Some of the NASCAR Sprint Cup teams were testing at Michigan International Speedway for Goodyear April 8th and 9th 2014. The teams of Trevor Bayne, Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Ryan Newman were laying down some wicked fast laps.
Clint Bowyer said he went 217 mph in the morning session. Bowyer said, “That’s white-of-your-eyes-fast.”
Those wicked fast speeds were not limited to Bowyer. Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he was hitting speeds between 212 to 215 mph in the straightaways and about 180 in the turns.
There have been ongoing meetings between NASCAR and racing executives from Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota regarding reducing the horsepower in the engines. The current engines are 25 to 30 years old. NASCAR is looking to increase the longevity and therefore reduce the costs.
Though not specifically mentioned, it has got to be on NASCAR’s minds that these cars have been attaining speeds on the non-restrictor plate tracks that are over the 205 mph mark. That speed is about when the cars, if upset by contact or bumps on the track, can get airborne like an airplane. This is the very same reason they use restrictor plates at Daytona and Talladega. At the current rate they are improving the cars they will be getting there soon.
I am not saying that when they get back to Michigan International Speedway they will be running at 217 mph. This tire test was a perfect storm; the track did not have rubber in it and very cool temperatures. These conditions will not exist when NASCAR gets back there in June and August.
We should applaud NASCAR for considering this now before the teams consistently race at a speed beyond which is safe. It will take more than a year for each manufacture to develop their motors for the reduced horsepower.
Roger Curtis said it best, “The drivers are posting 200 mph. That’s awesome. The fans get very, very excited about that. But at the end of the day, on Sunday when the green flag drops, the numbers ‘two zero zero’ they’re not anywhere in the fans’ minds. It’s lead changes, it’s the competition.”
Competition and lead changes is what we want and that is exactly why NASCAR is looking into the engine aspect of the sport. We don’t know what changes will be made but something will happen. Either way I am looking forward to the races at Michigan International Speedway this year.
Feature Photo Credit NASCAR media/ISC Motorsports