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*Martinsville gave fans plenty of excitement: a thrilling finish, the Most Popular Driver returning to form, and a record number of lead changes. Was Sunday the best competition we've seen this season? And if so... what was the most important thing to take from the race, something the sport should hope happens elsewhere?* Phil: It was pretty dang sweet, I'll tell you what. I definitely want that action in other races as well. We will get that... just don't know where. Amy: It was a great race all day long. What NASCAR needs is more short tracks on the schedule. Phil: They'll have to lower sanctioning fees for that to happen.

Mirror Driving: Martinsville Excitement, Tire Troubles and Fueling Speeds

Welcome to “Mirror Driving.” Every week, your favorite columnists sit down and give their opinion about the latest NASCAR news, rumors, and controversy. Love us or hate us, make a comment below and tell us how you feel about what we’ve said!

*This Week’s Participants*:
Phil Allaway “(Tuesdays / Talking NASCAR TV & Frontstretch Newsletter)”:http://www.frontstretch.com/staffinfo/18439/
Summer Dreyer (Tuesdays / Who’s Hot & Who’s Not in NASCAR)
Mike Neff “(Wednesdays / Top 15 & Wednesdays / Full Throttle)”:http://www.frontstretch.com/staffinfo/1744/
Jeff Meyer “(Wednesdays / Top Ten & Thursdays / Voices From The Heartland)”:http://www.frontstretch.com/staffinfo/356/
Amy Henderson “(Fridays / Holding A Pretty Wheel)”:http://www.frontstretch.com/staffinfo/351/

*Martinsville gave fans plenty of excitement: a thrilling finish, the Most Popular Driver returning to form, and a record number of lead changes. Was Sunday the best competition we’ve seen this season? And if so… what was the most important thing to take from the race, something the sport should hope happens elsewhere?*

