By admin | September 26, 2011
By Richard Allen
Last week it was announced that NASCAR intends to increase the size of restrictor plates used by Sprint Cup cars in the upcoming event at the Talladega SuperSpeedway. The plates will be increased by 1/64 of an inch to 57/64. Additionally, the pressure relief valve on the cars’ cooling systems will be recalibrated to reduce the pressure by approximately eight pounds per square inch from April’s race on the massive track. It is believed that these changes will break up the tight 2×2 groupings that have dominated racing so far this season on the two plate tracks.
According to Dr. Jerry Punch, who appears weekly on Knoxville, Tennessee sports talk radio station WNML, the rule change is not yet etched in stone.
“I don’t think this has been released yet but I’m going to say it anyway,” Punch declared. “In our(ESPN) Sunday morning production meeting(prior to the New Hampshire race) Mike Helton told us that NASCAR may bring as many as three different sized plates to Talladega.”
Punch said NASCAR intends to monitor events during practice and qualifying for the Good Sam Club 500 in Talladega and may make changes to the restrictor plates if they deem such to be necessary for competition and safety.
It is believed that the 57/64 inch plate will allow for speeds up to 200mph around NASCAR’s longest facility. It also anticipated that the reduced pressure in the cooling systems will prevent cars from pushing each other closely for long periods of time. The necessity of breaking apart will allow for more pack racing and less of the 2×2 style.
Teams have long indicated they would appreciate the increased throttle response provided by the larger plates. This would serve as somewhat of a trade off in exchange for the cooling system changes.
No doubt, NASCAR wants to take measures that will do away with the fan disapproved technique of pairs racing. But at the same time they do not want the Chase for the Championship to be decided because of a rule change enacted with very little time for testing.
It sounds as if NASCAR may be willing to pull the plug on some of their announced changes if problems are discovered in practice and qualifying.
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