It's the dawn of a new racing season and time for us to open the 2010 edition of the Mail Bag. We invite you to share your views, thoughts, opinions, observations and questions with us during the racing year and we'll do our best to post as many of those comments here with an answer or response.
The winter months have been pretty active so let's kick off our first edition of the Mail Bag with a few submissions from our loyal readers:
From: Dave Enneis
While I applaud NASCAR's decision to change things for the coming season, I'm wondering why something as drastic as ditching the rear wing for a spoiler came now rather than over the winter months to allow teams to develop cars with the blade.
NASCAR has maintained the change of wing for spoiler was purely driven by the fan's desire to see something more in line with a traditional stock car and that the decision came after much discussion with fans in the winter months. That's why the call has come only a few weeks before the start of the season but won't go into effect until late March when teams have had a chance to test the new configuration.
Will the return of bump drafting at Talladega and NASCAR's new hands off policy result in more aggressive driving and crashes?
I hope not, and that's certainly not NASCAR's intention. I like the fact that the bump drafting is back for 'Dega and puts things more in the drivers' hands. And if NASCAR takes that approach across the board, I believe the racing will get better and maybe the emotions will rise a little, which to me would be a good thing.
Pete, your article about this being a pivotal year for Dale Earnhardt Jr. couldn't be more precise. Junior can't afford to have a third disappointing season with Hendrick and I'm with you that I think if things don't turn around he'll go and run his own Cup team and follow in his father's path.
I have a pretty strong feeling that Junior and that 88 team will rebound this year for the simple reason of when Rick Hendrick says he's going to do something it usually is a foregone conclusion it gets done. Mr. H has made the resurgence of the Earnhardt team an offseason priority and aligned the 88 more closely with Mark Martin and the 5 squad. I've heard the chemistry and sharing of information between the two teams is going well and I believe Earnhardt will be one of this season's more pleasant surprises. On the other hand, I picked Carl Edwards to win the Sprint Cup championship last year, so take it for what it's worth.
From: Thomas Poke
Many people believe Sam Hornish Jr. will have a breakout year this season simply because he is in Year 3 of his transition from open wheel racing and that's how long it took Juan Pablo Montoya to make a name for himself in NASCAR. Do you agree?
Hornish is a talented driver, no doubt about it. However, despite seeing improvement from the 77 team, I'm not sure the Penske squad is going to be able to make steps forward this season as the only Dodge team in the Sprint Cup garage area. Montoya's arrival last year coincided with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing jelling as a whole. Penske has a lot of new things on its plate this season with Steve Addington joining Kurt Busch as crew chief and Brad Keselowski coming over to drive the No. 12 car. Add in the Dodge island Penske finds itself on and there's much to overcome.