Race Weekend Central

Mirror Driving: G-W-C Disaster & Does NASCAR Need Earnhardt to Win?

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

This Week’s Participants
Beth Lunkenheimer (Fridays/Frontstretch Truck Series Reporter)
Tony Lumbis (Frontstretch Marketing Director)
Phil Allaway (Tuesdays/Talking NASCAR TV & Frontstretch Newsletter)
Amy Henderson (Fridays/Holding a Pretty Wheel)
Kurt Allen Smith (Fridays/Happy Hour)
Jay Pennell (Thursdays/Dialing It In)

Editor’s Note: Your favorite Mirror experts chatted before the Carl Edwards penalty was officially announced Tuesday… so just keep that in mind as you read!

Atlanta saw two attempts at a finish before the race was decided, and leader Kurt Busch expressed his displeasure at having to hold off the field twice while many cars were wrecked on the first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish. After a couple of races with multiple attempts, was the “three-attempt rule” the way to go?

Kurt: I didn’t like the GWC rule. It usually ended under caution anyway, because everyone is going for it.
Amy: I think so, but some drivers need to understand that it’s not a free-for-all.
Kurt: You’ll never get that across with two laps to go, Amy. No way.
Phil: I’d argue that’s it’s fine the way it is now. Even with the one GWC rule, that wreck would have still happened.
Tony: Yes, I do think it is the way to go. There were many races where there was a wreck in the first lap and then it was over. It was almost like, why bother.
Beth: I agree, Tony.
Kurt: With the multiple attempts, there are going to be a lot of wrecks, and innocent drivers are going to take a points hit.
Amy: Exactly Kurt, and well, some of them would be behooved to remember that to finish first, first you must finish. I like that NASCAR is making an attempt to make the races better for the fans, but it’s been a zoo the times they have used it.
Jay: I think anytime the race can end under green, that is the best way to go. Fans pay a lot out of their paychecks to get to the track and that’s what they want to see. Drivers are still adjusting, so you’re going to have backlash… especially from the leaders at the end.
Tony: It is just like if we have a green flag with three or four laps to go in the actual distance. It’s the nature of the sport, sprint to the distance and you have havoc.
Kurt: It has never bothered me when a race finished under yellow. It was part of the game.
Tony: I agree that it is part of the game, but it is nice to know that the sport is doing what it can to avoid it.
Beth: Each driver is just as likely to be involved in a wreck.
Kurt: OK, but to have a second attempt, it means there was a wreck on the first, which means a lot of cars probably got taken out.
Amy: Cautions breed cautions and so it surely ups the probability of more wrecks in the attempts.
Kurt: Right, and the guys battling for the win usually aren’t a part of it, but the guys in the middle of the pack get caught up in it.
Tony: You could possibly go on forever if you keep trying until there is a green finish.
Beth: But like Tony said, it’s no different than having a short sprint to the finish before the actual race distance would end.
Amy: Except that every time you line ‘em up, you increase the likelihood that more will just wreck.
Tony: There will always be changes to the game that changes outcomes. Mark Martin lost a Daytona 500 because of the GWC. Jeff Gordon lost a championship because of the Chase. Change is inevitable and yes, it will alter history.
Beth: The teams are all aware coming in of what could happen with multiple-GWC races now. It’s up to them to adjust and plan for that as it’s part of the race.
Jay: The rule also opens the door for other people to win. Look at Daytona, Jamie McMurray led the last two laps and that was after multiple attempts at the GWC.
Kurt: And fuel mileage is a factor, too. I think if NASCAR is going to potentially extend races, they should go to larger fuel cells.
Phil: After going to smaller cells just in the last couple of years? I don’t think that’s happening, Kurt.
Kurt: The fuel cells were shrunk, if memory serves, to protect against blowouts on long green runs. They could fix that with better tires.
Jay: I don’t think they should go to larger fuel cells. With GWC races, now crew chiefs have to plan for those added laps. That being said, a result of this policy may be less fuel-mileage races before GWC is a possibility.
Kurt: I get that, but I think there would be fewer races ending on fuel mileage that way.
Beth: Back on subject though, I think the GWC is fine the way it is. Three attempts is a good amount of time to try to finish under green for the fans.
Amy: It’s good in theory. In practice, I think the jury is still out.
Kurt: The GWC isn’t something I lose sleep over, but I don’t think the sport needs it, either. But that’s just me – a lot of people want to see races end under green.
Jay: I think three was the right call, makes for more exciting racing and increases the chances for different drivers to win.
Tony: I think overall, the rule is good for the sport. Sometimes your driver will benefit and sometimes he will not. It all evens out.
Beth: The same thing happened when double-file restarts happened, Tony.
Kurt: I just think drivers can take unnecessary points hits if they’re not in the top four.
Phil: I can live with the multiple GWCs. The double-file restarts definitely make them wilder than they would be otherwise.
Amy: I wasn’t looking at it like a driver benefits as much as one could get hurt. It increases the likelihood of a crash and you also increase the possibility of injury. Yes, there is inherent risk, but that doesn’t mean you need to take chances.
Kurt: Yes, there’s that.
Jay: Brad Keselowski took a wild hit yesterday and was able to walk away. I think with the increase in safety drivers are a bit more willing to push the envelope when it comes to aggressively going after a win in a GWC scenario.
Tony: The drivers still need to keep their heads on as much as possible. A rule change doesn’t mean everyone can go nuts. A concept we’ll revisit, I’m sure.

