Debate: NASCAR's burning questions


Our experts weigh in on four of the biggest questions in NASCAR this week:

Turn 1: With Watkins Glen coming up this week, what former road course winner is more likely to get a win to grab a Chase berth? Tony Stewart or Marcos Ambrose?

Ed Hinton, Ambrose is probably the more logical pick, having won there two of the past three years. But I just can't let go of the notion of Smoke slipping and sliding out of his slump into one of his old-fashioned summer hot streaks on the slick tracks.

Brant James, Stewart has two top-5s in the past five seasons at Watkins Glen -- including a win in 2009 and a runner-up finish in 2008. Ambrose has won twice there since 2011. The recent trend favors Ambrose, as does the fact that, a year after his devastating leg injury, three-time series champion Stewart continues to grope for the spark to ignite his season.

Ryan McGee, ESPN The Magazine: Ambrose. With each passing week, I'm beginning to believe this year just isn't happening for Stewart. And if that does end up being the case, that's OK. History says everyone has at least one mysterious WTH season. Remember the great 1992 Winston Cup title bout that gave us Alan Kulwicki's title? That happened in large part because the sport's two biggest stars, Dale Earnhardt and Rusty Wallace, were awful that year. They finished 12th and 13th in points. Neither one could ever explain it. Sometimes it just happens ... or, more accurately, it doesn't.

John Oreovicz, You have to take Ambrose. He and Richard Petty Motorsports are betting the house on The Glen, and Ambrose is a two-time winner on the famous road course. Stewart is a former Glen winner, too, but this is only the second time he will test his surgically repaired right leg in more strenuous road racing conditions. A year on from the sprint car accident that prematurely ended his 2013 season, it will be interesting to see whether Smoke's physical ability measures up to his mental resolve.

Marty Smith, ESPN Insider: Ambrose. He's a two-time winner at that place but tested there anyway. That tells you all you need to know about the focus on this event as his one shot at a playoff berth. This is his lone shot to make the Chase. He knows that. Drew Blickensderfer knows that. Richard Petty Motorsports knows that. All of Australia and all the world knows that. And I dare say he'd go to whatever lengths necessary to win. And I'm convinced he will win.

Turn 2: What's more likely: the entire Hendrick Motorsports lineup in the Chase, or the entire (albeit half as big) Petty lineup?

Hinton: I doubt either is going to happen. But with Watkins Glen coming up, Marcos Ambrose is likelier to win and get in than Kasey Kahne. The Brickyard 400, which Kahne led and led before falling back at the very end, left me wondering whether he can close a deal at all this regular season.

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