The Frontstretch: Fantasy Insight : Talladega by Dennis Michelsen -- Wednesday April 26, 2006

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Fantasy Insight : Talladega

Restrictor Plate, Made-for-TV Fun · Dennis Michelsen · Wednesday April 26, 2006

 

There are only two reasons we get four restrictor plate track races every year. Obviously, reason one is safety for the fans. Ever since Bobby Allison attempted to enter the seats without a ticket, NASCAR has added a restrictor plate to slow the cars down to less than takeoff speed! However, there is a second, more ominous reason for restrictor plate racing"¦it makes for great theater. As much as they try to tell you that fans tune in to see good hard racing, the more spectacular the wrecks are without killing anyone, the more viewers tend to tune in and watch!

This seems to be the old “gladiator in the arena” concept playing out. There are other ways NASCAR could choose to slow down the cars, but they always seem to end up using the method that gives us a nice big pack waiting for the “Big One” to happen. Lately, it has been not a matter of if but a matter of when that accident will occur, with the last caution-free race at Talladega back in 1997. Even worse yet, since with restrictor plates those wrecks seldom happen until the cars are up to speed, Fox won’t worry about snipping the first 10 seconds off of every restart once again this week.

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By the Numbers: A Statistical Look at This Week’s Race
(Detailed stats located at http://www.stockcarpitpass.com/stats.html)

Horses For Courses


Driver Car # Course Rating
Kevin Harvick 29 93.2
Tony Stewart 20 93
Dale Jarrett 88 90.4
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 8 90
Jeff Gordon 24 88.8
Kurt Busch 2 88.8
Jamie McMurray 26 88.2
Robby Gordon 7 88.2
Ryan Newman 12 87
Michael Waltrip 55 85.8

Consistency Factor


Driver Car # Rating Last 5 Races
Tony Stewart 20 95.4
Mark Martin 6 91.8
Matt Kenseth 17 91
Kevin Harvick 29 91
Kasey Kahne 9 90.4
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 8 89.4
Jimmie Johnson 48 88.6
Jeff Gordon 24 88.2
Kyle Busch 5 86
Dale Jarrett 88 84

Track Type Factor


Driver Car # Restrictor Plate Track Rating
Tony Stewart 20 96.6
Dale Jarrett 88 92
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 8 88.2
Jimmie Johnson 48 87.6
Jeff Gordon 24 87
Matt Kenseth 17 86.4
Ryan Newman 12 85.8
Elliott Sadler 38 85.6
Kurt Busch 2 84.6
Jamie McMurray 26 84.2

Power Rating


Driver Car # Course Rating Rating Last 5 Races Restrictor Plate Track Rating Power Rating
Tony Stewart 20 95.4 93 96.6 285
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 8 89.4 90 88.2 268
Kevin Harvick 29 91 93.2 82.4 267
Dale Jarrett 88 84 90.4 92 266
Jeff Gordon 24 88.2 88.8 87 264
Matt Kenseth 17 91 82.4 86.4 260
Jimmie Johnson 48 88.6 77.2 87.6 253
Jamie McMurray 26 80.6 88.2 84.2 253
Kurt Busch 2 79.4 88.8 84.6 253
Ryan Newman 12 79 87 85.8 252
Mark Martin 6 91.8 79.2 78.4 249
Kasey Kahne 9 90.4 75.2 82.8 248
Robby Gordon 7 73.2 88.2 82 243
Martin Truex, Jr. 1 80.4 81.8 79.8 242
Ken Schrader 21 78 80.4 83.4 242
Bobby Labonte 43 83.4 83 75.2 242
Elliott Sadler 38 78.4 76.8 85.6 240
Casey Mears 42 78.6 82 79.6 240
Jeff Burton 31 80 82 78 240
Tony Raines 96 77.8 79.4 81.8 239

Handicapping the Race
Win: Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Not as solid a favorite as he used to be, but Junior knows a thing or two about this track and that ain’t no (25-point deduction).

Place: Tony Stewart

A Smoke-Junior box looks good in your Exacta wagering this week.

Show: Kevin Harvick

Could make it two in a row after a long drought.

Top Rookie: Clint Bowyer

RCR knows a thing or two about restrictor plate racing!

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Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
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©2000 - 2008 Dennis Michelsen and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

Melissa
04/28/2006 10:12 AM
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Nice picks!!

 

Dennis no longer contributes to the Frontstretch, but you can Dennis's commentary at his website bio and archive page.