NASCAR Safety with Restrictor Plates.
Imagine this, forty-three cars running one hundred and ninety miles per hour around an asphalt track, three and four cars wide, covering a span of about five hundred feet. One mistake by only one of these forty-three drivers and half the field could be gone due to a wreck. The reason for this type of racing is because NASCAR, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, mandates the teams to have special aerodynamic rules and restrictor plates to slow the cars down on the super speedway tracks such as Daytona and Talladega. CNN Sports Illustrated said that, "The plates slowed speeds, but now the cars are bunched in large groups, racing two and three wide" (CNN1). They go on to say that, "It makes for an exciting race, but some drivers feel it puts them in greater danger" (CNN 1). The easiest explanation of a restrictor plate is best given by Kevin Bonsor and Karim Nice from Marshall Brain's How Stuff Works.com. .
A restrictor plate is a square aluminum plate that has four holes drilled into it. Hole size is determined by NASCAR and varies between 0.875 inches and 1 inch (2.2 to 2.5 cm). Restrictor plates are placed between the carburetor and the intake manifold to reduce the flow of air and fuel into the engine's combustion chamber, thus reducing horsepower and speed. Restrictor plates were implemented in 1988 following Bobby Allison's crash into a retaining fence at 210 mph (338 kph), which endangered hundred of fans. (Bonsor and Nice 6).
It has come to the point now where fans flock to watch the race with anticipation of "The Big Wreck." The staff of Auto Week magazine wrote, "At Talladega, usually it's coming off Turn Two, where the track funnels a bit. But with 30 or 40 cars running two-,three- and even four-wide for laps on end, the Big One is guaranteed to happen somewhere, sometime" (Auto Week 1) Racing should not be a sport of anticipation, spectators should not pay big money to go and see a race with the anticipation of a big wreck that would usually involve at least one forth of the cars in the field.