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True or false? Tyres will be OK at Indy, Junior will win

Sporting News asked NASCAR notables to play a little game of fact or fiction with four debate-provoking statements.

This is what happened...

Tire wear again will be a problem at this week's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard…

False says Jeff Gordon, who tested last month at Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

“None of us wanted to see what happened last year, and I think that it was determined, probably before that race was over, that it's not going to happen again,” he says. “It's important to have a good race (at Indy). There's a lot of fans that travel from all over to come to the race, and we know how many people are watching at home. ... We want to go out there and put the best race on that we possibly can. I'm confident this year we're going to be able to do that.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will win a race this season…

True says renowned promoter H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler, president of The Wheeler Company:

“He's got to,” he says. “It's a must. There's too much riding on him. It's down to that. He's too important. He sells too many souvenirs, and there's not anybody else — unfortunately — that's close to him in popularity. Nobody. So that's what drives the whole sport, and that's what drives ticket sales. Without that, you've got a really, really tough situation. Plus, (car owner) Rick Hendrick himself has got a lot of pressure on him to see that something happens.”

NASCAR will make a major change to the Sprint Cup racecar before the 2010 season…

True says Todd Berrier, crew chief for Casey Mears:

“Knowing that things in the economy aren't great and the car hasn't been 100 per cent perfect, there are things they can do to enhance the performance of it,” he says, “maybe some more (adjustability) on the splitter, some things like that; maybe lowering the centre of gravity, something to give it a little aero benefit to make the racing part of it better. I think there are several things they can do that aren't going to cost us millions of dollars.”

Given the right equipment, Danica Patrick would make a smooth transition from IndyCars to the Cup Series…

False says former open-wheel star Juan Pablo Montoya:

“I think she's used to more of the open wheel,” he says. “If you watch Formula One, then it's all about the equipment. You would think that, if she was at Hendrick, then she would run well. But you look at a guy like Junior who has experience and has won races and is struggling right now — at Hendrick. Equipment really helps and background really helps, but you will struggle.”

By Reid Spencer/Sporting News



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