NASCAR changes restrictor plates to slow cars at Talladega

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR

TALLADEGA, Ala. — NASCAR announced Friday that teams will use restrictor plates with smaller holes to slow the cars after Jamie McMurray’s car went airborne in a crash during the final practice session.

McMurray was uninjured.

NASCAR will give teams restrictor plates with holes 1/64 of an inch smaller than the ones used Friday. The new restrictor-plate size will be 55/64 of an inch.

The change is expected to cut about 10-15 horsepower and is likely to slow the cars by about 2 mph.

McMurray topped practice before his incident with a lap of 203.975 mph.

Last fall, the top lap in either Cup practice at Talladega was 197.859 mph.

“I think this year it seems as though the cars are quite a bit different than they have been in my history here,” said Brad Keselowski, a five-time Talladega winner, before the plate change was announced. “They are a lot faster and handling quite a bit worse.

“With the cars handling the way they are handling, you will need to single-file out to survive this race. I think that is probably not the expectation of what we want to put on for a show.”

NASCAR stated it made the change for safety reasons to decrease the chance of a car lifting off. McMurray had a left rear tire go down and turned his car sideways down the backstretch. The right side of the car was slightly off the ground when McMurray’s car was struck by Ryan Newman‘s car, sending McMurray’s car into a series of rolls.

The reason that speeds are up this year is that NASCAR no long has a ride height rule. That means teams can lower the cars so they are not in the air as much. That creates faster speeds.

Cup teams qualify Saturday and race Sunday. There are no practices scheduled.

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