Chat with Terry Blount
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, 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 Thursday at 2 p.m. ET!
Terry Blount (2:00 PM)
Merry Christmas everybody. I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays with family and friends. What's on your mind?
Glenn (Wilmington, NC)
Any reports of NASCAR tinkering with the Chase format for next year?
Terry Blount (2:02 PM)
It appears some minor changes are coming. Brian France might reveal this during the January testing in Daytona. It could be going to 15 Chasers and possibly adding a bonus for the regular season winner. The big change of an elimination process still is possible, but it seeems to have lost steam.
Dan (Roswell, GA)
With Daytona being the 10th anniversary of Dale's passing do you expect to see a suspicious Jr. "victory" like the #3 exhibition run last July at Daytona?
Terry Blount (2:03 PM)
No, no freebie win for Junior. But I do think he can race competitively in the 500 and have a chance to win because it's one of his best tracks.
Barb (Ft. Myers, Fl)
Happy Holidays Terry! What do you expect Rowdy to do to Reuitman for ruining the #18 team chances in Chase?
Terry Blount (2:04 PM)
Yes I do, at some point. I don't know if he will try that at Daytona, but it's coming, you can bank on that.
Merry xmas Terry!. when Hendrick moved resources from #5 to help #88, it only hurt Mark's team, now with Hendrick moving recources from #48 to help #88 do you expect the same result for Jimmie?
Terry Blount (2:06 PM)
Merry Christmas to you also Maggie. I think it has to help Junior some just being around Chad and that team everyday. But remember, the only things switching here are the drivers. The teams are staying in the same shop.
Eric (Greensboro, NC)
hey Terry, is the setup with Chad overseeing Letarte and the #88 a unique deal where Dale in effect has 2 co-crew chiefs? Will Chad make pitcalls for 88 and setup 88 before leaving the shop?
Terry Blount (2:08 PM)
No. It will work the same as it did when the 24 was in that shop. Again, only the drivers are moving to a new shop. But just having Chad's influence has to help Jr. And I think his personality fits better with Steve than it did with Lance.
Michael (Albany, GA)
Happy Holidays Blount! With the shellacking that Harvick and Denny took from #48 in the chase do you see Rowdy and Edwards stepping up as the main challengers in '11?
Terry Blount (2:10 PM)
First, I would say Kevin and Denny took a shellacking. It came down to the last race. But it wouldn't surprise me to see Carl and Kyle step up. Everyone knows Kyle has the talent, and Carl ended the year as the hottest driver in Cup.
Jake (Irving, Texas)
Merry Christmas Terry! How come there are so few good southern drivers (only Denny and Burton in Top 20) in what used to be a "Southern" NASCAR?
Terry Blount (2:13 PM)
Mainly, NASCAR is much more of a national sport now than it was 20 years ago. Team owners search for the best talent, at a very early age, all across the country. But yopu'll still see guys from the Southeast in the mix because the South still has the most short tracks. What happens now is once a kid is signmaled out as a potential star, his family often moves to the Southeast to help increase his chances of moving up.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Will we see either in 2011 or 2012 Johanna Long & Danica Patrick racing in the Daytona 500?
Terry Blount (2:14 PM)
Don't know about Long, but I'd be shocked if we don't see DP in the 2012 Daytona 500.
I think some of these people have got into the egg nog early!
Terry Blount (2:15 PM)
Well, more power to them, Lori. I plan to do the same when this chat ends.
Rebecca (Wilkes-Barre, PA)
Hi Terry, Merry Christmas! Any chance we'll see race wins awarded more points in the Chase? I'd much rather see that than the field expanded to 15 or elimination-style playoffs.
Terry Blount (2:17 PM)
It's possible. I'm in favor of anything that emphasizes winning, even if it meant a guy who wins four in a row can sew up the Chase. Pro sports competition is about winning, not getting rewarded for finishing sixth every week.
Hi Terry, Merry Christmas to you and your family. Do you think Jr and Steve will turn things around for the 88?
Terry Blount (2:19 PM)
Merry Christmas to you and yours also Lori. I think Junior will improved next year and contend for the Chase. But I can't say I expect him to be a realistic title contender.
Rex Ryan (NYC)
For a guy to be a good driver, he's gotta have pretty good feet, right? Intriguing.
Terry Blount (2:19 PM)
Oh fake Rex. No one likes feet as much as you do.
Ryan (Reynoldsburg,Ohio )
Which drivers do you think will be able to challange for the cup that were a liittel off last year and which ones that contented this year will lose ground this year?
Terry Blount (2:22 PM)
I wouldn't be surprised to see Kenseth back in title contention next year. And I really think Gordon is going to excel with Gustafson as his crew chief. It's the best thing that's happened to Jeff (racing wise) is years.
Ali (At work)
Okay who is the first Hendrick driver to win with a new CC?
Terry Blount (2:23 PM)
I'm going with Gordon in that one. I'm predicting great things from the Gordon-Gustafson combo.
RAYGORDONREID ( DAWSONVILLE GA30534)
COMMENT TO TERRY BLOUNT AT 2.40 AM HI TERRY YOU NEWTON THE GURU HINTON ARE FANTASTIC WE THANK YOU IBE BACK FOR2011
Terry Blount (2:24 PM)
That's awesome RGR. Thank you and I'm sure we'll see your ALL-CAPS questions each week to pick the race winner. Happy Holidays.
Do you think David Ragan will be able to step it in 2011 to be able to keep his ride
Terry Blount (2:25 PM)
Honestly, no. I hope he does because David's a really good guy, but I don't see it.
Aside from double j winning the championship, what do you think was the most memorable moment last season?
Terry Blount (2:27 PM)
If you are talking anbout one moment, I think most people will remember Carl wrecking Brad at Atlanta and how scary that was. But overall, the memorable part of 2010 was the entire have-at-it--boys theme, which of course, played into the Edwards-Brad K deal.
Happy Holidays Terry! Here's another Christmas gift... That Mr. Nice Guy Jamie Mac makes it into the Chase while winning another Daytona or Brickyard race. I've been a fan of his since meeting him while testing at Infineon before testing was banished.
Terry Blount (2:28 PM)
Happy Holidays to you too Tony. I can honestly tell you that Jamie is one of the nicest guys in the sport. In fact, he's one of the nicest guys I've met in 30 years of covering sports. I'd love to see Jamie contend for the championship.
If crew chiefs like #18 scan other teams radio traffic, does he do that or does Gibbs have like 10 people listening to #48, #11, #99 etc?
Terry Blount (2:31 PM)
Teams have people listening to scanners on cars who are contending that day, and also on cars that are pitting around them. But sometimes, they do it the old fashio way and just send a guy down to the pit wagon to talk to the other crew chief and pit situations.
Terry Blount (2:35 PM)
I have to run and finish my pre-Christmas errands, but I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year. Peace and Goodwill to all.