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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

NASCAR Mailbox: What Can Be Done About Vicious Blocks at Daytona & Talladega?

The rumors have flown for months now whether Kyle Larson will return to NASCAR and where he will go. With his return to the sport being imminent, the question arises about how he will perform after basically running a full year on the dirt side of things. While he has dominated, we all know NASCAR is a different animal.

Do you expect him to be better wherever he goes? Has he truly become a better person through this entire debacle? What can we realistically expect if he does land at Hendrick Motorsports or another quality ride?

Many debates were started after the race on Sunday afternoon (Oct. 4) at Talladega Superspeedway about blocking and the double yellow line rule. Focusing on the blocking, it was a huge cause of several controversies. The current package in the NASCAR Cup Series allows drivers to get huge runs down the straightaway, which causes last second decisions that have resulted in wrecks. Penalties were handed out to some drivers for forcing others below the yellow line as a result of their blocks, but can there be more done?

Should there be rules like other motorsports have for blocking at Daytona International Speedway or Talladega? Why do we see this more now versus a few years back? Is track position that huge even at a superspeedway?

Q: If or when Kyle Larson comes back, will he be as good as he was, better or worse, depending on the ride he has, in your opinion? Jason S., Pittsburgh, PA

A: With all the rumors of him heading to Hendrick Motorsports, it is really hard to believe he will be worse off than he was before the incident that took him out of the No. 42 for Chip Ganassi Racing. While Ganassi is a great team and has good equipment, they are not what Hendrick is.

Listen, when you have a top tier driver like Larson and a top tier team like HMS (if the rumors do add up) then there will be a ton of success. However, Larson found success at CGR even in the midst of some struggling results for the team.

The issue before this past Sunday was whether or not people forgave Larson for what happened back in April. That is a different topic, but for people of color, it is up to them to accept the apology. Larson’s mentality is one thing that could increase his performance in a significant way.

Nobody knew what his life was truly like beforehand, and we still do not truly know. This incident completely changed his life, but it has the potential to make him a better individual and, at the very least, has helped him educate himself on history and the topic at hand.

Besides that point, just look at his dirt stats from this year. The man can wheel a racecar better than many can in this generation. He is poised for a comeback soon. Whether he gets the HMS ride is yet to be determined, but he is going to make noise wherever he goes in NASCAR. If he happens to be in Cup and in a quality ride, the whole field needs to look out for a potential breakout season. If he somehow goes to the NASCAR Xfinity Series and has to race the lower series for a year, they better watch out even more with the way those cars drive.

To answer the question, he is going to be better. Getting back to the mentality aspect, he knows what he did was wrong and he has publicly said that now. He knows he has what it takes to be a champion, and I would not be surprised at all if he wins several races next season, wherever he winds up.

In an unprecedented year, one of the most talented drivers had to be removed from the sport. However, this could be a comeback story for the ages. Nobody knows exactly what will happen as of now, but Larson is likely going to be a force for many years to come now.

Q: Do you see NASCAR making any rule change with blocking on the superspeedways? Tim R., Myrtle Beach, SC

A: Blocking is something you really cannot make a rule about in NASCAR. You can get away with blocking rules in other forms of motorsports, but NASCAR has never been the type of organization to enforce those type of rules.

The closest thing NASCAR has to a penalty for blocking is the one about forcing someone below the yellow line, which we saw come into play a lot on Sunday in Talladega. We all know there are going to be many instances throughout each superspeedway race where blocking is going to play a huge role. Some drivers definitely do it more aggressively than others; many of the drivers who do not will tell you that.

NASCAR does not need to change any rule, nor do I think they will regarding blocking or even the rules package for these tracks. Drivers will always block, and even though it may cause incidents, it would be worse if they enforced any rule to do with that. Think about all the action there is because of the leader switching lanes back and forth to maintain their position. Without that, getting to the lead would be almost pointless unless it’s within the last few laps of a stage or the race.

I can see them being more strict about the forcing below the yellow line rule, especially if there would be any harm caused due to whoever did the crime. Yes, the yellow line rule is something that should be up for discussion as to whether it should be kept or not, but we are not going to dive into that right now. (My very quick take: It should not be a rule anymore.)

As for blocking, you know it will always be a thing, and drivers know the risk they take when they block for the lead at Daytona and Talladega. They are willing to take that risk, because they have a ton on the line, and of course, track position means a lot even at a superspeedway.

I don’t want to see any rule change when it comes to this. I don’t know what type of racing you see up front if a car is trying to control the race and then you take this tactic away from them. It is a part of superspeedway racing and always has been. You cannot take that part away. Again, it is risky, but the risk and reward make these races as exciting as they are, and it’s hard to envision that changing.

About the author

Brandon is a 22-year-old from NY and has been a passionate follower of motorsports for 14 years now. He recently graduated from Molloy College on Long Island with a BA in Communications. Working within NASCAR has been a dream for Brandon for a while, and he hopes to be able to live out the dream in the very near future.

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14 thoughts on “NASCAR Mailbox: What Can Be Done About Vicious Blocks at Daytona & Talladega?”

  1. If drivers are going to block and another has an issues with what happens on track, they could always go behind the haulers and talk it over.

  2. I hate blocking but what I hate more is when someone lets someone get away with blocking. Don’t let up, wreck the bastard and teach him a lesson. If everyone did that, drivers would stop blocking because they would know it leads to the wall.

    • I suppose Regan, Stuart, Edwards, and Brad have no say? With just 2 cars dealing with blocking and the yellow line, they are easy to deal with. The yellow line is there for a legitimate reason.
      NASCAR blew it Sunday.
      But I’ll just get mad for a couple of days then prepare my comforts for the Roval with great anticipation.

  3. A rule against blocking would effectively end Logano’s career. If only for that reason, I would be in favor of it!

    On the other issue, I have never bought into the Larson hype. 6 wins in stock car races does not make him a superstar, even though the media keeps trying.

    • Oh mama, you’ve never liked Joey. Or Larson. Only driver with more raw talent than Kyle, is the other Kyle.

  4. For Brandon and the traffic jams. I suggest creating traffic flow similar to getting off the Molloy Campus at peak times. Rockville Centre drivers will slow anything down. From a former RVC now in Charlotte…,

  5. To say you can’t make a rule of no blocking in NASCAR is just ridiculous. Of course you can and it CAN be enforced. Just ask Tony Stewart what he thought of blocking! I know you’re young Brandon but don’t drink the NASCAR kool-aid so readily!

      • Tony was a heck of a driver but he never practiced what he preached. He was a bit sanctimonious and hypocritical. In the devolution of the Nascar driver, he’s the missing link between Darrell Waltrip and Kyle Busch.

  6. If NASCAR would lighten up the rules on springs, gear ratios, shocks, springs, spoilers, etc., I doubt blocking would be as much of an issue. As far as Larson goes, he paid for his crime and deserves another shot, being he’s one of the best drivers out there and knows how to win. With good cars and a good crew, he might just be unstoppable…

  7. I want to see Kyle Larson in the #14 car next season. Clint is a good guy and I’d love to have a beer with him. Kyle is just a better driver.

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