Our experts weigh in on four of the biggest questions in NASCAR:
Turn 1: There are several drivers in IndyCar who tried NASCAR. Who is the NASCAR driver who should leave and race IndyCar?
Ricky Craven, ESPN NASCAR analyst: The driver I would enjoy watching and who absolutely would entertain us is Kyle Busch. He has demonstrated the ability to drive anything, anywhere, with much success. The problem is he's in the prime of his career, and the next five years should be his best. There's no logical reason for him to deviate from NASCAR. Given that it might be cool to see Casey Mears give it a run. It would be so easy to pull for another Mears in Indy car racing.
Ryan McGee, ESPN.com: I want Kyle Larson to run Indy. I don't necessarily want him to leave NASCAR altogether, but man, I really want to see him in the 500. And guess what? So does he.
Bob Pockrass, ESPN.com: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is a solid racer, and his Sprint Cup career hasn't gone the way he has wanted after two Xfinity titles. His roots are open-wheel cars, and he might thrive in an IndyCar. His girlfriend, Danica Patrick, could offer a little bit of advice. Plus IndyCar could use a little bit of Mississippi in it.
John Oreovicz, ESPN.com: I wouldn't advise any of them do do it as a money-making career move. But in the spirit of the question, the guy I'd like to see is Jimmie Johnson. He has all the hallmarks of a great IndyCar driver - physically fit, calm temperament, engineering minded, ready to go wheel-to-wheel when he needs to. Reminds me a lot of the guy he calls his racing role model - Rick Mears.
Turn 2: So what did you think of the All-Star Race?
Craven: The finish of the All-Star race was entertaining but was overshadowed by the confusion and the abstract formula. Two of the most talented to ever strap into a stock car (Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch) were forced to stay on the track with old tires, and we essentially got nothing in terms of entertainment. So it's back to the drawing board, not a complete redo but a simplification of the format.
McGee: I will never fault them for trying something new. They had to because honestly, I can't even begin to tell you what happened or who won that race over the last seven years. It's been that forgettable. What they tried Saturday night was confusing. Even if it had worked it was still way too gearhead insider strategy-based for any casual fan to figure out. But by gawd, I'll certainly never forget it!
Pockrass: The racing was solid, but the confusion over Matt Kenseth not pitting was frustrating, heavily compounded by the fact he put other drivers a lap down in the process. But why was there confusion? Because nowhere could anyone find a list of written rules and procedures. That being said, the racing was better (thanks to the aero package) and that gives the event much more promise than it has had in recent years.
Oreovicz: It had some pretty exciting moments of good racing and a captivating finish. The most important thing is it gave NASCAR the chance to test some proposed car modifications in race conditions without implication to the championship. Testing a component or a concept on its own yields plenty of useful hypothetical data, but nothing compares to information generated when guys are really going for it in a race.
Turn 3: If you had only one NASCAR Hall of Fame vote, who would it have gone to?
Craven: Benny Parson. It's time! Benny has contributed so much. Not only a champion driver but a champion personality. Benny promoted our sport throughout his lifetime and educated us while entertaining us. A tremendous spokesperson and ambassador for NASCAR, he's irreplaceable in terms of his ability to connect with race fans. Benny Parsons is the definition of Hall of Famer.
McGee: Raymond Parks. The simple fact of the matter is there would be no NASCAR, certainly not as it became under the leadership of Bill France Sr had it not been for Parks. I've long agreed with Richard Petty that the actual Hall membership was severely lacking in representatives of its earliest years. Now that Parks is in his driver, Red Byron, needs to be in, too.
Pockrass: Mark Martin. With 40 Sprint Cup wins, that's the most of any retired driver. And not just by a little. By 15 races over Jim Paschal (not even nominated), and 17 more than Ricky Rudd.
Oreovicz: Rick Hendrick. He revolutionized the role of NASCAR team owner, showing how to make the most of an engineering-driven, multi-car organization. He's not afraid to look for talent in non-traditional places (see Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson). In short, outside of star drivers and series management, he is the face of modern NASCAR.
Turn 4: Who is your pick in the Indy 500, and why? Now, who is your pick in the Coca-Cola 600?
Craven: I'm pulling for Marco Andretti, because the family deserves more than one Borg Warner trophy. They are synonymous with Indy. For the Coca-Cola 600, the 88 car ran well last week, so I'm pulling for Dale Earnhardt Jr. He confirmed recently how he loves this race and desperately wants to win it before his career is over. This is one of the most prestigious events on the schedule; one drivers always put on their wish list. I can relate!
McGee: Give me Ryan Hunter Reay and Matt Kenseth. Forget stats or practice issues. This is pure hunch.
Pockrass: Ryan Hunter-Reay will win the Indy 500. He has been fast throughout the month, has a solid starting spot and is just two years removed from his first Indy 500 win. As far as the Coca-Cola 600, it has to be Martin Truex Jr.'s time, right, after all of his near-misses on intermediate tracks?
Oreovicz: This is the most difficult Indy 500 to pick in years, because many of the guys we expect to run up front qualified in the midfield. For that reason, I'm going to take Scott Dixon. He is often at his best when people least expect it. The Ganassi team failed to get outright qualifying speed out of the car, but it has been quick in race trim. It would be great for the series if the sport's most accomplished star could earn the recognition of winning the 100th Indy 500. For the Coke 600, I'll pick Chase Elliott to score his first Cup Series win.