The Frontstretch: Mirror Driving: Racing's Version Of The Triple Crown, Kenseth's Collapse, And More by Frontstretch Staff -- Wednesday July 21, 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!

This Week’s Participants:
Amy Henderson (Mondays / Holding A Pretty Wheel)
Beth Lunkenheimer (Fridays / Frontstretch Truck Series Reporter)
Mike Neff (Wednesdays / Top 15 & Wednesdays / Full Throttle)
Kurt Allen Smith (Fridays/ Happy Hour)
Phil Allaway (Tuesdays / Talking NASCAR TV & Frontstretch Newsletter)

Chip Ganassi is going for a triple crown of sorts as a car owner. He’s already won the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500 this season … does he have a chance at the Brickyard 400, as well?

Beth: After Montoya’s dominance last year, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him do the same again this weekend.
Kurt: Yeah, Juan Pablo could pull it off, and he has something to prove, although he isn’t running as well as last year.
Phil: If last year is any indication, yes. However, Montoya hasn’t really shown anything this year that makes it look like he could do it.
Mike N.: Of course he does. Montoya owned it last year and pissed the race away. There is no question JPM will be in contention again.
Amy: Montoya dominated last year before he took himself out of it, and McMurray has been stronger than ever on the intermediates
Phil: McMurray may actually be more likely to pull it off.
Beth: Exactly, Phil. We can’t count him out with the way that team has been running lately. That being said, there are plenty of drivers who would like to spoil the Ganassi party.
Kurt: The Brickyard is sort of like a road course, and Ganassi usually runs well at Indy.
Mike N.: I think Montoya is either going to come out with a vengeance to make up for last year or he’ll be completely out to lunch. And I don’t expect much out of McMurray — he isn’t much on flat tracks.
Beth: With Jimmie Johnson getting the win in three out of the last four years, I’d suspect he’ll be one to beat this weekend as well.
Mike N.: True Beth, and don’t count out Jeff Gordon who is going for an oval record at Indy.
Kurt: Gordon said he liked their setup, but it’s a long way from running yet. I have to figure the 42 could bring back a similar setup and kick butt, because they really smoked last year. But maybe the spoiler could change all that
Amy: Does this race really carry the meaning that the other two do? Frankly, I’m unclear on why the Brickyard 400 is such a big deal.
Kurt: It’s Indianapolis, Amy, the most famous speedway in the world.
Amy: Not to NASCAR, it’s not. Indy is not a stock car track and never was meant to be — it just doesn’t race that well.
Mike N.: It is to NASCAR whether you personally want to admit it or not. I know we’ve had this discussion before, but Indianapolis is the most important track in the world. The Southern 500 would be if it was still on Labor Day. The Mother’s day race doesn’t mean as much. And by the way, Indy doesn’t race well for Indy cars either, Amy. It is just the history that matters.
Phil: The Brickyard 400 was probably a bigger deal in 1994 than it is now. With the Indianapolis 500 falling off in popularity in recent years, it affects this race too.
Mike N.: Actually Phil, the Indy 500 is gaining notoriety back and that may or may not bring the interest back to the 400.
Amy: Right, Mike, that’s what I mean about the Southern 500. That is NASCAR’s history, not this. This is largely a publicity stunt rather than a great race But it’s not NASCAR’s history. The Southern 500 should be the race everyone talks about, not Indy.
Beth: And we do, but there’s something about Indianapolis that gets me excited for the upcoming race.
Kurt: I don’t have a problem with Indy being one of the big races. Lots of tracks don’t seem made for stock cars. And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, the Chase has diminished every race that leads to it.
Mike N.: After last year, I think he still has a great chance with Montoya. I guess we’ll have to see.
Amy: Personally, I would not pay to see the Brickyard 400. Now the Indy 500 is a whole other story.
Kurt: Amy, we want variety in our tracks, don’t we? Indy is something different than anything else — there’s something to be said for that.
Mike N.: Have you ever been to the speedway, Amy? It’s worth going even when there isn’t a race going on. I have heard from multiple people, including our own Tom Bowles, that he realized what people were talking about when he walked into the track.
Phil: I wouldn’t mind going, either. It’s that distance that gets me — 900 miles is a haul.
Kurt: I like the Brickyard race. I think the four-corners action is cool.
Amy: There is something to be said about unique tracks on the circuit, but they should also be tracks that produce good stock car racing. ORP is unique and races well.
Kurt: It’s a different skill set.
Amy: I’d love to go sometime. I just have a hard time seeing 15 years out of 60 being historical. To NASCAR, that is.
Beth: It’s just the track itself, Amy.
Kurt: I don’t argue that there’s a lot of hype attached to the Brickyard 400, but people want to win at Indianapolis in anything, just like Daytona.
Phil: I know its not so much NASCAR history, but history in general. I’d go just to tour the museum.
Amy: No, that I understand, but I don’t confuse Indy’s history with NASCAR’s, as they are largely two separate things.
Kurt: At any rate, I would like to see Montoya pull down the win and make history.
Mike N.: I’d love to see Montoya win it, too. I hate that A.J. Foyt didn’t lead a lap in the first race.
Amy: I think it would be kind of cool to see Ganassi get the win as an owner. I think his IndyCar program is still by far his better one, so winning this one will be a tall order, but not impossible by any means
Kurt: Does that go for Teresa too?
Amy: No, she didn’t win Indy.
Phil: It’s more Ganassi’s team than Teresa’s.
Mike N.: I’d like to see Montoya win it and I know that Ganassi would really appreciate the win, as well.