Carl Edwards. Brad Keselowski. No need for an explanation at this point… your take?

Kurt: Parking Carl’s car was enough. I’m sure he wasn’t expecting Kes to go airborne, he was just trying to end his race.
Phil: Regardless of what happens, people will still be angry over the punishment.
Amy: NASCAR should suspend Edwards for one race. That is the precedent they set, and they need to stick to it.
Beth: Intentionally wrecking someone, especially when you’re 150-plus laps down, is irresponsible and uncalled for.

See also
Sunday a Poor and Contradictory Showing for Carl Edwards, NASCAR

Tony: NASCAR should do more, but their actions will be different than they would be if it were last year. They are now setting precedent under the new “let them race” rules.
Jay: Here’s the short answer: NASCAR was right in parking Edwards for his actions, he should be fined for driving down pit road backwards and placed on probation. Nothing more.
Amy: It doesn’t matter what he expected, Kurt, he knew it was a possibility and he did it anyway.
Kurt: I agree, but hasn’t NASCAR sort of encouraged this? With the commercials where they say the gloves are coming off or whatever.
Amy: No, they have not.
Tony: I don’t think they encouraged it. They still assumed the drivers, the best stock car drivers in the world, could use some degree of common sense when plotting “revenge.”
Beth: Exactly, Tony.
Phil: I don’t think they’re going to suspend Edwards. There’s almost no precedent for it. Then again, there’s no precedent for this type of crash from a retaliation, either.
Amy: The precedent has been set. Kevin Harvick was parked for purposely wrecking another driver and this was much, much worse.
Phil: That was in a Truck race that Harvick was whacking, Amy. That’s not really a precedent.
Amy: Again, doesn’t matter. What Carl did was worse than what Harvick did and he’s already shown he doesn’t care what happened to the other driver if Cousin Carl gets what he wants.
Beth: I didn’t agree with Harvick being parked for that, either.
Phil: Also, Harvick had quite a record of substandard behavior leading up to that.
Kurt: Look, I agree what Carl did was stupid, but whatever the rule for aggressive driving, enforce it and that’s it.
Amy: They never sent that message, Kurt.
Tony: That’s true too, Kurt. But whether Brad flips or not, it’s a wreck at one of the fastest tracks, which more likely than not will have a bad consequence.
Kurt: OK, then what about allowing bump drafting in the corners? Much more potential for crashes there Amy, and plate tracks have the worst ones.
Amy: There’s a huge difference between accidentally screwing up a bump draft and slinging a guy and deliberately wrecking him out of road rage. Or ‘roid rage… in this case maybe the same thing.
Kurt: The end result is the same Amy, maybe worse at Talladega because of the big pack of cars.
Amy: It’s about intent, Kurt. Bump-drafting accidents go back to inherent risk. Deliberately wrecking someone who did nothing to you just for jollies is entirely different.
Jay: Amy, I think the self-policing garage is something NASCAR has discussed with the drivers since their town-hall meetings at the R&D Center. Look at the Denny Hamlin/Keselowski incident in Homestead: Hamlin said he’d spin Brad, he did and NASCAR was OK with it (he was held a lap). I feel Edwards thinks this is the same thing.
Beth: Sorta. It shouldn’t be hard for your average person to make it clear, but I have this feeling NASCAR will screw up this opportunity to make it clear what is and isn’t acceptable. And I’m OK with them not suspending him, but parking him in Atlanta didn’t hurt him at all.
Kurt: Exactly Jay, it’s like baseball. One guy gets thrown at, OK, an opposing player is going to get thrown at. And that should be the end of it.
Amy: Baseball is different. Exchanging beanballs rarely turns into a 100-mph fastball to the face, and if it did the pitcher would face suspension.
Jay: Maybe you should watch a Yankees-Red Sox game.
Kurt: It’s not the first time I’ve seen retaliation. Dale Jarrett did it to Ryan Newman at Bristol. He was parked, but not suspended.
Jay P.: Had Keselowski not lifted in the air, NASCAR would be promoting the you-know-what out of this.
Kurt: Right Jay, the rivalry that the sport badly needs.
