NASCAR panel: 09/03/2011

Published 1:15 am Saturday, September 3, 2011

Bigger gamble for Tony Stewart: Starting his own team or signing Danica Patrick to a NSCS deal?

Ken Mays: I think starting his own team is not as big a gamble as some might think. Tony is a good business minded person., He owns a lot of different businesses and racing is just one of them. Him taking on Danica Patrick is a good gamble. She comes with a sponsor and has a huge fan base even if its not in NASCAR. She has a fan base that will sell tickets that under normal condition would not be sold. Look at it like this, if a man wants to go to a race he would have to sell his wife on the idea of how muxh and why he like racing. Now, if she has a little interest in racing them a lot of the ladies would like to see a female in what use to be a all mans sport and she wants to see her do well against them then she is more likely to want to go to the race with her husband or boyfriend just to see the female win. So to me it sell tickets and t-shirt and other racing stuff that otherwise would not be sold. It’s just good business to me.

Mark Trest: Considering he had it made driving for Joe Gibbs Racing before going out on his own last season, starting up his own team was way more of a gamble than signing some upstart driver for the Nationwide Series. The financial committment for the Sprint Cup Series alone is astronomical, much less all of the details and equipment necessary to run an operation like a race team. The Danica deal was nothing in comparison to all of that.

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After finishing 28th at Bristol (and only 21 points ahead of Brad Keslowski), is Smoke in danger of missing the Chase?

Ken Mays: It is going to be tough for Smoke to get the upper hand on Special

K when he is in such a hot streak. I look for Brad to be in the Chase in my opinion.

Mark Trest: If he falls out of 10th Place, yes he does stand a chance of missing the Chase. Stewart himself admits the team isnt performing well enough to merit even being in the Chase.

Since breaking his ankle, Brad Keslowski has not raced in the Nationwide series. In that same span, he’s not finished outside the top three in a Cup race and has two wins. Do you think the Nationwide races were a distraction?

Ken Mays: It might have a little to do with it. I think as a young racer he

needed to turn his attention on one series and it must be true as we see him doing so well right now in the Cup right now.

Mark Trest: It makes you wonder. The physical toll alone of racing two series has to be tremendously hard. Imagine all the travel, stress, sleep deprivation, and exhaustion. Maybe he does need to just focus on one series. Numbers dont lie. He has been on fire for over a month now.

Is Denny Hamlin still the guy most likely to unseat Jimmie Johnson as this year’s champion? If not, who is?

Ken Mays: I highly doubt it. Jimmie is not out of the chase yet and he still

has a lot of points to build up at this point.

Mark Trest: Hamlin might not even make the Chase, much less dethrone anyone. Kyle Busch or Carl Edwards appear to be the racers most likely to dethrone Johnson if anyone can do so this season.

Who is your pick to win this week?

Ken Mays: I am going to think that Jimmie Johnson is going to do very well in

this race but I am going to put a guy out there that is very good at this track and I am going to pick him this week  I am going with Dale Jr. this week because he is really due a win at this track. Plus if there is anyone that needs a win its him.

Mark Trest: Gotta go with Kyle Busch this week. He is still as hot as anyone other than Keslowski lately, and he wants to prove he wont falter down the stretch as he has done in previous seasons after running well all year only to fall flat on his face come Chase time.