Should Helio Castroneves debut his trophy at Daytona?

Is Daytona International Speedway a good path for Helio Castroneves to make his debut in the NASCAR Cup Series?

Josh Roller: I don’t think the hyper-fast track should be the first non-NASCAR driver debut in a series, including the driver with four Indianapolis 500 wins. I’d rather see Helio Castroneves make his NASCAR debut at a mile-and-a-half track or in A place familiar to him, like Pocono Raceway. In a way, I understand why the idea of ​​making his ASCA debut at Daytona is appealing. Both Daytona races are essential in their own right to the calendar as a whole. The story would be better if he debuted in Daytona, but that’s not 1970. A driver unfamiliar with regular cars doesn’t need to make his debut on a high-speed road – I don’t care who they are. If he had started several NASCAR Xfinity Series races before trying the Superspeedway Xfinity, then yes, Helio could make his Cup debut at Daytona, but that’s not the case.

Andrew Stoddard: I think Daytona is a great place for anyone to get into the Trophy series for the first time, especially an open-wheeler driver like Castroneves. While board racing is mentally taxing for the driver, Daytona and Talladega are generally physically easier to get around for the driver unfamiliar with regular cars. Having Helio on the field would also bring more interest to a track in the Cup Series schedule that already brings in high TV ratings and in-person attendance.

Stephen Stumpf: Daytona would be the best because the draft was always the great equalizer. It gives the underdogs a chance to outsmart them with strong powers, and it will be Castroneves’ best chance to be semi-competitive. And besides, who would turn down the chance to race in the most famous NASCAR event on the schedule?

How will interim crew chief Kevin Mindering affect Kyle Larson’s performance, if at all?

Stoddard: I don’t expect a big change in performance in fifth one way or another over the next four weeks. Meendering is a longtime employee of Hendrick Motorsports and currently works as the Director of Competition Development, so he is familiar with how the organization operates. Furthermore, Meendering has extensive crew chief experience at the Cup level with Jimmie Johnson in 2019 and at the Xfinity level with Elliott Sadler from 2016-2018. Also, we’ve seen the other race teams hold up really well with interim crew chiefs this season. The most notable example is Joe Gibbs Racing’s Toyota Team #11. Denny Hamlin won a Coca-Cola 600 with interim crew chief Samuel McCauley last month while Chris Gabbart was on a four-race suspension due to a wheel problem. With that in mind, Kyle Larson and Team #5 have noticeably lagged behind their 2021 championship pace during the first half of the season. Nashville might be a good opportunity to step up their game, as Larson was the title holder.

Jack Swansea: Team #5 is a well-oiled machine. Daniels’ comment will have little effect on Larson’s results. Likely to win Nashville.

Anthony Damcott: Frankly, Team #5 has nothing to worry about in terms of losing playoffs, so losing Cliff Daniels isn’t a huge blow, at least for now. Meendering will keep the car’s status quo for these four weeks, making little, if any, changes to the setup that Daniels already had in the car. Team #5 is safe in the playoffs, regardless of whether there are more than 16 winners this season or not, so they just need to get through these four weeks of business as usual so they can get back on track and get ready for the game. Playoffs once Daniels returns.

Is Carson Hocevar ready to compete in the Cup Series?

Swansea: Especially with next-generation cars that race very differently than anything in the lower series, the best preparation for Cup Series success is to experience the Cup Series. Yes, Carson Hocevar isn’t ready for a full-time Cup ride, but a part-time deal with low expectations to get the 19-year-old collector accustomed to the rhythm of longer races and handling cup cars could prove more beneficial in the long run than finding his way to the best ride of Xfinity Series – Just ask the occasional Niece Motorsports teammate, Ross Chastain. Hocevar isn’t a track risk (Ryan Price probably wouldn’t agree with him) and I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t be in five or six games next year for Spire Motorsports, the money team, or anyone like that.

Damcot: It would be worth a pose test to get him to take his seat and figure out where he stands compared to a cup competition, but a full-time effort? Not yet, and I think Hocevar realizes that, too. Hocevar still hasn’t made a full race in the truck series yet, and needs to start doing it more consistently to even transition to riding the Xfinity full time. He’s clearly superior to the equipment he’s using, but he still needs to prove he can close the deal quite often before we can start talking about a full-time effort at the Cup.

Amy Henderson: Stand there, Baccaro! Hocevar is in his second full year in the truck series and shows a lot of promise but he is 19 years. Pushing him into a cup car could ruin his career at this point. If it doesn’t provide immediate performance, damaged goods can be graded on it and end up in underfunded rear index cars. Very few drivers came back from that once it happened; Daniel Suarez is the exception rather than the rule, and Suarez was the Xfinity Champion before he was rushed. Hocevar does well, but he hasn’t run a championship level in trucks yet. Even a part-time cup schedule for a sub-par team can get in the way; He’d be better off looking for a high-quality Xfinity journey as a development driver for an established Cup organization rather than now going for the Racing Cup at all costs.

Now that there have been two races at Knoxville Raceway, which track should stay on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule?

Stompf: It wasn’t accident-free, but last Saturday’s (June 18) race in Knoxville was a lot cleaner than the 2021 demolition derby. The stadium has more track experience, and the race was good enough to warrant a return for 2023. However, the truck race must be moved in Bristol Motor Speedway dirt track to Xfinity Series or removed entirely if Knoxville continues to operate. The series only needs one race on dirt, and the real dirt track in Knoxville will do a better showing than the hybrid dirt track show in Bristol.

Damcot: There should only be one dirt race on the schedule each year – which is what makes dirt races so special for NASCAR – so they need to either cancel that race or the dirt race in Bristol, and given that this is a permanent dirt track in the Sprint Car Capital of the world, I think the decision will be relatively easy as to which one to stop. However, Knoxville was such a mess last year that it left a bad taste in fans’ mouths this year (and let’s not act like this year, while we haven’t had any wild moments—just ask Jessica Friesen or Brett Moffett). So one might wonder if NASCAR still has to go back there. my solution? There is a permanent dirt track in New Weston, Ohio, that could be very suitable for a single dirt truck race – Eldora Speedway. Why did the series stop going there anyway? It worked, so why change it?

Henderson: I agree with the one dirt race a year, and I’d rather see NASCAR drop Bristol and keep the Truck Series on a dedicated dirt track. The flip side of doing one race a year is that some drivers don’t have sloppy backgrounds, and the races can get a little unruly — Knoxville has definitely shown that. I still like the idea of ​​a single dirt race as a nod to NASCAR history, and while I would have preferred to see them at Eldora, Knoxville is a better option than Bristol. NASCAR should be looking to move the Cup race onto a permanent dirt track as well — not necessarily in Knoxville, but not in Bristol either. NASCAR basically drops a short track for a dirt race when they should drop a big track at that level.

cylinder: The 2022 edition of the Camping World Truck Series at Knoxville Raceway has been greatly improved from the 2021 race. Whatever the reason, the track was better prepared and prepared between stages, resulting in a much better race. Trucks seemed to be able to move, and bumper car racing wasn’t. I’m willing to give it another try just to see if more fans come next year. The 2021 race could have easily deterred many from wanting to see it this year. Not to mention, gas prices may have kept fans away from Knoxville and more racing this season. Put Knoxville on the 2023 schedule, and let’s reevaluate the race in one year.


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