Amy: NASCAR said two things in regards to this “Boys have at it” thing: One: bump drafting is allowed at plate tracks. Two, they want drivers to show more emotion out of the cars. That doe not translate into make every race a grudge match free-for-all. And another thing: the earlier spin was not Keselowski’s fault.
Beth: Bingo, Amy. For once we agree on something. Retaliation at 195 mph is not aggressive driving, it’s just stupid.
Kurt: I don’t think it was Keselowski’s fault either, but the guy has a rep for aggressive driving and that figures into it. If Carl had spun Brad on pit road though, that would have been a different story. Then I’d say park the car for a race.
Tony: I would’ve loved to see Carl head over to Brad’s car after the race for a “conversation.” That would’ve been entertaining and a lot safer.
Beth: And in that instance, Tony, I would say NASCAR should stay out of it and let them handle it between themselves. It’s when you put lives at risk when you cross that line.
Amy: I don’t know what less Brad could have done. He was all the way down and held his line. He was backing out. If he had backed out all the way he’d have been run over from behind.
Jay: There’s a lot that drivers remember in the back of their heads, so this was probably the culmination of a history between the two. We all know Brad has a bad rep in the garage and is pretty deserving of it. Edwards isn’t always the most level-headed guy and his snap decision just became the talk of the season.
Tony: Here is another point to the story: about six drivers wrecked on that restart, something that would’ve never happened had the incident not occurred. Other people are now impacted by someone else’s problems.
Kurt: True Tony, but no one ever thinks of that. I think people think there should be stiff punishment because the wreck was frightening, but what if Brad just spun out instead of flipping over?
Tony: I agree, they don’t think of it in the moment. And maybe that’s why NASCAR has to do something more in this instance. Not suspension, but maybe points and money. Make them think just a little more before making a snap decision.
Jay: Whether NASCAR does more or not, come Tuesday all the drivers will know where NASCAR stands on this new ‘Have at it boys’ policy.
Tony: That’s true Jay, which is why this incident will go a long way in defining this new “rule.” NASCAR has to be very careful not to create another gray area that they are forced to judge.
Beth: All I want for Carl is a points and money fine. The parking in Atlanta did absolutely nothing to him except take him out of a severely damaged car that was just logging laps.
Phil: I’m fine with the big bucks and points, too.
Tony: I think that is probably the best way to handle this, Beth. I think NASCAR would have to be very specific about why they are assessing such a penalty so drivers know exactly or almost exactly what they can and can’t do.
Kurt: I’m not going to moan if Carl loses points, but I think you park him (done) and maybe put him on probation and that’s it. It’s hardly the first time someone has retaliated, it was just scarier this time. If it escalates from this point, then NASCAR should definitely step in.
Jay: If there is anything to blame for the severity of this wreck it’s the rear wing and NASCAR.
Amy: OK, blaming the wing is a huge cop out. The bottom line is the car would not have flipped over if Edwards hadn’t punted it in the first place.
Jay: How is it a cop out when that is the reason the car lifted in the air? Had Brad spun it would have been different. Everyone is reacting not to the action, but the spectacular result.
Amy: You can’t blame the car for the blatant behavior of a driver. If a driver spins on his own and gets airborne, it’s not the same thing. Edwards deliberately caused this, knowing what could happen and not caring.
Jay: When was the last time you saw a car flip in Atlanta? There have been a number of wrecks on the frontstretch of AMS and I’ve never seen one like that.
Tony: There’s another thing that I don’t like. Carl downplays the initial wreck on his replay, saying that it looks like more his fault. And then he goes out and wrecks Brad. If you are pissed off, just say it. Don’t say one thing and then do another.

