The highly anticipated first official spoiler test for the Car of Tomorrow may be noteworthy for other reasons. In an attempt to break up the large packs of cars, a notorious characteristic for restrictor plate tracks like Talladega, NASCAR allowed teams to try plates with larger holes – they started with a record size plate of 66/64th of an inch before shortening to 62/64ths of an inch after speeds were listed as too high.
Just how high did those speeds go? Sources tell Frontstretch that this change, combined with the replacement of the rear wing with the traditional spoiler and the lowering of the front edge of the rear quarterpanels on both sides of the racecar, allowed cars to approach straightaway speeds of up to 208 mph and average laps over the 200-mph mark. To set a mark for comparison, Juan Pablo Montoya’s April 2009 Talladega pole speed was 188.171 mph. Since speeds were in the 200-mph range, the same source says that NASCAR may consider having teams change the gear ratios on the cars, instead of decreasing the plate holes going forward, so the packs will remain broken up.
Interestingly enough, the higher speeds come in light of the infamous Brad Keselowski–Carl Edwards racecar flipping episode at Atlanta Motor Speedway two weeks ago, Ryan Newman’s incredible end-over-end flip at Talladega last October, and Keselowski turning Edwards airborne into the Talladega frontstretch catchfence last April.