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NASCAR Panel: Week 5

Do you think Carl Edwards’ three-race probation was too lenient?

Ken Mays: No. I think that NASCAR held up to what they had planned on doing at the start of the season; that is letting the drivers take care of business on the track and letting them settle disagreements on the track.

Jason Cannon: I was expecting more, but I’m glad NASCAR is holding to their promise that they would let the drivers work it out on the track. That wreck was a long time coming, dating back to Talladega last year.

Mark Trest: Because of the fact that this incident wasn’t just a racing incident, as Edwards stalked Keselowski down, making several swipes at him until he finally got to him, I thought NASCAR may come down a little more harsh on Edwards, but they stuck to their word, and didn’t intervene.

Crew chief Steve Addington got a win before Kyle Busch. What do you think that’s a sign of?

Ken Mays: It’s a sign that Addington was the strong man on the 18 team last year. Busch’s wins last year were just beginner’s luck on a new team.

Jason Cannon: Kyle Busch was just another driver with Hendrick. When he got hooked up with Gibbs and Steve Addington, he exploded and was a contender every week. Even last year, he won four races in what he considered a “bad” year. So far this season, Busch has been just another driver. It certainly looks like Addington knows how to provide equipment that can win races.

Mark Trest: Apparently Steve Addington knows his stuff so to speak, as one doesn’t just switch teams and hit on a winning combination right off the bat necessarily. So much of the success in NASCAR truly is a team concept from the owners’ commitment right down to the floor sweepers in the shops where the cars are built and prepared.

Who are you most surprised to see in the Top 12? Who are you most surprised is missing?

Ken Mays: Scott Speed and Paul Menard are the ones in the Top 12 that will not be there very long. Look for Dale Jr. and Carl Edwards to make their way to the Top 12 in the next few weeks.

Jason Cannon: You can tell it’s early in the season when a name like Paul Menard is hanging out inside the Top 10. Him and Scott Speed stand out as early surprises. Denny Hamlin being outside the Top 12 is surprising. He’s always been a guy that doesn’t win a ton of races but finishes well week after week.

Mark Trest: Most definitely Paul Menard in the Top 10. His team has been a second-tier team most of its existence, but it’s cool to see some new blood in there as well. Where oh where is Jeff Gordon?

Do you care that NASCAR schedules a break so early in the season?

Ken Mays: I think it’s kind of early for a break. I guess it’s good they have this break. Now maybe they can go to Talladega and get the kinks worked out of those cars so they won’t be flipping upside down and hurting another fan this year.

Jason Cannon: No. You get all jazzed up for four races and then it’s time for a break and that the break comes right before one of my favorite tracks is just frustrating.

Mark Trest: I always felt like the break was scheduled way too early because the season is really just getting underway. Since the season is comprised of 36 races, Speedweeks, in February, and the All-Star race in May (38 weeks, roughly) the breaks might need to come more like every 10 or so races depending on scheduling. I’ve always heard the drivers complain late in the year when it seems like there is a 20-race stretch where it’s race, race, race every week. Now, that’s a bit much.