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 2 p.m. ET!
Ed Hinton (2:01 PM)
Good afternoon, all. Green green green green.
Derrick (San Antonio)
Do you think this Addington firing will motivate the #18 team to win this weekend at Dega?
Ed Hinton (2:02 PM)
My understanding is that Addington will still be on the pit box at Talladega. Dave Rogers takes over after that.At least it should cool Kyle's jets and calm him down a bit. He seems to have been screaming about Addington in private for a while now.
Andy (Cleveland, OH)
Hey Ed - Does Keselowski remind you of The Intimidator?
Ed Hinton (2:03 PM)
Yep. I mean, there are others who are rough drivers. K sure seems like he loves it and intends it and thinks the fans appreciate it. That's 100 percent Big E attitude.
John (Gilbert, AZ)
Do you know what the problem was with the 88 car on Sunday? Why so many flats?
Ed Hinton (2:04 PM)
Probably set up, or the way Junior drives. Looked like he was overheating the brakes to a glow, which in turn melted the bead on the tire.
hey ed, where will addington go next year
Ed Hinton (2:05 PM)
I don't know, but if I were Rick Hendrick I'd be checking his contract details and perhaps think of buying him away from JGR. Who knows? He could be what Junior needs. Very mild mannered and calm.
Jerry (Tampa, FL)
After watching a restart at Martinsville in which Johnson bunched up the field, it brought back up something I've always wondered. On restarts, why does the leader start the field instead of the flag man? It seems all the gimmicks on restarts would go away if the leader had to maintain a constant speed and everyone could cue off of the flag man to know when the race has restarted.
Ed Hinton (2:06 PM)
Well, actually, the flagman DOES restart the race. It's a matter of driver reaction. In drivers' meeting terms, the leader "is the boss." Otherwise the second-place guy could jump him real easy. It's always been that way. Somebody on the track has to set the actual pace, and the leader is the logical guy.
Mr Hinton, everyone is saying JJ could have trouble at Dega, and that may bring the points Chase closer. I say that's a load of bull. JJ NEVER has bad luck. Look at the previous 3 years for proof. Of course the 48 is the baddest bunch on the track, but you have to have breaks. Is there any driver you can think of that has had the same horseshoe as JJ? Gordon was lucky but never that lucky.
Ed Hinton (2:08 PM)
I go back to what Bobby Allison told me 30-odd years ago: "The harder you work, the luckier you get."
I am going to keep asking till I hear something...any word on where Bobby Labonte will be next year?
Ed Hinton (2:09 PM)
Struggling, probably through off-season, to find some so-so ride. I'm not saying it's fair, it's just the way it is.Where might it be? Who knows which of those backmarker teams will survive the season. Nobody can tell you what he'll do because even he doesn't know.
Chances of another last lap drama at a plate race this weekend??Besides the rain at daytona there is a string of plate races that have had controversy at the end. And don't you think that Ole Miss and LSU should be playing on the 50th anniversary of Billy Cannon's run on Saturday instead of Auburn.
Ed Hinton (2:11 PM)
All I know is, if they screw up again and worry too much about the show and don't throw a critical caution like they failed to do at little Martinsville, there's going to be a drama, all right. Maybe a nasty one.As for Ole Miss-LSU, absolutely positively they should be playing Halloween Night.
RAY GORDON REID (BIRMINGHAM ALA 35O23)
TO ED HIMTO AT 2.20 PM HI ED WHO YOUHAVE AT TALLADEGA SUNDAY
Ed Hinton (2:12 PM)
I'll put my chips on 24 red. I don't mean racing, I mean the roulette wheel that Talladega is -- Casino de Alabama.No rhyme or reason, so you can't pick a driver, just pick a number at random.24 red sounds good to me. To make more money, I'd bet the bonus 00, because Reuty might have just as good a chance as Gordon.
Jim (Washington DC)
Denny had an impressive win on Sunday, what is missing to make him a contender every race?
Ed Hinton (2:13 PM)
Two things: More consistency from his pit crew, and they might just be getting there. Good job Sunday. The other is a little more patience on his part on the track, maybe a little less tendency to run over people when he gets in a hurry to catch up.
How does the financial health of Goodyear impact Nascar? Should Nascar allow Bridgestone or other tire companies compete in Nascar?
Ed Hinton (2:15 PM)
Well, they're budgeted for it, so they have to live up to their contract. I think exclusivity is a bad idea. Yes, other tiremakers could help the competition, but they also create a lot of danger. I've never seen a tire war in NASCAR, going back between 1970 and 2000, that didn't cause a lot of wrecks and injuries, and a lot of driver worries. What happens is the companies try to one-up each other for quicker tires, and take too many chances with tire compounds that aren't tested thoroughly enough.
