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Restrictor plates in NASCAR All-Star Race make me optimistic

Wednesday evening, NASCAR confirmed the already heavily-reported news of the use of restrictor plates in the upcoming Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race, scheduled for May 19 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. I have my reservations, but somehow, I’m still optimistic.

I can’t help but get a 2000 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway out of my mind. Why’s that? In what seemed like a knee-jerk reaction, NASCAR put plates on the cars at NHMS, a one-mile track, in response to the recent deaths of Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin in separate practice crashes there — crashes that were the results of struck throttles. NASCAR’s eventual answer was a throttle button within drivers’ reach to kill the engine. How did that New Hampshire race in 2000 go? Long story short — Jeff Burton led all 300 laps en route to the win. Yeah, really exciting (extreme sarcasm).

Still, I’m at least somewhat optimistic of the possible result of restrictor plates at Charlotte, and here’s why.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series ran with plates at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year. The plates were part of a special aero package that the upcoming All-Star Race aero package has been based upon. Was that Indy race last year the most exciting Xfinity Series race of 2017? No, but it was an improvement from recent races, in both the Cup and Xfinity series, at Indianapolis. Improvement is better than stagnation or regression, and the All-Star Race needs some kind of boost.

Besides, this experiment couldn’t produce any worse results than the 2016 debacle of confusion, unless you ask that year’s winner, Joey Logano.

Charlotte Motor Speedway isn’t like NHMS or IMS, but it’s closer to IMS than NHMS, I guess. Also, that Indianapolis Motor Speedway race was more recent than that New Hampshire race from 17 years ago. Sure, in making the Indy to Charlotte comparison, I’m comparing cars from two different series, but I’m thinking and Xfinity Series car from 2017 is more closely related to a 2018 Cup Series car than a 2000 Cup Series car is to a 2018 Cup car. At least, that’s the reasoning I’m using to defend my optimism.

Whether this experiment works or not, I applaud NASCAR for experimenting in the All-Star Race instead of in a points-paying race with championship implications. If only, the sanctioning body took that approach with the “roval.” I still think this All-Star Race should be on the “roval” ahead of this fall’s playoff race there.

But I digress.

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Posted by on April 12, 2018. Filed under Blog by Amanda Vincent,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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