OBW Experts Roundtable: Week Two

The OBW Experts will get together the day after the Sprint Cup race to discuss the hot topics of the week.

This week we chat about Fontana, Matt Kenseth’s attempt for a three-peat, Kyle Busch’s near trifecta and striking the windshield with various items. We’ll also take a peak ahead to Sunday at Las Vegas.

Matt Kenseth has won the first two races of the season. His average finishing position at Las Vegas is 9.0– best among drivers with more than three starts. Should he be considered the early favorite in Sin City?

Ryan Rantz: I don’t see how Kenseth couldn’t be viewed as the favorite. His performance at California was very impressive. He started towards the back and worked his way all the way up to the front. Plus, good things happen with a pit crew like his. His toughest competition at Vegas will come from his own teammates, and he can always look at their notes.

Mike Maruska: Despite an off-day last year, Johnson has three wins and a 112 driver rating at Vegas. Plus, Busch, Gordon and Biffle have all look pretty stout early on.

James Jones: First, I have to wonder if Matt’s team snuck into the shop during the off-season and swapped cars with the No. 99 team.

In the last four races at Vegas, only Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch have outscored Kenseth. During those same four races, Kenseth has led more laps than any other driver (Johnson is a close second). So yes, Kenseth has to be a favorite to win. The question is whether Matt can continue to hold off Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch.

I love witnessing record setting accomplishments in racing, so I would love to see Kenseth set a record by winning the first three races of the season.

At Fontana, Kyle Busch finished third but won the truck and Nationwide races at California. Even though Busch didn’t pull off the trifecta, how impressive is a trio of top-three finishes in a two-day period?

James Jones: I find it even more impressive when he pulls these sorts of performances off while driving for different car owners and teams. Once again, I love witnessing record setting accomplishments in racing, so I was really pulling for Kyle to get the win.

Mike Maruska: It’s as impressive as Kobe Bryant scoring 50 points in an NCAA game, D-League game and NBA game on the same weekend.

Jeffrey Gutowski: Don’t forget that Kyle could have won all three races at Daytona a week earlier! Love him or hate him, you have to admit that he can drive most anything. Before Kyle arrived on the scene, big brother Kurt told people that he was much better than him. This season, I wouldn’t be surprised if the shrub wins more than the total of 21 races he won last year.

During the TV broadcast, Jeff Hammond took a baseball bat to a model stock car to demonstrate the strength of the windshield. What test would you want to see?

James Jones: Over the years we’ve seen helmets, heel protectors, gloves, and water bottles throw at other cars. I’d love to see some sort of mechanical sling-shot that could fire a helmet at the windshield as hard as those drivers wished they could have thrown it.

Mike Maruska: Clint Bowyer’s piercing glare.

Eric McClung: A cinder block dropped off the drop of a ladder.

Eric Brewer: I would like to see the lug nut flying out from under a tire and hitting the windshield in super slow-motion.

Jeffrey Gutowski: I would like to see the comparisons to the forces of a crash between the SAFER barrier and a plain old wall. Run two cars into each wall at 60 MPH and show the force of the impact so you can see how much of that force is now absorbed by the SAFER barrier.