Time for the road-course specialists to dust off the cobwebs

Jay Busbee

We're now at one of the two weeks in the year when the old "drive fast and turn left" maxim doesn't hold true, and as you can see by the photo above, NASCAR teams are scouting fast and furious for bounty hunters road-course veterans to man their cars.

This week features two new road specialists in addition to the 44 cars entered every week — Brandon Ash in his family-owned No. 02 and P.J. Jones in a second Robby Gordon Motorsports entry. In addition, Jan Magnussen (Phoenix Racing), Boris Said (Latitude 43 Motorsports), Brian Simo (Tommy Baldwin Racing) and Mattias Ekstrom (Red Bull) will be bringing their multidirectional skills to the track this weekend.

So why bring in the road course vets? Simple: money. A road-course stud can qualify far more easily than an oval-oriented type. From there it's the turn-left-turn-right version of starting and parking — in other words, earn your money on qualifying Friday, not race-day Sunday. Last year, P.J. Jones ran exactly two laps and earned more than $70,000 for just a few minutes' work. Not only that, if you're lurking around the edges of the top 35, a road course honcho can stave off a fall into no-man's-land and keep go-or-go-home qualifying at bay for another week or so.

All right, your turn. What's your take on road course vets stepping into the fray? Is it a legit method of garnering points and cash, or yet another gaming of the system?