Ed, a former crew chief on another site postulated that the reason fans aren't enamored with the racing product on the track is that the drivers are too soft, complaining whenever someone "races them hard." Your thoughts?
Ed Hinton (2:17 PM)
You're talking about Larry Mac, right? I agree with him. He worked for Davey Allison and Dale Earnhardt, so he oughta know tough racers when he sees them.I think today's drivers are too soft in every possible way. Got a story posting in the next little while about the Talladega drivers' strike of 40 years ago. Now you talk about some genuine, certified, tough s.o.b.s.
Ed, what do you think the chances are that Brad Keselowski will eventually end up back at Hendrick?
Ed Hinton (2:17 PM)
Pretty strong. I think he's just farmed out to Penske until Martin retires. Then Hendrick will come over the top with the big money . . .that's assuming Brad K behaves himself and does fairly well with Penske.
Why has Stewarts performance fallen off the cliff since his last win at the Glen way back on Aug. 10th?
Ed Hinton (2:19 PM)
Because he's just flat been getting outrun. You come with a new operation, you can run with the big boys for a while, but they never let up on the technology, and SHR hasn't been able to keep up with the mother ship at HMS.
Patterson (Augusta, Ga.)
Why wouldn't Mr. H put Ron Malec as the crew cheif for the 88 car? If they do not do something quick I would think Dale would leave and take his sponsor $ with him in 2011.
Ed Hinton (2:19 PM)
You gotta be kidding me. McGrew is more than adequate for Junior.
Any chance that we might see Rick Hendrick try to bring Ray Evernham back to HMS to crew chief for Junior?
Ed Hinton (2:21 PM)
Well, you know, Ray and Hendrick didn't part on the greatest of terms. They hugged and made up as Ray walked out the door, but it was pretty heated there for a while.I don't think Ray's nuts enough to take Junior on as a project. That's a no-win situation. Maybe if Ray got paid about $5 million a year and did it for the extra nest egg.
Dale Jr has 3 wins over his last 180 races spanning 5 seasons. Why does anyone believe that Dale can reverse that negative trend?
Ed Hinton (2:21 PM)
Hope springs eternal, I guess.
Why does Nascar have so many "nothing" drivers like Jamie McMurray or Elliot Sadler hanging aroud so long? Why don't they kick 'em out and give more younger drivers a chance like other forms of racing?
Ed Hinton (2:21 PM)
It's not talent. It's who can bring the sponsorship deals.
Brad Keselowski gets farmed out to Penske until Rick Hendrick is ready for him... almost reminds you of Dale Earnhardt being farmed out to Bud Moore until Richard Childress was ready for him.
Ed Hinton (2:22 PM)
Just exactly. Precisely.
Anonymous (history class)
im in school. i am very bored. by the way, the gators r going to win
Ed Hinton (2:23 PM)
This is a racing chat, HOWEVER: let me perk you up at your desk with some anxiety for you.This is PRECISELY the scenario where Georgia pulls the monumental upset. I've been watching that series for a long time, used to cover it.Besides, the Gators are very, very beatable right now.
Isn't Brad K a bit on the old side at 26 years old to be getting into cup full time compared to Kyle and Joey who started in cup in their teens?
Ed Hinton (2:24 PM)
K is fine on age. The teenagers, I think, are a trend that will pass. In normal NASCAR terms, K is fine.
What are the chances Kevin Harvick ends up at SHR next year?
Ed Hinton (2:25 PM)
0 percent for 2010, 100 percent for 2011.
california fan (Salinas, CA)
Hi Ed,I have a question regarding the Nascar awards banquet. Why do they only honor the top 10 finishers when they have 12 drivers competing for the championship? I feel that the bottom two should have the same opportunity to thank their sponsors, fans, teams, etc. as the top 10. Since sponsorships for teams are shrinking and becoming harder for teams to obtain, Nascar should step up and let all twelve drivers have a share of the spotlight. The sponsors are critical for the sport. Is there any way this policy can be changed?
Ed Hinton (2:27 PM)
Maybe because the place-settings were too expensive in Manhattan. Maybe in Vegas they'll have all 12, and spring for the casino buffet.
Mr Hinton, how much and what type of flak have you got for your awesome article "Is NASCAR Dangerous Enough?" Best article I've read in a while. Keep up the fine work.
Ed Hinton (2:28 PM)
Well, none, believe it or not, except for one dingaling on Conversation who said it was "sick," and then indicated very strongly that he's a stick and ball guy with no knowledge of racing.As for NASCAR PR, colleagues tell me they sometimes get screaming calls from them . . . but they know I'm deaf to that sort of thing, for more reasons than just my age.
