Nobody quite knows how next month's -- yes, next month's! -- Daytona 500 is going to go given the newly resurfaced track. But based on December's tire testing, it's going to be plenty fast -- so fast, in fact, that NASCAR is going to try a slightly modified restrictor plate during the Goodyear tests scheduled for next week.
The restrictor plate, as its name implies, restricts airflow to engines, reducing power and, in theory, making the cars safer by making them more likely to remain on the track. The new restrictor plate holes will be 29/32nds of an inch, down from 30/32nds used at the December tire tests, according to reports in Scene Daily. Based on previous testing, that would cut power by about 20 horsepower, resulting in speeds of about 5-10 mph slower on an open track and 3-5 mph in traffic.
More than 40 drivers are expected to turn out for the tests next week at Daytona, double the number in December. Thanks to testing bans, this marks the first time in three years that all Cup teams have been able to test at Daytona.
Worth noting: last year at the Coke Zero 500 in July, NASCAR permitted the use of a 1 1/32nd-inch opening on the restrictor plates for use on the old, grippier track.
In other tech-spec news, the car's spoiler angle will remain at 70 degrees, and the spoiler's dimensions will likewise remain the same at 4.5 inches tall and 63 inches wide. So there's that. Come on, Daytona!