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 was recently inducted into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame for his contribution as a reporter and columnist.
Send your questions now and join Blount Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Terry Blount (1:59 PM)
Let the chatters begin. What's shaking with you folks this week?
Say what you want about Kyle, I would still take JJ anyday. People say how Kyle is the most versatile, talented driver but I have to disagree. In the past 2 years there is only 1 driver who won on every type of oval (short, flat, cookie cutter, superspeedway etc..) a road course and dirt track. That would be Jimmie.
Terry Blount (2:01 PM)
This is a very fair point Ray. I've always said JJ doesn't get enough crdit for his skills as a driver. People says it's Chad and being at Hendrick, but the truth is Jimmie has enormous talent. However, if we are judging on pure talent alone, I think Kyle ranks at the head of the class.
Aj (Indy )
Can you explain why the race(s) Kyle is winning won't count towards what Richard Petty did ? If anything, it should be considered harder. From what I understand (I may be wrong) Richard ran at little dirt tracks against local talent. I understand Kyle is winning in a lower series, but there are still Cup driver's in the race. I would think beating Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick in a Nationwide race means more than beating Joe Smith in a local dirt track race. Point being, the talent Kyle is racing against in the Truck and Nationwide series seems tougher than the talent that Richard Petty was racing against.
Terry Blount (2:05 PM)
I couldn't disagree more AJ, even though I wrote in my book at Petty's 200 wins is overrated in some ways and impossible to achieve in today's racing. It's true Petty won at dirt tracks and sometimes raced three events in one week, but he wasn't beating Joe Smith,. He still was beating greats like Pearson, Weatherly, Ned Jarrett, Fireball Roberts, etc. What Kyle is doing in the feeder league is a travesty in my opinion, just as it would be if Alex Rodriguez hit 40 home runs in Triple-A. Petty's mark is unreachable by today's standards, but Kyle winning in NW and trucks isn't close to what Petty accomplished.
It seems JGR is trading one problem for another. First the fuel mileage issue at the end of last year. Fix that and then the valve train problem, then onto the lackluster performance on 1.5 mile tracks. If these issues keep cropping up throughout the year any chance that we could see JGR changing manufacturers?
Terry Blount (2:08 PM)
No, I don't see Gibbs switching from Toyota. It's a glitch that will get rectified. But it could cost Kyle and Dennty a title this year if they don't find all the answers soon. Ford is ahead of everyone right now, quite a change from a year ago.
Brian (Oklahoma City)
If you were starting a race team (and had an unlimited budget), what 3 drivers would you hire? I would hire Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson.
Terry Blount (2:10 PM)
Good question. I would hire Carl, Jimmie, and I assume you are hiring Junior from the sponsorship money he could bring. But I probably would hire Kyle if I was convinced he could continue to work as a team player.
Shane (Chillicothe, Ohio)
Terry, So excited this weekend about Richmond! I think NASCAR needs to build more tracks like Richmond do you agree? Or bring back Rockingham or my favorite N. Wilkesboro!
Terry Blount (2:12 PM)
I agree they need more tracks like Richmond, and that's what NASCAR wanted to do in places like Seattle, New York and Denver. But I can tell you the Rock and North Wilkesboro are not coming back, not for Cup. Times marches on. The Dodgers also aren't going back to Ebbets Field.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who do you think would be a Great Fit to drive for Team Red Bull?
Terry Blount (2:14 PM)
Carl certainly would fit as a young guy with great fitness. They would love to have him, as would any team. He's the big free agent still out there.
David (Tucson, AZ)
David Gilliland already has two top tens( when last year, he had none) are you surprised by these results
Terry Blount (2:16 PM)
His two top 10s came in the plate races, so I'm not surrised by that. But he hasn't finished better than 22nd at the other races and ranks 29th.
If Kahne continues to struggle this year is there any chance Red Bull could attract a big name racer?
Terry Blount (2:18 PM)
The better Kasey does, the better their chances of getting a big name. But if Kahne doesn't run well, it's an indication to other drivers that RB doesn't have everything is place to win consistently.
