NASCAR

Draft dodging: Drivers heed NASCAR's warning

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Darrell Waltrip

Darrell Waltrip — winner of 84 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and a three-time champion — serves as lead analyst for NASCAR on FOX. He was selected for induction into the prestigious NASCAR Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2012. Want more from DW? Become a fan on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

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We've talked about bump drafting all week long, and in the Gatorade Duel 150 races, it looked like NASCAR got it under control. They nipped it in the bud. We had great racing, and we never had a bump-draft incident.

That's what NASCAR can do when it puts its foot down and says, "Boys, we won't tolerate it." NASCAR was proactive. The officials didn't say, "We might do this. We may do that." They said, "We're not going to tolerate it." It was a perfect example of 43 great drivers running 190 mph and doing it professionally. They don't have to run into each other. The only bump drafting I saw was when Tony Stewart popped the pace car really good under caution. I'm sure that Brett Bodine wondered what he was thinking. How did NASCAR fix the problem? They didn't go down there and say, "Cut off all the bumpers. Cut out all of the bars." They talked to the drivers who are in control of the cars. There are a lot of symptoms. We needed a cure, and the man upstairs in the control tower gave us one.

Tires are touch and go

Tires are almost on the borderline of blowing. Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s right front tire was down to the cords, and Dave Blaney's No. 22 car had a problem with the left rear. We've seen blown tires a couple of times this week. Man, you'd better have the setup right. You don't want to abuse that right front tire because it will blow out.
Ask DW

Kirk beams up

It seems like every year when we come to Daytona, some big team has a problem. Scott Riggs shot himself in the foot in qualifying, and he never recovered. But two people in particular benefitted from Riggs' misfortune: Kevin Lepage and Kirk Shelmerdine. Some of my buddies from home are helping Shelmerdine, and they are beside themselves. My phone has been ringing off the hook. "We made the Daytona 500!" When you look at the list of who didn't make it, including Riggs, Mike Skinner, Kenny Wallace and Scott Wimmer, who would have thought that Shelmerdine would have gotten in over almost any of those guys? That's no disrespect to Shelmerdine. He obviously has a great car. He qualified well and got a great finish on Thursday. He's going to run the Daytona 500, and that's a piece of history because he stood in the pits with the Man in Black on many a Sunday as Dale Earnhardt's crew chief.
Tagged: Scott Wimmer, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Scott Riggs, Tony Stewart, Dave Blaney

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