opinion.)
Look, I’m not a real fan of the tandem drafting but it does have an advantage for passing in today’s restrictor plate racing. In fact, I really do like the large pack racing we used to see in the plate races. Now it appears, at least from my view, we have the large pack again but very little racing going on. It is mostly follow the leader and watch the gauges until there are only a few laps remaining. Surely NASCAR, with the state of the technology they have available and have allowed and introduced, can come up with a way to keep the two-car drafting from being so advantageous and still make it an interesting and drama-filled race. (I have to admit that personally, I was not on the edge of my seat at all during this plate race…)
I don’t know, maybe it is next to impossible to undo what’s been done. (But then this is NASCAR and I don’t really believe that either, do you… ?)
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© May 10, 2012 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PodCastNorm Productions