I go to Talladega every year. I sit there and watch JJ ride around in the back all day and never make a move until everybody wrecks. Should Mark and Jeff stay back in the back with JJ this weekend or do they get up and chance being caught in that wreck?
Ed Hinton (2:30 PM)
Mark has told me in the past that he doesn't like the lay-back strategy because it tends to leave the Big One out in front of him, and he's more likely to get in it. Jeff has always believed the safest place to be is up front, but there are times -- he did it a couple of years ago -- when he'll run 2/3 throttle and lay waaaaaay back if he thinks the early going will be too crazy.
hey David. who you got top 5 at Dega?
Ed Hinton (2:31 PM)
Well, I'm Ed, not David, but I think he'd answer the same way: My top 5 at Talladega? Might as well ask me the next five numbers that will hit on a roulette wheel in Vegas.
Jackson (Tenn. )
Since the car in 2nd place on the last lap at Dega and Daytona, just runs over the leader to win, why would anyone want to be leading on the last lap?
Ed Hinton (2:33 PM)
They do all sorts of test runs in mid race at the plate tracks. Sometimes it's hard to get a run on the leader. It all depends on how the race goes whether you want to be first or second.Generally, with the COT, though, it's better to be running second. Why would anybody want to be running first? They wouldn't. But you can't always dictate that. Sometimes you get pushed up front whether you like it or not.
DALE JR HAS 4 TALLADEGA WINS IN HIS CAREER. COULD THIS BE THE TRACK TO HELP TURN HIM AROUND AND SALVAGE THE SEASON ON A HIGH NOTE OR DO YOU STILL SEE HIM STRUGGLING TILL HOMESTEAD?
Ed Hinton (2:34 PM)
He's got as good a chance as anybody at Talladega. He's as good in the draft as any. But Talladega is so different from the other tracks that a win there wouldn't mean a thing toward the rest of his season -- except maybe in his head.
Brendon (Pa )
Mr Hinton, do you think this just another year Martin finishes second in the points? He made a prediction that he will have a chance to win this weekend, since he only made 5 laps in the spring race.
Ed Hinton (2:35 PM)
I can tell when Mark is trying to psych himself, and he's been doing this for three weeks now. He's trying to tell himself, "I don't hate talladega, i don't hate talladega, i don't hate talladega."
Rob (Colorado Springs)
Ed, Dale Jr. has said that he needs a dictator, like Tony Eury Sr., on his pit box to turn things around for him. We all know that won't happen, but how do you think it would work if Pops was Jr.'s spotter? I think just knowing that Pops was there to put him in his place would benifit Jr. greatly.
Ed Hinton (2:37 PM)
I actually do think if they do make a change, Pops should be the guy. Think about it: When Junior was winning at DEI, Tony Jr. was mainly the car chief, and Pops was really the crew chief. Pops can settle him down.
Kevin (Colombia, SC)
In the garage is Joe Gibbs Racing regarded as having the best plate program?
Ed Hinton (2:38 PM)
They and Hendrick were neck and neck, but plate development continues 365 days a year, and i suspect we'll see Hendrick move back out front this weekend.
On This week-Spencer, Biff and Waltrip all warned Brad K that his rough driving won't be tolerated in cup, how soon do you expect to see the cup vets start teaching him some manners?
Ed Hinton (2:40 PM)
HA! This bunch??? HA! Maybe Tony Stewart but nobody else. Listen: Richard Petty once told me about Dale Earnhardt, "There'll come a time when there won't be enough wreckers to pick up the pieces of his car." Those tough guys never taught Earnhardt a lick of manners. You think THIS bunch is gonna take anybody to the wood shed? HA!
Zac (Los Angeles)
Why is Carl meeting with the victims of Brad K's dangerous driving that almost killed 8 Dega spectators instead of Brad?
Ed Hinton (2:41 PM)
Excellent question. I'll let it speak for itself as food for thought for everybody here.
Do all the cup drivers wear lace on their panties now? I noticed there is no driver with his own opinion anymore
Ed Hinton (2:41 PM)
Another question I'll let speak for itself, as food for thought.
Seeing as Brad K won in the spring race, and the random order drivers can finish in at 'Dega, who do you think can surprise us all this weekend a possibly pull out a W here this week?
Ed Hinton (2:42 PM)
Oh, maybe 00. His boss was always a pretty good plate racer, and it'll be a crapshoot at the end. Maybe Mikey's taught Reuty a few things.
Whats your opinion on a comment about Roush not financing his cars as he did in the past and trying to get out Cup and Nationwide?
Ed Hinton (2:44 PM)
Roush Fenway is becoming a less extreme version of Richard Petty Motorsports. The bean counters have moved in. You can't run a racing team with intentions of profit above all else. It's never worked and it never will.
