Two spotters in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series allege that NASCAR will run with restrictor plates at the All-Star race. T.J. Majors, spotter for Joey Logano of the No. 22 Penske Team, and Brett Griffin, spotter for Clint Bowyer on the No. 14 Stewart-haas Racing team, claimed during their Door, Bumper, Clear podcast Monday that cars in the race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina will reportedly run with restrictor plates.
“They’re gonna knock, like, 250 [horsepower] off," Griffin said during the podcast. “Top speed was gonna be around 170 mph.”
NASCAR and Charlotte Motor Speedway would neither confirm nor deny Majors and Griffin’s claim when asked by The Drive, but according to the “Trading Paint” show on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Tuesday, several sources are confirming that teams have been informed of the move.
NASCAR uses restrictor plates for four premier-series races per season at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama as a safety measure. The sanctioning body added plates to cars racing at those tracks as a safety measure to help prevent cars from getting airborne after a Bobby Allison crash at Talladega in 1987 in which his car flew into the catchfence at nearly 200 mph, spraying debris onto fans in the grandstand. One of the side-effects of restrictor-plate racing, though, has been close-pack racing, which many fans consider exciting.
NASCAR turned to restrictor plates again for safety reasons at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon in 2000 after separate practice sessions led to the deaths of Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin. Both cars hit the wall as a result of stuck throttles. Jeff Burton led all 300 laps of that race in what was considered a boring race.
“It’s a science experiment is my opinion,” Griffin said. “And if it goes well and is entertaining, then they’ll go back and consider adding it (to regular races)."
NASCAR put the plates on cars in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a companion race to the Brickyard 400, last year with the aim of improving lackluster stock-car racing at the historic race.
“Let me just tell you this, if they’re trying to accomplish pack racing at mile and a halfs, you’re getting ready to see a bunch of guys retire,” Griffin said. “Everybdy over 35 years old is gonna go, ‘Hey, I’m done. I’ve made my money. I’ve had my fun. I’m not pack racing every week. I’m out.’”
Majors, though, is fine with the move as long as it’s limited to the All-Star Race.
“I might be okay if it’s just the All-Star Race,” he said. “It’s a separate race.”
NASCAR has experimented with the format and other rules for the All-Star Race in recent years as the exhibition race has seemingly lost its luster and fallen victim of the criticism of boring racing.