There was so much hype over Joey Logano when he came into the series 3 years ago. Since he has pretty much done nothing except for one rain shortened win, do you think people were premature in calling him the next great thing?
Terry Blount (2:21 PM)
Maybe, but Joey looked great at the end of last season. That's why this year seems so surprising. The truth is Joey was brought to Cup too soon when Stewart left. Now he's in a situation where his confidence is shaken. And honestly, I don't know it's working with Zippy. Changing some people around might help.
Terry, if Carl leaves Roush Fenway, any chance Bowyer steps into the 99 next year?
Terry Blount (2:23 PM)
It's possible. What Carl decides could have a domino effect elsewhere. But I really expect Carl to stay at RFR. I also expect him to make a decision by sometime in June.
You can't tell me that Zippy is the problem with the 20 team. He is a champion. The problem is burnt toast is not the real deal.
Terry Blount (2:24 PM)
I didn't say Zippy is the problem. But sometimes the chemistry isn't right between a cc and driver and a change can help both people.
Travis Russell (INDY)
Who will win this week?
Terry Blount (2:24 PM)
I'll go with Rowdy.
rick (buffalo, ny) [via mobile]
If Danica comes over next year, please tell me she runs full time nw with some cup ala bayne
Terry Blount (2:26 PM)
It depends on what sponosrs want to do. That would be the right move in my opinion, but she could go full-time to Cup if it's a money issue, which it almost always is.
Mark (Mount Airy, MD)
Terry, Will JGR expand to 4 teams next season??????
Terry Blount (2:27 PM)
I could see that happening if they had a new sponsor to sign Carl. But in this economy, I'm told that isn't likely.
Travis Russell (INDY)
Terry, do you think that Richmond could have a strange winner?
Terry Blount (2:29 PM)
A stranghe winner? Hey, all these guys are strange. I kid, I kid. If you mean a surprising winner, I doubt it, but it's possible. My surprise pick would be Montoya.
Doug F (Georgia)
when will hendrix realize that Dale Jr is just a name and never really contend for a Cup Championship?
Terry Blount (2:31 PM)
Doug, have you been in a cave this season? Junior is third in the standings. Besides, it isn't about that. It's about what sponsors are willing to pay to be on the car of the most popular driver in the sport.
I didn't know Jimi Hendrix owned the car Jr drove! You learn so much in these chats!
Terry Blount (2:32 PM)
Yes, and they are calling it the No. 88 Purple Haze Chevy.
Who is impressing you the most this season that you didnt expect to run as well as he is? My vote goes for Mr. Sideburns Paul Menard
Terry Blount (2:33 PM)
I'm with you Jay. I expected him to run decent, but he has exceeding my expectations.
Nascar should limit the number races Cup drivers can get awarded prize money to something like 10 races/year. Do you think that would solve the problem?
Terry Blount (2:35 PM)
If you mean running in the NW series, I agree. NASCAR doesn't want to tell Cup drivers they can't enter a race, but I'd like to see them say they can't earn the prize money in a feeder series, then distribute that money among the NW regulars.
Cory (Geneva, IL)
I don't know why we need to solve the "minor league problem". If the big boys didn't run, they wouldn't put the races on TV, the series wouldn't have any money and no one would be racing. Sure the young guys maybe don't win, but at least they have someplace to race.
Terry Blount (2:39 PM)
Not true Cory. If the Cup guys didn't dominate NW, the NW drivers would win races and become stars. Guys like Stenhouse, Bayne, Sorenson, etc. would get much needed recognition as race winners. And I think it's a fallacy to say NW events need Cup stars to sell tickets. The Nashville race last weekend had Carl and Kyle, but hardly anyone was there.
Do you think if Kasey does not do well with Redbull this year it will help Scott Speed's case against Redbull. One of his gripes was that Redbull was not providing "competitive equipment"
Terry Blount (2:39 PM)
No, I don't think one has anything to do with the other.
Michael (Miami, FL)
Does the All-Star race count as a win for the wild card position in the chase? I think it should
Terry Blount (2:40 PM)
No it doesn't. It wouldn't be fair to count it because all the drivers aren't in it.