See also
Voice of Vito: Carl Edwards's Free Pass from NASCAR Sets Dangerous Precedent

Amy: That’s Carl, Tony. Tony Stewart had him pegged. Eddie Haskell in the flesh.
Beth: But he had no reason to be pissed off in the first place.
Kurt: Well, Carl is image conscious. All drivers are.
Phil: I think Carl just sat in the garage seething for two hours.
Kurt: Yeah, and no one talked him out of it.
Tony: It certainly didn’t seem like he had a reason. I guess past circumstances will remove the benefit of the doubt.
Jay: Edwards has shown this is in the past (fake punching Kenseth while being interviewed, dust up with Harvick in Charlotte). He does hang out with WWE wrestlers….
Tony: Thinking can be a bad thing for people sometimes.
Beth: Carl saw the initial replay. He moved down on Keselowski. It’s pretty easy to tell who was at fault in the first incident.
Kurt: Carl looked a little remorseful when he saw how bad the wreck was. I don’t think he wants to take it any further.
Tony: I guess trying to see it from Carl’s point of view, Brad apparently never cut him any slack, so he just assumed Brad didn’t back off when he could have. Right, wrong or indifferent.
Amy: Carl saw the tape, Tony, he’d have to know there were cars behind Brad who would have hit him if he backed out too much.
Tony: Oh, I completely agree Amy. For whatever reason, the two have such a bad history, maybe more than we realize, that Carl would not see what appeared to be obvious to the rest of us
Kurt: Easy to say. How would you feel if someone turned you on the highway? I get mad enough to wreck people just for cutting me off and I have air conditioning!
Amy: I’m not sure Brad would have walked away so easily if he’d been just a bit closer to the wall when he flipped. Bottom line, what Carl did was stupid and arrogant. He’s shown a pattern and needs to be taught a lesson. Apparently the only way to do that is to sit him a race.
Kurt: I think Carl went out to take Brad out and didn’t expect it to be as bad as it was. It’s not the first time it’s happened, just scarier than most. If they take points away from Carl, I don’t think most people will have a problem with it.
Amy: It doesn’t matter what he meant to do, Kurt, this is what he did do.
Phil: This was a terrible move on Carl’s part and he should be fined heavily. I’m not sure if he should sit out, but he won’t.
Beth: What Carl did was stupid and dangerous. He had no reason to be upset and should never have retaliated at those speeds regardless of how he felt about the earlier wreck. That being said, I don’t think he should be suspended, but there has got to be something done because there was no penalty on Sunday.
Tony: NASCAR set the “police yourself rule” because they believed that they were dealing with the best drivers in the country who could make good decisions about their anger. This was not one of them. Hopefully it doesn’t ruin it for everyone else.
Jay: NASCAR was right in parking Edwards on Sunday. He should be placed on probation and fined for driving backwards on pit road (not spinning Keselowski) and both drivers should be brought to the NASCAR trailer in Bristol.

