New rules may add risk, Gordon says

If rule changes announced this week for Talladega make sustained two-car drafting more difficult, that could be a recipe for a wild Oct. 23 race at the 2.66-mile speedway, Jeff Gordon said.

NASCAR is increasing the diameter of restrictor-plate openings from 56/64ths of an inch to 57/64ths, as well as lowering the pressure relief valve setting by eight pounds per square inch. The plate change will add seven to 10 horsepower to the engine output, resulting in a decrease in stability.

The lower pressure relief valve setting might prevent one car from pushing another lap after lap, because the car will start to throw off water at lower temperatures, and the pusher might have to separate or swap positions to cool its engine.

Though many fans and competitors believe breaking up the two-car tandems is a desirable goal, Gordon said there’s also a risk involved in forcing cars to reverse positions more often.

"I’m not in favor of swapping more," Gordon told Sporting News on Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "I know a lot of people don’t like us running nose-to-tail like that, but it’s far more dangerous doing more swaps. It causes far more chances to have crashes when you’re swapping, especially at the end of the race, where you’re in the middle of a pack, and all of a sudden two cars just swap.

"So I’d rather us not have to swap. I think the racing would be better, and it would be safer."