Chat with Terry Blount
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, 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 Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Terry Blount (2:00 PM)
Hello chatters. What's on your mind?
Burton a U.S. Senator? is that your early April Fools Day joke?
Terry Blount (2:01 PM)
Well, it would have to be a January Fool's Joke, but no. I believe Jeff has a future in politics.
Hi Terry, since the serious, engineering type mentalty of McGree didn't work for Dale do you think it was smart to do a 180 and give Dale a beer buddy like Letarte for his cc?
Terry Blount (2:02 PM)
It can't be worst. Dale was really on edge a lot of times last year. Letarte will keep things lose and that may help.
hey terry, on your up-down, why don't Rowdy and Kurt even get mentions?
Terry Blount (2:04 PM)
I guess because I see both of them finishing 2011 in about the same position they finished 2010. Both are extremely talented drivers, and marriage may settle Kyle down a little, which will help. Kurt may get hurt by Penske not having a three-car team now.
Hey Terry, KY Speedway tickets on sale today, are you excited!!!!!
Terry Blount (2:05 PM)
I'm always excited to see Cup get a new venue. It's been a while and I think it's a good track for the series.
Jake (Irving, TX)
Hey Terry, isn't NASCAR forcing the teams/drivers to pick only 1 series just another example of NASCAR manipulating series champions like Chase2?
Terry Blount (2:06 PM)
Not to me. It's a way to slowly force Cup guys not to run the entire NW series, something that's been a huge problem and has hurt the development of young drivers trying to move up.
why is it that all the great drivers have to be pushed out insted of walking away on top?
Terry Blount (2:08 PM)
Sadly, that's true in most sport (Brett Favre, for example). But it's moreso in racing because guys can still get in the car and drive. And it's big money. If someone is willing to pay them millions of dollars, they're going to take it.
Mike (Nijmegen, The Netherlands)
What do you think of John Andretti back in the #43 for RPM to race in the Bud Shootout since AJ Allmendinger is not eligible to race the Shootout?
Terry Blount (2:09 PM)
Not much. I think's John's day has come and gone.
Afternoon, Terry! I was just wondering your opinion on the constant, yearly changes NASCAR makes to the Bud Shootout eligibility rules? By changing the criteria every single year (my opinion is that they are doing this to get Logano in, but that's besides the point), they are watering down the event. I always thought of the Shootout as a prestigious event, that only the best of the best got into. Now, a 30 car field? I think the event has lost some of its prestige...
Terry Blount (2:10 PM)
Frankly, I think they should do away with it. It's a joke with some of the guys who get in and some who don't. It doesn't work any more. They need a new event entirley and ditch it.
Mike (Nijmegen, The Netherlands)
I am happy with most of the changes the Indy Car Series did to the series for 2011. You?
Terry Blount (2:14 PM)
Absolutely. They seem to be doing almost everything right these days. The double-file restarts are something I wrote about last June when they first started considering it. The only thing I don't like is adding more street and road courses and having fewer ovals. I don't like the plan to race in Baltimore. Most of these street races are short-term gain and don't last long, and the racing usually isn't very good. But overall, I give them a A for the changes they're making.
How does a driver like bobby labonte go from championship winner to almost not making races
Terry Blount (2:16 PM)
It's all about the car Ryan. The best driver can't win in a bad car and the worst driver won't win in a good car. Bobby was with a start-and-park type operation last year. He'll be much better this year in the No. 47 Toyota. But he also isn't getting any younger. His best days are behind him.
Jenny (Elizabethtown LA)
What do you think will be the biggest story of the off-season? Thanks for your time
Terry Blount (2:17 PM)
Whatever NASCAR decides to do, or not do, with the Chase format. We'll learn the answer soon, but I don't expect major changes.
Any further news on Speed's lawsuit against Red Bull and what he is doing race wise this year?
Terry Blount (2:18 PM)
No, but man I'm sick of all these lawsuits. Scott didn't get the job done. That's the bottom line.
Is the Chase the next thing to come to NW? I love the fact that drivers have to pick what series they want to earn points in. NASCAR got that one right in my opinion.
Terry Blount (2:19 PM)
Adding a NW Chase was discussed toward the end of last season, but NASCAR wants to keep that exclusive to Cup. I'd be all for it. Maybe eight guys for the last eight races. NW guys only, of course. It would really help those guys gain some recognition and media exposure.
