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 (2:00 PM)
It's in the book folks. Another motor sports year is over. What's your take? What stands out in your mind?
Tank ( )
How much money does Johnsn's crew cheif make...i thinks he shoodl make near as much as JJ!!!
Terry Blount (2:00 PM)
Not quite that much, but Chad's is doing well for himself.
What is it going to take for Regan Smith to run better every week?
Terry Blount (2:01 PM)
Well, for starters, a lot better car and team.
Nick Rolando (Orlando)
Terry, how do you see my boy Alonso doing at his first season at Ferrari?
Terry Blount (2:02 PM)
I'll be shocked in Fernando isn't a champipnship contender right off the bat.
Tyler Mills (NC)
Will people stop talking about dale jr. already? He is so overrated that it is ridiculous. Everyone acts like he is NASCAR and he cant even win 3 races in three years. Even Denny Hamlin won 4 races this season alone. Will people ever open their eyes on ho overrated jr really is?
Terry Blount (2:04 PM)
Junior remains one of the most popular driver's in the sport. And he certainly not as bad as this season would indicate. The man has 18 Cup victories. That doesn't happen by accident. But he's a long way from making it back to contender status.
I saw on Jayski.com that Steve Addington is going to Penske. Question is, who for? It said that it was either for Kurt or Brad. You heard which one?
Terry Blount (2:07 PM)
I expected all along that Steve would end up as Kurt's crew chief. That makes him NASCAR's resident Busch tamer. If anyone knows what it takes, it's Steve.
I have been a Mark Martin fan for over 20 years. As hard as it was to see him finish 2nd again, Mark appears to be ready to move forward and possible take it one step further next year and finally win it all. What is your take on that?
Terry Blount (2:08 PM)
It's possible, but it won't get any easier. And Father Time catches us all at some point. But he could improve next year with a full season under his belt the AG. If they can avoid the slow start they had this year, he might finally get that elusive title.
Zach H (SoCal)
Jimmie Johnson, he can't be that much better than everyone else. He has to be doing something illegal. Him and his BFF Chad are infamous for cheating. Are they really just this much better than Jeff Gordon and the rest of the field on the best competition NASCAR has ever seen?
Terry Blount (2:10 PM)
Yes, they're really that much better. No, it's not because they're cheating. NASCAR inspected the 48 car every week of the Chase trying to find something. JJ is just a better driver of this car than anyone else.
Tyler Mills (NC)
Do you think that David Ragan can turn into a contender next season?
Terry Blount (2:11 PM)
No, not when you consider the free-fall he took this season.
So can Allmendinger continue his season ending run or will RPM settle back to Khane and the also rans?
Terry Blount (2:12 PM)
I expect big tings for AJ next year running with Fords. I think he was the biggest over-achiever in Cup this season, making the most with the least.
jimbo (los angeles)
Terry, what will it take for Jr. to make it back to be a contender? Hendrick came out and said he would be paying attention to getting him competitive again.
Terry Blount (2:15 PM)
Most importantly, Jr. has to cut down on his own mistakes, like running too high and scraping the wall and errors in the pits. Secondly, he and Lance have to get on the same page and formulate a consistent plan. Third, he needs a couple of new guys on the pit crew.
Johnny ((NYC, NY))
If you were to break-up Johnson and Knaus and put them each with somebody else, who do you think would do better? I think Knaus and Gordon would win a championship and Johnson and Letarte would struggle to get into the top 5.
Terry Blount (2:16 PM)
That's an excelent question. We'll never know. But I think you're underestimating JJ's driving skills. Letarte could set the car up looser for JJ than he can for Jeff.
Zach H (SoCal)
My sister and mom are big fans of Jimmie Johnson and I don't like him but I don't have a good reason not to. I love Jeff Gordon and Hendrick but not Johnson. Can you give me a reason not to like him?
Terry Blount (2:17 PM)
No I can't. Unless he's just too perfect for you. That's his problem. He makes it look easy and he doesn't do anything outlandish.
Do you think Robbie Reiser would ever consider helping Matt out as crew cheif again? The 17 team has not been the same without him.
Terry Blount (2:18 PM)
I think Robbie might do it, but I don't know if Jack would let him do it.
Did Steve Addington leave Gibbs because of the Kyle thing or did Oenske dangle the $$$'s?
Terry Blount (2:19 PM)
He's leaving because he wants to work as a crew chief. That option wasn't available at JGR.
