In an effort to break up the two-car tandems at Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR announced a rule change this week that has been welcomed by drivers throughout the garage.
The new rule will implement a larger restrictor plate and limit the pressure relief valve for the cooling system. The hope is to break up the two-car tandem drafting that has become the norm at Talladega and Daytona as of late.
"NASCAR's not afraid to change things, and that's part of the sport," Carl Edwards said. "We have to adapt every week to different race tracks, so why not adapt to rules changes like that?"
With the rule changes, Edwards feels there will be "a whole lot more going on" throughout the race as drivers continually swap positions.
As a result reducing the limit of the pressure relief valve, the belief is that drivers will have to swap positions more frequently to prevent overheating and engine failures – something Edwards believes drivers will ignore toward the end of the race.
"We're not going to stop running nose-to-tail," he said. "The winner of the race is going to use that to get up front. As the race winds down and things become more important, I don't think guys will care if they're blowing water out of the overflow. They're going to run those things until they melt down."
Ryan Newman also indicated race day weather could play a factor in determining how long drivers will be able to stay connected in the tandem draft.
"That 8 pounds is a decent change, but the actual ambient weather conditions can be a bigger change than what that change was," Newman said. "In other words, if it is a 60-degree day versus an 85-degree day, that plays a big factor in how effective that change is."
Edwards admitted teams have more potential for issues with the new rules, but believes the race will be "more difficult, more exciting and different."