The Frontstretch: Mirror Driving: Empty Seats, Empty Punishments, And Learning From Mayfield by Frontstretch Staff -- Tuesday May 18, 2010

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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!

Editor’s Note: Due to our special report card series, we’ve moved up Mirror to give you a special Tuesday edition. For those of you who hate change, don’t worry; it’ll return to its regular Wednesday slot next week.

This Week’s Participants:
Amy Henderson (Mondays / Holding A Pretty Wheel)
Phil Allaway (Tuesdays / Talking NASCAR TV & Frontstretch Newsletter)
Mike Neff (Wednesdays / Top 15 & Wednesdays / Full Throttle)
Vito Pugliese (Wednesdays / The Voice Of Vito)
Jeff Meyer (Wednesdays / Top Ten & Thursdays / Voices From The Heartland)
Beth Lunkenheimer (Fridays / Frontstretch Truck Series Reporter)
Summer Dreyer (Mondays / Running Their Mouth & Frontstretch News Reporter)

It was impossible to watch the race at Dover and not notice the empty seats. While Dover does not appear to be in immediate danger of losing a date, should future schedule realignment be based on attendance, or is that alone an unfair indicator?

Jeff: No. You can’t schedule anything going by that.
Mike N.: Obviously attendance is part of it, but there has to be competition and historical factors as well.
Amy: I think it is a factor, but not the only one. And I think you need to look at percentages rather than just the number.
Beth: Attendance will certainly contribute, but should never be the sole reason a track loses a race.
Jeff: Two things are at play here: The economy, and the fact that NASCAR is still in a decline with their fan base because of past decisions they made.
Phil: I think percentages should play a role. I don’t know what Dover’s capacity with all those seats closed off is; but with all of them open, it’s 140,000. Based on that, the place was barely 60 percent full.
Amy: Darlington and Fontana probably had a similar number of fans, but the Lady In Black sold a much higher percentage of tickets and was much closer to a sellout than Fontana.
Mike N.: I don’t have a problem dropping a track if the stands are half, or less full, and the racing is terrible. But the product on the track, the tube, and the presence in the community should all be factors.

Empty seats at Fontana can sometimes mean more than empty seats at Darlington because of how many seats they have. While Darington’s 65,000 left the track nearly full, the same number out West left that 2-mile speedway at about 60 percent capacity.