Matt Kenseth opened the 2009 season with back-to-back wins and looked to be on the road to a second Cup championship run. However, he hasn’t won since and has just eight top-10 finishes through 19 races this year. He’s also with his third crew chief since the 2009 Daytona 500. Can Kenseth’s problems be blamed on these changes, on Ford’s woes, or is it something else entirely?

Beth: It’s probably a combination of things, but changing crew chiefs mid-season and multiple times at that is a major momentum breaker, usually. You’ve got to get the new driver/crew chief combination used to how they both communicate.
Amy: It’s not lack of driver talent, that’s for sure, but you do have to wonder why there’s been so many crew chief changes. Sure, his performance is lacking, but he’s still the best of the Roush camp in points and you don’t see major changes on the other teams.
Kurt: Lots of teams get off to a great start and then struggle in the summer. Childress is a good example. Kenseth ran well early in the year, then the spoiler returned and a bunch of teams are still looking for the handle — like Mark Martin.
Phil: I’d argue its mainly Ford’s issues. Those simulations are kicking them in the butt.
Amy: True, and Roush is using simulations in place of testing for information. I think that might be the biggest factor of all.
Kurt: And it’s not a substitute. Roush hasn’t been the same since NASCAR killed testing at sanctioned tracks.
Amy: No, it’s not. Especially when other teams are testing. Simulators don’t tell you crap if the driver can’t drive it on a real racetrack.
Mike N.: I believe it is a combination of things. Ford’s struggles are certainly part of it, and swapping crew chiefs can’t be helping. And sometimes drivers just have off years. Dale Earnhardt was incredible in 1987 and 1991, yet he was not very good at all in 1988 or 1992.
Phil: 1992 was mainly Ford whoopin’ tail. Chevrolet in general struggled that season. Only Ricky Rudd finished in the top 10 in points.
Kurt: Ford is running a little bit better of late. Edwards had a good finish last week.
Mike N.: The reliability of the FR9 is still going to bite them a few more times.
Amy: Kenseth is the only Roush driver who I would say is safely in the Chase right now. He’s not winning, but he’s not terrible, either. That said, if they don’t fix things, it will get worse before it gets better.
Kurt: What’s the point of running mediocre and making the Chase? If he’s not going to be a factor, who cares?
Mike N.: Because it is worth a bunch of money to the teams that make it, thanks to the way the whole thing is hyped.
Beth: Don’t you know it’s because he’ll get more TV time even if he’s a Chase driver who sucks throughout.
Mike N.: A lot more TV time.
Beth: Seems to me there are only 12 drivers on the track when it comes to those final 10 races — forget about the other 31 out there. But that’s a gripe for another day.
Kurt: Isn’t that something fans are complaining about? I know I don’t need to see every Chase driver.
Beth: Agreed, but someone needs to teach the networks that.
Phil: Not necessarily. If you make the Chase and bite in it, you’ll get ignored as well. Remember Mayfield the first two years of the Chase?
Amy: I agree, but we will see them, whether we need to or not.
Kurt: Roush as a whole needs to find a new way to get better, because he’s lost his biggest weapon. Testing was what made Roush so great in 2005.
Beth: Roush is just going to have to suck it up and do some testing to keep up with the other teams.
Kurt: He lost a car per NASCAR rules, too, I wonder if that hurt things.
Amy: I don’t think it’s a talent issue. Kenseth is 38, hardly ancient, and has more than proved his talent in the past.
Kurt: Kenseth is struggling because Roush as a whole is struggling. Same with Edwards, Ragan and Biffle.
Phil: Of course Kenseth’s got the talent, Amy, he’s a former pre-Chase champion.
Mike N.: Roush is a hard-headed dude, but he’s going to have to swallow some pride if he wants his teams to be competitive. Kenseth is capable of running well if the cars are right. Right now they’re top 10 at best.
Amy: Actually, Kenseth’s team is the best of the bunch, but he can’t be happy with his performance.
Kurt: Roush may be throwing up his hands at being targeted by NASCAR. And there’s no question he has been.
Mike N.: Roush has been targeted by NASCAR for years.
Phil: Kenseth has had chances to win this year, like Martinsville.

