NASCAR Panel: Bristol week

Published 11:28 pm Friday, August 26, 2011

With rumors of financial issues at Montreal, should the Nationwide Series give the track two race dates to help keep it on the schedule?

Ken Mays: I don’t think it really matters. There are plenty of other tracks that would like to have them race at other tracks. It has a lot to do with how bad they want to keep it and what incentive they could give to the fans to go watch the race and how much they can help the teams in wanting them to keep racing there.

Jason Cannon: I can’t see that being of much help. NASCAR fans don’t flock to it because it’s a road course. There’s just not a huge NASCAR fan base in Canada.

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Mark Trest: From what I’ve read about this situation, Montreal is having troubles coming up with money to host one event, let alone two events. If they can secure adequate sponsorship, maybe so, but until then, I’m not sure NASCAR shouldnt just pull out altogether until they can get their finances settled. There’s always another year.

With back-to-back finishes of 35th or worse, can Denny Hamlin hold onto his wildcard spot and still make the Chase?

Ken Mays: I really think his chances are just about dried up for this year. Its kinda like Alabama and Auburn football. Sometimes you have a good year when it was not in the cards to do well and then its times when you just come out and win it while all the time everyone knew you had what it took to win and then there are times when you are just snake bit and can’t seem to make things click. Thats the kind of year Denny and his team are having this season and its time for him to throw in the towel.

Jason Cannon: It’s going to get harder every week. He really needs to win a race to create some separation. This free fall the past two weeks is killing him.

Mark Trest: I don’t think so. There are 4-5 more drivers right in front of and behind him in points that have no wins yet, but have shown the ability fo run up front, so a win is still possible for them. If that happens, and he continues to tailspin in the points, see ya Denny. But, should he get back on track, run hard and finish high, he can put himself in the wild card spot. There’s no more time for DNF’s and poor finishes. Its now or never.

Kyle Busch secured his Chase berth with a series-best fourth win. How big of a factor will he be in the Chase?

Ken Mays: He is going to be a huge factor the rest of the chase. Unless he drives too hard and make stupid mistake trying to stay up front or even does something stupid to get to the front and not race for the points. I think he has what it takes to win the chase but his crew chief and team needs to keep him focused on the big picture.

Jason Cannon: He always seems to fold in the playoffs. I don’t know why this year would be any different.

Mark Trest: Provided he stays out of trouble mechanically and on the track, Kyle looks like the man to beat moreso than five time Champion Jimmie Johnson. Kyle appears capable of winning at any time, any track. Johnson hasnt had that aura of invincibility this year as in seasons past.

Do you think being an owner and driver is holding Stewart back from being the driver we once knew from his days at Gibbs?

Ken Mays: I think so. When you are paying the big bucks to keep the cars running and fixing wrecked cars then to me and if I was in his position I would be thinking differently as a owner driver of I was in that position. So yes,I think he might be holding back a little.

Jason Cannon: Surely it is. He’s easily one of the more talented drivers on the track but he’s not posting the results. You have to wonder has he taken on more than he can handle.

Mark Trest: It has to be a distraction for Stewart, having all the responsibilities on his mind all the time. I truly believe if he were just a driver again, we’d see better results.

Who is your pick to win this week?

Ken Mays: It being the 50th year of Bristol I am going with the oldest man on the track. I am pulling for Mark Martin to win this race.

Jason Cannon: Jimmie Johnson only has one win this year? Can you believe that? He’s also only got one win at Bristol. I think he picks up two Saturday.

Mark Trest: Kyle Busch is on fire, running up front most every week, and he’s good at Bristol. Chalk him up for me.