Stock car racing has devolved into complete nonsense now, making even less sense in its regulatory processes than the US government.
Last year at Daytona and Talledega, the two superspeedways, drivers discovered that two-car tandems were vastly faster than either single cars or “packs” containing three or more cars, and the racing was…. Well, there was no racing as you and I understand racing. There was high speed certainly, but the two car tandems were just ridiculous.
So this year, NASCAR is trying to make sure that two cars cannot “hook up” for the same kind of extra speed. One might think that authorities would look at shape of the cars to do that, since the issue is an aerodynamic linkage between two cars that allows them to go faster, but no, NASCAR is reducing the parameters of the cooling systems of the cars in hopes that the pushing car will overheat and force the tandem to break up so that the driver of the rear car can cool his engine down.
What could possibly go wrong with that plan?
Well, actually several things can go wrong; one being that the pushing driver doesn’t decide soon enough to cool his engine and it overheats and blows up. That dumps lots of oil, water and engine pieces on the track, which cause a whole bunch of other cars to wreck. That would indicate that NASCAR’s plan did not turn out very well.
Another possible outcome revolves around the fact that, with the rear car overheating, the two cars must trade places, taking turns pushing and leading. The more prone the pusher is to overheating, the more often they must trade places, and the more chance there is that they will wreck themselves in the process. So NASCAR’s plan increases the likelihood of a wreck, which some might say is a good thing. I don’t.
Finally, NASCAR claims to be trying to restore the “big pack” racing, where up to twenty or more cars raced in a single “draft,” or aerodynamically linked parade of cars. Why, exactly, they think that a car will overheat while pushing a single car and not overheat as one of the trailing cars in this “big pack” eludes me. Taking twenty cars, instead of having ten of them prone to overheating in ten tandems, you will have nineteen of them prone to overheating in a single twenty-car draft.
I definitely think that Brian France should run for President.