Chat with Terry Blount
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com NASCAR writer Terry Blount will stop by to talk about all the latest news and notes from around the NASCAR track.
Blount covers motorsports for ESPN.com after 25 years as a sports reporter and columnist at three major metro newspapers.
Send your questions now and join Blount Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Terry Blount (2:01 PM)
How's it going folks? So what about it. Can Jimmie be beat? Is Cup crown No. 4 a sure thing. Will Ashley Force Hood become the first woman to win a Funny Car title? Let me hear it.
will michael waltrip motorsports get harvick?
Terry Blount (2:02 PM)
I doubt it. I think Kevin will have a lot of big-time options for 2011?
RAY GORDON REID ( WILLLIAMSBURG Virginia 23187)
QUESTION TO TERRY BLOUNT HI TERRY WHO HAVE SUNDAY AT MARTINSVILLE
Terry Blount (2:03 PM)
Do you even have to ask. How can you pick against Jimmie Johnson at this track?
Mr Blount, do you think an alternate reason NASCAR keeps bringing the 48 and 5 teams in (when they don't win) is how they're maybe just trying to let contenders know some of the locations they're better at? Hence why NASCAR announced the specific location as to where those teams where messing with the fenders. Everybody needs all the help they can get.
Terry Blount (2:06 PM)
No, I think NASCAR has deceide to take back No. 1 and 2 in the standings after every Chase race. I also think it's a way for NASCAR to tell those teams, "Stay within the rules because we're going to check your car every week." And maybe that will help other teams get close to them, but I doubt it.
Doug (Toledo, Ohio)
The cot was supposed to even up the competition in Nascar, how do you explain HMS being heads and shoulders ahead of everyone else?? Johnson, Martin, Gordon 1,2,3 in points.
Terry Blount (2:07 PM)
One goal was to lower costs so the lesser teams had a chance. But the truth is that teams with the most money always find a way to be better.
Terry, is there some magic formula that will allow RCR or Gibbs or Rousch to catch up to HMS? With the very limited testing allowed I just don't know where the breakthroughs would come from. Your opinion?
Terry Blount (2:11 PM)
They won't catch them this year, but all this stuff is cyclical. I'd look for Ford to catch up next year with the new engine. I don't think more testing is the answer. Hendrick would test more than anyone else. But the other teams are experimenting right now for next season (basically an in-race test session) and they'll find thing. Kenseth already has.
Why do many people justify the need for a 'playoff' in NASCAR by arguing that all of the other major sports have one? The comparison isn't valid because, in other sports, all teams don't play each other in the regular season, so a playoff is necessary to fairly determine a champion. In NASCAR, obviously, all teams 'play' each other in every 'game,' so in my mind a playoff is not needed and cheapens the competitiveness of the sport significantly.
Terry Blount (2:13 PM)
I disagree Eric. And all teams play each other in MLB, NBA amd the NHL. i think a champion should have to show what he can do against the best of the best at the end of the season to earn the title.
I am an avid NASCAR fan, but not of drag racing. Am I missing something, cause I tried to like it- but every race someone blows up or throttles down to avoid a crash- and you almost never get a side by side finish- That said- if anyone can get me to watch- its Ashley Force.
Terry Blount (2:15 PM)
Actually JD, ther NHRA has more side-by-side races now than they've ever had because of the shorter 1,000 length of the races. But teams sometimes experiment with things in qualifying and don't make it down the track.
Why did so many of the chase guys fall down last weekend? They were all at the front all the time in the preceding races...
Terry Blount (2:17 PM)
Just bad luck really. Martin and Montoya damaged their cars on a restart, which could happen to anybody. Edwards blew an engine at the end of a long night. But it shows anything can happen, and that includes Johnson.
Do you think Gibbs might assign Zippy to cc for Kyle in 2009 or go get Alan G or some outside cc?
Terry Blount (2:18 PM)
I really think on this talk about Kyle's CC changing is just talk. I thing Steve is staying.
Matt (Staunton, VA)
If JJ does win this weekend, can we just go ahead and pack this thing up? So much for Chase drama.
Terry Blount (2:19 PM)
Not until we get past Dega. The truth is something bad has to happen to JJ for him to lose it, but that still can happen_ mechanical failure, blown tire, pit crew error, etc.
Matt (Staunton, VA)
What happened to Carl Edwards and Kasey Kahne this year? 2 wins between the 2 of them.
Terry Blount (2:21 PM)
They just didn't have the equipment to get it done. RPM doesn't have the horsepower for Kasey to consistently race up front and they didn't trust the new engine's reliability. The same is true for Edwards. They were hoping to use the new Ford engine a long time ago. Didn't happen.
