Dustin Long: Erik Jones’ car. Might not be by much.
Daniel McFadin: Erik Jones. It would take a lot for someone to make it to the end of the All-Star Race with more damage than that and win … unless that damage came on the last lap.
Jerry Bonkowski: The winner of the All-Star Race. With $1 million on the line, it’s unlikely any car will get through the race without some damage. The driver with the least damage wins, period.
Who is your pick to win the All-Star Race?
Dustin Long: Joey Logano. He isn’t afraid to beat and bang. This could be his race.
Daniel McFadin: Jimmie Johnson. He’s pissed off, has been fast and was a frontrunner at Bristol back in May.
Jerry Bonkowski: Kurt Busch. I’m going to go with a guy who knows his way around Bristol quite well and who has had a great deal of success there.
What do you put the chances that Jimmie Johnson makes the playoffs?
Dustin Long: 85%. He’s already been disqualified from one race, losing all but one point from that event, and missed Indy, and is still in a playoff spot. It might not be comfortable for his fans, but I don’t think they should sweat it too much.
Daniel McFadin: 90%. He’s been too fast to not make the playoffs in some form.
Jerry Bonkowski: I’m convinced Johnson will make the playoffs, but his success and consistency needs a big jump upward, lest JJ is eliminated at the end of the first round.
Cole Custer’s win was surprising. So what’s the most surprising NASCAR win since you’ve seen since following the sport?
Dustin Long: The one that comes to mind immediately is James Buescher’s 2012 Xfinity Series win at Daytona. He was 11th entering the final corner. He won when the top 10 cars wrecked. It was his first NASCAR win and only Xfinity Series victory.
Daniel McFadin: If not Trevor Bayne’s Daytona 500 win, it would be Chase Elliott‘s Roval win last year. He drove nose first into a tire barrier, came back and won. It was shocking to say the least.
Jerry Bonkowski: Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s win in the summer race at Daytona in July 2001, less than five months after his father was killed in the Daytona 500. That was one of the most surprising and emotional wins in any sport I’ve covered in my career.