How do you see Jamie Mac performing in the #1 next year? Do you think he or Elliott Sadler have a better chance making the chase?
Terry Blount (2:20 PM)
Jamie, without question. I expect him to do well in the 1 car.
Johnny (NYC, NY)
History is great, but JJ's dominance is curtailing my interest in NASCAR...what's the point in watching May races that have little relevance once the season ends? he's doing what he's gotta, its just the script of the last 4 years is getting old...JJ is nowhere early on and everybody talks about who is gonna win next...until Hamlin, Busch, etc give him a serious run for the money, the championship hunt is a bore...he's gonna take #5 next year...
Terry Blount (2:21 PM)
I think Denny, Kyle, Kurt and Mark all can give JJ a run for his money next season. And maybe Stewart and JPM also, if they stop running into each other.
Kahne is a strong rumor to leave RPM after 2010. Harvick is a strong rumor to leave RCR after 2010. Who gets the 3rd car at SHR in 2011? Or does SHR jump straight to a 4 car team and hire both of them?
Terry Blount (2:23 PM)
Those things always depend on sponsorship, but I seriously dobt SHR would add two cars at the same time. If it were up to me, I'd hire Kasey. But Harvick and Tony are very close and Harvick would do a good job. I just think there's most upside potential with Kahne.
Do the front running teams even care much about the prize money from individule races? Is it a significant portion of their budget or is it all about sponsorship?
Terry Blount (2:25 PM)
It's about sponsorship. You can't run a competitive team on prize money, but the drivers defintely care. They typically take home about 40 percent of the prize money they earn.
Are we going to see any tweaks to the current Cup car for next season or are we gonna have to wait till 2011 for NASCAR to finally implement some changes? The noses on the N'wide cars are awesome! Love the spoiler on them too...
Terry Blount (2:26 PM)
No major changes on the Cup cars in 2010, but a few little things may change with the splitter and weight distribution. NASCAR will watch closer how the new NW cars run to see if any of those things would help in CUP.
Will Roush get his teams back in the hunt next year, or will they put too much stock in the new engine and drop the ball again?
Terry Blount (2:28 PM)
They need to put a lot of stock in the new engine. I wrote today they were the most disappointing organization this season. Yes, RCR was bad, but they made some big strides in the Chase. Roush won't stay down. That group works hard and they'll get it together, but the new engine remains a bit of a mystery.
Jack Trae (Missouri)
Any chance Brian Vickers goes back to Hendrick later on down the road?
Terry Blount (2:30 PM)
You never know, but I don't see that happening any time soon.
Looks like RCR hit on something with Burton and Berrier. Does Burton make the chase next year?
Terry Blount (2:31 PM)
It wouldn't surprise me. RCR has made a huge turnaround in the last couple of months. Everyone there is pumped about 2010.
Kacey (Ft. Meyers)
How well do you think the 56 car will perform next year? Do you think they can win races? contend for a chase position?
Terry Blount (2:33 PM)
I'd say it's a longshot, but Truex made the move because he saw MWR's dramatic improvement this year. David has some good runs and Ambrose was the surprise of the season.
You said the new engine is a bit of a mystery. Do you mean to them (the teams don't know what to expect out of it) or to the media and fans (no info on it is released) it remains a mystery?Thanks Terry
Terry Blount (2:34 PM)
Both. How can they know for sure what to expect when they haven't race it much.
More people need to be talking about Mark Martin as a contender in 2010. I saw something in his eyes Sunday night that I haven't seen all year... a hunger to win that championship. He and AG are going to come back in force next year.
Terry Blount (2:36 PM)
But Mark says the championship doesn't matter to him. I'm guessing it does, especially now that he knows he has the car and team capable to getting there.
Pete (Defiance, OH)
How do you think the 77 will do next season? Will we see more of the driver that got 7 top 10s or the one that had all those DNFs?
Terry Blount (2:37 PM)
I don't see much improvement, however, the third season often is a big indicator of whether a guy cna get it done. Look at how much JPM improved this year in his third season.
Is Ambrose officially an MWR driver? I thought he drover for JTD Doherty, which got equipment from MWR.
Terry Blount (2:39 PM)
Officially, they are an independent team. But they run out of MWR's shop and use MWR equipment.
Andrew (Wilmington, NC)
Terry, I've read that Ray Evernham may be looking for a return to the garage. What are the odds that possibly him and Gordon could reunite? Also, Jeff has only won 1 race in 2 years under Steve Letarte...isn't it time to highly consider a crew chief change?