Last week, we discussed whether one driver winning “too much” was bad for the sport, but what about one driver not winning enough? Does Dale Earnhardt Jr. need to win in order to bring back fans to the tracks and their TV sets?

Jay: Yes. Junior is the biggest name in the sport and if you want a surge of fans back in the stands Junior winning is the best way to get that.
Kurt: Well, it would help, but not as much as people think.
Beth: I don’t think so. It would bring back some of those Junior fans, but they’d get bored once again if he weren’t winning. It won’t help in the long term. What NASCAR really needs is better quality racing on the track, not just one driver to win and bring everyone back.
Amy: No. One driver can’t ruin the sport and one driver can’t save it. Junior winning may help, but Richard Petty had his last win and NASCAR didn’t die. Ditto Darrell Waltrip, Bobby Allison, David Pearson and Bill Elliott.
Beth: And I wouldn’t really put Dale Jr. up to the caliber of those drivers you listed.
Tony: It will help, but by no means is it the end-all answer. And to Beth’s points, we just need better racing and I think NASCAR is working towards that.
Phil: It would help if Earnhardt Jr. could win every once in a while, but not all that much. It would be nice to see, though.
Beth: I agree, Tony. I’ve seen some things that have made me hopeful that better is yet to come.
Kurt: If the sport depends on one driver, something is wrong. But Junior is kind of the last link to the sport’s Southern past.
Amy: The fact is, drivers come and go, their wins dry up and the sport is still here.
Jay: What is more important is if Junior could contend consistently week-in and week-out. He may not win all the time, but at least he’s not running 15th all day.
Kurt: He ran 15th Sunday Jay.
Jay: Exactly, and did you see the stands? Even with him starting from the pole they were sparse.
Amy: He’s not the savior and I don’t think he wants to be.
Kurt: No, he’s not an outgoing type.
Beth: No one needs that kind of pressure on them, Amy.
Tony: True. Junior wants to win a championship, for himself and his crew and his fans. Not necessarily to save the sport.
Kurt: Likes Hellmann’s though, give him credit on that. I’d have had to root for him to wreck if he started doing Miracle Whip spots.
Amy: Yeah, Hellmann’s over Duke’s any day.
Phil: I don’t think they sell Duke’s here in New York.
Jay: I agree with those saying NASCAR is not dependent on him winning. I just feel that if you want to fill the seats quickly, Junior needs to be a serious contender every week.
Kurt: Well I think at this point he and everyone else knows he’s not going to achieve his father’s accomplishments. That should be less pressure.
Amy: Just like saying that Jimmie Johnson winning all the time is ruining NASCAR is giving Johnson too much credit, saying that Junior going on a win streak is giving him too much credit… and too much pressure.
Phil: Not necessarily. The general public will still put the pressure on him.
Beth: One driver winning all the time is unhealthy for the sport regardless of who it is, Amy. A little competition for races wins is what we really need.
Amy: I never said otherwise, Beth, but one driver does not the sport make or break.
Kurt: I think one driver winning a lot will be great once someone knocks him down.
Beth: The media is constantly on his back. That’s pressure enough to take some of his focus off of his racing.
Kurt: The pressure is great and I don’t doubt it’s affected him, but that’s what he gets paid for. It’s like Danica Patrick, I don’t want to hear her complaining about too much media attention.
Amy: Junior needs to win, I think, for himself. NASCAR will go on either way.
Kurt: NASCAR’s ratings may improve when someone starts beating Jimmie.
Beth: Exactly, Kurt.
Tony: A lot of people didn’t like it when Gordon was winning through the late ‘90s but the sport stayed popular. Going back to Beth’s earlier point, the racing was good then. Or at least better in some opinions.
Amy: Exactly, Tony. And it survived when Earnhardt won “too much” too. Just as it survived when Elliott stopped winning.
Kurt: More than Junior winning, I think the sport would benefit from a rivalry. And the big rivalry drivers are driving for Hendrick or a satellite of Hendrick. Junior and Gordon used to be a good one. Frontstretch needs a rivalry too. I vote Amy and Beth.

