Will restrictor plates help the racing at the Brickyard? NASCAR is about to find out

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JULY 23: Kyle Busch, driver of the
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JULY 23: Kyle Busch, driver of the /

If the initial test goes well, it’s possible the Brickyard 400 and other intermediate track races could feature restrictor plates going forward.

NASCAR has always had a bit of an Indianapolis problem. By that, I mean that the idea of racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway has always been more glamorous than actually doing it, at least in stock cars.

It’s no one’s fault, per se, just that the track was made for open wheel cars and not what NASCAR puts out there. But with the Brickyard 400 getting to be less of a big deal with each passing year because the product on display just isn’t that entertaining, it behooves the powers that be to do something about it. Could restrictor plates help?

NASCAR seems to think so, announcing a new rules package this week for the XFINITY Series race at Indianapolis. Included in the package are a taller rear spoiler and modifications to the splitter and aero ducts. The big talking point, though, is the inclusion of a restrictor plate the same size as the one used at Daytona and Talladega.

It’s not the first time restrictor plates have been used outside of the superspeedways, as they were in effect at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, a one-mile track, in 2000, and the subject of using them at places like Michigan arises pretty regularly. The difference is that those situations are almost always safety-related, with the object of reducing speeds — something restrictor plates do quite nicely.

The difference with Indianapolis is that the plates would be intended almost entirely to improve competitive racing, and in that sense, they’re more of a crapshoot. NASCAR tinkers with rules packages all the time to try to make racing more exciting and those experiments don’t always work out.

Still, since there’s already been a test done with restrictor plates at Indy, this isn’t just a shot in the dark and anything to make the events more enjoyable at this shrine to American racing is worth a shot. NBC Sports thinks a successful XFINITY Series run with the new package could lead to further discussion about restrictor plates at tracks like Pocono and, yes, Michigan, so the hope for fans is that they do actually lead to more passing.

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If not, it might be time for serious consideration about dumping Indy altogether, and that’s not something anyone involved in the sport should want.