Phil: It was pretty dang sweet, I’ll tell you what. I definitely want that action in other races as well. We will get that… just don’t know where.
Amy: It was a great race all day long. What NASCAR needs is more short tracks on the schedule.
Phil: They’ll have to lower sanctioning fees for that to happen.
Summer: I really think the sport has had some great competition this year.
Amy: Dale Junior running for the win was pretty good for the sport, too.
Phil: Looked like the crowd was loving every minute of that.
Summer: I keep waiting for Dale Jr. to start fading as we get further into the season and it hasn’t happened yet. He’s impressed me. It would have been better for the sport had he won, but yes, it was definitely a positive.
Amy: Did anyone else see the overnight ratings…they jumped two shares late when Junior was battling for the win…went from a 9 to an 11.
Jeff: Back up just a minute. You can’t tell me people suddenly rushed to the TV just because Jr was leading!!!!
Summer: I don’t usually check to see how the ratings increased or decreased as the race wore on, but I would imagine there are quite a bit of people that wait until the last 20 or so laps to tune in – which is when Earnhardt took the lead.
Phil: I’m not sure that jump was solely because of Earnhardt, Jr. There’s always a jump towards the end.
Amy: I think that having some other drivers–not just Junior–in contention for the win is something NASCAR sorely needs in all series. I was watching from the press box…the place went insane when Junior laid the bumper to Kyle Busch.
Mike N.: I’ll tell you one thing, when Junior moved Kyle to take the lead you’d have thought the place was going to fall down from all of the yelling and stomping.
Jeff: To me, it was no more exciting your typical Martinsville race. You’re always gonna have the excitement at the end there.
Amy: Wonder how long it’s going to take the “new” Kyle Busch to retaliate for getting moved for the win twice in one weekend? I give it ’til Richmond.
Mike N.: I actually thought the racing sucked for Martinsville thanks to another idiotic tire problem. I saw one pass by a car on the outside all day long and that is just stupid.
Summer: Forget the fact that Dale Jr. was up front, though… it was just good to have so many different drivers in contention for the win.
Mike N.: He knew that his car wasn’t good for the first 30 laps of a run so he pretty much accepted that he wasn’t going to win. If the race had been 20 laps longer it would have been a different story.
Phil: As for the tires, we’ll get to those in a little while.
Amy: Well I think many driver’s fans – not just Junior’s had a while where they enjoyed the possibilities…as should always happen. The difference was, Martinsville was that good all day. Fontana was good for five laps.
Mike N.: No need to. Same stupid crap, different location.
Jeff: Hey, In reality, the end of the Martinsville race was just the same as the end of Fontana. Both were very good right at the end but as Amy pointed out earlier in the week, the two are almost exact opposites.
Phil: Martinsville tends to do that. People get on different pitting agendas there these days.
Mike N.: I don’t think many of the Trevor Bayne/Wood Brothers fans had too much to smile about. And I don’t think Martinsville was that good during the long green flag run. It was pretty much a parade of faster cars and slower cars.
Amy: There was lots of passing, Mike.
Mike N.: Not for position, just fast cars passing slow cars.
Jeff: I wouldn’t call it ‘great’. I think your love for the track clouds your perception a bit.
Amy: There was passing for position, just not the top positions
Summer: To be honest, the 11 cautions sort of helped some of the racing too. Restarts will make any track–short or intermediate–exciting.
Mike N.: Yeah, there was that at Fontana and you said it sucked out loud.
Summer: I didn’t think it was a “great” race either, but it was interesting to watch. You didn’t know who was going to win until the end, and you had the same thing at Fontana.
Amy: There were a lot of penalties for drivers jumping restarts… not sure what was up there.
Phil: Hard to imagine there were green flag stops yesterday. Wasn’t expecting that.
Mike N.: They were changing lanes before the start/finish line to try and get to the bottom in a hurry.
Jeff: they were trying to get to the bottom first
Phil: Took the words right out of my fingers, Mike.
Amy: Yeah, I know, but they should know better
Mike N.: They should know better but thanks to the piece of crap tire it was even more important to get to the bottom as quickly as you could.
Amy: I really enjoyed watching the race from start to finish. I can’t say that about most races at most tracks.
Mike N.: Again, I think your love for the track clouds your perception a little bit, Amy.
Summer: It might have helped the fact that you were there too.
Mike N.: She was there along with about 50,000 close friends.
Summer: Well I bet anyone at the track probably loved it, too. Short track racing is just plain fun to watch in person, whether one driver is dominant or not.
Jeff: Amy, as I’ve said for years, it’s just the fact that you CAN see ALL the racing ALL the time at places like Martinsville and Bristol. You don’t have that same vantage at any other tracks like you do those two
Phil: I’d like to go there, but its 800 miles away and not very accessible from the north.
Summer: It’s not always so interesting on TV… I’m not saying the race was boring. It wasn’t. But I bet it was much better in person than on television. It usually is.
Mike N.: I agree Summer. It was cool to be there and it was incredible to hear the roar when Junior took the lead.
Amy: I love Loudon, too, but I can’t say I’ve never been bored there. I was not bored at Martinsville; there were a ton of storylines.
Mike N.: That might be the difference, I watch races for racing, not storylines.
Amy: That’s always true, Summer, but I’ve been to races that were still yawners.
Summer: I thought the racing was fun to watch at Martinsville, but I also feel the same about several races this year. It’s been a great season so far, in my opinion.
Jeff: Same race as Fontana, smaller venue. And I don’t just say that cause Harvick won them both.
Phil: It was a good one. I highly enjoyed watching it. However, the stuck throttle thing is becoming an issue again. 3 in one weekend? When’s the last time that happened?
Mike N.: There were a few more passes for the lead than at Fontana but as Martinsville goes it was not one of the better ones. Honestly the competition was OK, not great. The thing that we still need to take away, as we have from almost every race this year, is that Goodyear spends too much freaking time trying to over think tires and they need to make them more basic.
Phil: Not true, Mike. Fontana had 18 lead changes while Martinsville had 31.
Summer: Couldn’t some of that be because of green flag stops?
Mike N.: I said there were a few more passes for the lead.
Phil: Actually, it’s the second most so far this season behind Daytona. Some of them were from the green flag stops. Maybe 4 or 5.
Jeff: There’s a difference between lead changes and passes for the lead.
Mike N.: That probably was a factor, Summer because the pack can get more strung out and the green flag stops paraded quite a few through to the lead.

