No Restrictor Plates At Talladega? from a NASCAR Fan’s View


I know you’ve already heard it a thousand times this week. There will be no restrictor plates at Talladega for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series this weekend. It’s another week of rule changes for the Cup teams and it should make for a very interesting race on Sunday afternoon. (Of course, it could mean another weekend of not-so-great racing as well.)

Alright, I admit it. This has been a season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series where the racing just hasn’t been all that great. (Well, at least that’s this fan’s opinion.) There isn’t anything wrong with change and there have been a lot of them this season but, from this fan’s view, the 2019 season has been a little lackluster for much of the time. (Once again, I stress that this is this fan’s view and you may or may not agree with it.) Sure, the last couple of races at the short tracks before taking a week off were better but, in my opinion, the season as a whole so far just hasn’t been all that exciting. I point to everything from the way qualifying has gone to even the stages being somewhat uneventful. It just seems that something’s missing. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me but compared to last season, there just doesn’t seem to be the same intensity in the stages or in the racing overall.

Take, for example, the qualifying sessions. Until they shortened the amount of time to get on the track and acquire a qualifying time, nothing was happening for most of the first two rounds until the last few minutes. Don’t you agree there’s nothing more exciting than watching the cars all sitting and waiting on pit road waiting until they have to take a lap? Yeah, that’s what I thought…

So… why might this weekend’s race at Talladega be different? What is it about this race that could be so different from previous races at the Super Speedway in Alabama? What else is going on other than they have removed the restrictor plates? (At least they still had no restrictor plates at the time of this writing.)

This will be the first time restrictor plates haven’t been used in over thirty years. They have made some other rule changes to the cars dealing with drag and horse power but the biggest news is the lack of restrictor plates. This will be old news to the avid NASCAR fan but they have a nine inch spoiler on the rear deck, an additional extension below the bumper along with a couple of other items and all of this was to control the speed so they wouldn’t need the restrictor plates.

So far though, the speeds have been over 202 mph when in the draft. That is approaching a speed that NASCAR doesn’t want to have them run at for safety reasons. It is true, when running by themselves, the speeds are much reduced but, when they get together in a pack, drafting speeds are higher than many expected they would be. The closing rates are much higher also and there are still questions about stability when running in the draft

I don’t remember a time, at least in recent Talladega history, that there has been such obvious concern for how the cars are going to drive and what it’s going to be like for the long haul during the 500 miles. Now don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying the drivers are fearful of the cars or the possibilities. I’m just bringing up my thoughts on how they have been talking of how they think the racing will be on Sunday afternoon. They are very uncertain and really and honestly don’t know what to expect. It is going to be a new and different Talladega experience for them. Well… at least for a while, until they adapt to the conditions created by the rule changes.

I hate to bring it up again but, as a Chevy fan, I’m just not sure the Chevys are ready to run up front yet. During the first practice session they looked like they just might be very competitive. After a couple of tweaks to the rules by NASCAR entering into the second practice, they moved right back down the speed chart to none being in the top ten. That may not bode well for them on Sunday in the Geico 500 but, I guess we’ll just have to wait and seen on that one.

When it comes to races on the Super Speedways, I have to admit I am still a big fan. That being said, there are a couple of things I hope we don’t see on Sunday afternoon. I really hope they don’t pick up tandem racing again. A lot of people liked the “two-car draft” racing but I wasn’t a fan. I guess I’m one that likes the door handle to door handle, bumper to bumper stuff. I like it best when they’re in big packs, slicing and dicing in and out of the lanes they’re in to make a run on those in front of them. Sometimes they advance and sometimes they fall back a bunch of spots and have to try it all over again. The other thing I hope we don’t have to endure for any extended number of laps is everyone falling into single file and just counting down the laps until a stage is nearing its end. I know there will be a certain amount of that but, I do hope the racing is better than that.

When all is said and done, there is a definite possibility that there could be at least one big one and possibly more over the 500 miles of the Geico 500 at Talladega. I just hope there are some cars left running at the end and that one of the drivers contending for the win on the final lap is driving a Chevy…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© April 27, 2019 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
All audio productions by and PodCastNorm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

Controversy Reigns After Richmond


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>>> Sorry friends, but I just could not remain silent about the happenings at Richmond and in the week since. I have had my own opinion since watching the events transpire, but I have chosen to wait to vent until now. To say I am disappointed would be at least the slightest bit of an understatement. It is my personal opinion, all NASCAR fans need to take a long hard look at what the sport we love is evolving into and why what happened Saturday night with a close points race on the line could spell a lot of mistrust and trouble for NASCAR in the future.

