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NASCAR Cup: restrictor plates get mostly positive reviews after All-Star Race

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – MAY 19: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Ford, and Daniel Suarez, driver of the #19 ARRIS Toyota, lead the field during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 19, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

The aerodynamic package rolled out for the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway on May 19 that featured restrictor plates and larger spoilers received mostly positive reviews from fans. The package was based on the package the NASCAR Xfinity Series used at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in an effort to improve stock car racing there. The result of the package in the All-Star Race was more excitement following an All-Star Race than in recent years past and mostly positive reviews from fans and competitors alike.

After the All-Star Race, NASCAR Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell didn’t rule out using plates in races at other mile-and-a-half tracks this year or adding restrictor plates to the 2019 aero package. He did, though, imply that at least a portion of the package was more likely for 2019 than 2018.

“I would never say never, but our intent is, we’ve talked coming into this, was to try this here, then, really take a deep dive into how do we make this the best package possible for 2019 if we liked what we saw,” O’Donnell said when asked about the possibility of the All-Star package being used again later this year. “Again, it’s still very early. You all watched the race, we just watched the race as well, so we have to digest a lot of information and see where we go from there.”

NASCAR has only used restrictor plates for one points-paying race at a track other than Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, doing so at the one-mile New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon in 2000 after the deaths of Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin in separate practice crashes at the track. The result — Jeff Burton led all 300 laps of the race en route to the win.

The All-Star package received positive reviews from winner Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin after the race. Although, Harvick though the All-Star Race was improved, he was hesitant to suggest putting plates on cars for all mile-and-a-half tracks.

“The show was better,’’ Harvick said Tuesday during his “Happy Hours” show on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “Bottom line, the show was better to watch. Like I say, I don’t know that everyone can wrap around their arms around restrictor-plate racing every single mile-and-a-half race. I think the cars need to be faster. I think we need to figure out which race tracks that we want to race them on, because the All-Star Race was a good test, but it wasn’t a 100 percent test of this is where we need to be and everybody just wants to jump right there.’’

Despite not winning, Hamlin enjoyed the 2018 All-Star Race and gave credit to the aero package.

“As a driver, I had fun, I really did (have fun). Didn’t have the fastest car, but at least there were moments where you had to be very strategic in what you had to do. It was a mix between a normal open race and a superspeedway,” Hamlin said during a sponsor event Wednesday. “I’d like to see it at a few other tracks. if it came this year, it would definitely be okay by me.’’

Hamlin finished fourth in the All-Star Race.

Not all drivers, though, are keen on the idea of restrictor plates on mile-and-a-half tracks, including Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch.

“I can certainly see it (used again),” Busch said. “It’s not necessarily what I signed up for to be a race car driver to bring the whole field closer together and have it dictated by some type of a plate race, but if that’s what we’re going to have going forward, then I guess I either need to think about how to get really good at it or getting out of it, so we’ll see what happens.”

Busch finished ninth in the All-Star Race after winning the second stage of the exhibition event.

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Posted by on May 24, 2018. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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