Chat with Ed Hinton
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com NASCAR writer Ed Hinton will stop by to talk about all the latest news and notes from the track.
Hinton began his career covering NASCAR in the 1970's working for the Orlando Sentinel. He has also worked for Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, where he worked until leaving in January 2008.
Send your questions now and join Hinton Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. ET!
Ed Hinton (1:30 PM)
Hi, all. Because we've been juggling the chat schedule due to Clint Bowyer coming on at 3:15, and me juggling to do NASCAR Now live this afternoon, we've kind of bumped the schedule about.We have a small turnout so far, so if you've been frustrated at not getting a question answered in the past, today's a good time to get your question in.I'd get them in quickly, though. Traffic is sure to pick up once folks see the column I just posted.
Emilee (Fulton, MS)
Any chance Kez will get an application from Tony Sr for Roger to look at? Do you think Pensky's crew chiefs are any good -- besides Kurt's?
Ed Hinton (1:34 PM)
Tony Sr. sure would be a different kind of character over at Penske, wouldn't he?I think Penske crew chiefs are pretty good as a group.If Keselowski really pushed for Pops, he might well get him. Or at the very least, he'd get Pops a nice raise over at JR Motorsports, huh?
David Stremme (On my laptop while I run practice laps!!)
Its been almost three weeks since I've been in a major wreck, but I am ready to do some damage this weekend in HOT-lanta!!
Ed Hinton (1:35 PM)
You better work fast. In case you haven't heard, you're being replaced by Keselowski next year. So rock 'n' roll while you can.
Jimmy (Culberson County)
V6 engines in NASCAR? That's crazy talk, ed.
Ed Hinton (1:36 PM)
No, no. I'm not saying V6s. I'm saying smaller engines by whatever configuration.Heck, they can do V12s if they want. Just get rid of the dinosaurs.
Ed Hinton (1:40 PM)
Glad you got through, Bruce. We've got a glitch or two on the link, I think. Others should be here shortly.Anyway, V8s in smaller displacement would be fine.
Shawn (Gastonia, NC)
Hey Ed! Penske Racing has had open wheel dominance for over two decades and now with Sam Hornish as a solid top-20 contender for next year, Kurt Busch as a Chase contender this year and previous champion, and now Brad and Justin Allgaier, who are top 10 Nationwide drivers, what could prevent Penske from being mentioned up with Hendrick, Roush and Gibbs in NASCAR?
Ed Hinton (1:44 PM)
Penske certainly is the Hendrick of Indy cars. But he's got 100-plus Cup wins and eight or so Cup championships to go before he can be equal with Hendrick in NASCAR.Don't get me wrong, I respect Roger enormously and count him as a longtime friend. I just think his diversified racing interests have kept him from pouring a 110 percent effort into NASCAR.
kevin (new jersey)
can you fill me in on the bobby labonte story. i thought ask.com provide sponsorship for the whole season. so how can this be a sponsorship issue?
Ed Hinton (1:48 PM)
Not sure it's a sponsorship issue so much as the HOF owner sort of thrashing about trying to figure out what to do.Darnell is a Ford find, so maybe that's a factor.Newton's been covering this story so I'm just making educated conjecture.Also, sometimes sponsors talk big for the whole year and then later the checks stop coming. They don't pay for these deals in lump sums.
RAY GORDON REID ( HILTON HEADSOUTHCAROLINA 29928)
QUESTION TO ED HINTON 2.20PM HI ED WHOS YOUR PICK FOR SUNDAY
Ed Hinton (1:49 PM)
This'll be a cavalry charge. Rowdy's back, so watch out. But Stewart, Johnson, Gordon should be players. And is Roush EVER going to put an intermediate-track car under Carl Edwards again? We shall see.
bruce (San Fernando Valley, California)
i always wondered, how do pace car drivers get chosen? do they ever get nervous with drivers running right behind them?
Ed Hinton (1:51 PM)
A lot of them are former drivers. Brett Bodine, the late Elmo Langley, for example. Mainly it's a matter of wanting to do it, wanting to travel, and being in good with NASCAR.I don't think they ever get nervous -- even when some hotshot comes up and bumps them under caution.I wouldn't apply without racing experience. Years ago at Talladega, some guy found the keys in the pace car and took off around the track for a few wild laps before the race started. He landed in jail.
kevin (new jersey)
David Ragan has been running better of late do you see a possible top 10 this weekend
Ed Hinton (1:52 PM)
Could well be. Atlanta's his home track.
Ed, what's your take on this awesome battle for the final Chase spots? Who gets in (in your opinion)? Who's out?
