The Backstretch Blog: Dancing with the Cars


Eyewitness Sports

3:35 PM EDT, July 5, 2011


So did you have your partner for this weekend's race at Daytona? Love it or hate it, it appears as if two by two racing, couple skate, tango racing or what ever you want to call it, is here it stay at Daytona and Talladega. But is it all that much different than what we had before? I mean, we still managed to have the big one?

"We do have the two-car tandem so it’s a little bit different," said Dale Earnhardt Junior. "But at the end we're in a big pack and it's still restrictor plate racing."

Still it has become so important to have not only a partner, but one that can help you get to the front, it's kinda like finding a date to the prom isn't it?

"This time was different because last time we didn't know how extreme this would be so they didn't work it out before they got here," said Trevor Bayne. "This time, they already had that planned before they got here."

And this is a dance that you don't where want to be left with out a parnter. So what happens if you don't have a partner, your partner leaves you for a "better dancer", or guy wrecks out of the race?

"You don't even have a chance if you have a single-car team," said Bayne.  "You just have to wait on another guy to crash out and pick him up."

That being said, it really looked as if the single car teams are some of the beneficiaries of this kind of racing. Casey Mears and Joe Nemechek actually lead laps this weekend. When was the last time we saw that. Once they got hooked up with a dance partner, it looked like anyone could win the race, and that is kind of fun. We won't see that at Kentucky this weekend, I can promise you that.

I know the drivers hate this kind of racing, especially on a nights when 30 of the 43 cars end up being involved in one of the accidents.

"It's so hard to see how many hours these guys put into these cars to have it torn up in the blink of an eye like that. But it is what it is," said Earnhardt.

But watching at home, it is fun to watch and think that Mears or Nemechek or Landon Cassill actually have a chance to win the race. I personally don't like restrictor plate racing, but I really enjoyed Saturday night's race for that reason. If we could keep that factor, and get ride of the accidents it would be perfect. But I know you can't have one with out the other.

Let's say NASCAR were to listen to the drivers and try to break up couples skate at the Daytona International Speedway. Is there anything they can do?

"You fix the front and the back of the car so if they have contact, there is an inclined angle that would drive the rear wheels off the ground to stop it. It's easy to stop it if NASCAR really wants to stop it," said Jack Roush, car owner and an engineer. "But it's exciting racing. Daytona and Talladega both have been known for the fast speeds and for all of the excitement that is unique to those two racetracks. And we've got something now that I think is no less exciting than it's been, and it's no more hazardous or less hazardous than when we had the 30-car drafts.  I think that's what we'll have to deal with when it comes to Daytona or Talladega."