Amy: I agree with Mike, that the racing is the No. 1 factor to consider. There are more fans at home no matter where they are, and those fans deserve the best show possible.
Beth: It always should be, Amy, but we all know money talks in NASCAR.
Amy: To that end, Darlington wins over Fontana again.
Vito: That, and there is not a universal disdain for Darlington as there is with California. They are polar opposites — one represents the sport’s past, the other is trying to play up to fans that never really cared that much for it to begin with.
Jeff: NASCAR has just totally alienated too many fans over the years, and now those fans are talking with their wallets.
Amy: I think ratings would improve if the racing was better. Dover was possibly the most boring race since … well, Fontana. Even the radio broadcast didn’t have any racing to talk about.
Phil: Dover races since the place was concreted have become more spread out and less … crash-filled.
Mike N.: Well unfortunately, with the focus on NASCAR making money, the product on the track is seldom a consideration.
Beth: And the product on the track is what will always put butts in the seats.
Amy: That’s backwards thinking, though, Mike. In the long run, a better product will make more money. It’s big picture versus instant gratification.
Jeff: Tell me when NASCAR has ever thought about the big picture?
Vito: Anybody remember when those Dover races were 500 miles? They packed them in back then, with a whopping six cars on the lead lap. I remember that last 500-mile Dover race, in 1997. Kyle Petty had that won in the Hot Wheels car, had to stop for gas…
Phil: I looked at a clip of the 1994 Goodwrench / AC Delco 200 yesterday. Dover looked like it had nearly as many people for that Busch Grand National race as it did yesterday for Cup.
Mike N.: Huh? I saw cars running in multiple grooves, and passing being as much a part of planning and strategy as horsepower. I thought it was a great race.
Amy: There wasn’t any passing, Mike; that was the problem.
Vito: That’s because Kyle pulled over to the inside and let the No. 48 go by.
Mike N.: I’m pretty sure the No. 18 didn’t pull over every time he got passed. I seem to remember Johnson and Busch passing each other multiple times.
Vito: He did when the No. 48 came by. On the frontstretch, and going into Turn 3 twice. Anyways, the drivers were pretty much united in saying the surface wasn’t much to race on. It got rubbered up, but because of that, you couldn’t pass.
Amy: Every time someone got out of the groove to try and make a pass, they got in the rubber and about wrecked.
Mike N.: The groove was almost up to the wall.
Vito: I think for one of the few times this year, the Nationwide race was actually better than the Cup race.
Amy: I still think Dover generally produces a better quality race than the cookie-cutters do, and that should be the No. 1 concern. But if you must go on attendance, make sure you’re looking at the right numbers, and that’s percentage, not straight attendance.
Mike N.: Percentage of what?
Amy: Butts in seats, Mike.
Phil: Percentage of capacity, Neffy. They overbuilt Dover’s grandstands, resulting in a glut.
Mike N.: Well, that’s a stupid idea. Build 40,000 seats and say you’ve sold 90 percent of them instead of having 100,000 people in 160,000 seats. That’s not logical at all.
Amy: If you go by straight numbers, Darlington should lose its race then, Mike. They only had about 65,000 or so. But the stands were nearly full.
Mike N.: If you’re just going to use attendance numbers. Fortunately, I hope NASCAR will look beyond that. That is why North Wilkesboro and Rockingham don’t have races anymore.
Vito: Don’t forget about the attendance for Rockingham, too although granted, when they ran their races it was ass-freezing cold. Keep in mind the state of the economy, as well. Unless you’re peddling tickets at $20 a pop and managing traffic correctly, don’t be surprised if not that many people show up.
Amy: Vito is right on that. For whatever reason, fans don’t see Dover as a vacation destination like they do some other tracks.
Vito: I don’t like the date change for Dover, either.
Amy: It’s temporary, as far as I know, because of the five-weekend May.
Phil: Apparently, traffic was still quite the problem Sunday down at Dover.
Mike N.: Michigan and Atlanta both have done quite a good job of improving their traffic flow.
Phil: Some tracks have good traffic flow, while others bite. Watkins Glen has surprisingly good traffic flow despite only having access from two lane roads.

Pit road speeding has been a factor in several races this year, with Jimmie Johnson the latest victim. Does it hurt the credibility of the sport that NASCAR never publicly releases those records until well after the fact, and should there be a change?

Vito: They did release the records quickly this time. 40.090 mph. Alan Bestwick announced it on NASCAR Now, and Jeff Streigle from MRN said it on my local sports talk radio show Monday morning as well.
Mike N.: It doesn’t hurt their credibility at all. Everyone on pit lane knows that it is electronically timed, and there is no question when you get busted.
Amy: It still hurts in a couple of ways, Mike. One, fans don’t wonder so much when they do bust someone, but they do wonder who NASCAR isn’t busting. If the booth got the telemetry, that would go away.
Jeff: Hey, speeding is speeding. I don’t hear anyone making a big deal of it except for the fans of whoever gets caught.
Mike N.: The drivers and teams know that they can’t speed or they’ll be busted. I have not heard of anyone disputing a speeding penalty for very long since they went to electronic timing.
Beth: Agreed, Jeff. And it’s not like he was going 35.0900 … he was more than five mph over the pit road speed.
Vito: Right. 35 mph is the limit, so technically, 36 mph is speeding. However, accelerating from 0-35 in a 900 HP car with slicks can be tricky, so there is a little bit of a fudge factor.
Beth: NASCAR gives that to them, Vito, and Jimmie still went beyond that “fudge factor.”
Mike N.: They give them a five mph cushion. When they speed, they’re going more than five over the limit, and the monitor in the scoring turns red. There isn’t any subjectivity. If they speed… they speed. End of story.
Amy: The other thing I think would enhance the broadcast is, if they saw pit road speeds, they could talk on that as part of the analysis. Who saved or lost time on pit road other than the stop itself.
Phil: I agree, Amy. That could be interesting, especially during green flag pit stops at a place like Daytona.
Mike N.: They do that already, Amy, with the time on pit road graphics.

