Bump Drafting 101

2009 Daytona 500 080

This Sunday will be NASCAR’s second installation of full throttle restrictor plate, bump drafting, 185 MPH three to five wide place swapping, hope he doesn’t make a mistake, high stakes racing from Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.  The four restrictor plate races , two each from Daytona and Talladega are  always very exciting from the fan’s point of view.

From the picture above, you can see that the COT has made bump drafting a little less hazardous in 2009.  In the old cars, the front and rear bumpers did not match up at all in height.  The old cars had a very aerodynamically designed front end, very tapered and low slung.  The rear ends of the older cars had their rear bumpers a little higher above the ground than the COT cars.  So if someone was trying to bump draft, the back car’s front bumper would actually get underneath the rear end bumper of the leading car and lift up the cars rear end off the ground.  That would, at times, lead to some very unpleasant results!  With the old cars a bump draft almost always lifted the leading car’s rear end off the ground, causing havoc! As the lead car, you only wanted a bump draft when you were going perfectly straight!  If you weren’t going perfectly straight when the bump draft occurs, the front car risked being turned sideways at 190 MPH!  That would cause that driver to be ALL  HAIR, TEETH, AND EYEBALLS!!

Now both the front end bumpers and the rear end bumpers are all most equal in height.  That allows the two car’s bumpers to more closely aligned and allow for bump drafting with far less consequences for the lead car!

Everyone  remembers the “Big One” that  Carl Edwards caused at Talladega last year.  That was crash was caused because Carl Edwards tried to push or bump draft with Greg Bifle going into the turn.  Even tough the bumpers are more closely aligned with the COT, bump drafting in the turn will still turn the lead car around.  That is exactly what happened to “The Bif”!  Thereafter, all hell broke loose!!!

Now having explained the basic aerodynamics of drafting, you could now see how teammates, or any two cars, could hook- up and push or propel themselves to the front of the pack.  With two cars hooked-up in line drafting and powering their way forward, together they only punch a hole in the air the size of one car with more horsepower than a single car.  That would allow them to march to the front.   Conversely, side-by-side racing would be much slower because of the huge hole in the air that the two cars would produce and also creating significantly more dynamic and static drag on the cars to try to overcome.

Having tried to explain some of the basics of drafting and looking at the above picture, just remember that one picture is truly worth a thousand words!!

The Right Stuff!!










7.   NASCAR BANS ALL TESTING IN 2009: (winstonsalemjournal)



The 2008 NASCAR racing season has come to close.  The running of the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Raceway has ended with excitement and a place in the record books of NASCAR.  The winner of the race, Carl Edwards, won it in a dominating fashion, however that was only one half of the story.  Edwards attained his ninth win of the season, the most of any driver this year.  He also led the most laps enroute to the win.  Unfortunately, “Cousin Carl” couldn’t overcome the 141 point disadvantage in this last race.  He did, however cut a significant amount of points off from Jimmie Jonhson’s lead!  Edward’s surge over the last four races was short of a miracle in the NASCAR ranks!!


The real story of the weekend was Jimmie Johson’s third consecutive championship!.  That feat had only been accompolished once in NASCAR’s 60 year history.  Johnson got himself in the history books along side Cale Yarborough as the only other driver to score three championships in a row.  The consecutive championships won by these two individuals were exactly 30 years apart!!



At last, you say, I can finally figure out the title, the picture, and their relationship to NASCAR!!  Well let me tie them together anyway for you.   A few years ago Tom Wolfe wrote a book titled “The Right Stuff”.  It was a book chronicaling the beginnings of supersonic flight in the 1940’s and 1950’s, the brave adventerous pioneering pilots involved, and the teamwork that it took to overcome the dauting tasks that was before them.  There were heros, rivalries, brilliant people, and hard partiers, but the common theme was TEAMWORK!!  Everyone would sacrifice whatever it took to accompolish the goals given them.  You might remember or recognize some of those men, Chuck Yeager, Scott Crossfield, Bob Hoover, Neil Armstrong, John Glen, Buzz Aldrin, Deke Slayton, and James Lovell just to mention a few names.  They all hold their place in aviation history.


