Going fast is what NASCAR is all about, but not too fast. Racers at the newly resurfaced Michigan International Speedway announced during Thursday’s test drives that the track was so fast that it was bordering on hyper dangerous.
The track is so fast in fact that thirty-nine of 41 drivers had a top lap better than the 2005 record set by Ryan Newman. That track record was originally 194.232 mph.
Speaking about the tracks top speeds which reached 218 mph Greg Biffle noted:
“We’re approaching some safety concerns at the speeds we are going. We’ve got to walk that fine line of killing people and creating excitement.”
NASCAR officials in the meantime said they have no plans to add restrictor plates as they have at Talladega and Daytona. Restrictor plates limit the top speed of Sprint Cup cars, ensuring better driver safety.
Racers with a first morning lap of 200 mph or better included Mark Martin, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. and Dale Earnhardt Jr. while Martin led the pack at 201.089 mph in race trim.
By the afternoon racing just got faster with Tony Stewart posted a first lap of 201.896 mph.
When asked about the incredible speeds Jimmie Johnson didn’t seem bothered:
“I don’t have any concerns about the speeds. Granted, I haven’t hit the wall yet to see how the car reacts with the SAFER barriers.”
Faster racing doesn’t necessarily make for better races, sometimes it is the bumping and grinding of slower tracks that has fans on their feet, Sunday’s race will test whether faster in Michigan truly is better.