Jeff: Well I, for one, never blame NASCAR. My first thought is always, “Wow! You friggin’ idiot!” And that thought is directed at the driver!
Mike N.: Me too, Jeff. Yesterday was just like Montoya at Indy. You’ve got a car that is dominating. and you push it instead of making it up on the track. Really a stupid maneuver.
Amy: But not posting the speeds in public lends an air of secrecy NASCAR doesn’t need. Whether it’s true or not, there is the impression that officials choose who they penalize. Give the booth the telemetry, and that goes away yesterday.
Jeff: Again Amy, that is not the bulk of NASCAR’s problems when it comes to the fans thinking of secrecy.
Mike N.: Aside from a handful of whackos that think the sport fixes everything anyway, I have not heard anyone claiming that NASCAR isn’t penalizing people who speed.
Vito: They time them between the lines on pit road. They mapped out where he was speeding on NASCAR Now; it was leaving his pit box to the second line after exiting.
Amy: I could have sworn Jimmie only crossed ONE line when he was busted. You have to cross two to make a segment. Anyway, every bit of transparency helps, and NASCAR needs all the help it can get.
Vito: He backed it down a tick afterwards, but you can see where he slowed down after the segment.
Phil: If that’s true, he accelerated to way over 40 mph to make it an average of 40.09.
Mike N.: In terms of credibility, Jeff’s right. Showing debris that a caution is thrown for is a far bigger concern. I don’t really care if they show the telemetry. If anything, it would get the teams to try and push their drivers more to get closer to the limit, and you’ll probably end up with more people speeding.
Amy: Then it would be those teams’ fault, Mike, as it was Johnson’s and Allmendinger’s, ultimately, on Sunday.
Beth: I don’t really see what the big deal is anyway. Jimmie screwed up. It just shows he’s human.
Summer: Which is sometimes in question anyways.
Jeff: Ya know, it’s really all JJ’s crews’ fault! If they had done that stop a tick faster, he wouldn’t have needed to speed!
Beth: That’s certainly one way to look at it, Jeff.
Mike N.: I just don’t see a hue and cry to have this stuff publicized. NASCAR makes the calls when the light turns red, and everyone on pit lane agrees with it. Except Felix Sabates — until it is proven to him.
Amy: I don’t think it has as much to do with Johnson as it does a trend, Beth. Every time NASCAR busts someone, fans wonder if the next guy who looks on TV like he was faster doesn’t get nailed.
Jeff: We all know that Mr. Four-time is infallible.
Beth: What fans, Amy? I haven’t seen any complaining about who might not be getting busted. It’s just another case of making a mountain out of a molehill. If you speed on pit road, you pay the penalty. Period.
Jeff: I’m with you, Beth.
Amy: Here’s one thing I do think needs to happen, though: The drivers should have the same timers in their cars as NASCAR has.
Jeff: One more thing to put in the cars … Sheesh!
Mike N.: You want them to have a big screen with segment times in their cars, too? They’ll look like police cars with computer screens. A speedometer doesn’t matter when it is an average time for the segment. The tach is a more accurate measure, actually.
Amy: I want an accurate speedometer, for sure. Otherwise, you start 18th or 20th and you have a disadvantage from the start because you can’t get as accurate a tach reading as the front rows. So those guys have to be slower on pit road or risk a penalty.
Mike N.: Oh, that is crap. They have this stuff calculated down to the tooth on the gears. They don’t even need that speed on the pace laps anymore.
Amy: If it’s so accurate, why were so many of those who do get busted going under the reading they took?
Vito: Because they’re actually speeding. It’s an average mph, not terminal, they judge you on.
Amy: Right Vito, but say they get a tach reading of 4,200, and you’re going 4,100 the whole way and still get dinged? Obviously, the tach reading wasn’t accurate.
Vito: Get a new tach.
Jeff: Or better glasses.
Mike N.: Or a new race engineer. If they got a 4,200 reading, then they had to be going 4,400 or so to be five mph over the speed limit.
Vito: They can also time themselves during practice.
Amy: Or put a better instrument in the car.
Summer: Back on topic, I’m saying if Dale Jr. — or anyone other than Jimmie — had led that many laps and got a penalty, it might have been a bigger deal. People just seemed to be relieved that Jimmie didn’t win another race.

We’ve now marked the one-year anniversary of the Jeremy Mayfield drug suspension. What have all parties learned from the debacle, and is the sport’s drug policy less vulnerable now to this type of thing happening again?

