NASCAR America bold predictions: Jimmie Johnson goes winless, Clint Bowyer a title contender

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This week’s edition of Bump & Run included stand out performances and surprises. NASCAR America analysts Jeff Burton and Dale Jarrett weighed in with their own picks, including some bold predictions for the remainder of the season.

Jarrett’s bold prediction was in tribute to Kyle Petty, who was home with his new baby boy during the taping of Wednesday’s show.

“Every year since we’ve had the playoffs, Kyle has always said that Jimmie Johnson is not advancing to the next round,” Jarrett said. “He always does, and it makes us wrong, so I’m going to make him make me wrong here. I say Jimmie Johnson is not going to win a race this season.”

Burton’s prophecy was about another driver’s ultimate success.

“Mine, after coming off of a win, may not seem that bold,” Burton said. “But I think Clint Bowyer … is going to go to Homestead with a chance to win the championship. The reason why is because … (of) consistency. I think about a guy who isn’t necessarily gonna win six races a year, but he is going to always grind out finishes.”

For more, watch the video above.

NASCAR America: Keep testing All-Star rules package, but keep cars hard to race

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More than three weeks after NASCAR tested a new rules package for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in the All-Star race, the debate continues as to whether it should be used in a points race.

Last week, Brad Keselowski expressed concern that fewer top drivers would come to NASCAR if this was the primary rules package because the cars would be too easy to drive.

Mark Martin added his support, saying: “NASCAR racing, from the way it was at the very beginning, that was a different skillset from taking cars and choking them off.”

He added: “It really, really hurts me to think about if we’re going to change that to satisfy Johnny-come-lately fans.”

That spurred a response from Jeff Burton on Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America.

“I think what they are trying to say is there is an integrity to racing,” Burton said. “And how do you keep that integrity? … I don’t care how much horsepower (the cars) make. When someone wins an Xfinity race, they don’t get out and say ‘anybody could run it because they have less horsepower than a Cup car.’”

Burton believes the competition was improved in the All-Star race. Last year’s Xfinity race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway race was much improved – a fact that is undebatable, according to Burton. But the results have been far from conclusive. The rules package did not make much of a difference at Pocono Raceway. It did at Michigan International Speedway, but the cars were notably slower.

“Now NASCAR and all the stakeholders get to take that information and learn from it and try to come with a package that does everything everybody wants it to do,” Burton said. “They still need to be hard to drive. NASCAR has never said that they want pack racing at Michigan. They’ve never said that. They want it to remain so it’s difficult to drive.”

So how do they do it? The answer is not going to be a simple one, but Burton believes there is an answer to be had.

“There is nothing wrong with looking at it and trying to figure it out,” Burton said. “I think what everybody’s worried about is that this package is the only answer. And it’s not. This package is something that’s being tried to learn what’s good and what’s bad – and ultimately a decision is going to be made to make the racing better at these particular racetracks – not everywhere. And I don’t know how that is bad for the sport.

“Unless, anybody can get in the car and do it.”

For more, watch the video above.

NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET: Driver 2 Driver with Matt Kenseth

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN and looks at this week’s major storylines in the sport.

Carolyn Manno hosts with Dale Jarrett and Jeff Burton from the Big Oak Table in Charlotte.

· Matt Kenseth’s return to the track has had its ups and downs, but he is determined to help Roush Fenway Racing become winners again. The future Hall of Famer sat down with Kyle Petty to talk about his new challenge in the latest edition of “Driver 2 Driver.”

· The Big Oak Table becomes the Mayor’s Office. Jeff Burton shares his thoughts on the debate over the All-Star rules package, which thrilled fans last month but has some drivers worried for the future. Also on the Mayor’s agenda: Does a rain-shortened win like Clint Bowyer’s at Michigan hold the same value as a full-distance victory?

· As the Cup Series heads into the off weekend, Jarrett and Burton will also chime in on some important questions about the season so far that Dustin Long raises in the latest Bump & Run column on NBCSports.com.

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch it online at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

NASCAR America: Brad Keselowski’s comments about Michigan tires ‘unnecessary’

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Earlier this week Brad Keselowski took to Twitter criticize the tire combination Goodyear had chosen for this weekend’s races at Michigan International Speedway after an April tire test.

“Our team (and several others) tested multiple tire compounds and recommended every one of them but this one,” Keselowski said. “In no way do I wanna be associated with this decision.”

On Thursday, Goodyear’s director of racing said Keselowski didn’t even test the exact tire combination that’s being used this weekend.

On NASCAR America, analyst Jeff Burton expressed disapproval of Keselowski’s comments.

“Brad Keselowski wants to be a leader in this sports,” Burton said. “Brad puts a lot of time into making this sport better. I want to give him credit for that, because some drivers don’t. Some drivers are here, they want to get the most out of it, but they don’t necessarily want to put a lot of time in to help the sport. But this kind of to me is unnecessary. I don’t know what good comes from it.”

Burton said Goodyear took all the data it collected from the test and “made the decision they thought was best, from a safety standpoint as well as from a competition standpoint.”

Burton continued: “There’s times when you have an internal struggle. Just keep it internal. Why are we having a conversation with the fans about what tire Goodyear picked? I just don’t understand that. Now if I bought a ticket for Michigan, am I thinking, ‘Well should I have not bought my ticket?’ That’s not fair.”

Watch the above video for more.

 

NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET: Michigan preview, Garrett Smithley’s journey to Cup

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN and continues to preview this weekend’s racing at Michigan International Speedway.

Marty Snider hosts with Jeff Burton and Nate Ryan from the Big Oak Table at NBC Charlotte.

On today’s show:

·  Three of Kyle Larson’s five career Cup wins have come at Michigan. Will he add his name next to Bill Elliott’s in the history book with his fourth straight win at MIS? Or will Chase Elliott bring Chevy their first win since the Daytona 500?

·  Martin Truex Jr. is seeking back-to-back wins for the first time this season. But why did the 2017 NASCAR Cup Champion circle Michigan on his calendar?

·  Brad Keselowski was very outspoken on the tires NASCAR will be using for this weekend’s Cup race. Our analysts will discuss his comments, and whether he or Erik Jones can be the first Michigan-born driver to win a Cup race in the Great Lake State.

·  Ever heard of Garrett Smithley? The Georgia-born driver will be making his Cup series debut this weekend at Michigan. We’ll take a look at his unique journey to NASCAR’s top level.

· Kyle Larson’s name is alongside Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett as both drivers gained their first Cup win at Michigan. We will see where those wins ranks in today’s “Top Five Michigan Finishes.”

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch it online at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.