NASCAR Panel: Texas
Currently, any car in the Top 35 in points is guaranteed a starting spot
at every race. Do you like this rule?
Ken Mays: I think the rule is a fair rule. If you put out a product that is worth racing in the Top 25, then that product must be working well and it should be worthy enough for the top 25 spot.
Jason Cannon: No. It’s not like you run any risk of Jimmie Johnson or Tony Stewart
failing to qualify and keeping the stars on the track is most of what the
rule is about. I wish they would do away with it. It would make racing at
the back of the pack more interesting.
Mark Trest: No. With this system, and provisionals, it is almost impossible for a fledgling team to even make a race, unless a they blow away the competition in qualifying, which isn’t very likely. Something seems wrong with this equation.
Who is one driver that has never won a Cup race that you think has the
best chance of breaking that streak this season?
Ken Mays: I think Paul Manard would be a good driver to bet on that has never won a race. He is pretty consistent in most races.
Jason Cannon: It’s hard to overlook what Paul Menard has done this year but I think AJ Allmendinger will get to victory lane first. It looks like things are
finally starting to click for him.
Mark Trest: Several of the young guys are beginning to show progress on the track, but as far as winning a race goes, A.J. Allmendinger appears to be closer to victory than do any of the others. He’s been running up front and contending, showing some muscle.
Carl Edwards gets a lot of negative feedback by trying to play both good
guy and bad guy role. Which do you think he his?
Ken Mays: I have been following his team since he started in NASCAR and I get a lot of his messages on different Web sites and I really think he is a good person on and off the track. But, He is not a guy whose bad side you want to be on. I think he is more of an eye-for-an-eye type of driver,
Jason Cannon: I think he’s a good guy who’s getting frustrated, which makes people think he’s a bad guy. He’s got a temper, just like everyone else. We’re just
not used to seeing so much of it.
Mark Trest: Overall, I think Edwards is a nice guy. However, even the best-mannered can become not so nice when pushed too far. Racing is not a sport for the faint of heart or warm hearted souls. Sometimes it gets hairy out on the track, and you have to let your opponent know he can’t just run all over you. If that makes Edwards a bad guy, so be it.
After siging with Hendrick for 2012, Kahne has no firm plans the 2011 season. How do you think next season will play out for the soon-to-be former No. 9 driver?
Ken Mays: I hear from different people on other sites that you might see him driving for Tony Stewart next season. Guess I will find out if those guys know what they are talking about.
Jason Cannon: This will go one of two ways. He’ll sign a one year deal with Stewart-Hass Racing, which I think is the most likely. Or, you will see Hendrick offer a supporting role to a new Cup Team, JR Motorsports, and turn Dale Junior loose as a owner/driver. I seriously doubt the latter will happen, but there are a lot of chips in place to make it not unrealistic, including Junior’s relationship with current No. 9 sponsor Budweiser and current No. 5 sponsor GoDaddy.
Mark Trest: A driver of Kasey’s talent won’t have any problems finding a seat for next season. Word is that he has been talking with Stewart-Haas. That’s where he most likely will end up I presume. Don’t think the other good teams would pass up a chance to get him in their car, even if only for one season.
Who is your pick to win this weekend?
Ken Mays: I am going with Cousin Carl this week. I really think he has something to prove.
Jason Cannon: Texas is a good place to pick Carl Edwards but he’s made me look pretty bad these last few weeks. I’m going with Jimmie Johnson.
Mark Trest: I’m going to be a little wishy-washy with this pick, but still hold true to my formula for picking the winner all season. The winner will come from the Hendrick Motorsports stable. All four drivers, Johnson, Gordon, Martin, and Earnhardt run pretty well at Texas. Take your pick!