Stewart Tops 201 MPH At Michigan Test
BROOKLYN, Mich. – There hasn’t been a qualifying lap in excess of 200 miles per hour since 1987 in NASCAR competition. After today’s test at Michigan Int’l Speedway, most onlookers expect that to change.
Nine drivers topped the 200 mile per hour barrier Thursday at the recently repaved venue, with Tony Stewart toping the overall chart at 201.896 mph during the second of two sessions at the two-mile asphalt oval.
Others to exceed 200 mph during the two sessions Thursday were Mark Martin, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex, Jr. and Greg Biffle.
“It’s pretty fast – it’s really fast,” said Bowyer, whose top speed was 200.078 mph. “The center speed is fast. It doesn’t feel any different down the straightaway or whatever else, your car handling is good.
“Let me tell you, when you’re fighting loose conditions and the thing snaps sideways on you and you’re running 200 mph, it gets your attention pretty quick. You usually don’t make it very many more laps before you come in and ask for an adjustment,” Bowyer added.
So far NASCAR has not given any indication that they will require the use of restrictor plates, which are normally only used at Daytona Int’l Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway to slow the cars down.
But with speeds this fast, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if NASCAR did pull the restrictor plate from its bag of tricks.
“I don’t know what a restrictor plate race would be like at a track like this,” Bowyer said. “It would be almost interesting to see.”