Q: I may be the last Ken Schrader fan standing, and I was really hoping he would have taken that piece of bumper he was holding and knock David Ragan‘s block off Sunday. What a mess Martinsville turned out to be, thanks to that kid. Does Jack Roush not have anyone better to put in that seat? Can NASCAR not administer a driving test? – Stuck on 25
A: I’m afraid neither Jack Roush nor anyone else really has an answer for the driver shortage problem. I also don’t think they were ready for the embarrassing showing that Ragan put on at Martinsville. I’m not really sure why they leapt over Todd Kluever to get to Ragan in the first place, but they’ve made their bed now. As for your driving test, that’s a great idea; NASCAR already requires basic competence, but I’d like to see a real skills test before letting the kids out onto the track for real. Maybe NASCAR can hire some of these older drivers that keep getting put out of rides by the kids and have some kind of driving school. They could even make a reality show out of it… anything’s better than what we have now.
Q: Is Bobby Labonte really close to winning a race, or is this all just a tease? That third-place finish at Martinsville gives me hope, but I’m still not sure Petty can get it done. – Chucky
A: Well, Labonte probably had a top-15 car Sunday, and finished third mostly due to pit strategy. Having said that… yes, I think they can win. It’s going to have to be at the right track with the right conditions and a little luck, but this is no longer a backmarker team running around out there. Kyle Petty may have even had a better car than Labonte, and when was the last time you could say that? Baby steps… baby steps…
Q: (From Charlotte) Restrictor plates? PLEEEEEASE… Those things never did anything but turn a bad situation worse. Look at Daytona and Talladega. Safer? No, hell no! 43 cars riding around three-wide, less than a half-second between first and last, massive wrecks, cars and debris still in the stands. Safer? No way. The problem with Charlotte isn’t the track or the surface. The problem is these “pretty-boy” so-called drivers cannot actually drive a car. If the car is loose, they have to pull in and give it over to some engineer to “fix” it. There is nothing that says they must run a car flat-footed at every track. Sometimes, you have to feather the gas or brake to get through a turn. It’s called “driving.” Place some of the blame on Goodyear, too. I know I expect a lot from them to make a tire that can stay together for a few laps. After all, they’ve only been making tires for over 100 years. You’d think somebody there could at least get close. Why not bring in Goodrich, Firestone, or even Hoosier? I bet Goodyear would tighten their collective (expletive) up then. – Gary
A: The reason I advocated restrictor plates was simply to get the top speeds down. I know you bring the “Big Ones” back into play if you were to do that, but take another look at Martin’s crash and tell me we’re not headed for a skull-cracker there at some point. The talk about feathering the throttle is all well and good, but show me someone who’ll actually do that in a race, and I’ll show you the guy running 30th.
Q: You’ve got to hand it to Jimmie Johnson: he wins the race, gets to third in the Chase. You keep saying he’s going to fail, but I don’t see it. Care to admit you’re wrong yet? – Junior Es You Ex
A: Nope. For one thing, he’s got to go through Matt Kenseth, and I don’t see Kenseth falling off.
Q: I see where Ragan won’t be allowed to run Atlanta. That’s odd for NASCAR to do something like that. Why do you think they’d keep him from running? – Krystal
A: The NASCAR receptionist just called; Schrader left that piece of his bumper on Mike Helton’s desk.