See also
Holding a Pretty Wheel: NASCAR Needs a Rivalry, but Are Those Days Gone?

Phil: I’ll be honest, there was still complaining in 1998 when Gordon won 13. That was the year of the “5 and 5” rule that people like Earnhardt despised.
Jay: I agree with Amy. At this point Junior needs to win to validate his place in the sport. Sure, there was a lot of hype about him coming to the Cup Series, then there was the tragedy of his father’s death, the fallout at DEI… that’s a lot to deal with. Junior needs to win to show that is all behind him and he is still able to focus on winning.
Kurt: Here’s a thought: If Junior is the guy the sport almost depends on, and if that means the base is still the South, NASCAR should think about putting ore races there. Just a thought.
Beth: There is no way Jr. winning will magically bring long-term improvement to the sport.
Amy: Nope, one man can’t do it. A couple of weeks isn’t going to make a difference in the long run.
Kurt: What if Junior won the 500? That would be interesting. Ratings would spike for a couple of weeks.
Beth: He may get butts in the seats for a few months if he goes on a tear, but that would all change when it cycled on to another driver.
Phil: Earnhardt Jr. needs to win in order to prove to himself that he can still do it. However, he cannot save or sink the sport. Can’t put all your cards on one guy.
Kurt: Junior’s getting the ratings back up by succeeding is moot. He’s got to get there first. He was doing OK in Atlanta, but they had the tire problems.
Beth: I’ve come across quite a few fair-weather fans that want nothing to do with NASCAR if their driver isn’t winning. Those aren’t the kind of fans NASCAR needs.
Tony: Using last weekend as an example, there is just something going on in Atlanta where the spring race is not being supported. I’m not sure Junior coming in on a three-race win streak would fill it to capacity.
Jay: If you want an immediate influx of fans watching, it is good for Junior to win. What would make more of an impact is if he can compete for wins week-in and week-out and become a serious Chase contender. That would do better for the long-term recovery of NASCAR, but the sport is developing with or without Junior winning.

The Camping World Truck Series returned to action at Atlanta with 36 trucks in the lineup. With the number of start-and-parks increasing, is this smaller field the way to go for Nationwide and Cup as well?

