Those injured by Saturday’s horrifying, last-lap Daytona wreck in the Nationwide Series in which parts of Kyle Larson’s car went over the catchfence continue to improve. Five of the seven patients sent to Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach have been released, according to the most recent update Thursday morning. The two that remain in …
Wednesday evening, NASCAR announced that Jeremy Clements, the owner and driver of the No. 51 Chevrolet in the Nationwide Series, has been suspended indefinitely from the Nationwide Series. This suspension is due to a violation of NASCAR’s Code of Conduct that occurred on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Operations …
*Danica Patrick made history last Sunday, becoming the first female to win a pole in the Sprint Cup Series. What impact, if any, will it have on her season and NASCAR as a whole?*
Phil: Somewhere between bukpis and bupkis. While it is nice to win the pole at Daytona, it doesn’t really help her case for the rest of the season. There have been drivers who have had terrible years win the pole for the 500. Loy Allen, Jr. won the pole in 1994, then DNQ’d 12 times.
Kevin: That’s the exact stat I was actually going to point to, Phil! In terms of the season, it’s definitely a nice boost of confidence, but it’s still just one pole position at the beginning of the year. She’s still gotta perform in the actual race(s).
Jeff: I think it gives her a big boost of confidence that she can drive a fast car. How much impact she has will depend on her ability to stay consistent. I think she will have some good races, top 15s even, and some 30-something finishes.
*Saturday night was the induction ceremony for this year’s NASCAR Hall of Fame class… but only two of the five being honored were alive to receive their award. With so much history to catch up on, this sport seems to be in a pickle to induct many of their living legends before they, too pass away. Is it important for inductees to still be living when they receive this honor and, if so, how do the powers that be solve this problem? *
Summer: I’ve heard several people say induct as many as ten per year, but that would take away from the prestige, I think.
Amy: It’s more important for the most deserving people to be inducted. I think ten would have been the way to go the first year, maybe even the second, but not anymore.
*Which is bigger in America today: the Daytona 500 or the Indy 500?*
Amy: Indy. It has more prestige, more history, more mystique.
Summer: I’m with Amy. It’s the history and prestige that makes it bigger. More non-race watching Americans know the Indy 500 better than the Daytona 500.
*It’s hard to compare drivers across different eras of the sport. But 20 or 30 years from now, which active drivers are we going to look back at as the best of this current generation?*
Summer: I think you have to look at Jimmie Johnson by default.
Tom: Jimmie Johnson is a given.
Mike: Johnson, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Larson.
Amy: Johnson is an incredibly smooth, intuitive driver. Jeff Gordon has been winning for 20 years now and is a certain Hall of Famer. But I still think the best pure talent in the sport today is Stewart.
*With 2013 on the horizon, what was the biggest issue in NASCAR that has, thus far, gone unresolved?*
Matt S.: Aero push.
Mike N.: Aero dependency.
Amy: Aero dependency and late season ratings.
Summer: The way these cars race (even with the new ones coming). No one likes them. Not the drivers, not the crews, not the fans.
*Brad Keselowski is the 2012 Sprint Cup champion, and is a bit polarizing with his “Bad Brad” moniker. How do you think Keselowski will be remembered as champion…and how many more will he win?*
Phil: Especially since Brad’s only 28, it’s a little early to say how many he’ll win. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he snags a couple of more.
Mike N.: Keselowski is going to be a great spokesperson for the sport. I believe he’ll be able to effect change, unlike some other champs because he is extremely smart and very introspective. I believe he’ll be remembered for changing the social media aspect of the sport, making it mainstream and speaking his mind. That, and drinking out of the biggest Miller Lite glass he could find after winning.
*After Sunday’s tangle between Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon, and the subsequent fights among crews — not to mention an obscenity-laden tirade by Brad Keselowski afterward — are the penalties NASCAR levied sufficient?*
Amy: Sufficient? More like over the top. Pattie’s fine for not controlling his crew, I agree with, because the way they ambushed Gordon was not cool. The penalties for Gordon and Keselowski were both over the top.
Mike N.: I thought the fine for Gordon was too much. I was surprised at Gustafson; I thought he would get some money taken, too. Other than that, I thought Pattie’s was fair.
*Other drivers and race fans were quick to accuse both Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson, respectively, of jumping the final two restarts on Sunday, though NASCAR says neither driver broke any rules. Did either one gain an unfair advantage on a restart… and should NASCAR consider a return to single-file restarts late in Cup races?*
Summer: Oh, my gosh _no_ do _not_ go back to single-file restarts. Double-file restarts are the best change NASCAR has made. Also, I watched both replays and I didn’t see either of them do anything wrong. They both did what they needed to do.
Tom: Well, you know I’m the first to say the double-file, lead-lap restart system is a total gimmick. But in terms of what happened Sunday night… couldn’t agree more with Brad Keselowski when he said, “Fair play on both sides.”
*Jimmie Johnson’s win at Martinsville propels him into the points lead with three races to go in the season — will the change from defensive mode to offensive for opponent Brad Keselowski change the outlook from here on out?*
Phil: Well, I think they’ll both be on the offensive this weekend in Texas.
Summer: I’ve been saying for a few months now that Jimmie Johnson will win the championship and I’m sticking by that.