So if we use that same train of thought, Stewart may just as well have let RV pass him. He had nothing to gain by beating him..............other than beating him!
I think you guys are wrong in saying that these guys are riding conservatively. There is nothing conservative about it and they are probably riding at 95+% all the time. They are just so smooth that they can absolutely fly without looking out of control. We can't comprehend their skill and smoothness, so it's pointless to speculate here.
Just watch the start of the main. JS and RV (and everyone else) were each going all out and RV almost got punted off the track in the first turn. If that's conservative, then I am
Podiums are all that James has left at this point. I agree the riders are riding at 95% this year. Last year they where riding at 110% and look how that ended.
Read the article by JT$ in Racer X, pretty much explains it all.