NASCAR hasn’t had much in the way of big announcements to make this season, especially since this is the first time in three years that the sport didn’t announce a new points format, but all that changed this week when NASCAR announced their new All Star race. The move comes after several years of bad format changes and lackluster finishes that has put the race in infamy.
With that being said, NASCAR’s new format includes introducing restrictor plates, a splitter that was used back in 2014 and even a measure that reduces the advantage of a lead car in the draft. If nothing else, NASCAR is simply trying to make the race feel more a night race at Talladega, which is probably a NASCAR fans dream scenario.
In the end though, it might not be all glitz and glamour for NASCAR’s newest Frankenstein of an All Star race, officials will also have to address a lot of issues that come with this announcement. In fact, one of the biggest questions that NASCAR will have to answer, which was the same one Indycar had to answer back when they lost Dan Wheldon, is it safe?
“NASCAR is committed to innovation and will always work to improve the racing product for every series and venue,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “The yearly Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race is an opportunity to see your favorite drivers compete under a unique and exciting format and rules package. The positive feedback following last year’s Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis gave us the foundation to implement this dynamic package for the All-Star Race. We believe the hard work of the entire industry will provide the best race for our passionate fans.”
According to NASCAR.com,”Among the most significant updates are engine restrictor plates to reduce horsepower and revised aerodynamic features — all designed to tighten the competition for the $1 million winner’s prize in the May 19 event (8 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM).”
The website also claims that this will be the first time a restrictor plate has been used at a mile and a half track in NASCAR history, which could set the precedent for restrictor plates being used at other mile and half tracks as well.
Restirctor plates are commonly used at tracks like Talladega and Daytona International Speedway and have even been used at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in The Xfinity Series. According to auto.com,”Restrictor plates are used at NASCAR’s super-speedways, including Daytona and Talladega, to slow cars down. … Restrictor plates are placed between the carburetor and the intake manifold to reduce the flow of air and fuel into the engine’s combustion chamber, thus reducing horsepower and speed.”
This sometimes creates what is known as pack racing, which is a a type of racing in NASCAR that showcases drivers racing in tightly wound packs and usually only mere inches from each other. The racing is exciting for fans to watch, especially since it increases the possibility of wrecks occurring, it also can get pretty dangerous and has continued to do so over the years.