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DATE News (chronologically)
01/16/08
nascar
Bump-drafting is a hot topic at Daytona testing
It was another super day for Toyota teams, which again dominated the action at Daytona International Speedway. Dale Jarrett was fastest in the morning practice, and Dave Blaney was quickest in the afternoon session, and Toyota drivers took eight of the top 10 speed spots.

Only Chevy’s Dale Earnhardt Jr., second fastest in both sessions, and Dario Franchitti in a Chip Ganassi Dodge kept Toyota from totally ruining everyone’s day.

Elliott Sadler said last week that the bumpers on these new NASCAR stock cars match up so well that bump-drafting may be even more of an issue here than in the past.

“I think he’s probably right,” Burton said. “The great question, honestly, is how the car is going to handle.

“My inclination is that they’re going to handle bad enough where I don’t think bump-drafting is going to be a factor. I think the factor is going to be who can put the car where they want to put them.

“Bump-drafting really becomes a problem when you have the 43‑car packs, with no other option to pass.

“I think this is going to be a different kind of race.

“The other thing about the bump-draft - when the bumpers do line up, it doesn’t cause the problem that we saw with the other cars.

“We had a lot of wrecks in the other cars that people said were bump-drafting when it was just wrecking.

“There’s a difference. Running into the back of somebody isn’t bump-drafting.

“Those mistakes won’t show up as much in this car because the bumpers do line up.

“Think about Martinsville in the spring, when Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson racing so hard. Jeff gave him some pretty good shots … and nothing happened. Had he done that with the old car, something would have happened.

“Bump-drafting is going to always be an issue here, but I think it’s actually less of a negative with this car because the bumpers do line up … which of course that means we’re going to do it more, which of course means that might put us right back in the same spot.

“I honestly believe handling is going to be so important after 15 or 20 laps that bump-drafting is not going to be the major issue.”  Winston Salem Journal

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