*There were tire issues at Martinsville for much of the weekend, as the track never “rubbered up” to create a second groove. Several teams also experienced failures, causing a flurry of driver and team complaints – but ultimately, Goodyear chose to do nothing. Looking back on the weekend, was ignorance the right call?*

Amy: Not changing tires last minute was the right call. What was completely and totally inexcusable was introducing this compound with no tire testing.
Mike N.: The tires were safe. That wasn’t the problem, they just hampered the racing. I don’t think they needed to change the tire, they just need to stop trying to make rocket science out of round pieces of rubber.
Phil: I think it might have been the only call. They just so happened to have the old tire for Bristol stockpiled in Charlotte last time, and there’s no indication that the old Martinsville compound was ready to go.
Jeff: They didn’t change them ’cause Goodyear doesn’t have a clue as to what they are doing anymore.
Mike N.: Actually, the right side tire they used at Bristol was the tire they were going to use at California. And that just proves that we don’t need to have so many stupid compounds.
Phil: However, not testing a new compound is stupid as heck. They should have learned by now never to do that again.
Amy: They should have known long before this tire was ever brought to the track that this was going to be a problem.
Mike N.: They have a different compound for almost every race track and different compounds for right and left sides at most tracks. It is ludicrous.
Phil: oming up with a good tire for multiple tracks would benefit the racing, and save Goodyear money at the same time.
Amy: That in itself was negligent. Tire issues at Martinsville are one thing, tire issues at someplace like Fontana are not.
Jeff: OK…they are Goodyear…they have been doing this exclusively for how long now?
Mike N.: Since the end of the 1990s.
Phil: They’ve been exclusive since 1995.
Amy: I agree, letting teams choose a tire manufacturer would be a good thing.
Jeff: You’d think they have a clue by now….and the question was rhetorical.
Mike N.: As I wrote after Bristol, they need to have three compounds for each different style of track which would have them make about 12 compounds total. Then, let the crew chiefs decide which tires they want to run on a given weekend and possibly put on softer tires for short runs at the end.
Phil: It would be a good thing, but we know that NASCAR would try to make the tires as equal as possible.
Mike N.: I don’t think we need to have multiple manufacturers, we just need multiple softness options from Goodyear and the same compounds for the same types of tracks so that teams will know how tires will respond.
Phil: Ok, so the same tire for Bristol, Martinsville and Dover?
Mike N.: Regardless of what we choose… multiple manufacturers has not worked in the past. We just need to give the teams options but not have different tires at every race track.
Jeff: 3 types of tires for each.
Jeff: hard medium and soft
Amy: I agree, but why couldn’t there be different manufacturers? Don’t feed the same tired line about safety – other NASCAR touring series run Hoosiers and nobody’s getting killed left and right. Either way, I think putting more choice in the hands of the teams would be good for the racing.
Mike N.: Martinsville is flat so you would use the same tires as they have for Pocono and Loudon. Dover and Bristol would have the same tires and could possibly even be the same as intermediates.
Jeff: I agree, Amy, and have been saying so for years.
Phil: The only reason I brought that up is because of the concrete in the corners at Martinsville. We might not be having this discussion if Martinsville’s turns were asphalt.
Jeff: But NASCAR has given Goodyear the monopoly.
Mike N.: Yes they are Amy but they run Hoosiers or Goodyears. No body is running both manufacturers.
Phil: The last time there was a “tire war,” teams could switch brands during races. However, most of the teams had contracts prohibiting such a thing unless it was absolutely necessary. The 1994 Daytona 500 is an example of it being necessary.
Mike N.: With such a limited amount of adjustments available to teams it would be nice to give them something else to choose on the cars.
Amy: I don’t agree with letting them do that. They should have to choose one and run the decal, like they do for oil and stuff.
Mike N.: Yeah, and we had a lot of torn up race cars and injured drivers because the companies were trying for speed and not durability.
Summer: I agree with giving the teams more options, but really tires, shouldn’t be this much of an issue this often. Like you guys said, they’ve been doing this for long enough they should be able to figure it out.
Phil: Goodyear needs to pick up their game. Its getting silly. We can’t have that.
Amy: There were clearly some tire issues on Sunday that cost teams big time. At least one team lost their lock in because of it. Running an untested tire was stupid on every level.
Mike N.: Tires are not that difficult and Goodyear has made them into a far too complex a process. There is no reason for the amount of money being spent on tires that are spent these days.
Jeff: There is no incentive to be better when there is no competition
Phil: Tires are $1800 a set now, right?
Mike N.: Yep. And you can’t take them home.