Ed Hinton (1:54 PM)
I say Rowdy's in with a big show at Atlanta this week and a follow-up at Richmond. Could win either or both.Kahne looks shaky to me, as does Kenseth, but one of 'em will make it.Kyle will be the one one to come from outside the top 12 into the chase. Vickers is unlikely, and Bowyer a real longshot now.
Matt (New York,NY)
Ed do you see any of the start and park teams coming back full time next season without sponsorship?
Ed Hinton (1:56 PM)
As long as the economy is down, there'll be a place for start and park. Racing usually lags behind the economy due to multi-year contracts, so we probably haven't seen the worst economic impact on NASCAR yet. There might be even more start and park next year -- unless NASCAR gets real and reduces the fields anyway.I've always thought 36 cars are plenty for a good race.
kevin (new jersey)
The truck series is going to Iowa this weekend. I know theres talk that Kentucky might get a cup date in the future, but dont you think the fans would rather have a cup date at Iowa.
Ed Hinton (1:58 PM)
Based on what we've seen at Iowa so far, it would make a much better TV race than Kentucky. But the Kentucky track has a lot more people in its area, what with Cincinnati and all.So attending fans might be weighted on the side of Kentucky so they could go.TV fans would of course opt for the better racing, which means Iowa.
Keaton (NYC via NC)
Did you know you can take your car out to the old Columbia, SC speedway and drive around the track. I was down that way last month and wanted to check the old track out. There was nothing that said it wasn't allowed and no chains or barriers preventing me from driving the track. Got going about 75 in the straights. Pretty awesome.
Ed Hinton (2:00 PM)
Interesting! I live not too far from Wilkesboro, but I think it's all locked up and there definitely are "posted" signs. Otherwise I might take a spin. (Hope Bruton's not on this chat.)I'd be willing to bet, though, that if local law enforcement knew there were people running columbia, they'd come out and put a stop to it.
Its gunna be another backwards victory lap sunday night just like in march the dirrty deuce is gunna stink up the show again.
Ed Hinton (2:01 PM)
Won't be as cool Sunday -- mid 80s -- as it was in March, so handling will be a bit different. But you may well be right.
If 36 start- whats your new qualifying format?
Ed Hinton (2:02 PM)
Straight-up speed, just like the old days. An alternative would be no qualifying at all, just start 'em by points and make it 36.Qualifying's a joke anyway, telling us zilch about who will do well in the race. Watch Saturday for Sunday: the go-or-go-homes will qualify up front, and go straight backwards when the race starts.
AARON DOUGHERTY (janesville wi)
are nationwide cars of tommorrow look the same as the cup cars?
Ed Hinton (2:03 PM)
No, they're different. Fans who have seen them really like them. Might we hope for some influence on the Cup brick?
Teri (Burbank, CA)
Do you think Matt Kenseth is in our out of the Chase?
Ed Hinton (2:04 PM)
I think he's right on the edge. He's always made the Chase, but this is really 50-50.
kevin (new jersey)
Why is Erik Darnell running the talladega race instead of bobby labonte. I understand they want darnell in but in a chase race at talladega?
Ed Hinton (2:05 PM)
Bigger question is about Atlanta this week, where Labonte has won a gazillion times or so. Talladega as a track is actually very forgiving. It's the traffic.
Big kurt busch and penske fan, i saw a Q and A with pat tryson and he said the 2 isnt getting a lot of help setup-wise from the 12 and 77. Do you think having a better driver like keselowski in the 12 will help out the 2.
Ed Hinton (2:06 PM)
Couldn't hurt. K is awful young to be giving feedback, but comes from a serious mechanical family and is more of a nuts and bolts guy than the other two.
Willis (Lake Norman)
Last week's NW race in Montreal, rain racing good or bad?
Ed Hinton (2:07 PM)
I thought it was a WONDERFUL gesture by NASCAR to the fans. They stood up and roared when the decision was announced.But it also showed NASCAR and Goodyear have a long way to go with rain racing. The finish looked like Keystone Kops with sponsorship to me.
Nino (Clarkston, MI)
I always ask this, but never have been answered yet. Will Casey Mears stick around in Cup after 2010?
Ed Hinton (2:08 PM)
If he can. Depends on what the rising class of youngsters looks like. It's pretty clear by now he's never going to make a big breakthrough. But he has no place else to go.
Ed - What would fuel injection mean for plate races at Daytona and Talladega?
Ed Hinton (2:11 PM)
Means at least -- whether they changed injector systems or whatever -- we'd be rid of a term everybody's up to the gills with: "Restrictor plate racing."Seriously, it's a detail I haven't worked out yet, but it seems the factories are the ones lobbying NASCAR to go to injection, so they can work it out.