How do you see Jeff Gordon doing this year??
Terry Blount (2:21 PM)
I think this will be Jeff's best year in a long time. I believe Alan Gustafson can make Jeff a true title contender. With AG on the pit box, i think a fifth Cup crown is possible.
Hey Terry, yeah its early, but give us your finishing order of HMS drivers in 2011.
Terry Blount (2:21 PM)
OK. Gordon, Johnson, Earnhardt Jr., Martin.
Dan (Spring Hill, Fl)
Do you think Red Bull can consistently put 2 top 10 cars on the track or will Kasey get the focus with Vickers being 2nd string?
Terry Blount (2:23 PM)
No. Vickers is their long-term guy, not Kasey. They will get the sme attention and that organization will be much improved, but I don't see them both posting consistent top-10 finishes. That's a huge step up.
Is Harvick moving up, staying the same or moving down this year in that black Bud car?
Terry Blount (2:24 PM)
My guess is about the same. Kevin had a great year in 2010, but to improve on it this year he needs to win more, and it's possible winning will be emphasized more in the Chase chances.
Hey Terry, where's the best place to eat in Daytona?
Terry Blount (2:26 PM)
Gene's Steakhouse, without question. I love that place.
How's the Charlotte snow? Ready for some Daytona sunshine?
Terry Blount (2:28 PM)
I'm not in Charlotte, but it is snowing at my house. February in Daytona still can be pretty cold, but it won't snow.
Can Petty succeed with two drivers who have never won a cup race?
Terry Blount (2:30 PM)
Yes. AJ is on the verge os winning and I bet Marcos wins one of the road races this season. RPM will be better with two cars than it was with four. They are using the best guys from all four teams for only two teams now.
Hey Terry, excuse the persistence, but I am very curious.Do you think there is a possibility that a Cup regular might choose to race for the Nationwide Title (for drivers who are not contenders for the Cup)? Considering the rumor of making drivers choose one series to compete for a title.
Terry Blount (2:31 PM)
Joe Nemechek might do it. But the problem is you eliminate your chance of staying in the to 35 in Cup points and getting a guaranteed spot in the field.
Do you think there was any ill will w/ the Gordon/Letarte 24/48 split or just business?
Terry Blount (2:32 PM)
None at all. Jeff thinks the world of Steve. This was Rick's decision to shake things up.
Kasey Kane sounds pretty excited with Red Bull cars/organization. Would really prefer to see Kasey go to Stewart-Haas next year than Hendrick. He & Tony have more in common. Feel Hendricks puts all their energy in JJ. Thoughts?
Terry Blount (2:34 PM)
Not gonna happen Karen. Kasey is going to the 5 car. And he'll fit in well at HMS. He's a polished guy that Rick likes in his drivers.
Jenn (Snowy NJ)
DO you think Chad Knaus is a little worried about the swap of Gordon for Junior? Half of the driver data in that shop is no longer coming from a 4 time champ, but a ZERO time champ that has been struggling for several years now...
Terry Blount (2:36 PM)
I doubt if Chad worries about much these days. that's a well-oiled operation with the 48 guys. And remember, the only thing changing here is the drivers. if anything, Junior will b enefit from having Chad in his shop.
Who's going to have a "Kevin Harvick" season this year and come out of nowhere?
Terry Blount (2:37 PM)
I think young Joey Logano is going to surprise a lot of people this year.
Turk (Mich. )
Since Rowdy can't run for the NW or trucks championships why doesn't he cancel all those events and focus 100% on winning the Sprint Cup like his brother and Jimmie do?
Terry Blount (2:39 PM)
I'm with ya Turk. I think the same thing is true for Edwrads, who I think could win the Cup title this year if he doesn't spread himself to thin with all the NW races. But for Kyle, it's complicated. He has sponsors that are tied to him racing in some of those truck events. And he loves it. He loves winning. But I think it would help him if he ran fewer NW and truck races and concentrated on Cup.
With the new rule, who's your favorite for the NW title?
Terry Blount (2:40 PM)
I'd have to say Elliott Sadler, so in a way, a Cup guys still could win it, even though he won't race in Cup this year.
Which drivers(that didn't make the chase last year) have a shot of making the chase this year?
Terry Blount (2:41 PM)
Joey Logano, Jamie Mcmurray, Juan Pablo Montoya, to name three. But the Chase may expand to 15 drivers.
