Swing Your Partner, Do-Si-Do
Plate track racing has certainly taken on a unique look in the last few races. We saw two-car tandems first make an appearance at the smooth as glass track of Talladega where cars can draft through the entire corner. Drivers realized that two cars working together were faster than a whole train of cars like we typically see at restrictor plate tracks. And now with Daytona getting new pavement which made it nice and smooth also, we saw last weekend that those pairings work well there also.
I’ve seen a lot of people who like the two-car drafting and a lot of people who hate it. It’s different for sure, and to some people change is never good. My verdict is still out on whether or not I like the tandem racing. I’ve never been much of a fan of plate racing anyway. Forty cars in one huge lump circling the race track was nerve-wracking because you never knew what was going to happen until the last lap. It seemed like everybody just rode around until the final 10 laps of the race.
Every time a driver would try to make something happen no one would go with him and no one could make forward progress. At least now you have a partner who is committed to going with you and there is a lot more passing for position going on. On the down side though, there seems to be a lot of danger involved because of the faster closing rates and the fact that the driver of the second car can’t see in front of him.
To me, I thought the racing at Daytona was very intense. There was a lot of strategy involved and a lot of room for error, which made it exciting. This two-car tandem drafting seems to be here to stay now that both plate tracks are smooth enough to hook up together around the entire track. I expect to see more of it at Talladega in a couple months. But honestly, racing is racing – I like it all. New school or old school, I’m fascinated.