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NASCAR Panel: Richmond

What do you think a Gordon-Johnson rift could mean for Team Hendrick?

Ken Mays: I really do not think it’s much to it other than the fact that Jimmie Johnson is showing so much domination over Jeff Gordon and its killing Jeff. Jeff has always thought that a driver is supposed  to slow down and let him drive by whenever he is in their rearview mirror. He has always been known as the crybaby of NASCAR.

Jason Cannon: Jeff Gordon used to be Hendrick’s lead dog and thought to be the best driver on the track, but I think both those titles belong to Jimmie Johnson now. That Gordon basically got Johnson his ride, I think there’s a little jealousy in the student surpassing the teacher.

Mark Trest: Jeff Gordon is only getting back in return full circle what he used to do in his heyday. He’s always utilized whatever means necessary to win including the “bump and run” made famous by the late Dale Earnhardt, yet he believes he is not to be touched. I find it amusing that it’s happening to him now. Quit your crying Jeffy boy! Mr. Hendrick won’t let any of this get out of control, however. He will stop it before it goes too far.

This weekend, Shell announced they would join Kurt Busch on the No. 22 Penske car next year. What do you think that means for Kevin Harvick, NASCAR’s biggest remaining free agent, next season?

Ken Mays: I really think he will stay where he is next year as a free agent. I believe that Penske made a heck of a deal with Shell to get their sponsorship. Mr. Penske owns lots of car dealerships and, from what I have heard on the speed channel, he made a deal with Shell that he would Market their oil at his shops. Harvick doesn’t have much to worry about. He can even start his own team if he wants to.

Jason Cannon: I think it plays well into Richard Childress’ efforts to re-sign him. Getting sponsorship for someone like Harvick shouldn’t be too much of a challenge and that he’s not going to be able to take his sponsor with him, it would make adding him to another team a little more complicated.

Mark Trest: Several stories currently developing appear to not be going in Harvick’s favor, but I strongly believe that a driver of Harvick’s stature will not have any problems finding a top ride next season, maybe even re-signing with Richard Childress. This scenario may actually open up some new avenues sponsorshipwise. Harvick is very marketable, and is quite the witty character in commercials.

We finally saw NASCAR’s maximum three attempts at a green-white-checker finish. What do you think about this rule?

Ken Mays: I like it. I think it makes for a real exciting race after sitting there for hours waiting on something big to happen. Look at last weeks race. It was one of the best finishes that I have seen in a very long time. It reminded of what racing used to be.

Jason Cannon: Three’s too many. A lot of the front runners stayed out on the track so long it put them in a fuel mileage bind. I don’t think it’s fair to have them circling the track for laps that don’t count. Harvick would have pulled that move on McMurray every time. All NASCAR did was postpone it.

Mark Trest:  I’m not a fan of any green-white-checker finishes at all, but I understand it’s a necessary evil to ensure a green flag finish. Every week it seems the race ends up in the G-W-C mode, and it irks me. And these are supposed to be the best drivers in the world, yet they can’t finish a race without a caution only laps from completion of the race? C’mon!

Who gets your thumbs up and thumbs down for the month of April?

Ken Mays: Two thumbs up for Kevin Harvick. He has been leading up to his big win for some time now and he finally hit the jackpot last week. Two thumbs down to Jeff Gordon for being such a crybaby every time he gets bumped by Jimmie Johnson.

Jason Cannon: Thumbs up: Denny Hamlin. Had surgery on his ACL sandwiched between two wins. This kid is NASCAR’s Ironman. Thumbs down: Marcos Ambrose. Had a pretty good year last year and I was thinking he’d be in better position than he’s in now.

Mark Trest: Gotta give the months thumbs up to Denny Hamlin, he won two races while overcoming knee surgery in the process, and had a great month of racing. Thumbs down to Jeff Gordon. Not so much for performance as he’s done well. It’s the whining! I’ve always referred to him as Whiner No. 1. Guess it’s time to renew that old label, and he’s got it going full bore!

Who is your pick to win this weekend?

Ken Mays: Denny Hamlin is my pick this week because I flipped a coin and it landed on tails. Heads was Tony Stewart. Trying to pick a winner this year seems to be hard for me. Guess we will just have to wait and see.

Jason Cannon: Denny Hamlin. I like what he’s able to accomplish north of the Mason-Dixon line.

Mark Trest: He’s on a roll, appears unbeatable at this time and Richmond is his home track, which he is very strong every race there, Denny Hamlin.