Friday , February 12 2016
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Mirror Driving

Mirror Driving: Substitute Drivers, Runaway Tires, And Are The Buschs The Best Siblings Ever?

*Both NASCAR and a crewman from the No. 47 team, Jimmy Watts, took a lot of flack for the yellow flag that flew in the midst of a pit cycle as a result of the crewman chasing a tire, causing several good cars to be trapped a lap or more down. But was either one really wrong in their decision?* Vito: I think his cousin is that guy who ran up to Kenseth's car at Watkins Glen under a red flag and asked for an autograph. At least he had that BMX helmet on. Beth: It was just plain dangerous, and Watts didn't think. All he saw was a tire rolling out of control. NASCAR had no choice but to throw that caution. Read More »

Mirror Driving: NASCAR’s Red Flag Fiasco, Gordon’s Great Start, And Which Small Teams Can Survive?

*NASCAR had an up and down weekend in Las Vegas. There were three red flags during the Nationwide race, but none in the Sprint Cup Series event the following day despite several late crashes. Should NASCAR have thrown the red when Paul Menard pounded the wall with 17 laps to go, or was keeping the cars under caution the right thing to do?* Kurt: It didn't make too much difference. I believe Kyle was ahead for good then, wasn't he? Although I think they may have underestimated how long it would take to clean up that wreck. Beth: NASCAR made the right call, but it was frustrating just waiting for them to clean up what should have been a small mess. Read More »

Mirror Driving: Discussing Michael Waltrip’s Surprise, Kyle Busch’s “Historical” Moment, And Driver Responsibility

*NASCAR has kept two races on the schedule at Auto Club Speedway despite faltering attendance and fan complaints about the quality of racing, claiming that it needs to have these dates in the California market. But is it _really_ better for the sport to have a presence in certain cities than it is to provide a better product to the larger number of fans who tune in on television each week?* Amy: Apparently, it must… but I wasn't a marketing major, so I don't see how. I would think that in the long run, you’d get more revenue from TV ratings instead. Bryan: Presence in a market is important -- but not enough to harm your base. Fontana is a big market, but subjecting the majority of the fan base to an extremely late start time for a terrible race is just not worth it. Read More »

Mirror Driving : The Fallout Of No Testing At Daytona, Dueling For … What?, And Avoiding Short Fields

*Saturday's Budweiser Shootout featured several multi-car crashes that took out some top contenders -- including rookie sensation Joey Logano and Cup champions Bobby Labonte and Jimmie Johnson. Was this to be expected in a non-points race, or is it an ominous result of the testing ban — and is there more to come as the ban continues?* Beth: I think it was a little bit of both, actually. Amy: I think it's a sign of things to come for the 500; but after that, not so much. Teams need the track time, but they'll get that the first few weeks. Read More »

Mirror Driving : Sadler’s Last Stand, Diversity’s Shocking Surprise, And NASCAR Free Agents Losing Hope

*Elliott Sadler was released from Gillett-Evernham Motorsports in favor of A.J. Allmendinger, and promptly filed suit for breach of contract. Does Sadler have a leg to stand on, and what can he hope to gain - or stand to lose - from the suit?* Doug: Is a judge going to force GEM to field Sadler? No. Phil: That's true. Unless he was given some kind of absolute guarantee that the No. 19 was his in 2009, he's got nothing. Tom: I think Sadler's just protecting himself financially. The way this whole thing went down, I'm hard-pressed to see him driving for Gillett ever again. Read More »

Mirror Driving : 2008’s Biggest Moment, 2009’s Testing Nightmare, And Judging Johnson In 2050

*Jimmie Johnson became the second driver ever to win three straight NASCAR Cup championships by clinching the Cup at Homestead. Does that cement Johnson’s place among the best ever in the history books, or is the jury still out?* Kurt: Certainly it places him among the best. And lets discuss that before we figure in the Chase factor. Jimmie has been great every year he's been in Cup. Chase or not. Amy: I agree, Bryan, but that's because you can't compare them, not because Jimmie's is any less impressive Bryan: I didn't say it wasn't impressive. It's certainly an accomplishment, but trying to compare it to, say, Cale Yarborough's three-peat, is like comparing apples to oranges. Read More »

Mirror Driving : The Intentional Wreck, Cautioning Against Cautions, And Busch Sets A Record

*Carl Edwards' win on Sunday cut his point deficit to 106 with two races to go. Too little, too late, or is there an upset in the making?* Doug: I echo the sentiments of most. It is over. Unless Johnson has bad luck, he will shuffle his way into the record books. Amy: I think it could go either way, to be honest. Bryan: Oh, it's over, Amy. NASCAR made Johnson run a restrictor plate at TMS just to keep him from clinching next week. Read More »

Mirror Driving: Chasing The Chase, Tiring Tires, And Flipping The Bird

*Carl Edwards' win at Atlanta barely closed the gap between he and point leader Jimmie Johnson. Is the championship battle officially only between these two? And what has to happen for Edwards to win?* Matt T.: Johnson, Knaus, and the No. 48 team spontaneously combust. Jeff: J.J. needs to crash often, hard, and early. Bryan: The battle is over. The only thing Carl can do is spray sterno in J.J.'s engine. Read More »

Mirror Driving : A NASCAR Spending Cap? Fixing Qualifying, And Saving The Truck Series

*Following a dominant performance on Sunday, can anyone catch Jimmie Johnson for the championship? And if so, which team will do it?* Matt T.: Nope. Jimmie is the smoothest driver and Chad is the smartest crew chief. They won't give this thing away. Doug: Just like with Jeff Gordon and Evernham, J.J. and Chad have that "magic.” They shine when the light shines on them. Vito: Unless someone slips them one of Kyle Busch's engines or Dale Jr.'s tires, this thing is over. Even then, if Johnson does pop a motor — or a tire — Burton, Biffle, and Edwards have to be on their game and virtually perfect from here on out. And none of them has shown that they or their crews can do that. Read More »

Mirror Driving: Sorting Out Burton’s Title Hopes, The Harvick-Edwards Fracas, And 28-Car Fields

*This week's race at Charlotte saw another shuffle in the point standings, as Jeff Burton took over the second spot. Is Burton, with just two wins on the season, a realistic title threat, or will it take more than that to bring home the Cup?* Kurt: Burton's a legitimate threat, but he will need Jimmie to have some bad luck; and we're headed to a few tracks where Jimmie is just awesome, especially the second time around. Amy: I think if Burton can win one more, you can't count him out. I also think whoever wins it is going to have to win at least one more race in the last five. Read More »