NASCAR won't do anything to slow the Sprint Cup Series cars from running record speeds at the newly repaved Michigan International Speedway this weekend, even though some drivers reached 218 mph down the straightaway in a Thursday test session.
"We're not looking at [restrictor] plates here," said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition. "... In general, the speeds will continue to go down [throughout the weekend]."
While Saturday's qualifying session might generate average lap speeds of more than 200 mph, NASCAR believes the race pace itself will be far less due to warmer temperatures and more rubber on the racetrack.
The high speeds witnessed during Thursday morning's practice were due to the "optimum" condition of a fresh track and a cooler morning, Pemberton said.
If NASCAR decided to do something to slow the cars down, it's unclear what officials could do. Turning a 2-mile downforce track into a restrictor-plate race could come with unforeseen consequences, since there's never been a race quite like that before.
Tony Stewart posted the fastest average lap time of Thursday's full-day test (201.896 mph) and was one of seven drivers to top the 200 mph mark.
Drivers said they are going close to 220 mph down the straightaways and nearly 200 mph through the corners with very little braking involved.