TK (Toluca Lake, CA)
If Jr. has another terrible year (2010), do you think Hendrick would drop him?
Ed Hinton (2:12 PM)
I think their contract is for five years, this being the second. Sponsorship has a lot to do with that.
YAR8pack (Hinton's Hoedown )
Kudos to your article. You know I'm a staunch old school supporter. However, the engines have really lagged behind. If NASCAR claims they make changes because of where the sport is in relation to today's technology, then why not integrate something the sport could use?
Ed Hinton (2:14 PM)
They should have gone to fuel injection in the mid '80s, Yar. The last carbureted engine I owned was in an '86 Camaro. At the time they offered the injection option, but I bought the 4-barrel on the V8 because I knew it was a relic sitting on the new showroom floor.
Will Harvick try to do a Stert-Haas deal for 2011 and will he get the cars from Henrick or Childress?
Ed Hinton (2:16 PM)
I doubt that. Even if he did, with the way things are going he sure wouldn't want RCR cars and engines, and Childress would be in no mood to deal with him.And Hendrick would be spread too thin with yet another deal.No, I think Harvick is just itching for another ride with another owner.
Do you expect Kyle to win at Atlanta, Richmond or both?
Ed Hinton (2:17 PM)
One or both is entirely possible, but I wouldn't go so far as to say "expect."
How come Roush-Fenway hasn't won a race since Feb?
Ed Hinton (2:18 PM)
Because Roush-Fenway has been technologically leapfrogged on the COT so badly its pitiful.I heard they were mighty proud of their simulation system and weren't worried about the testing ban. But that was at the start of the year. Wonder how proud they are of their shakers now?
Brad said that Dale advised him to take the Penske deal. What does that say about Dale's view of the future of Jr motorsports or even Henrick?
Ed Hinton (2:19 PM)
Nothing negative at all. Hendrick has already indicated he'll try to bring K back at some point. This is not unprecedented. Years ago, Richard Childress farmed Dale Sr. out to Bud Moore for two years until he could get RCR "ready" for Senior.
Chad (Las Vegas)
Why doesn't NASCAR just go to letting the drivers operate the cars by remote control while we are at all of these changes? It would be the safest thing to do.
Ed Hinton (2:21 PM)
Oh, stop. Come out from under your shade tree. And get that block and tackle off the limbs. It's breaking them.You're thinking of electronic cheating a la Formula One, and all that launch control stuff. I don't think that's an issue in NASCAR.
Does Gordan have a chance to win the chace?
Ed Hinton (2:22 PM)
Hmmm. Good question. He's hung in at the top of the standings all season. But he hasn't often been a factor to win races, and wins are necessary in the chase.
Chad (Denmark via Vegas)
BTW I was being sarcastic with the remote control question. It's almost 8:30 pm here and I am plastered. Guess it's hard to type sarcasm.
Ed Hinton (2:24 PM)
Hey! The most honest chatter ever! Good for you!No, I got your sarcasm. I just thought you were a traditionalist who wanted to stick with good ol' carbs and pushrods -- thus the shadetree mechanic shot.
ed, today on Nascar Now will we see you do old school vs new school?
Ed Hinton (2:25 PM)
That's the plan. Marty and me on a variety of topics.
Jack (Brooklyn, NY)
Something's rotten in Denmark
Ed Hinton (2:26 PM)
Nah, just a little fermented. 80 proof.
IRL abandoned the turbochargers years ago to have a better sounding engine- and to make them cheaper. Is Turbo an option for NASCAR?
Ed Hinton (2:27 PM)
Not for a long, long while. Some manufacturers are dabbling with turbos again after a long layoff. But they'd have to go whole hog in street production for some years before they could sell it to NASCAR.And then you'd have the whole issue of cheating with waste gates, etc.
Of all the top drivers, who do you rate as the most mechanically, technologically knowledgable?
Ed Hinton (2:30 PM)
I'd have to throw a group out there: The Busch boys, Kenseth, Mark Martin . . .because they've all got so much grass-roots short track experience and were all taught from the ground up by their dads.
Willis (Lake Norman)
Engine sounds are a funny thing, remember when the Busch cars ran the V6's and how they buzzed around the track?
Ed Hinton (2:30 PM)
Sure do. And the fans hated them. That's why NASCAR abandoned them.
Ed Hinton (2:31 PM)
Time to go. Thanks for stopping by on this sort of juggling day. We'll try to be back on schedule next week.
Ed Hinton (2:31 PM)
Oh, and remember, Bowyer's coming up soon to chat.