NASCAR limits car to car communication for 2012

January 13, 2012 Testing Pack Racing
Daytona’s Pre-Season Thunder
(Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

In 2012, as part of NASCAR’s initiative to limit two car drafting, the use of  team radios have been limited. While it doesn’t mean teams won’t be able to draft together, it will certainly make it more challenging. It’s one of several changes implemented in hopes of bringing traditional restrictor plate racing back to Daytona and Talladega.

When the two car drafting began a couple of seasons ago, teams learned ways to make it an art form, especially in time for 2011 Speedweeks at Daytona to kick off the season. It went beyond two drivers hooking up and simply drafting with one another throughout the course of a restrictor plate race. Teams were able to provide drivers the chance to change to other team channels during the course of a race. When any two drivers hooked up to draft together, one driver would switch to the others radio channel allowing for the chance to talk with one another. This was important because drivers would be able to discuss braking points to stay hooked together, swapping points to change positions from pusher to leader and vice versa to combat cooling issues, timing for making runs to the front of the field, and overall race strategy.

Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton finish 1-2
in Talladega Fall Race – 2011
(Photo by Associated Press)

Some teams even took the communication to the next level. In the most recent restrictor plate event last fall at Talladega, then RCR teammates Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer not only communicated all race long on Burton’s team channel, but also used Burton’s spotter to almost exclusively spot both cars (when running in tandem) throughout the event. It was an extra tool that further allowed each driver to be on the same page. Bowyer would eventually take the checkered flag followed by Burton in second.




Moving into 2012, each driver will have to stay on their respective channel, meaning that drivers may no longer communicate with one another and will use their own spotters throughout the course of races. Drivers will undoubtedly find ways to work together and will be able to relay messages to other drivers through either crew chiefs or spotters. However, it simply won’t be as effective as talking to one another over the radio.


Tell us your thoughts about this decision by NASCAR for the 2012 Daytona 500.  Do you think NASCAR will reverse this decision before the season-opener?

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4 thoughts on “NASCAR limits car to car communication for 2012

  1. Personally, I enjoy the tandem drafting. So I'm disappointed with this direction from NASCAR. Seems to me testing revealed that tandem drafting will not be totally eliminated, so my concern is for safety of the drivers, as I believe to pass and to win this race, a tandem will be needed. Hopefully, hand signals and pre-race strategy will be sufficient communication!

  2. I have the same feeling as you Sharon. I feel the radio communication helped create effective tandem racing, so I think it will be more difficult. I think spotters will be busier than ever relaying messages and making deals atop the roof.

  3. Great piece and it is definitely going to be interesting to see how this is going to affect everything after the communication that went on between teams and drivers last year, especially at Dega in the fall. I agree with you Andrew that the spotters will definitely be busier than ever while on the roof.

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