A NASCAR inspector checks a restrictor plate.
The difference is probably not as profound as you might think
0-cautions at fall 2002 Talladega race
0-cars crashed out of competition at spring 2004 Atlanta race
11-cars crashed out of competition at summer 2002 Daytona race
11-cautions at spring 2004 Talladega race
14-cautions at 2002 New Hampshire race
42-caution laps at 2003 Texas race
47-caution laps at spring 2004 Talladega race
54-caution laps at fall 2003 Atlanta race
66-caution laps at 2002 Loudon race
183.665-average speed at fall 2002 Talladega race
Jeff Green: I understand the need for the plate, and safety should be the number one priority in our sport, but the restrictor plate really takes the racing out of the driver's hands . . . to pass and draft, you need help from other guys. That's tough when everyone is trying to win.
It's more [like] riding around and trying to survive. If you get out of the [race] without a wrecked car, you have done a pretty decent job.
Are larger, more upright spoilers the answer to NASCAR's restrictor-plate dilemma? Some th
Kyle Petty: Pick the fastest line and be patient-two things that aren't always easy to do at the same time. Everything you do is predicated, not just on what the car behind you and in front of you is doing, but what cars 10 lengths back are doing.
Two thoughts are constantly running through my head-do I hold what I have or do I try to get more? You have to decide if the risk of losing a lot of spots is worth the reward of picking up two or three spots. If you make it, you're a hero, for another lap, anyway. If you don't make it, well, you probably shouldn't radio the pits for a lap or two.
Ken Schrader: Plate racing is not that refreshing; it's frustrating . . . it's like driving down the interstate in heavy traffic. So, eventually you just pick a lane, stay in it, and hope it's moving faster than the other one when you cross the start-finish line.
You really just try to take care of your car and have a chance to be up in the pack at the end. That's about all you can do. Stay out of trouble, keep the nose in 'mint' condition, and try and put yourself in position to win with 10 laps to go. Here lately it seems like everyone is ready to mix it up on every lap . . . There has to be a lot of giving, especially early on, or we're going to end up with a lot of torn-up race cars.
Jeremy Mayfield: At Daytona it's hard to tell how it's going to go. Half the time you're a sitting duck there, waiting for something to happen.
Jamie McMurray: We seem to always run well at Daytona, but have been caught up in other people's wrecks each time that have ended our chances at victory.
Ricky Rudd: I'm not a huge fan of superspeedways, and I think it's because of the restrictor-plate thing. I liked them a lot more when they were unrestricted.
I don't know the logistics of [using smaller engines]. It sounds simple, so why not? Maybe the real issue right now is the cost-design and development for just Daytona and Talladega. You look at Formula 1. They continue to downsize. But, they get new engines every year. As we change tires, they change engines, it seems like.