NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson was a Sirius/XM radio call-in guest on Tuesday night, and he had some interesting comments about racing too hard early in an event.
First, co-host Buddy Baker (probably a future Hall of Famer himself) praised champion Brad Keselowski for not being a guy "who went out there and tried to lead every lap."
"He was working on his race car to make it better for the times it paid money instead of showboating at the first part of a race," Baker said.
Pearson agreed with Baker's assessment and took it a step further.
"You've got to kind of take care of your car," he said. "You can't stay there and run it wide open the whole race – I don't feel like you can.
"I think Kyle Busch proved that. He always tries to lead every laps. I feel like if he would just take it easy during the race a little bit and watch what he's doing and not run as hard...I believe he could win more races if he would just take his time."
Clearly, part of the strategy in Pearson's day was to simply make it to the finish. If a driver ran his equipment too hard, it wasn't durable enough to last.
But here's the question: Does that old-school line of thinking hold up in today's NASCAR?
Clean air and track position matters so much that drivers have to do everything they can to stay out front. Plus, there's the opportunity to gain a bonus point for leading the most laps – and we've all seen how every point can count in the final standings.
Co-host Jim Noble pointed out Busch led the most laps in nine races this season – and didn't win any of the events. That may be true, but it's not necessarily because he ran too hard.
The thinking here is it's a lot harder for drivers to use up their equipment now than in Pearson's day, and Keselowski would have led more laps if he could.