The controversial finish in Saturday night’s Nationwide race had fans abuzz all weekend, but who was in the right and who in the wrong? And is it time for NASCAR to step in and break this one up?

Beth: I do have an issue with the intentional wrecking, but my bigger issue is the amount of innocent victims there were in that wreck. These were Nationwide teams that will likely struggle to replace that torn up equipment.
Kurt: NASCAR should let Keselowski retaliate and take Carl out of a race, and then end it right there.
Amy: Edwards crossed a line on Saturday. NASCAR should have already stepped in, but since they didn’t, it’s too little, too late.
Kurt: NASCAR brought this on Amy: “Have at it, boys!”
Mike N.: It is not time for NASCAR to step in. They’ve said all along that they are letting the boys be boys and they need to work it out. I hope that some of the guys that lost their cars last weekend will make Edwards pay for his transgression.
Phil: Right. NASCAR doesn’t need to do anything about it. Maybe force Carl to contribute to the repairs for ML Motorsports’ No. 70, but other than that, I cannot foresee anything happening — not even probation.
Amy: And here’s the other thing: letting them police themselves isn’t the same as letting them take each other out for position.
Kurt: I actually agree with Amy. NASCAR needs to let it be settled on the track, but once guys are intentionally wrecking each other every week, you have to step in at some point.
Phil: This isn’t every week right now.
Beth: Yet.
Mike N.: They might need to step in some time, but I don’t think that time has come yet.
Amy: Should this kind of stupid stuff have Chase implications? Because it well could.
Kurt: I wonder if NASCAR is worried about Edwards having occasional bouts of serious road rage.
Mike N.: I doubt it will because Carl isn’t running well enough to make the Chase. If he’s close at Richmond I hope Kes takes him out.
Beth: They should be settling their issues in Cup instead of Nationwide.
Amy: If I were Keselowski, I’d make sure Carl got the worst possible finish at Richmond.
Phil: They’ll step in when crazy stuff happens, like what happened to Scott Riggs at Southern National (Kenly, NC) in 1994.
Kurt: If I were Brad, I would run behind Carl for 20 laps and make him sweat like crazy.
Amy: Kurt, that’s the correct way to police themselves. What Carl did was not. On the bright side, hopefully this will be the excuse NASCAR needed to limit these guys racing in Nationwide.
Phil: It won’t be. To NASCAR, it might actually be the reverse. It’s why they want Cup dudes in the series.
Kurt: You said that before Amy, and I’m not sure how you make that connection. Two Nationwide regulars could have done that just as easily.
Mike N.: Most Nationwide regulars care about their cars and their teams too much to wreck each other like that.
Amy: And it would be totally different if they had. It would be equally stupid, but at least it was drivers who belong there in the first place.
Kurt: Well, maybe, but when road rage kicks in, I don’t know about that. I don’t want to see guys with devastation on their mind. To do what Carl did you have to be so angry you don’t care what happens to the other guy.
Beth: On the plus side, this one has the entire NASCAR community up in arms. It’s certainly healthy for the sport to have a good rivalry to keep an eye on. Or anyone else on the track. I mean, these guys were running 1-2 and had an entire field of drivers behind them.
Kurt: That was blatant, “I want to see you injured” wrecking.
