What should happen next: A second race on dirt for the Trucks, a race on dirt for Xfinity, or a race on dirt for Cup?
Nate Ryan: A midweek race on dirt for Cup at Eldora Speedway. As track general manager Roger Slack explained last year, an interim step with Xfinity doesn’t make much sense. Cup cars would work at the short track, it’s just a matter of getting the logistics worked out and settling on a solid tire compound.
Dustin Long: Cup race on dirt. Everyone talks about making bold changes to the sport. Be bold.
Daniel McFadin: Xfinity on dirt. These kind of experiments shouldn’t skip a step on their way up to the premier series. The question is where do they race in order to keep Eldora its own thing?
Dan Beaver: A combination weekend with Xfinity and Cup. And the perfect place for it would be Virginia Motor Speedway – a half-mile clay track with modern amenities, grandstands that could actually hold enough fans to make it profitable.
Last week, Martin Truex Jr. won a jukebox for winning at Kentucky. This weekend, the New Hampshire winner will collect a lobster. What is a trophy in racing (past or current) that ranks high on your list?
Nate Ryan: The Harley J. Earl Trophy is a mammoth and ornate representation of the winning significance of NASCAR’s marquee race. The timeless elegance of Martinsville Speedway’s grandfather clocks would be a close second.
Dustin Long: As an Indiana native, you can’t beat the Borg-Warner Trophy for the Indianapolis 500 winner, but I always liked the surfboard given to the winner at Auto Club Speedway.
Daniel McFadin: I have an affinity for the trophy given to winners at Bristol Motor Speedway. There’s nothing flashy about it and it would feel at home in Victory Lane in any decade of NASCAR history.
Dan Beaver: It’s hard to beat the grandfather clock from Martinsville – the iconic special trophy.
Of the seven remaining races before the playoffs, which one are you most intrigued to see what happens?
Nate Ryan: Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Though the action (or dearth of it) won’t necessarily be different as the Brickyard moves to the cutoff slot, it will be interesting to see how the myriad points battles unfold.
Dustin Long: Pocono. Pit strategy can play a key role there. Two of the last four races there have been won by drivers scoring their first career series win (Chris Buescher in 2016 and Ryan Blaney in 2017).
Daniel McFadin: Watkins Glen. It’s the race where strategy or absolute chaos could be instrumental in a new winner. I’m hoping for chaos.
Dan Beaver: It’s gotta be Bristol, baby! Only three races will remain until the playoffs and the entire field is going to be jacked up.