Mike N.: I don’t think we’ve learned a damn thing, other than you shouldn’t take Adderall and Claritin D together.
Amy: I think the policy is far better than it was previously to last year.
Vito: I’m pretty sure meth was never on the approved list of substances, so I don’t know if we’ve “learned” anything about it.
Jeff: NASCAR has learned they have higher-priced lawyers.
Summer: Well, it’s not like NASCAR has a drug problem anyways.
Mike N.: One other thing we learned: Brian France lives in Florida and vacations in Charlotte, NC. According to the judge, Brian lives in Florida, so that is why the case isn’t being heard in NC court.
Vito: And his cousin likes coke and Lambos. Anyways, it’ll be interesting to see what comes out of the Johnson and Gordon depositions.
Jeff: We also learned if you’re JC France, all is forgiven.
Phil: Grand-Am is officially not part of this Drug Policy. Although the JC France episode clearly shows that it should be.
Mike N.: Whether Grand-Am is in the policy or not, if you are busted with coke in your car, you shouldn’t be able to get off on a BS technicality.
Vito: And allowed to race again! Then again, Al Unser, Jr. was pulling bong rips most weekends in the 1990s and was high as a kite, but he still made a living.
Amy: Wait, though. If someone not named France was bagged for possession outside the police jurisdiction, would y’all still be calling foul? I would, so that would be pretty hypocritical. It was a technicality, but it was a correct one under the law.

Beth: Breaking the law is breaking the law, and it shouldn’t matter whether or not you were caught across some invisible line, Amy. He was in possession, and because of that he should have to face the consequences.
Mike N.: Are you kidding me, Amy? If someone was pulled over with coke in their car, they should be busted. Period. There is no reason for that to be allowed.
Vito: Especially when you’re intoxicated with narcotics on board while street racing.
Beth: Adding the street racing just makes it worse.
Vito: The only thing missing was a Glock 23 under the front seat.
Beth: And a beer in his lap.
Jeff: Best lawyers money can buy …
Amy: Would you still say that if Average Joe was jailed outside police jurisdiction? Again, if you don’t like it, change the law. You can’t just break it at your convenience until then.
Phil: The only reason that got thrown out was that the cop didn’t radio for permission to continue the pursuit out of the jurisdiction, or radio the department in that jurisdiction for backup.
Summer: Who was it that got caught urinating in public or whatever it was? I think it happened in a parking garage.
Jeff: I think it was Truex.
Mike N.: Look, I don’t care if it was average Joe or the Pope. If a cop catches you with cocaine in your possession, you should go to jail.
Beth: If I had a friend who was busted in Mooresville by a Charlotte officer and they had coke on them, I’d fully expect they be charged with possession regardless of who pulled them over.
Amy: I agree with that, Beth, but right now the law doesn’t support it, so it’s a non-issue as it stands.
Jeff: If you are in “hot pursuit,” you do not need permission to cross town lines. Dispatch usually calls the jurisdiction ahead to let them know you may need possible assistance.
Mike N.: I think that is HIGH SPEED PURSUIT, Jeff. According to Sheriff Buford T. Justice of TEXAS.
Phil: This was hot pursuit. They were freakin’ street racing in Murcielagos.
Beth: The fact that you’re breaking the law is enough for you to go to jail, I don’t care if it’s a California state trooper in North Carolina. Break the law, do the time. Period.
Jeff: But, Amy, as you said, NASCAR needs all the transparency it can get. Looks bad that a “France” gets to go scot free.
Mike N.: Anyway, back to Mayfield and the drug policy. Since nothing has come of the suit yet, I don’t think we’ve learned anything. Except where Brian France lives.