Amy: The thing is, Keselowski didn’t do anything wrong. He moved the 60 out of the groove and passed him. If Cousin Carl can’t take that kind of racing, he should go to the IndyCar Series.
Mike N.: I wonder how long it will be before Kes really takes him out instead of just bumping him out of the way.
Kurt: Carl is paranoid about Brad, he showed that in Atlanta. That wasn’t Brad’s fault, either.
Amy: What made me the maddest was that he didn’t even acknowledge the real Nationwide teams that got taken out in his ego trip. Even Denny Hamlin, who has no love for Keselowski, said Edwards should have had the win taken.
Kurt: I was a little surprised at Carl’s interview. He pretty much admitted that he took him out. And Carl seems less and less affected when he sees the results of his actions. He looked worried at Atlanta, at Gateway he didn’t care and backflipped for the win.
Beth: That scares me Kurt. Is it going to take him seriously injuring or killing someone before he thinks before he acts?
Amy: And Kevin Harvick, who had a pretty good view of the action, said that several laps before Kes rubbed on the 60, Carl ran into the back of the 22 for no apparent reason. Kes didn’t even make the first contact. I don’t like Keselowski’s attitude or his driving at times, but he has handled himself like nothing but a professional when racing Carl, as he did on Saturday.
Kurt: I don’t argue that, but we know Harvick isn’t a fan of Edwards.
Phil: Is Harvick a fan of anyone? Logano did something similar in the Toyota All-Star Showdown a couple of years ago and was given 40th.
Mike N.: NASCAR isn’t taking the win away. They have to be secretly loving all of this attention.
Beth: I don’t care about bumping and rubbing — that’s the racing that got me hooked in the first place — but this blatant, intentional wrecking is just stupid and dangerous. And for the record, I didn’t like it when Earnhardt did it, either.
Amy: I didn’t like that either, but I understood it better. It was for the win, pure and simple. This … Edwards said it was for the win, but his comments indicate that it was more than that…he took it personally that Kes was trying to pass him and he just couldn’t have that. It’s almost scary.
Kurt: The thing I worry about the most is that this really made Carl look bad, and he is caring about it less and less.
Amy: Seems like Edwards has an ever-expanding list of non-fans.
Mike N.: It is one thing bumping people in corners, but this is the second time he’s taken someone out on a straightaway. Earnhardt did it in a corner, not on a straight. The one time he did it on the straight he backed off, he didn’t drive through the guy.
Kurt: You know, NASCAR is in a bind again, because they pretty much told the drivers to do this.
Amy: NASCAR told them to police their issues, not to wreck anyone anytime, for track position.
Kurt: They basically told the drivers that there are no rules. Let me put it another way, Amy: they’re setting themselves up to be phony again, because at some point they’re going to have to step in.
Amy: I don’t think it’s phony. Taking care of issues and what Edwards did are two different things. Edwards wasn’t policing anything, he was making his way law.
Kurt: Right, but you know a lot of fans aren’t going to see it that way,
Amy: And besides, if people want to call it phony, let them. It’s still the right thing to do.
Mike N.: I just thought it was classless that Edwards blatantly dumped him.
Amy: One of the guys on the 88 team made a good point after the race. He said it’s not going to just be Kesleowski gunning for Edwards if he keeps it up.
Mike N.: Exactly. I think he’s going to have five or six guys after him now.
