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NASCAR Notebook: Smaller restrictor plates to be used at Daytona test

When Sprint Cup drivers test at Daytona International Speedway next week, they will do so with a restrictor plate with slightly smaller holes than what was used during last month's tire test on the newly repaved track.

NASCAR has reduced the size of the holes in the restrictor plate by 1/32nd of an inch--from 30/32nds of an inch to 29/32nds of an inch--a NASCAR spokesman confirmed Wednesday night.

During the Goodyear test last month, drivers reached speeds of 197 mph in the draft. If the cars react the same to similar changes made in the past, the smaller restrictor plate would cause a drop of more than 20 horsepower and result in a drop in speeds of approximately 5-10 mph on a qualifying lap and a 3-5 mph drop in the draft.

"They're going to monitor it really, really close and they might come back up a little bit, but they're thinking that 29/32nds will be what we race," Earnhardt Childress Racing engine builder Danny Lawrence said. "The more power they take away, the more help you've got to have (in the draft)."

Drivers participating in the December test didn't seem too concerned about the high speeds, but in announcing the change, it appears NASCAR officials are concerned that the cars could go too fast for their comfort--especially if the teams make gains, as is expected, in their setups from the December test to the Jan. 20-22 test.

Martinsville spring qualifying moved

Sprint Cup Series teams will qualify a day later than in previous years at Martinsville Speedway, according to track officials.

Qualifying for this year's April 3 running of the Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 has been moved from Friday, April 1 to Saturday, April 2.

Time trials for the Camping World Truck Series race, the Kroger 250, will be held Saturday as well.

"We know that it has become more and more difficult for fans to take an extra day off from work and come out for qualifying," Clay Campbell, track president, said in a release. "By shuffling the schedule like we have fans will be able to come on Saturday and see a great day of racing action. The Cup and truck guys will be on the track for qualifying and then the day is capped off with the Kroger 250, and everybody knows how exciting the truck series races are here at Martinsville."

The track's annual spring race will continue to be a three-day weekend, however, with two Cup and two truck series practice sessions scheduled for April 1.