Friday, June 08, 2012

NASCAR Won't Use Restrictor Plates at Pocono

Per, Lap times are wicked fast at Pocono Raceway since the 2.5-mile track was repaved last year. However, Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition, doesn’t anticipate the need for restrictor plates this weekend.

On Thursday, drivers flirted with a total lap speed of 180 mph and cars topped 212 mph entering Turn 1 at Pocono Raceway during the second day of testing.

“No, absolutely not,” Pemberton said of the prospect of implementing restrictor plates. “We’re well within reason here. Average speed is going pretty good, so we’re happy. There’s a lot of grip here, so there’s no reason for that.”

The best average speed in the morning practice was Kevin Harvick's 173.618 mph, but teams are carrying extra weight during the test with the telemetry equipment — it transfers car data back to engineers — and had not run laps in qualifying trim.

Four-time Pocono winner Denny Hamlin was fifth fastest in the morning practice (176.218 mph) but fell to to eighth on the chart in the afternoon, despite a faster lap (178.589 mph). But he said there’s not a discernible difference behind the wheel.

“You can tell a little bit just because the engine is louder, the vibrations are a little bit more," Hamlin said. "Does it scare you? Not really. I’m not saying that I want to go any faster, but it’s definitely very quick. Really I was surprised about the level of grip that the track has and obviously it continues to get faster and faster the more we run.”