Are you OK with NASCAR making every attempt possible to finish a race under green even if it means officials might not call a caution in overtime until the leader has passed the overtime line?
Nate Ryan: No. After a 13-year run, it’s time to eliminate the overtime/green-white-checkered policy, which worked fine for roughly 56 years. End races at their schedule distances. The debate over how to end races has become endlessly intricate and pointlessly circuitous.
Dustin Long: It’s obvious that the overtime line is not the solution. It creates too many questions about NASCAR’s reaction to crashes as the leaders approach the overtime line. Fans like racing the way it was back in the day? Fine, give it to them. A 400-mile race ends … after 400 miles, not something that is extended to 408 miles. What a concept!
Daniel McFadin: I’m all for NASCAR making every attempt to finish under green, but they need to do it via rules they are consistent in enforcing. In the last few months they have been consistent in not calling cautions in a timely manner in overtime. I’ll give them a pass for Indy, since they were about out of sunlight.
Jerry Bonkowski: NASCAR will almost always attempt to finish a race under green, but sometimes there are — and need to be — exceptions. There wasn’t much choice at Indy because of approaching darkness, but I’m comfortable with the overall system the way it is. NASCAR will never be able to make everyone happy, but it puts forth what I consider an honest effort to complete races.
How many drivers will make the playoffs on points?
Nate Ryan: None … or one. It depends on how you want to phrase this question. Five more drivers will lay claim to playoff berths on victories (Kyle Busch at Pocono, Chase Elliott at Michigan, Matt Kenseth at Bristol, Joey Logano at Darlington and Clint Bowyer at Richmond), and points will determine which 16 of 17 winners qualify for the 10-race championship run.
Dustin Long: Three. Unless Kyle Busch keeps finding ways to lose races, I expect him to win a race before the playoffs. I don’t foresee anyone else without a win pulling off a victory before the playoffs.
Daniel McFadin: I think we’ll get one more first-time winner this season in the next six races and three drivers get in on points.
Jerry Bonkowski: Just two drivers will point their way into the playoffs.
Jamie McMurray, Chase Elliott and Matt Kenseth are the last three drivers in the playoff standings. Who has the best chance of making the playoffs?
Nate Ryan: As noted above, opportunities for wins are looming for Elliott and Kenseth. McMurray has been very consistent, though, and if there is a spot to be claimed on points, he has a solid shot.
Dustin Long: Jamie McMurray. Think the final races before the playoffs begin set up well for him and he should easily advance by points.
Daniel McFadin: Jamie McMurray. He and Elliott are tied with 11 top 10s this year, but McMurray has a better average finish through 20 races at 13.2. McMurray might not win, but he’ll continue his consistent performance.
Jerry Bonkowski: I have to go with veteran experience for this one. While McMurray has had a good season, I’m leaning towards Matt Kenseth to make what could potentially be the final playoffs of his Cup career — if he doesn’t catch on with another team for 2018.