When it comes to the tricky, dangerous business of restrictor-plate racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, there are few secrets.
The key to success at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway – the circuit’s only venues where restrictor plates are required to keep speeds down – is mere survival. That equates to part luck and much patience. Many drivers opt to stay out of the fray up front until the final 20 laps or so, staying back with the idea of avoiding the big wrecks that are sure to come as the cars race three-wide at more than 200 miles per hour down the front and back stretches.
These tracks aren’t like others where good finishes are virtually guaranteed once a driver gets a feel for the places. Even the best restrictor-plate racers occasionally are going to get caught up in The Big One and be forced to settle for a poor finish.
The best ones know how to make sure they’re around at the end when it gets really crazy. Only then can they hope to withstand what is sure to be a white-knuckle finish and grab the checkered flag at NASCAR’s fastest tracks.
Here are the best of the best at restrictor-plate racing.