NASCAR and the Two B's: Bump Drafting and Blocking

Kelly CrandallSenior Writer IFebruary 20, 2009

Long before the Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brian Vickers incident on lap 124 of the Daytona 500, NASCAR had a problem on their hands. Or at least they should have.

Instead, it's either gone unnoticed or uncared for.

They are the ever so lovely topics of bump drafting and blocking.

To my understanding in 2006 before the Daytona 500, NASCAR officials implemented the "No Bump Zones" around the race tracks of Daytona and Talladega. The rule states that no driver is allowed to bump the car or truck in front of them unless they are on the straightaways.

However, on Friday during the Camping World Truck Series and Saturday during the Nationwide Series race, Kyle Busch broke that rule while attempting to "move" leaders Todd Bodine on Friday and Tony Stewart on Saturday.

He blantly and clear as day was pushing Todd Bodine into turn three in an attempt to get him loose so Busch could go on by. At any other track that would have been no harm no foul.

But this is Daytona. Bump drafting is a no-no going into the corners.

Just ask Carl Edwards who was penalized in 2006 during the Nationwide race when he ran into the back of Michael Waltrip going into turn three. 

After Busch's move didn't work on Bodine, Busch tried again one day later during the last lap of the Nationwide Series race. And this time, the bump or push lasted all the way through turn three and into turn four.

Once again, it didn't work and he was left frustrated.

Not surprisingly, just like on Friday, NASCAR officials looked the other way.


If they try to say that because it was the last lap that it was fine, then a trophy needs to be given to Regan Smith, along with an apology. As Andy Petree says, if it's not legal the whole race, why would it be on the last lap?

Or was it because Busch didn't wreck anyone?

"It got really, really loose," Stewart said. "Kyle pushed me all the way through the corner. If I'd have spun or crashed, I was going to have it out with him on that one."

During another episode of bump drafting gone bad, two drivers did have it out. Sort of. At Daytona in 2005 during the Thursday Gatorade Duel race, Kevin Harvick got a run on leader Jimmie Johnson in turn two. He didn't wait until the backstretch or lift off the throttle enough and sent Johnson spinning off the corner.

It collected seven other cars.

Move forward a bit in 2005 to the April Talladega race. Ryan Newman hit Scott Riggs in the tri-oval and Riggs not only collect half the field, but when flipping past the start finish line.

Also in the same race, Jimmie Johnson hit Elliott Sadler in turn one and collected half the field. Including Michael Waltrip who also went flipping down the track.

The list goes on and on and every driver is guilty of it. But when it's as obvious as Kyle Busch was on Friday and Saturday, shouldn't NASCAR stick to their rules?

Wait, that's a tough thing to ask them!

Let's move on to blocking.

We all know that Brian Vickers was blocking Dale Earnhardt Jr. as he should have and we all know what happened after that.

But once again, it was Kyle Busch that brought something to my attention. Sorry Kyle, you're not the only one, just the obvious one.

While leading the Daytona 500 Busch was jumping from lane to lane to ensure that no one passed him. Which would have been fine if it had been the final 50 laps and not the first.

Busch luckily didn't cause a wreck as he jumped up and down cutting people off, which must have been why NASCAR again turned their heads. In the past they have told the leaders and others, to pick a lane and stick with it.

Even the Fox broadcasters mentioned Busch's actions.

Actions, that are not uncommon in restrictor plate racing, you defend your territory. But bouncing from lane to lane on lap six just doesn't make sense and trying to say that when you're there you don't want to get shuffled back is understandable, but these cars have gotten much better in terms of being able to pass.

If Busch had such a strong car, he wouldn't have had a problem.

In the 2002 Daytona 500, Kevin Harvick, who was not leading, said he tried to block Jeff Gordon who was getting a run on the inside when Gordon turned him in turn one. When the smoke cleared there were 15 cars that were destroyed.

During the 2002 Pepsi (now Coke Zero) 400 at Daytona, Dale Jarrett moved low to block Jeff Burton. The two ended up below the yellow line heading into turn one, much the same way that Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brian Vickers did.

Burton never stopped bumping Jarrett and turned him into the rest of the field-the same way that Vickers ended up.

Watching the video on YouTube, you may think it's the exact same race.

This is another good example of bump drafting and subsequent blocking gone horribly wrong.

John Darby, Sprint Cup Series Director, had this to say: "The hits get harder and harder, and, as the bold get bolder, it transfers from not only the back straightaways and the short chutes on the front to where we have actually witnessed cars trying to bump draft in the center of the corners."

Oh, ok, so you do see it, but choose to do nothing. I get it now.

The two B's will never disappear from NASCAR racing and the drivers who know how how to use them to their advantage always do well on the restrictor plate tracks.

But more and more drivers and fans grumble about the big wrecks and crazy driving by certain drivers when it's really not their fault. After all, NASCAR isn't penalizing them or even warning them anymore. And if they are during the drivers meeting, them some must have dozed off during that spiel.

The moral of the story? Unless NASCAR gets the message, we fans and drivers need to suck it up and get used to it because there are still plenty of cars that are going to get torn up in the three remaining plate races this season.

It's gonna be a long year....