They also said it will not only make for more excitement for fans both at-track and watching at home, but will also create a brand new strategy for crew chiefs and drivers to come up with from stage to stage.
Dale Earnhardt was very aggressive in his final Cup start at Sonoma Raceway, and while it may have resulted in his Lap 14 accident in Turn 11, it also helped produce his third top 10 of the year and his second in a row.
“I think being offensive is better than being passive on a road course, nothing wrong with that,” said NASCAR America analyst Max Papis, who also broke down what caused Earnhardt’s bizarre spin early in Sunday’s race that also involved Danica Patrick and Kyle Larson.
“You’ve got to commit, usually the pass has happened before you actually arrive at the corner,” Papis said. “He thought that was a good opportunity, (then) committed. ”
NASCAR America’s analysts also discussed Earnhardt’s upcoming start at Daytona, which likely will be his final Cup start there. The track may be his best shot to earn a win and a spot in the playoffs.
The analysts believe the aggressiveness that was on display at Sonoma will be necessary for Earnhardt to pull a win out at Daytona.
Earnhardt was near the front at Talladega in May late in the race when he was forced to pit for a loose tire with less than 15 laps to go.
That leaves the 14-time most popular driver with just two more chances to win a restrictor-plate race, the format he’s earned 10 of his 26 Cup Series wins.
“They’ve got to find a way to give him a car where he can be aggressive Dale Jr.,” Jeff Burton said. “What makes him so good at Daytona and Talladega is that he doesn’t hesitate. He’s the guy setting the tempo, he’s the guy forcing the issue. … He can’t drive with caution, he can’t drive worried about if ‘is my car going to stick?’ He’s got to stick it in there and know it’s going to stick. He hasn’t had that the last several plate races.”
Watch the above video for the full discussion.
NASCAR returns to Daytona International Speedway this weekend with the Cup and Xfinity Series.
Cup teams will compete in the Coke Zero 400, which will air at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday on NBC and the Xfinity Series holds the Coca-Colca Firecracker 250, which will air at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday on NBCSN.
Here are the entry lists for both races.
Cup – Coke Zero 400
Forty cars are entered into the 17th race of the Cup season. That would make it the sixth race this year to have the most possible cars in the field.
Ryan Sieg will drive the No. 83 Toyota for BK Racing in his third start for the team.
Xfinity – Coca-Cola Firecracker 250
There is no driver announced for the No. 93 Chevrolet owned by RSS racing.
Ryan Reed won the February Xfinity race at Daytona after being involved in two crashes and leading nine laps. Aric Almirola won last year’s July race after a caution on the last lap forced NASCAR to review video and loop data and determined him the winner over Justin Allgaier.
Kyle Busch may have yet another view in his ear this weekend when he races in the Coke Zero 400.
Interim crew chief Ben Beshore may be suspended for the race after two unsecured lug nuts were found on the No. 18 Toyota after the Sonoma race.
The possible loss of Beshore comes after Busch’s usual crew chief, Adam Stevens, was suspended four races for a wheel falling off Busch’s car following a pit stop at Dover.
Daytona will be the fourth race of that suspension. NASCAR America’s analysts discussed the impact of the possible suspension for Busch, who is still looking for his first win since July of last year.
“They’re not making mistakes, they’re just finding themselves in difficult positions,” Dale Jarrett said. “This is certainly another one of those, going to a race track Kyle Busch can win at. But who you have on that pit box means a lot as for performing all through a race.”
Said Jeff Burton, “The frustration level is mounting, obviously. Kyle Busch is expecting to win races. … I think if you’re going to lose your crew chief, this is probably the race you want to lose it for. Going to Daytona, you pretty much have a plan going there. The pit strategy will be interesting with the stages, but if I was going to a race track, this would be the race I’d feel most comfortable without my crew chief.”
Watch the above video for the full segment.
The Circle Sport/The Motorsports Group announced that Eddie Pardue is the new crew chief on its No. 33 Chevrolet effective immediately.
Pardue, who was the team’s head of engineering, will lead the effort on Jeffrey Earnhardt‘s car this weekend in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. This will be his first Cup race as a crew chief since 2008, when he led Greg Biffle in one race at Auto Club Speedway. He has three wins in 338 races as crew chief in the Xfinity Series dating back to 1998.
The former competition director for Red Horse Racing in the Camping World Truck Series, Pardue replaces Pay Tryson, who has been released from the team.
Tryson directed Boris Said at Sonoma Raceway, where he finished 29th. Earnhardt has been in the No. 33 in every other race. His best result in his first 15 starts was 26th in the Daytona 500.