Bump Drafting Goes Unheeded
posted at ThatsRacing.com http://www.thatsracin.com/mld/thatsracin/11539742.htm
'Bump-drafting' warnings go unheeded
By JIM UTTER
TALLADEGA, Ala. – The most innocent of moves turned into the most colossal of wrecks.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was pushing Mike Wallace from behind through the tri-oval of Talladega Superspeedway on Lap 132 of Sunday's Aaron's 499 when Jimmie Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet came up fast on Wallace's left.
The two made contact – and trapped in the middle of a 43-car field – the rest was, well, a wreck.
When it ended, there were 25 cars with at least some damage, including a collection of cars between Turns 1 and 2 that looked like a parking lot during Christmas shopping season.
NASCAR's managing event director David Hoots had warned drivers in the pre-race meeting about the use of "bump-drafting" – bumping a car from behind to increase its speed.
"The bump draft is limited to only where you need to do it on the back straightaway. That's the only time you should be trying to do it," he said.
"When you do it going into (Turns) 3 and 4 or through the tri-oval in (Turns) 1 and 2 you're setting yourself up to have a big problem and you all know what I'm talking about it."
Apparently not, as bump drafting was used commonly throughout Sunday's race and all around the track.
Most of the drivers involved in the 25-car pile up attributed its start to the pit falls of restrictor-plate racing. Those who did assign blame, split evenly between Johnson and Earnhardt Jr.
NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said he didn't see anything wrong with what he called Earnhardt Jr.'s "push" of Wallace through the tri-oval.
Wallace, himself, was somewhat cryptic in his responses to queries regarding what happened.
Asked if he was hit from behind, Wallace said, "You don't spin out in the middle of the straightaway. You have to make your own viewpoint there.
"I was looking out the front of the car and the next thing I knew I was looking at (the) grandstand. So whether behind, side or up to the down or something like that. Who knows what happened."
Rusty Wallace, caught up in the wreck, said NASCAR's warnings should have been sterner.
"I don't think the fellow that delivered the speech to tell them how to not bump draft didn't do too good. He was just kind of nonchalant talking about it in the drivers meeting," Wallace said.
"I'd been standing up there with a baseball bat talking to them."
Jeremy Mayfield, who managed to avoid the accidents Sunday and finish fourth, didn't see many drivers adhering to NASCAR's admonition.
"I got hit more right down there (Turn 1) then I did anywhere," he said. "What is wild is, it's getting harder.
"You're not getting this little 'boom,' now you're getting 'KA-BOOM' – they're knocking the hell out of you. We're hitting hard out there."
And if they took the restrictor plates off the cars like the drivers have been screaming about for years, then there wouldn't be any bump drafting!!!! You bump draft because the cars respond like a 90 year old catatonic when you hit the gas pedal. When is the France family going to get with the program?
Busch goes berserk, lands in hauler
DARLINGTON, S.C. -- Kurt Busch hit the wall on the first lap at Darlington Raceway. Then he hit an official with a water bottle, bad-mouthed NASCAR over his radio and ended up in a closed-door meeting with series officials.
"His actions were certainly not befitting of a champion,'' NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said after the Dodge Charger 500. "He said things that are not fit for print.''
Busch, the defending Nextel Cup champion, finished 37th on Saturday night and dropped two spots in the standings to fourth. He now trails leader Jimmie Johnson by 229 points.
Busch knew it was going to be a bad night seconds after the race began. He had started 11th, but didn't even get a full lap in before he spun out coming out of the fourth turn and hit the inside retaining wall.
He took the No. 97 Ford into the garage so his crew could make enough repairs for Busch to continue racing.
Later in the race, NASCAR said Busch moved into the wrong position on the track under caution. Officials ordered him to stop and get in line where he was supposed to be, but Busch refused.
He was sent into the pits for a two-lap penalty, and NASCAR officials took offense to the language he used over the radio. They ordered him to turn his engine off, and he responded my revving it.
He also tossed a water bottle out of his window that hit the official in his pit.
Busch was then summoned to meet with NASCAR after the race. Although series officials looked less than pleased with the champion, Busch emerged from their hauler with a huge grin on his face, but nothing to say.
"What a great race,'' he grinned. "You guys see that race? It was great.''
This is not the first time NASCAR has had to punish Busch. He was penalized in Charlotte several years ago for cursing at officials over his radio. And he was punched in the nose by Jimmy Spencer two years ago after the two had contact on the track, and when Spencer confronted him after the race, Busch taunted him.
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Rubberhead is an idiot. Maybe Spencer ought to be put in charge of Busch's public relations.