Safety concerns following Friday’s practice crash where Jamie McMurray barrel-rolled before hitting the infield catchfence forced NASCAR to adjust the size of the restrictor plates on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series cars ahead of Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. McMurray, who had a tire that went down, spun directly in front of Ryan Newman, who hit the No. 1 Chevrolet and sent it rolling.
The sanctioning body decreased the size of the openings from 7/8ths of an inch (56/64ths) to 55/64ths of the inch. Though minimal, the decrease in size should reduce 12-14 horsepower, translating into lower speeds and hopefully no more airborne cars for the remainder of the weekend.
Prior to the announcement, Brad Keselowski stated he “expected some fairly significant changes” during his media availability.
“I don’t know exactly what will happen but the cars are about five to 10 mph faster than they have been here in the last two to three decades,” he explained. “The liftoff speed is probably a concern, not just for me but for everybody. 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. I would expect there to be some changes for sure. As to what they might be, I don’t know. As to whether whatever changes are made will be successful, I don’t know that either. I would expect some kind of move to be made.”
Cup teams qualify on Saturday and will race on Sunday.