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NASCAR panel: Darlington

What do you think of Dale Junior’s plans to race the “old school” Wrangler No. 3 at the July Daytona race?

Ken Mays: I think it’s great for the fans that thought so much of his dad and it’s great that he wants to honor him.

Jason Cannon: I like the idea and it’s fitting to have Junior drive it. What I don’t

like is that it’s going to happen in the Nationwide Series. But, I’m sure it will create some buzz in the lower-tier, which has been struggling to get attention.

Mark Trest: Although we will probably never see the No. 3 on a regular basis again, in respect to Dale Sr.’s legacy, it is a fitting tribute to allow his son, Dale Jr. to race a replica of the paint scheme he made famous. I like the idea, though I do wish the tribute would be run in the Sprint Cup Series as well as the Nationwide Series.

If you could make one change in NASCAR, effective immediately, what would it be?

Ken Mays: I would love to see them open the holes on the restrictor plates. The cars are so much safer now than they were just three or four years ago.

Jason Cannon: I’d move Cup races to Saturday. That way, if the Saturday race gets

rained out, they would still have Sunday to make it up. I hate Monday makeups.

Mark Trest: Green-white-checker finishes have become somewhat of a farce if not a downright nuisance. I mean, these are supposed to be the best race drivers in the world, yet they can’t ever finish a race under green anymore? Sometimes I wonder if some of the so-called accidents are intentional to “throw” the flag.

As NASCAR tries to get closer to its roots, do you think it’s time to give Darlington its second race back?

Ken Mays: Darlington is one of my favorite tracks. If NASCAR is really wanting to get back to its roots, then they need to listen to the drivers and let them decide which track they think could provide the most entertainment and competition.

Jason Cannon: Darlington is one of my favorite races but, no, we don’t need another one. I think the whole sport would be well served to cut most of the duplicate tracks and increase the number of different locations they visit.

Mark Trest: I think so. Did anyone happen to see the lack of interest at the California race? As the economy wanes, half-empty tracks aren’t going to cut it. It was fun for a while to Californians, but they’ve apparently moved on to something else.

Ten races in and Ford has yet to win. What do you attribute that to?

Ken Mays: Maybe they should have taken the handout that the government gave to the others. But on the serious side of it, I really think that the Ford guys have had bad luck so far this year. I look for one of them to break out in a win soon.

Jason Cannon: Ford seems to be lagging way behind in terms of power. They placed one car in the Top 10 at Talladega, one at Richmond and two at Texas. That’s only four cars in the Top 10 over three races.

Mark Trest: With the exception of Roush Racing, all the elite teams are Chevy or Toyota. Too, Fords, always get better mileage than power. That in mind, with all the green-white-checker finishes this year, the Fords don’t stand a chance in a one to two lap shootout.

Who is your pick to win this weekend?

Ken Mays: I am going with Smoke this week. Tony Stewart is due for a win and this week’s track is his kind of track.

Jason Cannon: It’s hard to bet against Jimmie Johnson at Darlington, and I won’t do it now.

Mark Trest: He has the best average finish of anyone at this track and he’s been the weekly bridesmaid. This is a good week to finally get to the winner’s circle Jeff Gordon.