Bump drafting gets blasted by Stewart

Bump drafting gets blasted by Stewart

Bump drafting may be a necessary evil on restrictor-plate racetracks but reigning Cup series champion Tony Stewart is afraid someone is going to die. By all accounts, the Budweiser Shootout was a free-for-all and created dangerous race ...

Bump drafting may be a necessary evil on restrictor-plate racetracks but reigning Cup series champion Tony Stewart is afraid someone is going to die. By all accounts, the Budweiser Shootout was a free-for-all and created dangerous race conditions.

Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson lead the field.
Photo by Bob Harmeyer.
"Someone is going to get killed out there," said Stewart. "I just hope that I am not around for it. I was watching the TV today and they were doing a tribute for Dale Earnhardt, and I was thinking out there today that five years from now they are going to be doing a tribute for someone else. It could be me, it could be Dale Jr."

Stewart urged NASCAR to find a way to make changes to the current restrictor plate package, if not by next Sunday's Daytona 500, then before the spring event at Talladega.

Driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Chevrolet was not the only driver who expressed concerns.

"It was wild," commented Dale Earnhardt, Jr. "Beating and banging, not necessarily what you want to be in the middle of ... (Bump drafting) is a necessary evil. It is what it is. You can't restrictor plate race without doing it, you have to do it or else you would be single file and nobody would show up to watch that. It's just dangerous but they pay us pretty good to do this so I am not complaining."

Bump drafting is basically thumping the back bumper of the car in front of you to help speed up a pass in the draft. It has become commonplace over the last few years and has drawn ire from competitors.

It has been responsible for several multi-car incidents at Daytona and Talladega.

"I think bump drafting is probably the worst thing that has come along in this sport," commented Gordon. "I know why it happens, it is about getting momentum. You get locked into side-by-side racing and the only way to break yourself away is to get a bump from behind or get a bump from the guy who is in front of you.

"One of the reasons why we have so many wrecks is because of that."

Vice President of Corporate Communications, Jim Hunter, commented that while although NASCAR shares some of the drivers concerns there is no quick fix for bump drafting in the near future.

"We have to make sure that whatever we do to the cars that it is scientific and not shade tree," said Hunter. "We have thought about this before I think we will wrench up the research and get a lot more input but I don't think it will happen before the Daytona 500."

With a rookie class of drivers hungry to get to the front it wracks the nerves of the veterans in the field for the Daytona 500.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Tony Stewart , Jimmie Johnson , Jim Hunter