Amy: I think NASCAR handled it right if the test was, in fact, positive. (And at this point, I believe it was.)
Jeff: Ya know what, truth is, no one really cares anymore, except maybe Jeremy.
Mike N.: I’m curious to see how much Jeremy wins if he is proven to be right.
Beth: I’ll be watching all of the news when the trial starts. I’ve read quite a bit of the filings that are out there, and there are things that will likely play in Mayfield’s favor.
Amy: I do think NASCAR did the right thing with Mayfield. Am I convinced he’s guilty? No, but the fact is he tested positive for meth, and he shouldn’t be in a racecar until he’s willing to prove he’s not on meth.
Mike N.: True, but how do you prove it? That is certainly up for debate.
Jeff: I think Brian France should have to test, too.
Beth: There were quite a few things handled incorrectly with the tests, so I’m not quite sure who to believe just yet.
Vito: Mayfield will still be cleared in the end. They will settle out of court, he will bankrupt himself, and you’ll never hear from him again.
Phil: Mayfield just doesn’t want to deal with Aegis right now, but if he wants to race again (and I’m not sure if he really wants to anymore) he’ll have to do it regardless of what happens with this suit.
Vito: There is a reason he is depositioning Johnson and Gordon, and I don’t think it’s because he has a lot of extra cash to burn through.
Jeff: “Is that ‘Blue Ice’ you’re wearing?”
Amy: I think the good thing that came of it is that it was a random test. In the past, if he didn’t look high, he wouldn’t have been tested, and might have been in a racecar high, for which there is never a valid excuse.
Beth: He may have tested positive for meth, Amy, but you can duplicate a positive test with the Adderall / Claritin combination.
Amy: Then the burden of proof is on Mayfield to prove that. So far, he hasn’t done that.
Mike N.: But there is no way he can prove it.
Beth: Exactly, Mike.
Amy: I think they can be distinguished with a different test.
Jeff: Like a hair test. But NASCAR won’t do that.
Summer: If they had him (or somebody) take a combination of Adderall and Claritin, and see if that tested positive for meth, couldn’t that say a lot?
Mike N.: There was a radio DJ that did that last year, Summer. He came out positive for Meth.
Phil: Bubba the Love Sponge?
Jeff: Yep.
Summer: So how is it that Jeremy isn’t being taken seriously by NASCAR? Because I’m pretty sure I remember someone involved say that a false positive wasn’t possible.
Beth: Yeah Dr. Black, who in essence works for NASCAR.
Vito: Does Dr. Black look like one of the characters from Spy vs. Spy in Cracked Magazine?
Amy: I know someone personally who had a similar false positive. But bottom line, you don’t take chances of letting him drive a racecar until he proves it was a false positive. Which he has not done.
Beth: And how exactly do you propose he proves it, Amy?
Amy: Hair test, like Jeff said.
Mike N.: NASCAR won’t accept anything that he’s offered as proof. NASCAR won’t take a hair test.
Summer: Well if that doesn’t prove it, or help his case, then it’s not really possible for him to do so.
Amy: Why can’t he take it himself? NASCAR shouldn’t be responsible for proving him innocent.
Mike N.: Because NASCAR said they will not acknowledge the results as proof, Amy.
Vito: In closing … I watched the Dover race from 2005 the other day. Mayfield was in the No. 19, finished seventh. Seems like not that long ago the guy actually had a life and a career.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race put on the weekend’s best show to hear most fans talk about it, but most knew the ending before they even saw the green flag fly because the race was televised on a four-hour tape delay. Is there a solution to revealing winners early when races aren’t televised live?