Beth: I’d say there are quite a few Nationwide teams that would like to see that 60 wrecked.
Amy: And that WILL be policing.
Phil: The way they were set up, this was the only way Edwards could have moved him out of the way. And for the record, I fully expect Edwards to get dumped at ORP on Saturday night by someone.
Mike N.: I agree it was the only way to move him, Phil, but at that point he should have just accepted second place.
Amy: I disagree about accepting second. If you can get under a guy and move him, you don’t settle. But moving a guy is not wrecking him. Kes was racing correctly for the win, for example
Mike N.: Right Amy. Edwards was on the straight and had no way to move Kes without wrecking him, so he should have settled for second.
Phil: The problem with that is that Edwards wasn’t under Keselowski. He was above him.
Beth: You could see him turn left right into the corner of the 22.
Amy: Right, Phil. I have yet to see a turn from the outside that’s not intentional. Edwards never even tried to pass clean — he just went for the dump and run.
Kurt: I remember when Carl Edwards was well liked by all of NASCAR Nation. I thought he was great for the sport. How things have changed.
Amy: I still think NASCAR should have taken the win. Since they didn’t, they should make him replace every real Nationwide-only car damaged in that little episode.
Kurt: You know that’s not going to happen, Amy.
Beth: Maybe he oughta take some anger management courses.
Mike N.: I think he should just have his ass kicked.
Kurt: I do think that you should be parked for a race if: A) You deliberately wreck someone, and B) if you use your car as a weapon on pit road.
Beth: Has anyone considered part of the thought process could have been the large point lead Kes has over Edwards? That wreck certainly helped Edwards more than a win by Kes would have.
Kurt: Why wasn’t there a big pit road fight? I figured that was coming.
Amy: And not on the racetrack where other cars are involved.
Phil: Maybe NASCAR was proactive in preventing that, Kurt.
Amy: Yeah, that’s the way they should be “having at it.”
Mike N.: I don’t know, Kurt. If I was on Kes’ crew I’d have been looking to whip someone’s ass.
Phil: A good ol’ fist fight likely won’t hurt a car.
Amy: At least when Hamlin took out BK, he made sure it wasn’t going to take half the field, and that half the field wasn’t going to T-bone Kes.
Phil: Hey, at Fonda Speedway this weekend, someone who got wrecked on the track tried to run over a rival crewmember.
Mike N.: That’s not good.
Kurt: Wow … now that’s someone in need of anger management. “Easy there angry bear!”
Phil: And a lawyer. He got arrested for reckless endangerment.
Mike N.: That’s good.
Amy: NASCAR shouldn’t be allowing drivers that drive like Edwards did to win races as a result.
Mike N.: Carl wrecked Kes for the win. There was no bump, there was no rub — he freaking dumped him on the straight. Kes and any of the other drivers that were taken out should be looking for Edwards at ORP and exact their revenge.
Amy: Where’s the NASCAR-mandated anger management? Tony got that for lesser. And Mike, if I were Keselowski, I’d wait until Richmond. Barring that, Homestead.
Mike N.: I’d do it at ORP, Richmond and Homestead.
Kurt: Actually, I’m not sure I’d do anything but race Carl hard. He’s the one that looks bad right now.
Amy: That’s all BK has done, Kurt.
Mike N.: Nah, just like Logano with Harvick, he has to take a stand at some point or it will keep happening.
Phil: Who has to take a stand here? Brad? Because he kinda does that on a weekly basis.
Kurt: Is Jeff Hammond gonna tell all of us to kiss his ass now?