Did you interview Dale jr at Charlotte with the ESPN crew? Do you think Dale has some health problems?
Terry Blount (2:22 PM)
I spoke the Junior at Cali. He doesn't have health problems, but he's really despressed. He's a very unhappy man right now.
Jack Trae (Smithville, MO)
Do you believe Scott Speed will develop into a top Nascar driver?
Terry Blount (2:24 PM)
He's a long way from that happening. The question is whether Red Bull officials will be patient enough to give him the time to get there. It have to show results in this business or risk losing your ride.
Frank (San Diego )
you wrote today that Jimmy Johnson is "the greatest driver on the planets". Do you really think he is better than the top guys in F1?
Terry Blount (2:27 PM)
I do, and I get tired of hearing F1 fans think they drivers automatically are the best in the world. A Cup car is much harder to drive than an F1 car. Ask Montoya. And this isn't to cut down F1 drivers, extremely talented racers. Really, it's impossible to compare the two because the disciplines are so different. But yes, if I had to pick one, I think JJ is the best racecar driver today. The best I've ever seen is Michael Schumacher. And probably the best of all-time in A.J. Foyt.
McGee said he would give Junior a hug...will you give him a hug too!!
Terry Blount (2:28 PM)
Sure, but I don't think I'm his type. Maybe a three-way man hug with me, McGee and Jr.
If you accept that Gordon succeed Dale sr and Johnson succeed Gordon as our #1, do you think that Kyle Busch will be the successor to Johnson as our next #1?
Terry Blount (2:29 PM)
He has the talent to do it, but he has to prove to me he has the maturity to do it.
Jack Trae (Smithville, MO)
When do you think Red Bull Racing will field a third car?
Terry Blount (2:30 PM)
Simple. When they have another sponsor willing to pay them $15 million a year.
Terry, Kurt Busch and his team gained points on 2nd place...it seems like they are staying consistent enough where if Johnson has a mishap, they can have a shot at the title. What is your opinion?
Terry Blount (2:31 PM)
Kurt has surprised me in the playoff, although I think he's very underrated as a driver. But I don't think he can win it with a lame-duck crew chief, and Kurt needs to get control of himself on the radio when things don't go his way.
Craig G. (Fairfield, CA)
Why can't RPM find any stability as an organization?
Terry Blount (2:32 PM)
You don't get stability when you're constantly changing things. But I think moving to Ford and aligning with the Yates/Roush engine program is a step in the right direction.
JAke (TN )
Tony Stewart is the best driver in the world. He has alot more talent then Jimmie. What Jimmie does have, is the world's best crew chief....You agree?
Terry Blount (2:34 PM)
I agree he has the best crew chief. But people don't gibe Jimmie his due as a driver. He is a gifted wheel man. One reason the 48 is faster than everyone else is Chad can set up the car looser than he could with other drivers because JJ is so good at controlling a loose race car.
I wouldn't be at all surprised if Kasey Kahne left RPM after 2010. Where might he end up? Stewart-Haas? Gibbs?
Terry Blount (2:35 PM)
My guess would be Gibbs, but he'll stay if RPM makes a dramatic improvement next year with the Ford move.
Matt (Staunton, VA)
Has Denny overtaken KB as the best driver at Gibbs?
Terry Blount (2:37 PM)
No. Busch would rate in my top 3 for pure driving skills with JJ and Tony.
Hey Terry. Looking at the projected nationwide car I think it will race better than Cup. what do you think.
Terry Blount (2:37 PM)
Impossible to say at this point, but that Mustang sure looks better.
Johnson is the only driver with more cup wins than Kyle over the past 2 seasons (13 to 12), doesn't that make Jimmy and Kyle our 2 best drivers?
Terry Blount (2:39 PM)
Not neccesarily because you have to factor in equipment and teams. But I like your logic. Winning should be the most important thing, something that isn't always true in this sport and this points system.
When will people stop underestimating Jimmie Johnson and crediting Chad Knaus with all of their success? Jimmie Johnson is a fantastic driver... undoubtedly the best at handling a loose racecar (even better than Busch). Will he ever get the credit he deserves?
Terry Blount (2:40 PM)
Yes, but it's not unusual for people to look back years later and then realize how good someone was.
Jimmie Johnson (El Cajon, Ca)
Terry,Don't worry about Dale Jr. bud. Jeff, Mark and I are going to give Jr. a big 3- way man hug before we even get to Martinsville this week.
Terry Blount (2:41 PM)
I think he'd rather have your crew chief, fake JJ.