You said earlier that Nemecheck would fall out of the top-35 in points if he chose to go for the Nationwide, so would all of the Cup drivers have to be qualify on time to be in the Nationwide race?
Terry Blount (2:42 PM)
No, because it's based on owner points.
hey man where do u see joey logano finishing in the chase next year
Terry Blount (2:42 PM)
I see him making the Chase, but I don't think he's ready to contend for the title.
Tyler (Danville, VA)
doesn't expanding the chase to 15 dilute the value like NASCAR just did by expanding the shootout field to 30?
Terry Blount (2:43 PM)
Yes it does, but that's doesn't mean they won't do it.
Why does everyone seem to push aside that Dale, Jr. has 17-18 Nascar Cup wins. That's more than at least 1/2 the current drivers. I don't see Hendricks as a good fit for Dale. Think he would do better back at Gnassi/Earnhardt (except for Teresa) or possibly Tony Stewart. He's odd man out at Hendricks.
Terry Blount (2:44 PM)
Martin is the man out at Hendrick after this year Karen. Junior has two years left on his deal and they are working on an extension. But I agree. I think Junior might be better elsewhere, possible RCR.
How do you feel the 2nd year of 'Have at it Boys" will affect the racing this year?
Terry Blount (2:46 PM)
About the same. Overall, I think the have-at-it plan worked well. But it did go over the edge a couple iof times, like Carl wrecking Brad at Atlanta. NASCAR still needs to take a tough stance of dangerous deliberate wrecks and high-speed ovals.
Besides Earnhardt... who has the greatest affect on NASCAR's popularity?
Terry Blount (2:47 PM)
Good question. Probably Tony Stewart. Carl also is gaining quite a following.
Who that made the chase last year won't make it this year?
Terry Blount (2:48 PM)
Maybe Jeff Burton. Maybe Bowyer.
just read about mark martin doing some nw and trucks this year, is this what mark might do in 2012?
Terry Blount (2:49 PM)
I'm sure he'll do some of that, but he also might start his own Cup team if if finds the right situation, something similar to what happened with Tony Stewart.
why would nascar expand the chase? seems less exciting since they went more than 10, more watered down to me especially at richmond.
Terry Blount (2:50 PM)
I agree. It only makes sense to me if they use an elimination process. But I'm starting to get the feeling they aren't going to do much of anything.
What was your favorite race of 2010? Why?
Terry Blount (2:51 PM)
Both Talladega races were a blast to watch.
Marc (Hamden, CT)
If Dale, Stewart and Edwards are the most popular than why did Gillette Young Guns only sign Rowdy Busch and Denny Hamlin?
Terry Blount (2:52 PM)
Kyle and Denny are up there too. In Kyle's case, he stirs emotions both ways. Half the fans love him and half hate him, but they all talk about him.
you mean like Harvick intentionally wrecking out Rowdy at Homestead putting Rowdy in danger with that fire or Reuitmann intentioally wrecking out Rowdy at Kansas ruining his championship chances?
Terry Blount (2:54 PM)
Paul, I'm guessing you are a Kyle Busch fan. You'll get to watch your boy get revenge on Reuti somewhere soon.
do u see jgr changing drivers in the future
Terry Blount (2:55 PM)
I see them adding a fourth car soon if they have the sponosrship lined up.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What Year will we See Female Drivers Racing in the Sprint Cup Series?
Terry Blount (2:57 PM)
Women have raced in Cup in the past and they will again. Danica is a possibility, maybe Jennifer Jo Cobb, and there are others who could get there within the next couple of years.
Trent (Woodbridge, VA)
Is there any reason to believe that Edwards or Kyle Busch or Gordon can really stop #48 from winning their 6th straight championship?
Terry Blount (2:58 PM)
Sure. Carl had the best car on the track at the end of last season. Kyle is the most talented driver in NASCAR. Gordon has a great crew chief noiw that might get him back to the top.
how much drafting will we see during speedweeks
Terry Blount (2:58 PM)
A lot. Guys to find out how things will go on the new surface.
During the 5 year reign of JJ, who has been the 2nd best driver overall in that span?
Terry Blount (3:01 PM)
Good question. The second-place guy has been a different driver all five years. I'd probably say Hamlin.
Terry Blount (3:02 PM)
I'm out guys. Great questions today. I really enjoyed it. Daytona is almost here. Have a great week. Peace.