Count Dale Earnhardt Jr. among those drivers who don't think much of NASCAR's new rules at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend and in fact Junior thinks they could cause more harm than good.
Earnhardt had these comments during his media availability session at Talladega on Friday:
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE RULE CHANGES ARE GOING TO DO TO AFFECT THE TWO-BY-TWO DRAFTS OR IS ANYTHING GOING TO CHANGE UNTIL THE TRACK AGES?
“I think that there are a lot of different variables that created the tandem racing, it was kind of the perfect storm, if you will. We had the cars, the new COT and how the bumpers line up perfectly. How flat both end of the car are, so you are able to push people without picking them up off the ground or doing anything too crazy. Then you have the latest technology when it comes to asphalt and paving, which you are seeing tracks like Charlotte, that place should have aged quite a bit by now, since it was repaved and it is as if the place has not aged at all. There is tons of grip there and you saw that in the type of race we had there last week. It was kind of the perfect storm, a lot of different variables they did kind of choke down the plates on the cars a little bit before this most recent change, what they have been doing is slowing the cars down a little bit. That is just going to increase our ability I think to have the tandem racing. I really don’t know if it will change much, we will just have to get out there and see. I don’t expect it to change really at all.
The one thing, and I hate to quote Jeff Gordon, I hate to speak for anybody but he brought up a good point, we were talking about this style of racing and I was thinking you know it is good that we are going to get a bigger plate, cause I think going faster is a way to sort of break up the tandem drafting. I had seen that in some test that we did at Daytona, where the plate change mid-test and it changed the way the draft worked and it changed how we did tandem draft with just a small adjustment in the plate. But the one thing that they changed in the radiator with the release value, we will probably have to swap sooner, if we are going to push each other around the race track we are going to have to swap more often and when we do make position changes. Say you are working with your partner out there and you got to change more often, that is when it is going to get crazy because you lose a lot of speed and the guys that are not changing that are behind you come flying up on you really quick and if they do not have a lot of room and everybody doesn’t know what is going on, bad things can happen.
The change in the radiator to make us change more often, I don’t really see what we are trying to accomplish there and how that can bring about any good. I think that will just put us all in difficult situations, more often cause when you make a swap it is a difficult situation for the other drivers that aren’t swapping that have to dodge you and hope they know where you are going and what you and your teammate are trying to do, because you lose so much speed in the process of making that swap. Everyone is sort of making a lot of calculated guess out there if that is happening more often that is a little bit troublesome but, I don’t think it will be that big of a deal, but I just don’t know what that change was really for other than to make us swap more. I don’t like the tandem drafting, but hopefully some of these changes will make us do that less but I don’t know. So much grip out there, the main factor I think is the grip of the track. There are some other things that plan in the role too.”
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