From this point on in this article, I will try not to speak for anyone but myself and please understand these are expressly my opinions and I do believe I ask legitimate questions. Even though I am not naive, I did think NASCAR as a whole held itself to a higher standard than other motorsports and just sports in general. However, the entire weekend at Richmond has somewhat changed my opinion and, if the truth be known I think NASCAR blew more than one “judgement” call over the weekend. Two of them had to do with restarts and the stupid rule of not passing the leader until the start finish line. Even though these two instances stand out in my mind and I still question why “judgement” calls are becoming less and less consistent and appear to be more and more one-sided or even whimsical. I have to admit, (and this is strictly my opinion), the powers in NASCAR seem to be making more decisions that cause controversy because of inconsistency than calling them as they see them and being consistent. <<< (Oh well, back to last Saturday night at Richmond...) Well... Did he or didn't he?? That's just one of the questions on everyone's mind after an extremely dramatic Saturday night under the lights at Richmond. Whether intentional or not, Clint Bowyer's spin with very few laps to go made a huge difference in who made it in to the Chase and who didn't. From this fans view, there are still several ways of looking at it and, unfortunately, not too many fans or crews are willing to say it wasn't intentional. Of course some say there's no way Bowyer could have known what would happen and that is a good point. From this Fan's View, it doesn't really matter whether he knew what the outcome would be or not. What does matter is that his team-mate, Martin Truex Jr. was not going to make the Chase if the caution didn't come out and when it did come out, it gave him another chance. There is the strange conversation (from this fan's view, it was obviously in code) between Bowyer and his crew chief that just adds to the suspicion something was up and it was definitely to Truex's advantage if anything happened to the leader, Ryan Newman, at the time in the pits. The way things stood at that time, winning was the only way Ryan was going to make it in. According to NASCAR, they had no definitive proof or conclusive evidence Bowyer did do it on purpose but they found enough proof in the conversation between Ty Norris and Bryan Vickers to have to step in and take action. What followed was a decision to punish one team in a dramatic and unprecedented monetary fashion. That action only went as far as to remove Martin Truex Jr. from the Chase and put Ryan Newman in. Now, even more “evidence” has surfaced that shows others were involved in making deals to assure they would make it into the Chase, but at the time of this writing, NASCAR hasn’t decided whether or not they will take further action. I do understand the hesitancy but this whole thing could have been solved by what was called “the ripple effect.” If they hadn’t decided to draw the line at MWR and Martin Truex Jr, they wouldn’t have to be still dealing with this bad situation. It is my personal opinion they should have taken steps that could have dealt with the spin and the team orders to the #55 to come into the pits for a tire “going down” (which was another coded message in my opinion.) It is unfortunate that NASCAR has come down to this. Their integrity is damaged and the integrity of the sport is damaged also. Not because teams do everything they can to make it into the Chase (including making deals with team-mates and other teams to guarantee their spot in making it in) but because it used to be about racing to make the Chase. Now, more than ever, it appears to be more about who you can pay off (with money or future favors) to make it in and that is what is so sad about this situation to this fan. Like I said… I’m not naïve and I know this is not the first time this has been done (or the last time for that matter.) This is one of the first times in my memory it has been this flagrant in the NASCAR Cup and it is a shame. There was a time NASCAR stood head and shoulders above the rest when it came to integrity and fairness (even though some may not have always seen it that way.) Now… well… it appears any of those future conversations and questions about “fixed” outcomes and questionable finishes to races may just have credence. In my opinion, let’s get back to what it was all about to begin with. It used to be about the racing and the best car winning and that is what it should still be about. At least from this fan’s view all of this could fall under the cover-all rule NASCAR uses when all else fails and that would be, “… actions deemed detrimental to Stock Car Racing.” What do you think…??? See ya next time... All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer © September 12, 2013 – all rights reserved Rusty Norman, and All audio productions by and PodCastNorm Productions