The Camping World Truck Series race at Gateway featured a delay from a power outage, a sponsorless points leader, a fourth-generation driver, and a Cup driver in victory lane. Which story should the fans remember when all is said and done?

Beth: Hands down, the sponsorless point leader. It’s not easy to run a Truck Series team without sponsorship, and it’s not like he just snuck in there and grabbed the points lead this weekend. It’s impressive to have a fourth-generation driver enter the series, but sadly, that debut was cut short through no fault of his own.
Amy: For the good of the series, the story they should remember — and take a stand for — is the point leader having no sponsor.
Kurt: Probably the Cup driver in victory lane, because it will probably head in the same direction as the Nationwide Series.
Beth: Don’t be so sure about that one, Kurt.
Amy: I don’t think so, Kurt…not lucrative enough, which is both bane and blessing. Blessing because the Cup guys generally stay out of the championship; bane because the regulars don’t get much money.
Mike N.: I think the power outage was pretty big, but the points leader should be the big story.
Phil: Harvick completely dominated this race. No one could touch him. East St. Louis came back to haunt the track on Friday.
Kurt: People generally don’t remember stoppages unless it’s a big race. Or if they were there.
Beth: The power outage was completely unrelated to the track — no big deal really. Stuff happens.
Mike N.: It is still amazing that the track doesn’t have enough of an emergency system to light the track and Con Ed was unable to restore the power in a reasonable amount of time.
Kurt: What is amazing is not that the points leader has no sponsor, but that the series is even still running with a sponsorless point leader.
Phil: Most everyone’s having trouble finding sponsors. Harvick just got the full season sponsored for the No. 33.
Amy: He’s a Cup driver…easier for him than the real series teams. I guess Harvick is semi-real … at least he owns his own stuff and puts his own money into it.
Kurt: It’s tough everywhere, even DuPont is on its way out. Ouch.
Amy: I did think that Jeffrey Earnhardt might have deserved a little more fanfare. He’s what, the second fourth-generation NASCAR driver ever?
Beth: I think the lack of fanfare over Earnhardt is a product of where he made his debut, to be honest.
Amy: I’m not sure the venue is a good argument for lack of fanfare.
Mike N.: I think the Earnhardt lack of pub is because it was the second time it happened and not the first.
Amy: Adam Petty made his NASCAR debut at Gateway.
Beth: It’s not the venue I’m referring to, Amy, it’s the team. Had he debuted in the KHI No. 2, they would have made a huge fuss over it. The most coverage he received all race was after he was wrecked.
Mike N.: Or the No. 3 truck. It’s ind of a shame he didn’t make his debut for RCR or Earnhardt-Ganassi.
Amy: Perhaps. Adam was significant because he raced for Petty Enterprises
Kurt: It might also be Earnhardt fatigue. You’ve had Junior, Kerry, Kelly as a part owner — another Earnhardt just isn’t a new thing anymore.
Amy: I suppose. Still, it was a good opportunity to gather some publicity, and nobody capitalized.
Phil: In the end, Jeffrey was a novelty act. Watkins Glen gave him a press conference slot when he made his Nationwide debut last year.
Amy: I don’t know. Junior has gotten so much talk because he’s an Earnhardt. If his last name were Smith, would people still talk?
Mike N.: Not unless there was a Smith who had seven championships.
Kurt: But that’s what I’m saying, people hear about Junior all the time, and so the name Earnhardt doesn’t bring up any excitement. No one makes a big deal when Kerry races either.
Mike N.: Kerry generally isn’t a threat to win. Adam Petty was a winner in ARCA.
Amy: In any case, I think the fact that the point leader has no sponsor needs to be a huge wake-up call.
Kurt: Or they could look at it positively. They’re still running in the worst of times.
Mike N.: Wasn’t Johnny Benson struggling for sponsorship when he won the truck title?
Beth: Yup, and sponsorship was why he was dropped in early 2009.
Phil: Yeah, they had multiple sponsors (Exide Batteries, Toyota’s Certified Used Cars, etc.). Last year, they couldn’t get a sponsor after Daytona for his No. 1.
Amy: Shame … JB got screwed nine ways to Sunday.
Mike N.: So that is probably why it isn’t a big deal.
Beth: Bodine has had a primary sponsor in just two races this season and has nine top-5 finishes in 11 starts. There’s absolutely no reason for Germain Racing to not be able to land a sponsor.
Amy: Except that they have Todd Bodine and not the “Next Big Thing.”
Kurt: The thing is, what can NASCAR do? The Truck Series, as great as it is, just doesn’t get the audience.
Phil: They get OK ratings on SPEED … not great.
Mike N.: They could try paying decent purses and making a bigger deal out of the best racing they promote.
Kurt: I agree, but the time slot is awful too. Who’s home to watch it?
Phil: Friday night at 9:00 or Saturday afternoon at 1:30?
Kurt: Maybe they could make a big deal about staying home, saving money and watching great racing, but I don’t know if that would work.
Amy: Agreed, the TV package is a disaster.
Kurt: NASCAR’s PR people don’t know what to do with anything that isn’t a proven winner in the ratings — that’s why Danica is so big right now. I don’t even see commercials for the Truck Series anymore.You need to remind people that it’s there.
Phil: Can’t do much about the start times. You saw what the race was like Saturday with nearly 100 degree temperatures.
Beth: While all four stories were important for the weekend, Todd Bodine holding the points lead for so long without a primary sponsor should be getting the attention right now. Maybe it’ll help the team pull in what they need to move up that extra notch they need to visit victory lane even more.
Mike N.: The truck race was obviously loaded with several story lines but, when it is all said and done, the trucks don’t get the love the other series do when Kyle Busch isn’t running, so most people aren’t paying attention.