Terry Blount (2:41 PM)
Gordon is happy with Steve, but something is missing. I don't see Ray going back as a crew chief. You can't be away from it that long and then just step back on the pit box and expect to take up where you left off. Ray never has worked with these cars.
Jeremy (Port Angeles, Washington)
Do you think that Danica will have 2 press conference 1st on is Danica has resign with Michael Andrettti's team & the 2nd one being Danica has sign with JR Motorsports. Or will they just have a press release.
Terry Blount (2:42 PM)
Hard to say. I know she going to be in Vegas next week at the time as the Cup banquet functions.
Elick (Oxford )
Do you think that eliminating the bump-stops on the Cup car would improve the racing?
Terry Blount (2:43 PM)
I know a lot of the crew chiefs thinks so. They hate the bump stops. But the coil-binding on the shocks wasn't so great either.
What do you think Jr's problem has been these past 3 years? Too much too soon? Trying to overcome being Sr's son?
Terry Blount (2:45 PM)
You can't really compare this season's disaster to the previous two years. He made the Chase in 2008. The 2o07 year at DEI he was a lame duck and that's always a bad situation. I think he got over the Sr.'s son stuff long ago.
Jimmie Johnsons burnout to the championship stage was cool.
Terry Blount (2:46 PM)
It was a little scary. I was concerned about some of those people there if he lost control.
How many more titles do you think JJ and Chad will have when it's time re-up with Hendrick in 2015?
Terry Blount (2:47 PM)
I'll say two more.
Kyle ( Selma, NC)
It obviously looks like there's no stopping JJ and the guys anytime soon, but realistically, how many championships could they win? 8? 10? And, I'd also like your take on the final 10 chase races. Don't you think after next year, NASCAR will change the final 10 races to make it a bit more competitive and interesting?
Terry Blount (2:49 PM)
They might make a couple of changes because KC is going to get a second race and Kentucky may get a race. So Kentucky could be in for 2011 and another race out. I wish they would move a road race to the Chase. That would make it tougher for JJ beause he isn't the best on the road courses.
Why didn't Hendrick lock Jimmie down to a lifetime deal now instead of waiting for Jimmie to continually be worth more money as time marches on?
Terry Blount (2:51 PM)
Rick jokeed that a six-year deal was all he could afford. Even at that, he gave JJ a deal that is two years longer than the deal with Lowe's.
Reagan (Salt Lake City)
Is there any chance Nascar has the chase drivers qualify like normal but start in the back of the field. Make them race up through the field?
Terry Blount (2:51 PM)
The chance of that is zero.
I think SHR COULD field two more cars with Kasey and Kevin. If Bud commits to Kasey, that's sponsorship all but sewn up for another car with just Harvick to figure out.
Terry Blount (2:52 PM)
But adding two cars at move is tough because you need to double your personnel. It a big leap to make sure all that would go smoothly an you could have th same quality for all four teams.
Jeffrey (Greenville, NC)
Which one is more likely? Dale Jr winning a championship or Jimmie Johnson getting 7+ championships?
Terry Blount (2:53 PM)
A no-brainer. JJ getting 7 titles.
Ray (North Carolina)
Hey Terry! I have always wanted to get into NASCAR, no matter what the role (even if it means scrubbing toilets at Hendrick) any suggestions on how I could do so?
Terry Blount (2:55 PM)
Knock on doors at all the race shops and tell them you're avaliable. The problem is there are a lot of qualified people who have worked on good teams for year that don't have a job right now because so many teams have laid people off.
Hey Terry ... do you see many more women in the sport these days (overall ... officials, team members, etc)?
Terry Blount (2:57 PM)
There certainly are more than there were five years ago and way more than there were 10 years ago. But it still isn't enough or where it should be.
Where do you see Dale Jr. finishing his Cup career at? Any chance of at Gibbs?
Terry Blount (2:58 PM)
You never know, but a seriously doubt it.
Hi Terry, I just read that Gibbs is trying to sign Kyle to a multiyear contract before 2010. What do you think will happen to Denny after 2010? His contract is up next year. Does that depend on Fedex or Gibbs?
Terry Blount (3:00 PM)
I don't think Denny is going anywhere. He knows he's close to winning a championship at JGR.
Terry Blount (3:02 PM)
Gotta run folks. It's been a blast this season doing the chats and listening to what you guys have to say. Thanks so much for taking the time. I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and wonderful holiday season. All the Best. Peace.