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Old 25 Jun 2001, 08:18 (Ref:109445)   #1
Joe Fan
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Joe Fan should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridJoe Fan should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
Hired guns, road racers being brought in for WC road course events. Good or bad?

I would like to hear everyone's opinion on Winston Cup teams bringing in experienced road racers, or creating special one-off teams for them, solely for the road course events. Is this good or bad? Is it good to see how a Jeff Gordon or a Tony Stewart compares against a Ron Fellows, Scott Pruett or Boris Said? Or is it bad because these guys aren't racing for points and they are 1) taking liberties on the track going for the win because they aren't concerned with the big picture and/or 2) they are sending Winston Cup regulars home.
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Old 25 Jun 2001, 12:50 (Ref:109543)   #2
KC
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KC should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridKC should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
These guys are racing for points. Remember, the points go to the car owner, not the driver. So in the points structure NASCAR uses, a hired gun driver is sometimes the way to go.
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Old 25 Jun 2001, 19:07 (Ref:109656)   #3
Emfa
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I'm sure that there's lots of arguments for and against, but my personal preference would be for the 'hired guns' to stay at home. I say this because I look forward to the road races each year to see how the regular speedway guys handle themselves. One of the marks of a great driver is versatility, and road racing is a skill that the great drivers will master.

Were there any regular Cup drivers who went home this weekend because they were bumped by a hired gun? It seemed to me that most of the hired guns were replacements rather than additions to the field. There were at least 2 replacements for injuries, and I think the only addition to the field was Joe Nemechek's car (can't remember driver).

Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't there owner points and driver points? Whatever the case, the point is probably moot because the drivers in the hunt for the championship will unlikely be replaced with a road-course specialist therefore little impact on championship standings, and the drivers at the other end of the points table could be replaced without having much impact on championship standings while the owner is gaining valuable points that will help with provisionals and final owner standings, etc.

One last thought - the 2 Cup races on road courses are probably not a good way to compare the better drivers from the different disciplines. The best way to do that would be to use something like IROC and add 4 road course races to the 4 speedway races! That would be interesting!
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Old 25 Jun 2001, 23:50 (Ref:109752)   #4
Victor Broccoli
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I'm all for it. I'm giant on road racing. I absolutely love it. And, when you put the NASCAR boys on a road course, there's a LOT of passing. A LOT! Probably more in this race than we saw all of 17 races last year in F1.

I agree that teams should be able to run hired guns. Why? Note that all the teams that DID sub in a roadracer were fielding normal drivers that didn't have a chance at the Championship. I think it's quite interesting to see an experienced roadracer take the wheel of a struggling car and drag it to midfield/top of field (sort of like Robby Gordon did for the #7, Fellows for the #87). Besides, it adds to the competition (I'd rather see someone besides the open-wheel converts lead/dominate the road courses).

Although, if they're going to have road courses, can we visit some of the better ones in the country? Yeah, Watkins Glen is an AMAZING course. But Sears Point pales in comparison to venues such as Laguna Seca and Road America.

My idea: a separate award given for points finishes in road course races. Have about 5 in a season (IMO, a Laguna Seca date is better than ANOTHER date at one of Bruton's oval-clones. There's almost no real difference between Texas & Atlanta. Or California & Michigan) and award the top overall finisher some money. After all, the teams that DO have these hired guns aren't running major in the championship because they're short on money. Look at all the missing sponsor areas! Those things covered mean money. And a nice check for the top roadie finishers would go a way in helping these teams become competitive.

After all, isn't competition what it's all about?
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Old 25 Jun 2001, 23:57 (Ref:109757)   #5
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Crash Test should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridCrash Test should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
Well I'd say if I were the owner of a 'backmarker' team, and had a driver who couldn't do the car justice on a road circuit, I don't think I would have a problem sticking a circuit racing pro in there. Shouldn't the best man win the race?

I agree with Emfa there that they, in the overall scheme of things don't do much to the championship, the only exception I could see is if the race was held at the end of the season, and the teams hired these guns to go out there and upset the result of the race/championship.
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Old 29 Jun 2001, 18:14 (Ref:111207)   #6
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Joe Fan should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridJoe Fan should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
Time for me to chime in. Overall, I would have to say that hired guns are really a positive aspect for the sport because it makes the competition all that better. Competition is what NASCAR is all about. And what other top series provides the opportunity for specialists to do one-offs? I think it provides interesting scenarios like seeing how Ron Fellows stacks up against the best NASCAR road racers and vice versa. However, my feeling might change if one of these specialists muck up someone's championship hunt going for a win with a stupid on-track move. I also feel that in many cases, I think if NASCAR Owner X thinks road racer X is good enough to put in his car for one race, why not all of them if he is really that good? But this is becoming more commonplace. It is happening in CART as well when drivers with road racing background have been subsituted with experienced oval track drivers for the oval races. This almost was the case for Chip Ganassi's team at Indy this year when he went after Stewart and Vasser but he ended up building a teams for his regular drivers as well.
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Old 30 Jun 2001, 15:28 (Ref:111497)   #7
Lee
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I equate this as the same argurment about the Winston Cup drivers running the Busch races. I don't believe that they should, and I don't think that "hired guns", specialist or whatever you want to call them should be brought in specifically for the purpose of running thes two races! I agree with Jeff Hammond on this issue. He stated it very correctly, "I have nothing against the road-racing specialist, or them entering these races. After all, their very good at what they do What I do have a problem with is them replacing the regular drivers in their regular rides. If they are entered in their own rides, I have no problem with it, but not replacing a series regular in his regular ride!" That is my feeling exactly!
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