Racing has its men that have “The Right Stuff” also.  Try on a few of these names on for size, Lee Petty, Richard Petty, Fireball Roberts, David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Marvin Paunch, Buddy Baker, Benny Parsons, Bobby Allison, Ned Jarrett, Darrell Waltrip, and last but not forgotten Dale Earnhardt, Sr (in the staute above).  These men were just some of the brave pioneers of NASCAR.  They, too, were heros, rivals, hard partiers, and yes they were brilliant in their own way!  They were focused on accompolishing the dauting tasks of winning races and being better than their competitors day in and day out!  They realized that it took TEAMWORK to succeed!!! 


 Well add one more name to the history books.  What Jimmie Johnson and the #48 Lowes HMS Chevy accompolished in the last three years has cemented their place in the NASCAR history books!!  That whole team sacrificed everything to be the best when the going got tough!!  Winning three consecutive championships put them in the same sentence as Cale Yarborough.  Until Sunday there was only one driver and team that could lay claim to three championships in a row. 


T is for………





2.  KYLE BUSCH DONATES $100,000 TO SAM ARD (espn.com)

3.  HORNISH BACK TO INDY CARS IN ’09? (yahoo sports)




Most of the year T is for Talladega, but Sunday T was for Texas!!!  T was also for toughness, for teeth-clinching tussles, for high speed tangles, for two and three wide racing, and for tempers flaring!!!  But the REAL T was for thinning the points lead in the Chase!! 

“Cousin Carl” defied all the odds in fuel mileage logic!!  He and crew chief Bob Osborne turned a “mistake” in not pitting into a stretching of fuel mileage far beyond what was supposedly feasible!!  The theory of the fastest car wins the race definitely was proven totally wrong!!  For the last ten laps, Edward’s crew chief had to continually tell Carl to slow down, get out of the throttle, let it roll thru the corner!  It is a concept that is hard to understand, slow down to win the race!!!  Because the Office Depot #99 Ford did not stop when everyone else did, he inherited a huge lead and lots of track position!!!  So he slowed way down.  Lower RPM’s means less fuel burn per lap, thus allowing them to stretch their fuel out to 69 laps and win the race!!!




Ol Kylie Busch, aka The Las Vegas Weasel, won the Nationwide race in Texas on Saturday.  That win tied ol Kylie and Sam Ard with 10 victories in the Nationwide in one season.  That is quite a feat!  Last year Kevin Harvick came up one victory short of bypassing Mr. Ard’s accompolishments.  It is very possible that TLVW  may surpass Sam Ard’s record, with two races left this season!

Sam Ard had a brilliant but shortened racing career.  Back in 1984 he suffered head injuries in a racing crash that ended his career. In Sam’s days of racing, there were no “BIG PAYDAYS”. He raced because he was a RACER!!!!  Over the years, the Ard family has run across some extremely hard times.  Sam suffers from Alzheimers and is confined to a wheel chair. The family has used all of their funds just trying to care for Sam.  A few weeks ago Kevin Harvick bought and donated the “Shell Van” from the commercials to help the family’s transportation needs.  It appears that their automobile just recently “died”!!  

On hearing of the Ard family’s struggles, ol Kylie donates $100,000 to the Ard family to help.  Once again the NASCAR family comes to the rescue!!  As hard as this reporter has been on ol Kylie, I am very impressed that he appears to have a kind heart.

A Total Team Effort!








