NASCAR to keep close eye on Talladega bump drafting Sunday

TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Drivers beware. Excessive bump drafting will not be allowed in Sunday's Nextel Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Series director John Darby said bump drafting will be monitored more closely than ever at the 2.66-mile track where the technique is used to gain ground in the draft.

"Describing the what and how we police there won't be any change in the rule," Darby said before Saturday's qualifying. "But there obviously will be more attention paid to it.

"There may be more emphasis in the driver's meeting about backing off of it and we'll be a little more observant in the control tower."

Denny Hamlin was parked for the first 15 laps of Friday's final practice because of excessive bump drafting in the first session. Darby said there was more bump drafting overall in NASCAR's first use of the Car of Tomorrow at a restrictor plate track.

"That's a product of the car," he said.

Because the back and front bumper of the COTs match up more evenly than the former cars it's easier for drivers to bump draft, particularly in no-bump zones that are in the turns and tri-oval, without spinning out the car ahead of them.

"They just bump draft so well," Carl Edwards said. "It's great for that. The only issue with bump drafting is ... just not being able to see in front of the guy in front of you [because of the rear wing] so you don't know what you're pushing him into.

"You'd almost have to stick your hand out the left side window for people to stop, but they do push one another very well."

Tony Eury Jr., the crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr., said NASCAR could play a big role in determining the championship Chase if it properly enforces bump drafting.

"It will be interesting to see how deep they want to get into that," he said. "They could make a call that could decide how the championship comes out. Everybody out here will be doing it at some point of the other. It's just going to be who do they get on first."

The penalty for excessive bump drafting could range from being held a lap on pit road to being parked. Either would be costly to a Chase contender.

"It depends on the situation," Darby said.

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.