Do you think Kyle let Brad win Memphis without much of a fight the same way the #48 didn't put up much of a fight with Denny at Martinsville cause they were "big picture" championship racing?
Ed Hinton (2:45 PM)
Yes and no. I think Kyle didn't really have a lot for K at the end. But it was pretty clear that Kyle could have turned him on the last lap, and it was just as clear that Kyle decided not to for PR purposes. He didn't want another bad-boy incident.
And on the topic of the way drivers are these days, I'm not a fan of either of them, but were you dying to see Busch lay the chrome horn to Brad K for the win on Saturday?
Ed Hinton (2:46 PM)
Yeah, i'd have loved to see a "live by the fender, die by the fender" scenario play out, where K turns people all day and then gets turned himself at the end.
Any truth to the rumor about Danica racing in the Nationwide race at Phoenix in a couple weeks?
Ed Hinton (2:47 PM)
A couple of weeks ago I had good information that was a distinct possibility, IF she could get some testing time. But now, her Indy car sponsors are holding up some announcements that are holding up her NASCAR announcement. Leave it to the IRL to make a mess.
Dalton (Vacaville, CA)
How many more championships do you think Jeff Gordon will win before he retires?
Ed Hinton (2:48 PM)
I'm beginning to wonder if he'll win anymore titles.
Do you think Junior will ever get a break before the season is over ?
Ed Hinton (2:48 PM)
A break? Please. Give ME a break. How many breaks does he need?
Hey Ed. Bored in school. What are the chances NASCAR goes back to the Rock. I did like the action the ARCA cars put on earlier this year.
Ed Hinton (2:49 PM)
Slim to none, unfortunately. Market too small, and attendance there was lousy even in the good old days.
Does Dale jr stay in racing cause he doesn't have anything better to do with his life?
Ed Hinton (2:50 PM)
Well, he does on that bar . . .
Ed Hinton (2:50 PM)
own, I mean.
Watch out, Ed. You're hating on Junior. Maybe he will take you for one of those rides just like the ride his dad gave you!!
Ed Hinton (2:51 PM)
The old man gave me several such rides. There's no driver in NASCAR, Junior included, who would ever drive that way on public roads again. Getting a ticket would be bad PR and the sponsors would howl.
Ed, I'm really like your take on things today! This is a hoot!
Ed Hinton (2:52 PM)
Why, thanks. How's the weather in Denver?
Nathan (Tyler, Texas)
With Dodge down to 3 Penske's how much longer do you expect Chrysler to stay in Nascar?
Ed Hinton (2:53 PM)
Not much longer. I think Toyota's probably been after Penske for years, and sooner or later Roger's going to wise up.
what do you think nascar should do to stop jj from winning more chases
Ed Hinton (2:55 PM)
Well, Newton suggested a few weeks ago that they change the tracks in the Chase, all of which are to JJ's liking and apparent advantage. But you know NASCAR. Getting them to make a move is like trying to turn an aircraft carrier with a boat paddle.
Laura (Fort Lee, NJ)
Do you think part of the Nascar televison problem is too many partners-ABC/ESPN, TNT, FOX etc?
Ed Hinton (2:56 PM)
No, because no one network wants a whole, 36-race NASCAR season. If anything, the season is too long. If they cut it to 28 races -- which I'd love to see but they'll never do -- one network might agree to doing the whole thing, if it starts in February and ends early in college football season.
Do you think they should end the Cup season Labor Day weekend at some point in the future?
Ed Hinton (2:57 PM)
As a followup to my last answer, yes, I absolutely, positively think they should be done by Labor Day. I used to have a saying: "NASCAR is like watermelons. After Labor Day, everybody's tired of them."
Its looking like Jimmie might lock up the championship early if he makes it through 'Dega. Ed, what would you do to fix the Chase so this doesn't happen again?
Ed Hinton (2:58 PM)
Oh, yeah. He gets through Talladega with a top 10 or 15, ice the champagne for Phoenix. Again, I refer to Newton on how to change this: put tracks in the Chase that aren't such JJ favorites.
Do you expect Kurt and Kyle to take the chasers on a night time tour of Vegas hot spots the way Gordon did last year in NYC?
Ed Hinton (3:00 PM)
Well, their growing up was a bit different from what the Chasers are used to with regard to partying. What was it Kurt said he used to do for kicks? Go sit in Caesar's Places and throw M&M's on the floor to make the roller-skating waitresses crash?
who do you think will win a cup first: carl edwards, denny hamlin, or juan pablo montoya?
Ed Hinton (3:00 PM)
Montoya. He's gonna be waaaaaaay good on ovals next year.
Ed Hinton (3:01 PM)
Gotta go, folks. Not only has the clock run out, but editors are e-mailing me with questions about a story. Thanks to everyone for stopping by.