What Is Tandem Drafting In NASCAR?
Tandem drafting in NASCAR is the process of two cars connecting the tail of one car to the nose of another car which allows the two cars to go faster. Tandem drafting, however, is not allowed in NASCAR and cars that are caught doing so are penalized.
Why is it Illegal?
Tandem drafting has just recently been outlawed in NASCAR, and before it was outlawed, it was used by a majority of NASCAR drivers. In 2014 however, NASCAR decided that it was best to outlaw tandem drafting. NASCAR eliminated tandem drafting because it increases the likelihood of crashes. When tandem drafting is happening, the back car loses the ability to see in front of the front car, and if the front car then makes any sudden move, a crash is almost inevitable. In the year leading up to NASCAR's outlawing of tandem drafting, one driver got into a crash which caused the car to go airborne and in the end resulted in 30 fans being injured. The risks that tandem drafting has were too much and NASCAR decided they must ban it.
Legal Types of Drafting
Although tandem drafting has been outlawed by NASCAR, there are other forms of drafting that have not been outlawed, and many people view these as more effective. For example, drivers are able to bump draft in that they can stay near another car and bump that car from behind, but they are not able to stay attached to the car because then it is considered to be tandem drafting. Bump drafting has become an effective form of drafting now that tandem drafting has been outlawed.
Another form of legal drafting is when a driver is within a pack. James Buescher, a former NASCAR driver, said that he prefers pack driving to tandem drafting because of the control that he has. Many drivers share Buescher's testament. Although they all understand that two cars are faster than one, being in total control of the car and not having to worry as much about what one other driver might do makes them more comfortable which helps them race better.
Since Tandem Drafting Has Been Banned
Since tandem drafting has been banned, NASCAR has created new technology in the engines that some cars have adopted which makes it extremely difficult for the drivers to tandem draft without the engine overheating. NASCAR has also punished multiple drivers for tandem drafting by black-flagging the team that did so. If a team is black-flagged, then the driver must go into the pitstop and answer to NASCAR officials. This will put that team at a disadvantage because it forces them to pit and they very easily can fall behind in the race. Drivers and teams look to avoid getting black-flagged at all times because of the disadvantage it puts them in.