Are any other manufacturers considering getting into NASCAR? Had heard for a while that VDub was gonna join but I think I remeber them backing out. Thanks
Terry Blount (2:42 PM)
VW isn't coming. I don't see any new manufacturers in the near future. It's a tremendous expense and undertaking at a time when car manufacturers are trying to weather the economic storm.
Aron (Grapevine, Tx)
Do you see Montoya breaking thru for an oval win, and McMurray breaking out of his funk, or is this who he is?
Terry Blount (2:43 PM)
Jamie is much better than his team has shown this season. And I think JPM can win on an oval this year. I'd give the chances at 1 in 3.
What do you think of the 33 as a contender for a win at RIR? Finshes out front by a quarter?? Thanks for the time TB
Terry Blount (2:45 PM)
No question Clint could win at Richmond. He won there three years ago anbd usually runs well at RIR.
Do you get a sense drivers like to race on Saturday nights so they then have Sunday free?
Terry Blount (2:46 PM)
Yes, and so do I. They also like 2-days shows.
Travis Russell (INDY)
Hey Terry, Have a question. Where do you see Smoke's first win?
Terry Blount (2:47 PM)
Could be this weekend, but I'll say Sonoma.
Asked to grade his teams performance so far, Dale Jr gave them a B- or C+. Is that a fair assessment and what grade would you give them?
Terry Blount (2:48 PM)
I'd grade it much better. probably a B+ considering where he was last year.
Mark (Mount Airy,MD)
Terry, Besides Carl and Clint, who are the other big name free agents this "silly season"??????
Terry Blount (2:50 PM)
Those are the biggest out there now that Biffle and Burton have signed. Vickers' contract also is up and so is Montoya's, but he said he expects to stay with Chip.
Boss Hogg (Hazzard County)
At one point in the season do those out of the chase on points start to go all out for the wins to get them into the playoffs?
Terry Blount (2:53 PM)
Sure, although drivers say they always go all-out for wins. But teams will take some chnages on things like pit strategy if they know a victory will get them in the Chase one of two races before the playoff starts. By they way, how is Daisy these days?
Have you had a chance to see the new HD video screen at Charlotte yet?
Terry Blount (2:54 PM)
Only in photos. I saw the construction site in January. That thing is gigantic. It'll be fun to see how it works and how they use it.
Could NASCAR not award prize money the Cup drivers driving NNS races but still provide funding to the teams? That way the teams would be able to produce quality equipment but there would be much less incentive on the drivers side?
Terry Blount (2:56 PM)
Prize money is split between drivers and team owners. I wouldn't want teams getting the money if they are putting a Cup star in the NW car.
If there is a tie for the wildcard spots (say 3 or 4 guys with 1 win each) will NASCAR do the lame thing and use a tiebreaker, or the cool thing and let all 4 into the chase let them all settle it on the track?
Terry Blount (2:58 PM)
That would be cool, but it ain't happening. Ties will be decided by a tiebreaker.
Chris (Crestview, FL)
Who is your top 5 for Saturdays night race at Richmond?
Terry Blount (2:59 PM)
Kyle, Carl, JJ, Junior and Hamlin.
What are some must do's at Charlotte for the 600? Thanks
Terry Blount (3:01 PM)
A great place to watch a race. I would get a seat where I could easily see the new giant TV screen on the backstretch. And I would drive down the street and eat a giant burger at Five Guys.
If Adam Petty were still alive do you think he would have as much pressure on him as Dale Jr does?
Terry Blount (3:03 PM)
A good question, but no, I don't think so. Kyle would have kept that from happening. It's different when your grandpa was the icon. But Adam was a wonderful young man with a lot of talent.
Boss Hogg (Hazzard County)
How much pressure can Dale Jr have on him, he makes more money than even me.
Terry Blount (3:04 PM)
Now that's saying something with all those speed-trap tickets you're writing.
Terry Blount (3:06 PM)
I gotta go folks. Outstanding questions today and a great banter for our tell-it-like-it-is forum. Enjoy the Richmond race. I'll be back in my hometown of Houston to cover the NHRA event this weekend. Can't wait to hit my favorite TexMex restaurant _ Los Tios. I'm out. Peace.