The bump-and-run technique is an outgrowth of bump drafting. It works something like a pick-and-roll maneuver in basketball: Create an obstacle for your opponent so that you can get past him. A bump-and-run maneuver simply means that you bump the car in front of you, and then -- since he'll have to slow down in response -- you rev the engine and pass him at the next corner.
Bump-and-run is just as controversial as bump drafting. Many veteran NASCAR drivers want it banned, and NASCAR races now have no-bump zones.
Part of the problem is the difference in car bumpers across different stock cars. As the name implies, it's a bumper's job to take a hit. Ideally, a good bumper minimizes or even prevents damage to the rest of the car.
Some stock car bumpers have enough give to make the bump relatively gentle. Others -- notably, those with front steel plates and rear reinforcement -- force all the impact onto the car being bumped [source: Pearce]. That essentially means the force of the hit is out of either driver's control.
In NASCAR, the introduction of the Car of Tomorrow means that all cars have standard bumper heights. That should reduce the danger involved in bumping and running. But on the rest of the stock car racing circuit, drivers and teams are still free to customize their vehicles. So until the moment you are hit, you don't actually know whether it's going to be a nudge or a disaster.
You can take a lesson from the pros, and soften your own bumpers to resemble those of the Car of Tomorrow. Apart from that, your best strategy is the same as it always is: Stay alert, know the track, know the car and drive smart.
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