Eric (Columbia, MO)
I am not of Jr. Nation. But I do respect him. When he left DEI and came to Hendrick, he basically said he'd have no more excuses if he didn't succeed. Do you think his obvious unhappiness is due to the ungodly pressures of living up to a legend, or something else?
Terry Blount (2:44 PM)
That's part of it. But anyone would feel down after the season he's had. What makes is so tough is they have raced up front quite a few times only to have something happens at the end and cause a bad finish. His confidence is shot. I've said this many times. Junior is a good Cup driver. He's just not Dale Sr. No one is.
Terry, what will the top 5 standings look like after Homestead?
Terry Blount (2:45 PM)
1) JJ. 2) Gordon. 3) Martin 4) Stewart 5) JPM
Do you think something needs to be done about the Chase? I mean since it's inception JJ really should have won each one. I'm so sick of Jimmie and that 48 team, not to mention they are boring and cheesy as hell. We know that team DOES NOT make mistakes. So even with Talladega looming, this Chase is over...
Terry Blount (2:47 PM)
Not over, but yes, I'd like to see some changes. First, I'd like to see a few different tracks in the Chase _ Bristol, for sure. I's even like to see Indy in the playoff. Not great racing, I know, but NASCAR second biggest event should be in the Chase.
Did Junior Johnson get voted in the HOF because of the Tom Wolfe book and the Jeff Bridges movie?
Terry Blount (2:48 PM)
No, Junior made it because what it did for NASCAR extends beyond on-track racing. He brought Winston to NASCAR, which helped propel the sport to mainstream popularity.
Did NASCAR take Johnson's and Martin's cars back to the labs again this week?
Terry Blount (2:49 PM)
Yes, and they found nothing, again.
Kelly Lynn (Milan IL)
Do you think Nascar needs to alter the chase to have all types of tracks involved. It would be nice to see a road course involved.
Terry Blount (2:50 PM)
Yes, I left that out before. But I think Sonoma should be in the Chase. If you race road courses, one should be in the playoff.
Who were your votes for the first class of the Nascar HOF?
Terry Blount (2:51 PM)
Jerry Punch was our one voter at ESPN, but I would have voted for France Sr., Petty, Earnhardt, Pearson and Cale Yarborough.
Do you consider Jeff Gordon to be an "owner-driver" due to his equity ownership stake in the #24 team?
Terry Blount (2:53 PM)
No. Gordon "officially" owns the 48 team. But he isn't making the call on these teams. Hendrick is. It's strictly a financial stake in the teams for Jeff at this point.
What is the future looking like for Casey Mears, if in fact the 07 team doesn't come back next year as is rumored?
Terry Blount (2:54 PM)
Not good, unless he gets the nod in the 1 car for EGR. Lots of candidates for that ride.
Do you feel Gordon is starting to get fed up with being 2nd best at Hendrick?
Terry Blount (2:55 PM)
I'm sure he is, but there's not much he can do about. Someone always comes along who is better when you get older. It's just part of sports.
It has been reported that Johnson likes his cars set up really loose as being the main reason for his success. Kyle can drive loose cars too. Is that what it takes to be successful with the COT?
Terry Blount (2:57 PM)
It certainly helps, but setting it up that way is easier said than done because it affects everything else on the car. In general, any loose car is faster than a tight one.
Hearing Jeffrey Earnhardt is to run full time next season for DEI in Nationwide. Do you see another Earnhardt resurrecting the 8 car in a few years?
Terry Blount (2:58 PM)
It's possible. Jeffrey a good kid with ability. And his resemblance to his grandpa is uncanny.
What will be the long term impact if Dale jr continues to be an also-ran for the rest of his career?
Terry Blount (3:00 PM)
He'd been remembered as the guy who never lived up to expectations, but I don't see him as a also-ran long term. I truly believe he will bounce back next year.
How did Dale Inman not ever make the final 25 for consideration into the HoF? Last I checked he was the only guy to put 8 cups in his trophy case.
Terry Blount (3:02 PM)
I agree Chris. Ridiculous that he didn't make the top 25. But he's sitll working some with the RPM organization, so maybe that was a factor in leaving him off.
Good article on what could happen to the 48. The only item I question is complacency. They just won 3 out of 5 races and are going to their best track and where are they today? They are at Little Rock getting ready for Sunday.
Terry Blount (3:03 PM)
You're right Rick. As I wrote., JJ show no signs of the big head, but it could happen to someone else on the 48 team.
Terry Blount (3:04 PM)
Gotta run folks. Off to do NASCAR Now. Watch us if you can at 5 pm ET on ESPN2. Have a great week. Peace.