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Expect aggressive bump-drafting; Menard vs. Montoya
Menard vs. MontoyaMark from Hays, Kan.: Jeff, I have enjoyed watching Paul Menard the last two years, and I was impressed with his times during testing. We saw Denny Hamlin come out of the gate last year, leaving all of us with our jaws dropped. Paul has Tony Eury Sr., an excellent crew chief. Can he come out and let people know he is meant to be on the track with the big boys, or will he have a year like Martin Truex Jr? Jeff Hammond: That's the question. Is Dale Earnhardt Inc. totally prepared? Paul Menard is the sleeper in this rookie class because he's not one of those guys who seeks out cameras or reporters. He just likes driving his race car. He could be the guy that, very quietly, makes a name for himself under the radar. He could be the guy that steals Montoya's thunder.
|Speed Mail Jeff Hammond|
Jarrett should be fineJoe from La Grange, Ky.: Egad, Jeff! With the new rule for champion's provisionals, I guess it's almost a lock that one of the sport's biggest names not to mention one of NASCAR's biggest sponsors will miss a race or two this year. Do you think the time is ripe for franchising? I know, I know; another blow to "tradition." However, times change, and with all of the new rides, it's going to be harder than ever to get consistent sponsors willing to fork over the spinach to keep teams competitive. Forget the truck, Dale Jarrett, drive one of those darn jet engine planes! Jeff Hammond: That's a valid point, but in one of our upcoming shows from Daytona Beach on SPEED, you may find out it's not that bad. The way NASCAR has structured the new rule, Jarrett is guaranteed to be able to use six provisionals. Well, that gets him past the first five races. If he's able to race or qualify his way into the Daytona 500, he automatically saves one provisional. If his car runs well, and he has decent finishes, he'll be golden because he'll make the top 35 in owner points by the end of the first five races. Performance is the key. If Jarrett performs well, there will be no question about him making races.
FOX race analyst Jeff Hammond led
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