Amanda Vincent, NASCAR Correspondent
Since the phenomenon of tandem racing cropped up at NASCAR’s restrictor plate tracks – Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway – the sanctioning body has made attempts at eliminating or at least cutting back on the two-car draft.
“We would prefer to eliminate tandem racing in the manner it exists today,” NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said near the end of the 2011 season. “There is no question about that. We are working on rolling back the clock to traditional Daytona, Talladega races.”
The next move NASCAR takes to break up the pair drafting that was joking compared to dating last season may be preventing driver-to-driver radio communications. This speculation began on Thursday, with tweets from NASCAR hinting at the possibility.
“On radio communication: #NASCAR is having and will continue to have discussions with the race teams about radio communication,” according to a tweet from the official NASCAR Twitter account, @NASCAR.”
With Twitter posts being limited to 140 characters, the sanctioning body used two-consecutive tweets to hint at possible communication changes.
“In particular, teams communicating between one another during events and expects to have a policy in place for the 2012 season.”
Competitors will get a taste at whatever new policy NASCAR comes up with to combat the issue right off the bat, as the 2012 season will get underway at the restrictor plate track of Daytona in February with events including the 2012 Shootout exhibition event on Feb. 18 and the Daytona 500 on Feb. 26.
Teammates’ talking to each other wasn’t really a new aspect of Sprint Cup Series racing last year. Several of the larger, multi-car teams designed their radios so that teammates could converse during races, but the tandem racing that sprang up in 2011 took the concept to a whole other level.
During races at Daytona and Talladega last season, some drivers had as many as two dozen options of drivers to talk to during events. And in many instances, one spotter – typically the spotter assigned to the first car in a drafting pair – would actually spot for both cars.
Moves taken in 2011 to cut down on two-car drafting included changes to restrictor plates and cooling system modifications. Neither tactic worked, as drivers then perfected a method of drafting that involved the back car of each pair pulling over just enough to get air through the grill but not enough to significantly affect the draft.
NASCAR is mum on specifics of actions that may be taken in regards to radio communications at Daytona and Talladega, but all signs point that change is in the air.