NASCAR panel: Chicago
Would Jimmie Johnson winning a fifth consecutive Cup title be a good or bad thing for NASCAR?
Ken Mays: I think it would be kind of bad, but look at golf. Tiger Woods was the best thing that ever happened to the sport of golf by showing that anyone that wants something bad enough can achieve it.
Jason Cannon: It would be bad from a ratings standpoint. I think his dominance has already turned off some fair weather viewers. He’s not doing anything wrong but no one likes to see the same team win week after week, especially if it’s not your team.
Mark Trest: Looking at the big picture, watching him win week after week takes all of the surprise element out of watching a race unfold. Fans are fickle these days. If you don’t maintain their interest, they will look elsewhere to be entertained.
Do you think it’s possible to go an entire season without a Ford riding to Victory Lane?
Ken Mays: If they haven’t won a race at this point in the season and with the Chase on, I just can’t see a Ford winning this year. But, I can’t remember a year when a Ford didn’t win, at least once.
Jason Cannon: I think it’s more than possible when you look at the races and tracks that are left. Matt Kenseth is pretty stout at Fontana so I don’t think Ford will get skunked this year. They won’t win very many, though.
Mark Trest: It’s very possible that Ford could go winless this season. Let’s face it, the marquee teams are all Chevys and Toyotas, with the exception of Roush Racing, but they aren’t on top of their game this year.
What kind of scenario do you think it would take for Dale Junior to run the No. 3 car again?
Ken Mays: I think you might see him in the No. 3 car again, but it might not be in the near future. I believe there will be an occasion that will call for a special appearance.
Jason Cannon: I think it would take him driving for Richard Childress Racing full-time and I don’t think he’d do it more than a few times. I think you may see it, and that’s a big maybe, at the 2018 Daytona 500. That would mark the 20th anniversary of Dale Senior’s first win there. I’d be more interested to see Dale Junior back in the No. 8, though.
Mark Trest: I really feel like he means it when he says he will never drive the 3 again. That was a demon he needed to get out of his system, driving a car with his Dad’s old paint scheme and number. Now that he’s done it, he can move on. Maybe its what he needed to do to regain his focus. Time will tell.
How do you think Todd Parrott joining the No. 19 this will impact RPM going forward?
Ken Mays: Sadler needs something that can help him win. He has been really bad the last few years.
Jason Cannon: Elliot Sadler is a terrible driver but Todd Parrott is one of the best crew chiefs. I think you put Parrott on that team to get it fixed and attract a better driver next season.
Mark Trest: It will expose the fact that Elliott Sadler is an okay driver, not a good one. If the team cannot improve with Parrott at the helm, then it’s time for a new driver. I can’t believe with all the talent out there that Sadler hasn’t already been replaced.
Who’s your pick to win this weekend?
Ken Mays: I am going to pick Dale Junior this week. I think he is steadily headed on his way to a Sprint Cup Victory.
Jason Cannon: I like Dale Junior here. His team’s got some momentum and this is one of his better tracks.
Mark Trest: Two-fold answer here. Tony Stewart is usually strong here, and he does appear to be gaining steam as of late. I’d like to see him break his winless streak this weekend. However, Jimmie Johnson is in the field and back running strong as usual. I’ll say it will come down to these two.
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