*Reports have surfaced this week NASCAR will take a closer look at the fueling heads of some team’s gas cans as they work to fuel the cars faster. But is a change needed so soon after eliminating the catch can man? Going further, where does the sanctioning body need to draw the line at what they mandate technically?*

Phil: Let the teams fiddle around for now.
Summer: They think there’s some sort of advantage or something? I agree, if you’re going to make a change let the teams adjust to it first.
Amy: I agree… as long as their fueling system is within the rules, NASCAR needs to leave them the hell alone for once.
Mike N.: I am curious what teams are doing to them and I do wonder if something is being done to defeat some of the safety aspects here.
Amy: There is an advantage, Summer. If you can fill the car two seconds faster on a four-tire stop, you’re going to come out with the lead.
Phil: Defeating the safety of this process is something that NASCAR should police. Other than that, have at it.
Mike N.: I was talking to a crew member at Sheetz on the way home Sunday who told me they can now dump two full cans in just over 12 seconds where it took 14 seconds over the Winter.
Jeff: Well, the teams are maybe monkeying with NASCAR’s “control” and NASCAR can’t have that now, can they?
Summer: Just making sure I understand here… but are they talking about changing the rules or just “looking”?
Mike N.: I’m with Phil and Amy. If it meets the specifications then have at it, but if it is defeating the functionality of the system then they need to take a close look.
Amy: That, I do agree…any tweaks that result in compromised safety need to be stopped.
Phil: Maybe that’s what they’re going to look at here. Safety issues.
Mike N.: I don’t know what they’re doing, Summer. I just know that some of the teams seem to be getting the fuel to flow faster than some of the others.
Amy: But if they see someone with an advantage, they may change the rules depending on who has the advantage.
Phil: I can’t imagine NASCAR instituting anything like the neutralizer thing the IndyCar Series has now (can’t engage 1st with the fuel probe in).
Mike N.: Oh boy, I can hear the anti-Hendrick comments coming already.
Amy: No, I can’t either and there’s no need to. Let’s just say I have my opinions on who would be allowed to keep and advantage and leave it at that, hmm?
Summer: I don’t think NASCAR would be too thrilled about anyone taking advantage of the system.
Amy: But NASCAR needs to find more ways to let teams innovate, not less. As long as its within the rules, let them work.
Summer: I agree, but that doesn’t mean they’ll react that way,..
Mike N.: That would be nice, Amy, but we know that they’d have to spend more time in tech if that happens.
Phil: How’d they actually fuel up Ambrose’s car? FOX never really showed it on pit road?
Mike N.: They had five guys over the wall pushing and pulling and holding parts and pieces out of the way to get the nozzle engaged. It was quite the effort.
Amy: See, that becomes a safety issue, Mike. That’s something that does need looking at. But the teams’ individual adjustments? As long as they’re legal, have at it.
Phil: I see. Sounds about as pronounced as the gang of sledge hammers that went after Jeff Burton’s car late in the race.
Mike N.: Yeah, it was very similar but they weren’t as brutal with the fuel nozzle.
Jeff: Same amount of guys over the wall.
Amy: None of them are not smoking? Doesn’t that mean the same as if all of them are smoking?
Mike N.: I don’t know, they require the gas man to wear a bib, they might have wanted to have bibs on all of them for that matter.
Jeff: I’m just saying… it’s the same number of guys over the wall no matter what they are working on.
Summer: Safety issues is one thing, but limiting the teams’ creativity within the rules would be ridiculous.
Amy: Of course it would, Summer, but NASCAR has a track record of discouraging any kind of innovation, legal or not. Illegal should, of course, be highly discouraged
Summer: Which is BS, but that’s another topic for another time.
Mike N.: Yes and no Amy. There are times when innovation that is illegal might make things better. At one time the little side mirrors that most all drivers have now were illegal.
Phil: Speaking of that, I discovered that NASCAR allowed Hal Needham to put a telemetry system in Harry Gant’s car for a race around 1982 with the full blessing of Bill France, Jr. After the race, NASCAR brought out the old fashioned “Don’t bring that to the track ever again” thing, like with Hendrick Motorsports and T-Rex.
Mike N.: That’s interesting.
Amy: NASCAR has a habit of looking at a legal deal and saying “Right. From now on, that’s illegal.”
Mike N.: I’d still like to get a look under the hood of T-Rex. I remember Hendrick bringing compressed air tanks to the track for their tire changers one year at Daytona and NASCAR immediately shot that idea down.
Amy: Bottom line, T-Rex was legal at the time, they should never have been told not to race it. If the other teams couldn’t keep up, shame on them.
Mike N.: That would be a great idea, Amy. Let Gordon win like 15 races in a row until the other teams spent 50 million apiece to catch up to their team. That would have been horrible for the sport.
Amy: That’s racing, Mike. NASCAR needs to let teams work within the rules, period. Unless there is a safety issue, of course.
Mike N.: As for the fuel cans, I would like to know what teams have done to increase the flow of their nozzles although I’m sure we’ll not be able to for a few months until everyone has it figured out.
Mike N.: That isn’t racing, that is spending more money than everyone else which is what you rail against all of the time in the Nationwide Series.
Amy: No, it’s figuring something out that everyone else hasn’t. Last I knew, T-Rex had the same parts and pieces as every other Cup car.
Summer: If it’s not illegal then I don’t see what the big deal is.
Phil: Yeah, it did. It just abused every gray area in the book.
Mike N.: Yes it did, but they completely re-engineered the chassis and it was going to cost a fortune for the other teams to catch up. They had things mounted in completely different locations and functioning in different ways than everyone else ever had. At least that is what I understand because I don’t know anyone who’s ever seen under the hood who’ll talk about it.
Amy: But it didn’t cost any more to build because it had the same parts and pieces…