Amy: Sure there is. Televise the race live.
Mike N.: I agree with Amy. Show it live.
Phil: I talk about this in my critique. It should have been shown live.
Vito: That wasn’t exactly a competitive race. The leader ran out of gas.
Jeff: I say don’t Twit, or Tweet, or whatever they call it.
Amy: That’s ridiculous, Jeff. But the people on Twitter who felt they had to spoil it should have put a warning on every post that mentioned it.
Jeff: Why is that ridiculous?
Amy: Because some of us use Twitter to communicate with people. I shouldn’t have to stay off. People posting should use some common sense.
Jeff: Something you have to live with, Amy, in this day and age.
Beth: With the use of Facebook and Twitter, you’re going to run into these problems, but I understand why they ran it on the delay.
Summer: With the Internet, it’s next to impossible. If you can keep off the internet until then, you may not have it spoiled for you. But otherwise, show it live.
Mike N.: I don’t understand why they had it on a delay. It’s not like they had something great on SPEED in its place.
Vito: They do that every year with Dover.

Aric Almirola’s shocking Truck Series win was great to watch … except if you hopped on Twitter and found out the ending before you turned on your television.

Summer: Well, they shouldn’t. If they want the ratings, then run it live so people can watch it and then replay it in primetime.
Phil: In this case, information blackout on Twitter by writers and on NASCAR.com should have been instituted. That, or put everything pertaining to the race behind a warning page, like what Champ Car did in 2003.
Vito: Whatever happened to isolation?
Mike N.: Someone should use common sense and not read Twitter and Facebook when they know NASCAR people post stuff on there.
Summer: I liked them posting updates. I don’t want to have to wait to watch it to know who won.
Vito: The megalomania of Twitter has run amok.
Amy: People have to realize that most fans weren’t as privileged as they were to be there and not ruin it for them.
Beth: It’s a risk you take. People know the race is going, and they know there’d be Twitter updates. If you still couldn’t stay away, then that’s how it goes.
Vito: It’s a truck race, let’s be honest. It isn’t the Second Coming.
Summer: I liked the updates. They were doing their job. Just stay away from the computer if you don’t want to know.
Amy: There is a difference, in my opinion, between knowing the results of a race that has already aired but you didn’t watch and knowing them before you had the chance to watch.
Mike N.: Well, the only way NASCAR can make sure that doesn’t happen in the future is to not allow any fans or media into the race. Which means they could just run it at Fontana and be safe.
Summer: Fans were working, which is exactly why it wasn’t live — but they televise qualifying when people can’t watch it and replay it later. Same with practice and the like. I don’t understand why they can’t do that for the race.
Mike N.: They televise rain delays on Mondays when people are working.
Summer: Right! And they replay the Monday races later so that people can watch them!
Mike N.: Right, Summer. So they could have shown it live first.
Vito: Or, you know, you could not worry about it and realize it’s a Truck race in Delaware.
Jeff: Just one of those things, Amy. Got to let it go.
Vito: Like Colonel Trautman told John Jay at the end of First Blood, Part 1: “It’s over Johnny … it’s OVER!”
Jeff: Did you watch the race anyway, Amy?
Beth: I still maintain that you can get away from the internet for a couple hours. It won’t be the end of the world, and I promise it’ll still be there when you return.
Amy: That’s great if you don’t need to communicate with anyone, Beth.
Beth: And now you’re expecting them to accommodate you? Oh please! They’re doing their jobs … just don’t read it.
Summer: Just stay on your mentions page or something so you don’t see your timeline. Something. Anything. But they’re doing what they’re supposed to.
Amy: Again, all I’m saying is each post should have had a warning. That’s all.
Summer: Well, they all posted warnings before the race. Kind of tedious to post it on every single tweet with as many as they do.
Jeff: Good Lord! I remember when I always had to carry a dime in case I had to use a payphone to call my mother or something!
Mike N.: When’s the last time you saw a payphone besides an airport?
Summer: I wonder what the people reading this who don’t use Twitter are thinking. Is there anyone here who doesn’t?
Mike N.: I don’t.
Jeff: Me either.
Amy: Again, fans shouldn’t have to stay away from Twitter — that’s just stupid. All those writers needed was a spoiler warning. That would have been doing their job.
Mike N.: Post a spoiler warning before EVERY tweet? That is ludicrous.
Vito: They should post a warning on the back of the spoiler on the Sprint Cup cars, just to make sure everything is covered.
Summer: If you don’t want to see the score to a game you DV-R’d, you’re going to avoid the internet, radio, or any form of media. It’s the same with tape-delayed races. People do that with Monday races they tape.
Amy: Again, that’s different, Summer. Fans weren’t given the choice of seeing the race live.
Phil: You could argue that they should have sent out an alert mentioning about spoilers before the race started.
Mike N.: OK, I’m done with this topic. This is the stupidest thing we have ever talked about in Mirror Driving. And we have talked about some stupid stuff over the years.
Jeff: Amy could have spoiled it for me on facebook when she complained about it. I didn’t know it wasn’t live until Amy said something. Even then, I didn’t jump on the ‘net to see who won — I actually watched the race! Imagine that.
Beth: And Amy, you did that to yourself by reading the posts. There’s a little link where you can pick tweets directed at you.
Jeff: Amy’s crusade to make Twitter safer! Maybe a newer, better Twit! The Twit of Tomorrow.

OK. Predictions for the Shootout and All-Star Race? No points this week, just glory.