How about predictions for Indy?

Amy: I’m going with a quasi-Hoosier: Jeff Gordon.
Kurt: Jimmie Johnson. What the hell … can’t lose by picking the 48.
Phil: I’m going with McMurray.
Mike N.: I’m going to take Montoya.
Beth: Well crap … since you two took the Ganassi drivers, I’m going with Tony Stewart.
Mike N.: Wow, no one is going to take Hamlin? He is the flat track king these days.

Email the Mirror Guys ‘N’ Gals!
Contact Amy Henderson
Contact Beth Lunkenheimer
Contact Kurt Allen Smith
Contact Mike Neff
Contact Phil Allaway

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

Writer Points Behind Predictions (Starts) Wins Top 5s Top 10s
Amy Henderson 30 19 3 8 13
Phil Allaway 26 -4 15 1 7 12
Beth Lunkenheimer 21 -9 13 1 8 9
Summer Dreyer 9 -21 12 0 4 6
Mike Neff 10 -20 8 1 2 4
Matt Taliaferro 4 -27 4 1 1 2
Jeff Meyer 4 -27 12 0 2 6
Bryan Davis Keith 4 -27 3 0 1 2
Vito Pugliese 4 -27 2 0 1 2
Tom Bowles 3 -28 2 0 1 1
Kurt Smith 1 -30 4 0 1 1
Garrett Horton 1 -30 3 0 0 1
Tony Lumbis 0 -31 3 0 0 0
Toni Montgomery 0 -31 1 0 0 0

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
Nuts for Nationwide: The Curious Case of Elliott Sadler
Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors
Frontstretch Foto Funnies: It’s Not Gonna Fit…
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wcfan
07/21/2010 06:50 AM
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I believe Roger Penske is a big reason Brad and his team have not physically done anything. Roger is a Classey Guy and will not tolerate the bad behavior

JerseyGirl
07/21/2010 11:09 AM
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WCfan – you could be right. Unlike the rat in the hat, Penske seems to be a classier act.

iceracer91
07/21/2010 10:03 PM
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Everyone keeps saying Roush is in trouble in the standings. If the Chase started this week, RFR has more teams in the top 12 than Hendrick Motorsports (Roush has 3, Hendrick has 2). The only other team with that many cars is RCR. I agree that RFR has not been a threat for many wins this season, but when the entire championship is decided by who gets hot for 10 races, the rest of the season reallly don’t matter much if you are in the top 12.

Doug in eastern NC
07/24/2010 09:34 AM
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Mike N. you said the truck series doesn’t get much love when Kyle Bush is not racing. Actually if Kyle Bush is racing and blowing the field away, I’ll change the channel and stop watching.Even if he doesn’t win, I don’t care to see it at all.

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