TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — Rusty Wallace got a chance to run his NASCAR Nextel Cup Dodge at Talladega Superspeedway without a horsepower-sapping carburetor restrictor plate.
The result was an eye-popping lap at more than 216 mph.
"We hit 228 at the end of the straightaway," an excited Wallace said of his run Wednesday on the 2.66-mile oval. "It was a deal that I certainly will remember for the rest of my life.
"We'd all been wondering what it would feel like to run at Talladega again without the plates and now I know. I'll bet we could be running speeds up to 235 without the plates."
But the longtime Cup star isn't expecting NASCAR to abandon the plates anytime soon.
"I'll tell you this: there's no way we could be out there racing at those speeds," Wallace said. "It was neat to be out there running that fast by myself, but it would be insane to think we could have a pack of cars out there doing that."
Wallace's speed easily exceeded the official Talladega and NASCAR qualifying record of 212.809, set by Bill Elliott on April 30, 1987.
Talladega race speeds reached close to 210 that year before a crash nearly sent Bobby Allison's car flying into the packed main grandstand. That prompted NASCAR to begin requiring carburetor plates to slow cars at Talladega and Daytona, its two longest and fastest tracks.
Speeds at both tracks since then have ranged from the mid 180s to the mid 190s.
Several NASCAR officials, including Nextel Cup director John Darby, witnessed the test runs by Wallace.