NASCAR Panel: Bristol

Published 9:32 pm Friday, March 18, 2011

Whose performance has surprised you most thus far this season?

Ken Mays: I have been surprised  that the Jimmie Johnson team has not been in the top ten every race. I believe that NASCAR  has told them to hold back a little bit for the sake of the sport.

Jason Cannon: Clint Bowyer and Greg Biffle don’t have a Top 10 yet. That’s pretty surprising.

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Mark Trest: Jeff Burton from RCR has dropped off the map literally. I dont know if it’s bad luck or has the expansion of the race team to a 4 team operation once again hurt overall performance? The team as a whole doesn’t seem to be running as strong as it did in 2010, when all three cars made the Chase field.

How much trouble are Brian Vickers, Greg Biffle and Jeff Burton in?

Ken Mays: I don’t think they are in that much trouble. It’s early in the season. There is plenty of time to play catch up. Its been done before with Tony Stewart a few years ago and he ended up winning the season.

Jason Cannon: I think Brian Vickers is off pace due to being out last year. I think he’ll get that worked out. Biffle usually makes a correction as the season wears on. Burton is the one I’m worried about. He’s usually pretty consistent. So far, he’s been consistently bad.

Mark Trest: I wouldn’t dismiss their chances just yet, as the season has just begun, but they definitely need to pick up their performance or risk being left behind for good.

What’s the biggest story in the Nationwide Series through three races?

Ken Mays: I think her coming in fourth has been the biggest headline. It’s the Nationwide series. Has anyone besides me noticed that nobody goes to that race. It looks like they are at a Little League baseball game where there are nothing but parents and grandparents at the game.

Jason Cannon: The biggest story in Nationwide is still the points shake up. You’ve got the Cup guys dominating over there and not getting any points.

Mark Trest: I believe its the emergence of the stars who actually run the series full time. In other words, not the Cup regulars who crash the series and dominate. We now are getting to see who is developing into the star of tomorrow by allowing them to accumulate points and disallowing the Cup regulars points. At first, I was somewhat against only allowing drivers to pursue only one championship in one series, but now I understand the logic behind it.

Dale Junior appears to be finally headed in the right direction. How much credit do you give to the driver and how much do you give to the crew chief change?

Ken Mays: It has top be the crew chief change, It’s the same driver and car. He has not improved that much on his own.

Jason Cannon: I think you can attribute that to finally getting his attention. I don’t think Junior gave Lance McGrew 100-percent but he’s out of options now. Junior is going to be held responsible for her performance, good or bad, and he’s got to pin his ears back and get after it.

Mark Trest: For one, I think Junior is focused moreso this season than in seasons past. He realized its put up or shut up time. Hendrick Motorsports has given him every opportunity to get the job done, and while he did good the first years of this association, the last couple years have left a lot to be desired. That said, he is more focused, and the crew chief assignment appears to be working out as well. Letarte is a good one.

Who is your pick to win this week?

Ken Mays: I am going with Carl Edwards this week. I think he has shown that he is ready and his team is ready for a win. He has really done well thus far in the season.

Jason Cannon: Jimmie Johnson’s going to reel off a win soon and I think it’s coming at Bristol.

Mark Trest: Kyle Busch. Always seems to run well at Bristol. The winner goes through him even if he doesn’t win.