Why Do Nascar Drivers Push Other Cars?

why do nascar drivers push other cars

It is not uncommon for NASCAR races to involve pushing. It is a strategy employed by teams and drivers throughout the race to gain an edge. NASCAR permits pushing because it allows drivers to go quicker during races. This makes races entertaining for spectators and lets drivers conserve fuel and tires.

What Is Drafting In NASCAR?

During a NASCAR race, two vehicles may line up in front of and behind each other. You may find this surprising because the speedier automobile behind should pass. NASCAR demands foresight.

As with all sports, professionals do things that even the most understanding fans may find unusual. When an NHL forward tosses the puck into the offensive zone, it seems strange. Third-down draw plays are rare in the NFL.

As in NFL and NHL games, strategy is important during a match. and a 300-500-mile race. Drafting increases speed and reduces tire wear and fuel mileage.

A trailing automobile lines up behind the leader. Drafting involves strategy and science.

Drafting Explained

The front bumper of the car in the back is inches away from the rear bumper of the car in front. This permits the vehicle in front to displace air from its front to its rear.

A vacuum is created as the lead car displaces this air between the two cars. This effect advantages the rear car since the front car practically pulls it, allowing them to drive faster and slice through the field.

Side Drafting

There are not always cars lined up from front to back. Occasionally, they enter what is known as a side draft. This occurs when two cars are racing side-by-side and one car releases air from its nose into the other car's spoiler.

Unlike bump drafting, though, side drafting causes the opposing car to lose momentum. The car that triggered the side draft gains speed and takes the lead. This form of drafting is less prevalent at shorter and intermediate ovals. However, it is utilized frequently on superspeedways such as Daytona and Talladega.

Why Do NASCAR Drivers Push Each Other?

NASCAR drivers push against one another because, as in all sports, winning requires sound strategies. Most people will be surprised by these strategies, especially in NASCAR, where most people think it's enough to just be faster than the other drivers over 300 to 500 miles.

However, this is not the case. There are a few instances throughout a race in which finishing in the top 10, and preferably the top five, is essential: At the conclusion of the first two stages and the conclusion of the race.

NASCAR drivers, their crew chiefs, pit crews, and team personnel behind the pit wall spend an entire week planning their race strategy. Joey Logano once stated that he and his team began planning for the upcoming race during the Sunday evening drive back to team headquarters.

Therefore, teams enter a race with a strategy in which they may concentrate on being in the middle of the pack during Stage One if that is where their driver shines on a specific track. In addition, they have strategies for pushing and drafting.

Motives for Racing in NASCAR

Clean air travels ahead of the lead car. Therefore, when two or more cars align behind it, air flows over the tops of the cars, creating their own draft.

Once the clean air reaches the rear of the last vehicle in the line, it accelerates the other vehicles by 3 to 5 miles per hour (mph). Therefore, if three cars are going 3 mph slower than the leader of the race, drafting will improve their chances of catching up.

The car in the front of the draft will profit the most. This is why, when you watch a race, you will see one of the following cars practically slingshot out of the draft.

This causes the leading car to lose 3 to 5 mph when the trailing car pulls out and begins a side draft. Jamie McMurray once compared the loss of momentum to pulling a parachute. The trailing car maintains momentum and easily passes the leading car.

Dirty Tactics?

You may feel that drafting is a dirty strategy. However, this slingshot technique is typically observed when cars from rival teams or, in some situations, manufacturers push. During a race stage or the last few laps, teammates and cars made by the same company may continue to push.

This ensures that, absent a major accident, a race team will either win the race or place in the top 10 at the very least. Other times, if the driver is competing for a single-car squad, he or she may attempt to push another car of the same manufacturer.

Intra-Race strategy

NASCAR drivers can no longer communicate with one another via radio. Nevertheless, they are still able to interact with one another. This occurs frequently via their spotters. One spotter will inform another that their driver is eager to cooperate with the other.

The spotter for the second driver will transmit Driver A's interest in collaborating with them to their driver. Driver B will accept or decline the offer based on their individual circumstances. Such strategizing is frequently undertaken with caution. Consequently, when the race restarts, Driver B will align with Driver A if they accept the request to operate together, and they will advance through the field.

Is Pushing Legal in NASCAR?

NASCAR has severe rules that its drivers must abide by, otherwise they risk receiving a black flag. Several of these laws prohibit drivers from acquiring unfair advantages during a race. In the early 2000s, for example, NASCAR had to take action against drivers who might have used traction control to gain an advantage during a race.

NASCAR has laws against pushing as well. However, pushing and drafting are permissible in NASCAR because they do not provide drivers with an undue advantage. It's like the National Football League, where two receivers on the same team throw in different ways to confuse the other team's defense.

Drafting is nothing more than a strategy. And all cars may be drafted, not just a select few well-funded vehicles. From the viewpoint of NASCAR, this ensures parity, and, especially at larger tracks where drafting is required, it is not uncommon for unheralded drivers to capture the checkered flag.

What drivers cannot do

Drivers may push against one another and side draft to their hearts' content. They must not, however, intentionally collide with one another.Therefore, if their objective is to cause an accident with the driver in front of them as opposed to bump-drafting in ways that will benefit them both in the short term, they may receive a black flag.

However, this occurs infrequently since NASCAR must be fully aware of the adversary. They also have to prove that the aggressor pushed the other driver on purpose into the SAFER barrier, which is hard to do.

Why does NASCAR allow bumping?

NASCAR considers bumping a safe strategy, which is why it has not been prohibited. It also increases the excitement of the races for both viewers and drivers. Since better-funded teams have more equipment, they might easily gain an edge if bumping was prohibited, particularly those who field up to four cars.

With bumping, teams with less equipment or a single driver can attach themselves to another car. In turn, this will make them faster for the duration of the bump draft, while also benefiting the car in front of or behind them.

Also, bumping is not done maliciously. It is a maneuver that will not put anyone against the wall on purpose. And it only adds to the thrill when a car darts out of the draft in an attempt to pass the car or cars in front of it.


NASCAR allows pushing because it is a safe method for cars to drive faster while maximizing aerodynamics. It helps slower cars to remain competitive and maintains the excitement of races. It happens on fast tracks like Daytona as well as on short and medium ovals and road courses.

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