NASCAR shrinks restrictor-plate openings after Jamie McMurray’s crash

Roughly 10 minutes into final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice on Friday at Talladega Superspeedway, Jamie McMurray cut the left-rear tire of his No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.

The car turned sideways and was launched into the air when Ryan Newman’s No. 31 Chevrolet broad-sided McMurray’s machine, which barrel-rolled down the backstretch and clipped the inside catch fence before it landed upright.

McMurray had just run the fastest lap in Happy Hour, a speed of 203.975 mph that stood up for the rest of the session. After McMurray got airborne, however, NASCAR announced a reduction in the size of the restrictor-plate openings from 7/8ths of inch to 55/64ths, a difference of 1/64th.

The new specs, designed to slow the Cup cars, went into effect for Saturday’s qualifying session and for Sunday’s GEICO 500 (2 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The smaller openings should reduce the engine output by approximately 15 horsepower.

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.