NASCAR panel: Sonoma

Published 6:22 pm Friday, June 18, 2010

Do you think road course ringers are better than developing your regular driver on a road track?

Ken Mays: I don’t think so. It only means that you are trying harder to get owner points in my opinion.

Jason Cannon: Usually, the only teams who employ the ringers don’t have a high-quality driver in the first place. It does make getting or keeping your driver in the Top 35 more difficult because missing a race is a death sentence.

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Mark Trest: Ringers are usually brought in by lower-tier teams who see it as an opportunity to improve their chances of winning, as many of the Cup regulars aren’t accomplished road course racers. I’m not sure the regular driver would miss any seat time because chances are this team wouldn’t qualify for the race anyway. Lower-tier teams basically live week to week trying to make a race, so I think its a smart move on their part to be creative with their race strategy.

Who’s more likely to win this race: ringer Boris Said or Dale Junior?

Ken Mays: Boris Said. He his a fairly good driver on the ovals but as for a road course he is by far better than Dale Junior.

Jason Cannon: As a ringer, Boris does a pretty good job. His equipment is lacking but fast cars are not the key to road course racing. I give the edge to Said. He’ll run up front all day.

Mark Trest: Speaking of ringers, here’s your best choice, Boris Said. Junior may be good on the ovals, but he can’t hold a candle to Said when it comes to road courses. Give Said a good car and he will run up front on a road course race.

Any way Jimmie Johnson misses a race to witness the birth of his child?

Ken Mays: Me being a father of five, I don’t really think I could put off the birth of any of them if I had a choice. But, knowing the nature of a race car driver I couldn’t say. He might want to weigh his options as to how much flack he might catch from the wife versus winning a race.

Jason Cannon: I doubt it. Missing a race hurts in the points standings. Starting the

race and then pulling out isn’t as bad because Johnson will get the points, but we’re talking about missing out on thousands of dollars in potential prize money. That buys a lot of diapers.

Mark Trest: As critical as championship points are, I don’t see Johnson coming out of his car unless he is out of contention but the car is still running. In this case, since he started, he would get the points anyway. But, if he is in contention for the win, Mama is just gonna have to hang on.

Is the storybook ending to Mark Martin’s career over?

Ken Mays: I doubt it. I think he has a few more races left in him. The man is a true racer and has tried his best to retire before. If he does, there will be a bunch of other teams knocking at his door begging him to race for them.

Jason Cannon: His team isn’t as strong as it was the last two seasons, but the whole Hendrick garage is struggling right now. Once the team gets it back going, I

think he’ll reap the benefit, too. There’s a win or two left in Mark Martin’s tank.

Mark Trest: Not necessarily. Hendrick Motorsports as a whole is having some problems, Martin included. Once the team rights the ship, all the teams will be back in contention.

Who’s your pick to win this week?

Ken Mays: I look for Tony Stewart to pull through with a win this weekend. I hate watching road courses, so I guess I will read about who won in the newspaper.

Jason Cannon: Tony Stewart. He’s charging hard week in and week out and this is a good track for him.

Mark Trest: My man Tony Stewart is a Cup regular road course ringer and he is beginning to make some noise. This is his week to win.