*The newest open-wheel driver to enter the NASCAR ranks will be Kimi Raikkonen, driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports at Charlotte next month. The opportunity looks like a potential moneymaker for the sport if Raikonnen’s fans follow him to the series; but will he succeed where many open-wheel drivers have not?*

Summer: In KBM equipment? If he’s as good of a driver as people say he is, he should do just fine.
Phil: Raikkonen has a great team behind him in KBM. I don’t think he’ll get many new fans in the U.S. because he doesn’t necessarily come off as fan-friendly, though.
Mike N.: I don’t know if he’ll succeed or not. He hasn’t exactly set the world on fire in Rally, but he’ll be in good equipment so he very well should succeed.
Amy: It will be interesting to see. Some of them adjust fine. Others… not so much.
Phil: Kimi has a track record of being kinda aloof. However, he’s got a lot of talent. If he’s serious about this trial, he’ll do fine.
Amy: True, Phil, although that’s not something that usually goes over well in NASCAR.
Jeff: Yeah, a name like Kimi will go over reeeeeeaaaallllll good with the southern boys!
Mike N.: He’ll be a big hit with fans because he is a legendary partier.
Summer: Where exactly is he from?
Mike N.: Finland.
Amy: I don’t think a few races will be an accurate measure. He’d have to do a full season before we know.
Phil: Also of note, Leigh Diffey and Bob Varsha got kicked out of Gresham Motorsports Park for peeking at the test.
Amy: I’m looking forward to some of our announcers trying to pronounce “Raikkonen.” Not naming names, of course.
Phil: Raikkonen is a bit of a party animal, but only in private. I doubt he’d do that at a track.
Summer: I’m thinking the hype surrounding this move is going to FAR outweigh the actual success though.
Amy: It usually does. See Patrick, Danica.
Mike N.: I’m sure if he’s at the strip club the night before the races making it rain he’ll make a bunch of fans.
Jeff: Exactly, Summer.
Mike N.: I’ll tell you one thing. If he comes in and wins a couple of Truck races, you’ll see him in Cup in a heartbeat.
Amy: Probably
Phil: Maybe as soon as Watkins Glen in August. That’d be an interesting interview.
Summer: I haven’t quite seen this reach the level of Danicamania, but I see what you’re saying.
Phil: I have a track record of interviewing a bunch of one-off people for the site. Sacks, Piquet, etc.
Amy: It won’t reach the level of Danicamania, Summer, he’s not female.
Summer: And he doesn’t do stripteases…wait, he doesn’t, right?
Mike N.: He can be a little hard to understand but I’d love to talk to him. Hope I can get the chance at Charlotte but I’m sure he’ll be bombarded.
Phil: Last I checked, no, Summer. You won’t have to worry about that.
Amy: No, that was Carpentier
Summer: Phew!
Mike N.: I’ve never partied with him Summer so I don’t know.
Phil: Yes, he did that once, at Mid-Ohio. He was wearing boxers, though.
Summer: I’m really sorry for that mental image, by the way.
Mike N.: Actually he was naked with a checkered flag banner wrapped around him for TV purposes.
Summer: I’m really sorry I asked.
Jeff: He was on fire…
Amy: I think it was one of those plastic checkered flag pennants, Phil, not actual boxers
Summer: ANYWAY!!! Back to Kimi…I think we’ll see him run about the same as Nelson Piquet.
Phil: Whatever it was, there was no malfunction.
Mike N.: Very true Phil
Jeff: maybe there was and no one noticed
Phil: With Kimi, its going to be interesting. Charlotte isn’t the easiest track to make a debut at.
