Infuriated Richard Petty Calls Out NASCAR’s “Blocking Deal” With Harsh Black Flag Verdict

Published 04/23/2024, 5:56 AM EDT

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Of late, there has been a problem with racing in NASCAR, blocking. More specifically, air blocking. It’s when the driver in front chooses to run in the lane that the driver behind them is also running to cut out clean air, making their car a lot more draggy. This is a tactic several drivers have used for quite a while now. However, not everyone is a fan which also includes 7-time Cup Series champion Richard Petty. It seems the iconic veteran has had enough as he went to the lengths of even suggesting the black flag rule.

Richard Petty denies the use of the blocking tactic during his racing days

In a recent video on his Instagram handle, the King expressed his dissatisfaction with the method as it’s something that he personally never faced during his racing days. The cars back then were different, of course and Petty at times used to run way ahead of his competition to face this problem. Regardless, a lot of people share his sentiments about blocking, and while the drivers might be forced to do that to protect their position due to the Next-Gen’s shortcomings, the NASCAR legend feels like there should be a limit.


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The retired racer also took a trip down memory lane and recalled how he or his contemporaries never used such tactics, giving each other enough room to run. Petty also mentioned that during his time, it was more about competing based on one’s own speed rather than concentrating on spoiling others’ race.

I think the blocking deal should be eliminated somehow. I mean, you know, I run for years and years and years. The first-place guy always gives the second-place guy plenty of room to run. I don’t ever remember me blocking anybody or anybody blocking me. Even looking at some of the old races and stuff, seeing where anybody really blocked anybody. Everybody just run their deal and just hoped that they were better than the other people. The blocking deal came about because of Daytona and Talladega,” Richard petty revealed.

While mentioning that NASCAR needs to take a hard stance on such issues, ‘The King’ mentioned that perhaps a black flag (given to drivers for an on-track offense) would be the only way to counter it. I don’t know how you’re gonna eliminate it unless you give them 1 or 2 blocks and then they get a black flag,” he said.


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Blocking does not always mean that the car in front will have the advantage. In all fairness, the car in front becomes vulnerable to the one behind when they try that tactic. That’s because if you’re blocking someone, they have the full right to push you around to disturb your balance, making for a highly dangerous situation.

How blocking can be extremely dangerous for the car doing it


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This issue has been going on for a very long time and several legends have spoken out against it. The 2012 Cup Series race at the Talladega Superspeedway saw Tony Stewart try to block his lead in the closing stages but got absolutely pummeled by the cars behind him, making for a staggering 25-car wreck. Michael Waltrip had no sympathy for the Stewart-Haas Racing boss at the time, claiming that it was a natural reaction of drivers to someone who was disrupting their run intentionally.


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“Blocking is blocking. When you block, you make yourself vulnerable to the guy you’re blocking. He can give you a break or try to wreck you. Cars make you really mad sometimes,” he had said back then as per The Florida Times-Union.

Blocking has always been prevalent in the sport, but the lack of horsepower in the Next-Gen car makes it all the more evident. Drivers in the lead have to do whatever it takes to maintain their superiority and at superspeedways like Talladega, that usually ends up being a nasty multi-car wreck.


Written by:

Nilavro Ghosh


One take at a time

Nilavro Ghosh is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports, where he is known for his creative yet easy-to-read writing style. Before taking up his role as a sports journalist at ES, Nilavro has written for some of the top publishing houses, like The Telegraph. While most journalists stop at covering live events and taking the news to the readers, Nilavro goes the extra mile to give fans a platform for them to express their thoughts through his 'race reaction' pieces.
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Edited by:

Ariva Debnath