Vito: Jeff Burton.
Beth: I’m going with my heart this week and picking Kurt Busch because I can.
Jeff: I’ll go with Burton, too.
Summer: I’m going with Clint Bowyer to win the Shootout and Jeff Gordon in the “A” Main. It would be just his luck to win a non-points race.
Mike N.: Jeff Burton wins the Shootout, Kyle Busch wins the All-Star Race.
Amy: Edwards should win the Shootout. For the big race, I’m going with Kasey Kahne.
Phil: I think Edwards will win the Showdown as well. However, Jeff Gordon will win the All-Star Race.
Amy: And speaking of Twitter, I totally agree with Mikey that the second-place car in the Shootout should not transfer.
Summer: I’m with you. It ruins the shootout!
Phil: They’ve had as many as six transfers in the past. Remember, Michael Waltrip won the Winston in 1996 after finishing fifth in the Winston Select Open.
Mike N.: I think they should do Australian chase rules until there is only one car left.
Vito: Or run it in street cars. Insert Toyota stuck throttle joke here…

Email the Mirror Guys ‘N’ Gals!
Contact Amy Henderson
Contact Beth Lunkenheimer
Contact Jeff Meyer
Contact Mike Neff
Contact Phil Allaway
Contact Summer Dreyer
Contact Vito Pugliese

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

Writer Points Behind Predictions (Starts) Wins Top 5s Top 10s
Amy Henderson 23 12 2 6 9
Phil Allaway 22 -1 11 1 5 10
Beth Lunkenheimer 13 -10 8 1 5 6
Summer Dreyer 8 -15 8 0 3 4
Bryan Davis Keith 4 -19 3 0 1 2
Vito Pugliese 4 -19 2 0 1 2
Jeff Meyer 4 -19 7 0 1 4
Kurt Smith 3 -20 3 0 1 1
Tom Bowles 3 -20 2 0 1 1
Mike Neff 1 -22 2 0 0 1
Tony Lumbis 0 -23 3 0 0 0
Toni Montgomery 0 -23 1 0 0 0
Matt Taliaferro -2 -25 2 0 0 0

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PBFred
05/18/2010 06:31 AM
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Beth, I have to say that I have been complaining about NASCAR not letting anyone see pit row speeds every since Juan Pablo got busted at Indy. I’m not doubting that he was speeding, it was just the fact that they showed us for the first time how they had a very nice and accurate display of everyone. And something that easily could be available to every pit, aired on TV, and even displayed on our Sprint phones.

Since they don’t do this, the question does remain… who are they not busting?

First thing I said to my dad after watching Sunday’s race was “what has been the biggest story for the past several weeks?” JJ’s so-called slump. Gee, who got busted for speeding and most likely cost him the win? JJ, thus extending his “slump”.

Yes, maybe they are only penalizing drivers that are actually speeding. But how are we to know that? If that truly was the case, why is it such a big secret? So what if it allows drivers to adjust their pit road speeds up 1/2 MPH or so… it’ll actually make it that much more competitive on pit row.

And I just got say, come on Burton and Bowyer. The All-Star race will lose a lot of appeal if my favorite 2 drivers aren’t in it.

noel_w
05/18/2010 01:09 PM
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WOW: I keep attempting to read this entire article every week. I keep failing, it might be interesting as a live broadcast, but reading it just gives me a headache.
I did make it farther through this article than any other (2/3 of the way through Jeremy Mayfield). It left me with one question and a comment.
First, the question: Mike Neff, exactly how much does NASCAR pay you? Your entire line is “trust in NASCAR, it is the governing body that we can believe in.” You seem to be the whacko. NASCAR has made huge errors in judgement, and needs to be transparent on every issue to even earn an ounce of credibility back.

Now for the comment. Beth says, she doesn’t care if a California trooper arrests someone in North Carolina. If someone breaks the law they should do the time.
Seriously? So you would advocate that all police jurisdictions be swallowed up by the FBI and the police become a national force? Before you answer (don’t worry, I know you aren’t brave enough to actually write an answer) let’s not overlook the fact that all the laws would have to be nationalized as well. That is the only way to assure what is illegal in North Carolina is also illegal in California. So feel free to forget about your local, county, and state individuality when it comes to matters of legality.
Oh yeah, that would be grossly unconstitutional. The founding fathers set America up in a way as to prevent such a thing from happening, FOR A REASON!!!
Now I agree that JC France should have done time. Any dissatisfaction you have with the outcome of this case should be directed at the officer involved. He is the one that made a procedural error that led to a technical ejection of the charges. Even through not radioing to the next municipality during a high speed pursuit, he could have maintained a legal arrest by detaining the car and driver and radioing for a local car to be dispatched to arrest JC, search the car, and file charges. It is hard to blame JC’s lawyers, because America’s justice system is for sale. God bless the free market system!