Mike N.: Kimi is a hard charger which will endear him to fans. If he beats and bangs without taking people out he could gain some fans pretty quickly. He’ll be a lot better than Piquet. Raikkonen is a F1 champion.
Amy: No, it’s not. And why NASCAR doesn’t make guys start at Martinsville anymore, I will never understand. What won’t endear him to anyone is you can’t understand half of what he says in interviews
Phil: Right. Its the same argument NASCAR used with Villeneuve back in 2007.
Summer: But we’ve seen in the past where successful open wheel drivers didn’t do near as well in NASCAR.
Mike N.: That doesn’t matter, Amy. You can’t understand half of what Ward Burton says and he has millions of fans. Including me.
Amy: I think it says something about NASCAR that an F1 champion wants to come race glorified pickup trucks.
Phil: He just wants a new challenge, I guess.
Amy: Ward Burton has all those fans BECAUSE you can’t understand a word he says.
Mike N.: Somewhat, although he was out of F1 and realizes that it iis going to pay better than Rally probably will.
Phil: Maybe we’ll eventually get Hamilton over here as well. I’d like to meet Ward Burton sometime. I think it would be interesting.
Jeff: I would love to drive Rally.
Mike N.: I’d love to have Hamilton over here, but I don’t know that he has the temperment for NASCAR racing.
Amy: I love the story about the time Ward chewed out Jimmie Johnson. Jimmie said he was pretty sure Ward was mad but not positive because he couldn’t understand him.
Summer: I’d need a translator before I spoke with him personally.
Mike N.: Ward is a really cool guy to talk to. Totally down to earth.
Jeff: Jeff says Ward talks that way cuz his bedroom was on the south end of the house
Mike N.: I don’t understand why they don’t have a World Rally race in the states. There are tons of places that would be awesome to run through.
Phil: We did, about 20 years ago in the Northwest. I think it was called the Olympic Rally or something like that. Its just not all that popular here.
Mike N.: Because, like all other great forms of racing, it has no decent TV coverage.
Jeff: We do it here in Iowa, but we just aren’t sanctioned and have no rules and usually a 30 box on board.
Amy: We need a good old-fashioned scumball rally. Hell, make the NASCAR drivers do that, it would be funny as hell
Mike N.: That would be GUMball rally, not scumball.
Summer: Kimi will do ok, but he won’t live up to the hype. Stating the obvious, I know.
Amy: No, a scumball rally…where anything goes.
Mike N.: Although I think they probably have multiple scumball rallies most anywhere there is a gathering oflawyers.
Phil: You mean a Cannonball? Can’t really do that now. Too many people would end up in jail.
Jeff: Oh, great! Now we are gonna get sued
Summer: I didn’t do it!
Phil: The 4 that ran in the 1970′s were pretty crazy, though.
Amy: kind of like the Really Rottens on the Laff-A-Lympics…lay down oil, booby traps, that kind of thing
Amy: Cannonball run would be pretty cool too
Mike N.: It will be cool to have another F1 champion compete in NASCAR. I don’t know that he’ll bring over a big fan base but he will have the potential to attract some if he drives as hard as he did in F1
Phil: Ahhh yes, the Laff-a-Lympics. I liked the Yogi Yahooeys on there.
Jeff: Its a Mad Mad Mad Mad World… (enuf Mads?)
Amy: I was a Scooby-Doobies fan myself
Phil: NASCAR is a tough sell in Europe, and F1′s a tough sell here. Having F1 drivers come here never really helps their appeal. Montoya had an existing consciousness here from his CART days.

