Now that the Busch Crash is over, with the destruction of several million dollars worth of race cars, it doesn’t bode well for the Daytona 500 on Sunday.
What took place last weekend was systematic of NASCAR Cup restrictor-plate racing.
For much of the race, the 18 cars in the Busch Clash played follow the leader with two distinct packs of cars, the Chevrolet drivers all in a line hoping to save enough fuel to make it to the end of the race.
The problems took place when the drivers started to race side by side.
The leader would do more rearview mirror driving, looking for the line of cars in a draft making progress, and would then make a move to block the freight train.
One move would probably be acceptable. It happens all the time in short-track racing.
It’s when the lead car decides to make multiple moves to block cars, which inevitably happens at Daytona and Talladega, that leads to the “big one.”
Over the years at short-track races, it’s common for the race director to advise the drivers to pick a lane and not drift up and down the track in blocking moves.
It will happen again this coming weekend in the Truck, Xfinity and Cup races at Daytona, and the drivers caught up in the melee will bemoan the blocking moves that didn’t work.
“Either you can race or you can wreck,” defending Cup champion Kyle Busch commented after a block by Joey Logano caused a “big one.”
“The reason why we ride in single file is because we don’t know how to race,” he said. “Just a product of a few bad decisions there and we’re all crashed.”
Brad Keselowski, caught up in the same incident, said the drivers shouldn’t be wrecking.
“You’d think these guys would be smarter than that,” he said. “It’s the same thing over and over. Somebody throws a stupid block, and that’s never going to work, and wrecks half the field.”
Maybe NASCAR officials should tell the competitors in the drivers’ meeting one move to block is acceptable but anymore than that could result in a drive-through penalty.
Not sure what the solution should be, but NASCAR has to implement some control over what is taking place at the restrictor-plate races.
There are 52 teams entered in the Daytona 500, but only 43 attempted to qualify for the 40 starting positions. As of Tuesday, the 36 teams with charters are locked into the Sunday race and are joined by Justin Haley and Brendan Gaughn based on qualifying.
That leaves five drivers battling in the qualifying races Thursday for two positions in the starting field.
OTHER RACING NEWS
Entries for the 72nd running of the Pay Less Little 500 on May 23 at Anderson Speedway are starting to arrive.
Among the six drivers who have already entered are defending champion Kody Swanson and his Nolen Racing teammate, Shane Hollingsworth.
Bobby Santos III and Tyler Roahrig are both entered along with Florida driver John Inman.
Ronnie Roberts from Mississippi is the first rookie to enter the Little 500.