Should NASCAR alter its damaged vehicle policy?
Luken Glover: The DVP has been effective in performing its task thus far. It isn’t perfect, so yes, a couple of alterations are needed. As mentioned, a driver’s DVP clock should commence when they arrive in the box, not when they enter pit road. The clock also needs to be readjusted to 10 minutes. We have seen cars capable of meeting the minimal speed and still have an opportunity at gaining valuable points fail to meet the DVP, while others who are in rolling dumpsters have made it on the track. At the same time, the DVP clock challenges teams to display their skills and make efficient work. Bubba Wallace‘s crew failed to recognize the clock, so that was more of a mistake from a crew perspective. Still, the DVP could be improved and continue to work its purpose in an efficient manner.
Brad Harrison: There definitely needs to be more flexibility and margin for error to give teams a bit more time — see Wallace’s team’s apparent miscalculation of the DVP clock as an example. The intent is obviously so that a down-power car is not holding the leaders up, but the current threshold may as well be giving someone the electric chair for stealing a pack of gum from the gas station. There’s no reason to scrap the DVP policy, but it needs adjusting.
Josh Roller: NASCAR’s damaged vehicle policy needs amended, that is for sure. Really, it’s a simple change. Teams need more time on pit road, so the time needs to be increased and the clock should only run when the car has either broken the plane of the pit box or when the car is stationary. Time should be increased to 10 minutes. These cars are new and the parts are scarce. Chase Elliott‘s damage should not have led to retirement because his team could have repaired it but there simply wasn’t enough time to repair a piece that is extremely weak compared to years past. In the case of Wallace not making minimum speed, that part shouldn’t be changed because they were just saving a set of tires, not actually trying to make speed. That is on them. Teams and NASCAR know what a repaired car should look like, and given enough time, the car will look even better on its first attempt at making minimum speed.
What’s your read so far on Ty Dillon’s maiden season in the NASCAR Cup Series for Petty GMS Motorsports? Is 26th in points good enough, or is Dillon on the hot seat?
Anthony Damcott: The entire operation of Petty GMS is a new endeavor for every party involved. It’s new for Richard Petty Motorsports, GMS Racing, Ty Dillon and even Jones. Dillon hadn’t been in a Cup car full time since Germain Racing closed down at the end of 2020. GMS has never fielded a Cup car before, while Richard Petty Motorsports hasn’t been merged with a team in over a decade. Oh, and by the way, this is all with a brand new car that levels the playing field a little bit. So given all these extenuating factors, Dillon and the No. 42 team are doing very well. Results haven’t exactly shown how well Dillon has done. He ran top five for a majority of the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt race before slipping back to 10th. He’s had a couple of good runs derailed by problems that were out of his control but still has just three finishes outside of the top 25 (and two of those, a 36th and 33rd, were a result of being caught up in a crash). Dillon definitely hasn’t run to the standard as other teams with a brand new second car, such as Trackhouse Racing Team or 23XI Racing, but he’s only 96 points below the cutoff for the playoffs and currently has more points than other full-time drivers such as Cole Custer, Harrison Burton and, most notably, Brad Keselowski. For a first-year endeavor full of unknowns and new experiences, I’d call that a win thus far in the season.
Glover: Dillon’s statistics do not reflect the kind of consistency he’s had. In 14 races, Dillon has nine top-20 showings, as well as a top 10. In his last full-time season with Germain, he recorded 14 such finishes. Sure, he doesn’t have the speed of his teammate Jones; however, Jones is familiar with this team. Dillon is coming back after a 2021 season in which he did not compete full-time at the Cup level, nor did make many national series starts. Petty GMS is technically a new team, and the Petty side of the organization has not had two cars since 2015. In the Coca-Cola 600, Dillon was the only lead-lap car to not have any incidents during the race. He has proven to take care of equipment this year in addition to finding a solid foundation for this new group.
