• 48°

NASCAR panel: All-star race

Is it time for another shakeup on the 88 team? Or is the problem Junior himself?

Ken Mays: I think that the only problem with the 88 car is the fans. That being said, I don’t see a shakeup with the 88 team. The 88 nation of fans seem to be Dale Junior’s worst problem. They expect him to be like his dad and he is just not as good as his dad was. He is doing better this year than this time last year. So to me, things are looking up for him and the 88 team.

Jason Cannon: I don’t think a shakeup is necessary. I do think everyone needs to

throttle their expectations some. Junior’s never going to win as much as Senior. Dale Junior is not a bad driver, he’s just not a great one. But, truthfully, he’s better than most of the others on the track.

Mark Trest:  I’m beginning to think Hendrick needs to dissolve one team and run three teams. Ever since he expanded to four teams, one team of the bunch is always the black sheep. And usually, only two of the four really run top notch, and the other is a distant third in the running. Last year’s running order was 48-5-24-88, the year before, 48-88-24-5, this year 48-24-5-88, so you can see who is getting the top notch equipment on the team. The top dog always eats from the best dinner bowl, and the runt gets the scraps. As is with other teams, the better you run, the better equipment your boss provides you. There is a so-called pecking order. So, Junior needs to pick it up,or keep settling for scraps.

Is Kyle Busch the closest thing we’ve had to The Intimidator since his passing?

Ken Mays: I have said it before. I think he is the closest thing to The Intimidator  as any one person on the track. He will win at all costs. That’s why he gets so much respect when they see him in their rearview mirror.

Jason Cannon: Yes and I’ve said that for a couple years. They drive the same way and if you gave either one a car that was half competitive, they could put it in

Victory Lane.

Mark Trest: Yes, I do believe that he is just that. He drives with a mean streak unseen in many drivers today, and that is the difference in his abilities and theirs. Ralph Earnhardt, Dale Sr.’s father once said, “The one who wins it is the one who wants it the most, not always the fastest car.” I believe Kyle drives with a similar attitude.

Has Joe Gibbs Racing caught Hendrick Motor Sports?

Ken Mays: If they haven’t, they are running a close race. They have seemed to be doing good year after year. Look what they have done in the last five years.

Jason Cannon: They’re getting close, but I still give the edge to Hendrick. Hendrick is in a class all by themselves right now, but Gibbs is riding a hot streak like we

haven’t seen in a long time.

Mark Trest: Based on recent results, I would have to say yes. Gibbs has won just about everything lately.  Big picture? Not just yet, but they are definitely positioning themselves as serious challengers for the Championship.

Do you think the all-star race should be for something other than cash?

Ken Mays: To me its is. It’s the only race to where the fans get a voice as to whom they want to see race other than the ones that have it already sewn up. I can’t think of another sport that does that.

Jason Cannon: I think the winner should get points. No points for leading a lap. No

bonus points for leading the most laps. Just give the winner 50 or 75 points to go with the big check.

Mark Trest: It would be easy to say run for points, but then is that fair since every driver has not qualified for All-Star status? I say leave it as a dash for the cash! All Star events are supposed to be about just going for it, and leaving it all on the battlefield without the worry of losing points, etc.

Who is your pick to win the all-star race?

Ken Mays: I am going to pull for Kyle Busch again this week. He loves this kind of competition and he does well in the all-star races.

Jason Cannon: Jimmie Johnson is an absolute beast in Charlotte, so I’m looking for the 48 team to bust out of this slump with a bang.

Mark Trest: Johnson practically owns the Charlotte Lowes Motor Speedway, and I dont see him letting up now.