5.  WOOD BROS. AND HALL OF FAME RACING MERGE? (winston salem journal)


7.  LATEST ON GM-CHRYSLER MERGER: (winston salem journal)


9.  MAX PAPIS AND GERMAIN RACING ’09 CUP SEASON: (serius speedway)(jayski#13 team pic)

10. TESTING RULES TO CHANGE IN ’09: (winston salem journal)

11. EXCELLENT STATISTICS PAGE: (racing-reference.com

12. NASCAR NIXES GEM’S MOVE TO TOYOTA: (winston salem journal)

13. DW ON RAIN AND QUALIFYING, NEW IDEA!: (allwaltrip.com)

14. MAYFIELD TO BUY INTO BILLY BALLEW TRUCK TEAM: (serius radio interview)



Rain cancels qualifying for the 10th time this season.  For the third week in a row, Jimmie Johnson lined up on the pole.  The rain outs gives the #48 Lowes Chevy a couple of important advantages.  The first advantage is obvious, he sits on the pole for the race.  The second advantage, and possibly even more importantly, is he gets to pick first in the pit selections!!!  That is a big plus when it comes to getting into your pit box!!

The race was a typical Atlanta race, high speed and action all day long. But a late yellow flag gives Carl Edwards the opportunity to pass the leader, Denny Hammlin on the restart.   Carl Edwards wins for the seventh time this season, and the 14th in his short career.  Unfortunately, the #48 Lowes Chevy pits to get “Four Fresh Goodyears” and slices his way through the field to finish second, “truly raining on Edward’s parade”!!!  Edwards only gained slightly in the points column on Jimmie Johnson, however he did move into second place in the Chase!



I know once again you are wondering how can this reporter tie in a horse drinking out of a watering hole at Cental Park in NYC and a NASCAR race in Atlanta????  Get ready ’cause I am gettin’ ready to ‘splain!!!


If you look again at the picture, you will see this is a one horse operation.  He is “in the pits” replenishing himself getting ready to go back out and make some money for it’s owner.  Unfortunately, he his having to resupply his “consumables” ( think fuel and tires) all by himself!!  He is losing valueable time (think track position) not having a team (think pit crew) helping him!!!  If there were a few more people to put the horse back into a revenue position, he would make more money for his owner (think win the race/Chase)!!! 


So again how does this fit into the NASCAR picture??  Well, Sunday in Atlanta we saw the #48 Lowes team get penalized for speeding on pit row.  That put Johnson a lap down to the field, but that didn’t get the team down.  The team stayed focused and worked hard as a team unit.  When the yellow flags fell in the very last part of the race, the team made a couple of bold decisions that put them back in the “hunt”!  With bold decisions and fortitude the Lowes #48 team put themselves in a position to finish second place!  That voided the chance for Carl Edwards to make large gains on them in the Chase points.


This reporter can only echo what Brad Daughtery (ABC/ESPN) said two weeks ago after Johnson’s win at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.  Brad then stated so boldly, “print the hats and the T-shirts ’cause Jimmie Johnson will be the THREE-TIME WORLD CHAMPION“!!!   There is something about this race team that comes to life in final 10 races of the season.  It is like the Vince Lombardi days with the Packers.  Everyone knew that Bart Starr was going to give the ball to Taylor and Hornug and you just had to try to stop them!!  You also knew that it would take eveything you had plus some to do that !!!!!!


So what we are about to witness hasn’t not happened in NASCAR since 1976-78.  In those three years a very brash young man from Timmonsville, South Carolina, named William Caleb (Cale) Yarborough drove for “a good ol boy” from Wilkes County, N.C.  That “good ol boy” from N.C. was none other than Robert Glen Johnson, Jr., better known to the racing world as Junior Johnson, a legend in his own right as a driver!!!  For those three years that duo of driver and owner was the most dominate force NASCAR! 


Fast forward 32 years and we have a team equally as dominating now!!!  Print the T-shirts, print the hats, and raise the flag it is a done deal!!!


Rain, Fuel, and Pocono


Story lines:

1.  Pocono History :

2.  Track Design:

3.  Fuel Strategy:

5.  Newman says he has made his decision.  www.jayski.com

6.  Reflections on Indy:  www.nascar.com

7.  Crunch time for the Chase:


Pocono is the last race track to be independently owned.  The track was the idea of Drs. Joe amd Rose Mattioli of the Philadelphia area.  Back in 1952 Joe and Rose met at Temple University. Joe was going through Dental School and Rose later became a Podiatrist.  In 1960 they purchased some land in the Pocono Mountains of Pa. with the thought of bringing racing to the New York-Philadelphia area. 