Beth: Absolutely not! You trim the fields and knock more teams out of being able to make races, thus creating more start-and-park teams. Leave it be how it is.
Amy: No it is not. It might cull a few slower cars, but it also gives the impression of a step back.
Jay: Nope.
Kurt: Not this year, but if the economy continues to tank, I’d say go with 41-42 next season.
Tony: No, not at all. That really doesn’t accomplish anything other than giving underdog teams even less of a chance to succeed.
Phil: No. The trucks have always had a smaller field than Cup and Nationwide.
Amy: Not entirely true. They used to start 36 on all the tracks less than a mile well into the 1990s. But it would be a step backward now.
Kurt: I wouldn’t mind a smaller field. I never cared who finished 35th anyway, and it would lessen the DNF impact. In that respect start and parks are a good thing, because if you DNF in the middle of the race you’re 38th instead of 43rd.
Phil: I’m fine with the current size. Although, I will admit that 43 at Martinsville is a little much.
Amy: NASCAR needs a full 43-car field.
Jay: 43 cars at Martinsville is a sight everyone should see in person.
Beth: Agreed.
Kurt: Sort of like the Fenway Park of NASCAR as so many call it. Martinsville is a place that would benefit from a smaller field, and less hazardous pit stops, though.
Phil: On short tracks, it was 30-car fields until 1990 or so, then 32, 34 from 1992-1993, 36 from 1994-1995, 38 in 1996, 42 in 1997 and 43 in 1998, I think.
Kurt: Think of the excitement in qualifying with a smaller field.
Tony: I would like to achieve that same excitement with more quality cars trying to make it in to a 43-car field.
Jay: Martinsville is one of the best tracks on the schedule because of how tight it is. I think a lot of people are interested in changing things just to change things. This is something that needs to stay at 43.
Amy: I agree with Jay, there is no real reason to change this. Start and parks aren’t enough of a reason to harm the real small teams this way, which is the real problem in NASCAR, not one guy winning or not winning.
Kurt: The thing is, NASCAR has the start and parkers already and they don’t like it. So now what? What if you can’t fill the field?
Beth: There must be a full moon or something, Amy. It’s not like us to agree on two different questions.
Kurt: Yeah, you two knock it off or I’ll not knock your heads together.
Tony: Yeah, this sucks. Go back to fighting, it helps our Mirror Driving ratings.
Phil: Shortening the field would come off as a snap judgment. Of course, a snap judgment created the Top-35 rule.
Beth: I don’t like the start-and-park teams either because it kills those teams actually trying to make it in NASCAR, but shrinking the field will only make it even harder for those little teams.
Kurt: I think NASCAR is afraid to shrink the field because of the PR that would result. They would really look affected by the economy then, and I don’t think they want to project that image.
Phil: I think the ratings for Sunday were up slightly.
Tony: That would make sense, first event this year not against the Olympics.
Amy: I enjoyed a weekend without Danica.
Phil: Me too. Wonder how ESPN’s going to handle it in two weeks?
Kurt: What brought this on?
Beth: And I enjoyed having Truck Series racing back. It’s crazy that they take so much time off early in the season.
Amy: It can’t be good for that series, Beth.
Phil: For a 25-race schedule, the Truck Series season is too long. They should start in March.
Beth: I don’t mind the length of the Truck Series schedule. What I have a problem with is cramming in six races in the last two months of the season but only having three within the first three months.
Tony: Yeah, some more scattered off weeks would be nice.
Amy: Why not start them in April and run a full schedule until November?
Beth: Back to the subject, though, leave the field count alone NASCAR, please leave it alone!!!
Kurt: NASCAR may have to shrink the field eventually, but it’s not going to happen this year.
Jay: Don’t change things just to change things. 43 is the right number.
Phil: Do not shorten the field. It’s fine right now. No snap judgments, please.
Kurt: Have 72 cars start at Darlington. And add heat races.
Tony: Let’s bring the convertibles back while we’re at it. Well, let’s get the Edwards-BK rivalry settled first!

Mirror Predictions 2010

Welcome to our fourth 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 four races, here’s how our experts have fared so far:

Writer Points Behind Predictions (Starts) Wins Top 5s Top 10s
Amy Henderson 12 4 2 2 4
Beth Lunkenheimer 6 -6 3 1 2 2
Phil Allaway 5 -7 3 0 1 3
Summer Dreyer 3 -9 3 0 1 1
Bryan Davis Keith 3 -9 2 0 1 1
Jeff Meyer 0 -12 1 0 0 0
Tony Lumbis 0 -12 2 0 0 0
Matt Taliaferro 0 -12 1 0 0 0
Kurt Smith 0 -12 1 0 0 0
Tom Bowles 0 -12 1 0 0 0
Mike Neff 0 -12 0 0 0 0
Toni Montgomery 0 -12 0 0 0 0

About the author

The Frontstretch Staff is made up of a group of talented men and women spread out all over the United States and Canada. Residing in 15 states throughout the country, plus Ontario, and widely ranging in age, the staff showcases a wide variety of diverse opinions that will keep you coming back for more week in and week out.

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