Towler's Talladega Guide

October 28th 2011
Sorry about the delay with the Talladega guide but it was for a good reason, myself and several of the NASCAR The Game team were in Charlotte and Talladega for the week. So let’s get started on Talladega, this week we are going to focus on our racing technique rather than a setup feature because no matter what setup you run around Talladega it’s not much use if you can't maximise the drafting, bumping and two car tango.
 
Over the last decade the draft has evolved from just sitting in someone's slipstream, the odd bump draft to constantly riding on someone's bumper to push them around the track. It doesn't really matter if you're a fan of this type of racing or not as you have to race this way to be competitive and that's the goal of every competitive driver.
 
To successfully master the two car tango first you have to be able to draft the car in front, the best way to do this is to picture a triangle coming from the car in front. Imagine that the further you’re behind a car the wider the triangle is, but the further you’re behind the less effective the drafting will be. As you get closer to the car in front the draft will increase but the triangle will narrow so in order to keep in the draft you'll have to be closer and closer to the wheel tracks of the car in front. Remember that the optimal level of draft will always occur in the wheel tracks of the car you’re following.
 
Now that you can draft the car in front, the next technique is bump drafting, this is when you intentionally hit the car in front not to spin them out but to increase both their speed and yours. The most effective way to do this is to line your car up right on there rear bumper, the straighter you can hit the car in front the more stable they will be when you hit them and the more speed they will gain. You also don't want to hit them with too much of a difference in speed as this will cause them to crash possibly taking you both out of the race, under most circumstances a speed difference of around 5mph tends to be the most effective and most consistent way of bump drafting your opponents. This can vary depending on the skill level of your draft partner, the only way to find out is to practice with them and see what there comfortable with.
 
The most recent addition to Superspeedway racing is the two car tango, love it or hate it this is now the way to race on restrictor plate tracks. The technique is similar to bump drafting but instead of bumping your rival the aim is to actually stick with them as you push. In order to do this you need to make sure your closing rate is much slower than if you wanted to bump draft, maybe 2mph at most. Once you make contact and you can feel that your pushing the car in front put your foot all the way down on the gas pedal and follow there path. It’s that simple, the biggest adjustment is letting the car in front drive you around the track but that comes with practice.
 
If you feel uncomfortable with doing the bumping and pushing, swap around with your drafting partner and see how that works out as you may find you prefer to be in front and there we have it.
 
Now I can give a large shout out to all the people who attended the Talladega race for putting on a great show it was an experience to say the least.
 
This week at Martinsville we'll be taking a closer look at what the ride height does to the car but until than enjoy bumping and tangoing around Talladega.