• 45°

NASCAR: Blocking thoeries are like opinions. Everyone has one

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Tony Stewart says never. Joey Logano says late in the race. Jimmie Johnson says to protect a victory in the final laps, except, perhaps, if Stewart is behind him because of the potential consequences.
Theories on blocking and when it is acceptable vary widely in the NASCAR garage.
The topic has become a hot one since the last race two weeks ago in California, where an infuriated Stewart confronted Logano’s crew and accused the young driver of blocking him late in the race.
“I don’t like blocking. I never have, I never will,” Stewart said at Martinsville Speedway. “It’s our jobs as drivers to go out there and try to pass people. That is what racing is about. We didn’t have blocking 10 years ago. I don’t know where all of a sudden it became a common deal or some people think it’s alright to do now and think it’s common practice. I don’t believe it should be common practice.”
Others disagree, especially when trying to hang on for a victory.
“Those are decisions we all make on the track and when you are in the sport long enough, you realize what those decisions could lead to and, honestly, who you throw a block on,” Johnson said.
“They could come back and haunt you, so as we are trying to win a race, win for our team, win for our sponsors, there are these other elements that you may not consciously think of, but there is this quick snapshot that flashes through your mind when you throw a block,” he continued, adding that if you see Stewart approaching in your rear view mirror, “you probably expect something is going to happen.”
Blocking can be keeping a car in front of you by continually positioning your car in front of theirs, or taking away their preferred line around the track by adopting it for yourself, even if it’s not your preferred line. The thinking is if a driver is gaining on you, taking away his line can slow that.
At Martinsville, where the Sprint Cup Series will race 500 laps on Sunday, cars typically swing wide heading into the turns at each end of the track, then hug the inside curb. A blocking maneuver by a leader might cut down that wide swing, forcing a challenger to drive higher up in the turn away from the curb.
It helps to know a fellow competitor’s views, and tendencies, he said.
“He has made that known over the years, so there are guys that you probably don’t want to do that to,” Johnson said of Stewart. “But then again, at the end of the race I feel like things go to the next level and they change and to defend for a win, you have to take some extreme measures at times.”
Logano feels like he was taking those measures at Fontana, but wound up getting tangled up with Denny Hamlin, sending Hamlin into the wall, and Kyle Busch passed them both and claimed the victory.
Presented with the same circumstances in Sunday’s Sprint Cup race, Logano would take into account where in the 500 laps they are, but at the end, said he’d race the same, and thinks Stewart would, too.
“Late in the race, I would probably do the same thing if it’s the right move at the time, but like I said, early in the race I wouldn’t,” Logano said. “This is one of the toughest race tracks to get around and passing cars is hard, so patience runs low here. It’s a give-and-take race, for sure.”
That position, Jeff Burton said, is valuable information, as is a driver’s history.
“You’ve got to do what you think is best. I think at the end of the day, you have to remember what you do to somebody, you have to expect it’s going to be done back to you,” the veteran driver said. “If you feel like what you are doing is okay and it would be OK if it was being done to you, then you do it.”
It’s essentially about drivers policing themselves, he said, which can get complicated with a victory hanging in the balance.
“The problem we have in our sport is we have a lot of drivers that will complain when it happens to them, but when they do it to you they look at you like, ‘What’s wrong?’” he said.
“Because this is a self-serving sport and we tend to become selfish people in these race cars. You’ve got to be open-minded and understand what’s good for you has to be good for the next guy.”

Comments

Comments closed.

Local

City officials differ on how, what information should be released regarding viral K-9 officer video

High School

High school basketball: Carson girls are 3A champions

Lifestyle

High school, college sweethearts marry nearly 50 years later

Local

With jury trials set to resume, impact of COVID-19 on process looms

Legion baseball

Book explores life of Pfeiffer baseball coach Joe Ferebee

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education to receive update on competency-based education

Business

Biz Roundup: Kannapolis expects to see economic, housing growth continue in 2021

Business

A fixture of downtown Salisbury’s shopping scene, Caniche celebrates 15th anniversary this month

Local

Slate of new officers during local GOP convention; Rev. Jenkins becomes new chair

Landis

Landis officials narrow search for new manager to five candidates; expect decision within a month

Lifestyle

Together at last: High school, college sweethearts marry nearly 50 years later

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Schools sorts out transportation logistics in preparation for full-time return to classes

High School

Photo gallery: Carson goes undefeated, wins 3A state championship

Nation/World

Europe staggers as infectious variants power virus surge

Nation/World

Biden, Democrats prevail as Senate OKs $1.9 trillion virus relief bill

Nation/World

Senate Democrats strike deal on jobless aid, move relief bill closer to approval

News

Duke Life Flight pilot may have shut down wrong engine in fatal crash

News

Two NC counties get to participate in satellite internet pilot for students

Local

PETA protesters gather in front of police department

Coronavirus

UPDATED: Eight new COVID-19 deaths, 203 positives reported in county this week

Crime

Sheriff’s office: Two charged after suitcase of marijuana found in Jeep

Crime

Thomasville officer hospitalized after chase that started in Rowan County

Local

Board of elections discusses upgrading voting machines, making precinct changes

News

Lawmakers finalize how state will spend COVID-19 funds