Harrison: Unless things are in a disaster situation, I’m of the mindset that you really need three years to fully be given a good chance to gel with a new team, crew chief, etc. In a situation like Dillon’s, where a team is new, the expectation should be to be top 25, the rest is a bonus.
What is one schedule change NASCAR should make for next year?
Harrison: Since the hay is out of the barn about the championship race being the first week of November at Phoenix Raceway, I can’t bring up mixing in a mid-week race or so to shorten the season. NASCAR should not pull the plug on racing on the dirt, but it should find a mid-week slot to race at a true dirt track like Knoxville Raceway and put Bristol Motor Speedway back the way it should be: on concrete. And while we’re at it on mid-week races, if NASCAR wants to try new things on the schedule, it should go a step more and add in a few mid-week events to build in some off weeks as the season goes on.
Roller: This is a very Kansas Speedway-centric change. If NASCAR doesn’t want a Kansas Speedway super weekend that has an ARCA Menards Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity race with two Cup races, one of Kansas’ dates needs to go to Iowa Speedway. It dumbfounds me how Iowa is only hosting ARCA and the NTT IndyCar Series in 2022. At the very least, Trucks and Xfinity should get a standalone race at Iowa. But NASCAR should move one of Kansas’ two Cup dates to Iowa. The attendance at last month’s race was atrocious and a move to Iowa is a far better idea than a Chicago street course. Maybe even put together an IndyCar-NASCAR doubleheader if Roger Penske would be up for another doubleheader on the calendar.
Damcott: I’d love to see more standalone races for the Xfinity and Trucks. It was always cool to see stands packed for a second- or third-tier series, and because of that, it gives younger drivers exposure. Standalone races are fun too because usually, that means the series race at tracks on which the Cup Series doesn’t race. I’d love to see Xfinity return to The Milwaukee Mile or Mexico City. Likewise, a return to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park or a standalone weekend at a track like Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Trucks might be a cool addition to the schedule. Either way, I’m a big fan of standalone races, so that would be my one wish NASCAR would change for the 2023 schedule.
Portland International Raceway is the only standalone Xfinity Series race this season. Which driver has the most to gain from it?
Glover: Kaulig Racing overall has a strong opportunity this weekend. AJ Allmendinger is looking to boost a 33-point lead over Noah Gragson for the regular-season points lead. Both Daniel Hemric and Landon Cassill are seeing positive shifts in their seasons, and they need good runs to put a cushion between themselves and the cut line. While road courses can be prone to parity, Connor Mosack is likely the biggest threat from a non-points driver perspective. Hemric and Cassill have struggled to outrun non-playoff contenders in good equipment this season. With no Cup regulars or ringers other than Mosack in strong equipment, this may be their opportunity to cash in on more points. Hemric has proven to be a contender on road courses, so this may be his best opportunity in the coming weeks to increase his advantage.
Roller: Allmendinger simply because he is the road course king in the Xfinity Series and with no Cup regulars like Kyle Busch or Tyler Reddick involved, he will have a cleaner run to victory. Kaulig is simply struggling to find that last little bit of speed to win on ovals and Allmendinger is leading the overall points. Chasing and winning the regular-season championship will pay dividends in the playoffs for Allmendinger, especially if it takes most of the summer to get oval speed back. Therefore, road course races will be pivotal for everyone’s favorite CART-to-NASCAR driver. Oh, and he won at Portland in CART back in 2006.
Damcott: My mind immediately turns to Mosack in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18. He has seen a lot of success in Trans-Am and, despite only beginning his stock car endeavor just this season, has quickly received a huge opportunity with a big team in the second-tier NASCAR series (life changes a lot in a span of 6 months, doesn’t it?). If he runs well, or even wins the race, especially with top-tier equipment for JGR, it could open the door for a lot more opportunities in stock car racing, even if it’s not the Xfinity Series. He could become a future NASCAR star with just this one race. OK, that might be jumping the gun just a little bit, but who knows? This one start could do wonders for Mosack if he had any visions of pursuing a stock car career.
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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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