The first track was a 3/4 mile track on site, but by 1971 the track was rebuilt to be a 2 1/2 mile tri-oval.  The track was designed by former Indy 500 winner, Roger Ward.  There a three very distinctive turns and the longest straight way on the NASCAR circuit.  Turn #1 is modeled after the now defunct Trenton Speedway in NJ with a banking of 14 degrees, the Champ Cars used to race there in the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s.  Turn #2 is modeled after the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a banking of 9 degrees.  And finally, turn #3 is modeled after The Milwaukee Mile with  banking of 6 degrees.

Notable NASCAR firsts at Pocono:

1.  Richard Petty wins inaugural race in 1974.

2  1986, Tim Richmond wins after recovering from an early crash to beat Ricky Rudd and Geoff Bodine in a photo finish.

3.  1988, Bobby Allison suffers a career ending injury in a first lap crash getting T-boned by by #63 Jocko Maggiacomb.

4.  1999, Bobby Labonte sweeps both races.

5.  2000, Jeremy Mayfield knocks the late Dale Earnhardt, Sr. out of the way to win the race. 

6.  2006, Rookie Denny Hamlin sweeps both races.


Once again rain played an integral part of the race weekend.  Qualifying was completed on Friday, but Saturday’s practice was completely washed out.  So when the race started, it was the first time that the drivers were in the cars since Friday afternoon.  The drivers made it all the way to the tunnel turn, turn# 2, before there was a wreck!!  Joe Nemechek got under and into Kevin Harvick turning both of the cars around.  Fortunately, nobody got in the retaining wall.  This reporter will admit that ol “Happy ” Harvick really got “up on the wheel” and kept it off the wall!!  It looked a liitle like the race a few weeks ago at “Smoke”‘s track in Ohio where they were sideways slinging dirt everywhere!!!  That race was the Prelude to the Dream at Eldora Speedway that many Cup drivers participated to raise money for The Victory Junction Gang Camp.


The race was relatively incident free except for when Menard tangled with Nemechek about mid-race.  Shortly thereafter with 69 laps to go, the rains came.  The rain mainly fell back on the tunnel turn, but NASCAR threw the Red Flag. The delay was fairly short and the NASCAR officials got the track dried and the race was restarted. 


Now the crew chiefs had to formulate their fuel strategy.  Could they make it on one more stop or do they have to make two???  The calculators were a smokin’, the tension and excitement was escalating!  As the laps were winding down there was many strategies that were unfolding.  Some teams waited til their pit window opened up, some short pitted, and some were rolling the dice staying out to the end!  Which strategy would be the winning one?


Carl Edwards’ crew chief elected to keep him out, hoping that they had enough fuel to go to the end.  It worked!!!  Edwards held off the rest of the field.  A few of the competitors, Dale Jr. included ran out of fuel coming off turn 4.  A slight miscalculation that caused them eight places in the finish!  Remember that I said that Harvick was involved in the first lap spin, he came all the way back and finished fourth today!!


With just five races left until the Chase begins, the drivers and the the teams are feeling the pressure.  It is crunch time!  For those on the outside, it is time to make your move to the front!  For those in positions 6-12, you have to solidify your efforts and your position in the standings.  Consistency is key to making The Chase!


Finally, both NASCAR and Goodyear have publically apologized to the fans and the race teams for really missing the tire setup last week at Indy.  It is this reporter’s opinion that, in this day and age of technology, it is almost impossible to think that the tire compound was so far off!!!  With all the research that was done prior to emplementing the new car, both agencies should have known the characteristics of the car and the associated tire wear tendencies.


You didn’t have to look it up, ’cause I aready did!!!!!