*OK, how about some predictions for Texas?*

Amy: I think I like Kasey Kahne.
Summer: I’ll go with Tony Stewart.
Jeff: Carl Comes back for the next two-timer.
Phil: Well, I’ll take Jeff Gordon. What the heck.
Jeff: I had him for M’ville and thought he might pull it off.
Mike N.: Dang, I was going to take Cousin Carl. I guess I’ll take the obvious and go with Denny Hamlin.

*Email the Mirror Guys ‘N’ Gals!*
“Contact Amy Henderson”:http://www.frontstretch.com/contact/14352/
“Contact Jeff Meyer”:http://www.frontstretch.com/contact/14350/
“Contact Mike Neff”:http://www.frontstretch.com/contact/14354/
“Contact Phil Allaway”:http://www.frontstretch.com/contact/18440/
“Contact Summer Dreyer”:http://www.frontstretch.com/contact/28526/

*Mirror Predictions 2011*

Welcome to our fifth consecutive year of Mirror Predictions! Each week, our experts take the end of this column to tell us who the winner of each Cup race will be. But as we all know, predicting the future is difficult if not completely impossible … so how do you know which writer you can trust when you put your own reputation (or money) on the line?

That’s why we came up with our Mirror Predictions Chart. The scoring for this year is simple:

Prediction Scoring
+5 – Win
+3 – Top 5
+1 – Top 10
0 – 11th-20th
-1 – 21st-30th
-2 – 31st-40th
-3 – 41st-43rd

Through six races, here’s how our experts have fared so far:

Writer Points Behind Predictions (Starts) Wins Top 5s Top 10s
Phil Allaway 11 6 0 *3* *5*
Amy Henderson 8 -3 6 *1* 2 3
Jeff Meyer 6 -5 6 *1* 2 3
Mike Neff 3 -8 5 0 1 2
Tom Bowles 1 -10 1 0 0 1
Summer Dreyer -3 -14 4 0 0 0
Beth Lunkenheimer -4 -15 3 0 0 0

About Frontstretch Staff