VaBlueGrass
05/18/2010 01:26 PM
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Noel’s been eating too much Domino’s pizza.

Keith
05/18/2010 05:16 PM
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If Jimmie was speeding at Dover so was Kyle that was the first time I saw a driver lose ground pulling into the pits and during his stop and then pulling out I’m not a fan of either but I saw it first hand at Dover and I thought Jimmie had a loose lug nut or something but I never thought he got caught speeding. Even with the empty seats at Dover it still sold more tickets than over half of the tracks do.

Richard in N.C.
05/18/2010 05:59 PM
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Do you ever do any research at all before firing off. Facts can often screw up a story line – especially when you figure bashing NASCAR sells. Your buddy Burton Smith, the killer of North Wilkesboro, has made sure NASCAR can’t just move dates any more.

Richard in N.C.
05/18/2010 06:47 PM
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Ooops. Apparently the federal judge learned that JM’s claims are full of hot air.

PBFred
05/18/2010 07:15 PM
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Noel, LOL, I think you summed up my feelings about this weekly article perfectly. :)

I usually just go through and read 1 or 2 of the topics. Way too many things addressed here with way too many people speaking to keep who said what clear.

Maybe 1 topic a day might make these articles a far better read.

Beth L.
05/18/2010 07:48 PM
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Noel,
Re-read everything I said on the subject. What I was referring to was the possession of cocaine…which last I checked was illegal across the board. I wasn’t referring to local and county laws…just the possession of cocaine. No, I definitely don’t want all local law enforcement under a blanket nationwide, but it’s just stupid someone can be busted for coke and get off on such a stupid technicality.

geoff
05/18/2010 10:12 PM
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HEY NOEL, it looks like Beth gave you an answer
Geoff FL

Mike Neff
05/19/2010 01:19 AM
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Thanks for the psychological evaluation Noel. NASCAR pays me exactly zero. I simply believe that NASCAR does a fine job of policing pit road speeding penalties without having to make every segment time for every driver public knowledge. There are far more pressing things that NASCAR needs to be making public.

Mongo
05/19/2010 11:20 AM
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Poor attendance is blamed on the economy. The economy has no bearing on the poor TV ratings.

Fact is NA$CAR screwed up a good thing with FOX’s help.

John
05/19/2010 11:51 AM
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One thing is for sure, everyone has an opinion on the Jeremy Mayfield disaster. But one thing is for sure, there are so many NASCAR haters out there, including within the mainstream media, who wanted to arm chair this and go against NASCAR. I have had my problems with NASCAR for a long time, they can surely screw up a race series and they can surely go over the top in marketing BS. But on this they have been in the right. It’s just simple—simple and beyond comprehension that folks don’t get it. Mayfield was caught, not once but twice doing drugs. NASCAR may have had a misstep or two in the process but none that tainted the process. Mayfield has taken OPM (other people’s money) and hired big-time, junkyard dog lawyers that he hasn’t paid either. So he has skipped out on bills to Triad Technologies and many other suppliers, owes the IRS and NC DoR and Bill Dheil and countless others, not because he poor, but because he lies. He failed a drug test, not because he good or NASCAR bad, but because he was a meth user. He has burned scorched earth everything and everyone the last 5 years from Rusty to Penske to Evernham to NASCAR to Brian France. And the bottom line is this: he ain’t never at fault for anything, never ever. Cept this time all this is his own doing. He owns this mess and the people that take up for him are dopes at worst and at best just plain gullible.

Kevin
05/19/2010 12:51 PM
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I feel sorry for Amy if she has become that dependent on Twitter! I don’t have an account and I have no desire to. You should never need to communicate with someone on Twitter so desperately that it can’t wait a little longer. For the record, sometimes when I have had to tape the end of a Cup race and watch it later that evening, I avoid using the internet until it’s off. I wouldn’t expect the whole world to wait for me to finish watching it (not quite the same situation, I realize, but it’s similar).

VolcanoNacho
05/19/2010 01:00 PM
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I love how Noel has become frontstretch’s own resident nurse and psychologist. Man… what would we do without her.

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