Chat with Marty Smith
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN NASCAR reporter Marty Smith stops by to chat.
Smith reports for ESPN2's daily NASCAR news and information program NASCAR Now, as well as SportsCenter, ESPN First Take, ESPNEWS and ESPN.com. Smith joined ESPN's team of NASCAR reporters in late 2006.
Send your questions now and join Smith Monday at 1 p.m. ET!
Marty Smith (1:03 PM)
Good afternoon, Team. First things first, I want to offer my thoughts, prayers and sympathy to the folks in Joplin, MO. The devastation is unspeakable. I got a text message this morning from Jamie McMurray, who told me his family is fine. He is uncertain about his friends yet, however. I'm here at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, ready to go. NASCAR Now tonight and the induction banquet to follow. It'll be an awesome night as a NASCAR fan. Thank you for joining me today. Let's do this.
Brad (Crossville, TN)
Were you or anyone else surprised to see Fords win everything at the All Star Race this weekend? Granted a Toyota driver did win the burnout contest in a Government Motors, so we have to give them something, right?
Marty Smith (1:06 PM)
Not the least bit surprised, Brad. The Fords have been very fast all year -- especially the 99. The steam they have on the straightaway is crazy. At one point during the AllStar race Matt Kenseth came on the radio to note how fast his car was and how much power it was making. I actually picked Carl to win, so I expected him to do what he did. He'll be there all year, too. They're fast everywhere.
Brad (Crossville, TN)
Marty, what is your take on Carl becoming a free agent after the end of this year? Do you think he will resign with Jack before the end of the season since he is running so strong?
Marty Smith (1:11 PM)
I just wrote a really long answer to Brad's second question, and it won't send... Hmm...
Cole Trickle (Eagle Rock, CA)
Couple of questions on Kimi Raikkonen. Firstly, what did you make of his Trucks debut? Second, do you agree with Montoya, who said he needs to go straight to Cup and not gain experience in the lower series, or Brad K., who suggested it would be better to do 15 Trucks races before even attempting a Nationwide race?
Marty Smith (1:14 PM)
Raikkonen throughly impressed me, Cole. I never dreamed he'd run that well. He bounced her off the fence a couple times and kept on plowing. The guy has insane talent. As for what series he should run, different drivers need different things. If he had a team owner in Cup with the patience to absorb mistakes and a sponsor willing to take the chance, go on to Cup.
Marty! How about Stenhouse?! Do you think that the fact that the stands were filled yesterday and it was so of the best racing of the year proves that the W series does not need the Cup guys? When was the last time you saw a packed house like that when 8 cup guys were in in running top ten all night?
Marty Smith (1:16 PM)
Stenhouse can wheel it, Billy. And he's a fantastic kid. He'll be in Cup before long. I've never asked him this, so I don't know whether I'm accurate or not, but he came from sprint cars, so he's used to big power. A lot of guys that took a similar path are so much better in Cup than they were Nationwide, due to the power difference. Jack Roush is a smart guy, holding on to Ricky. Ricky wrecked a ton of cars in 2010, but Roush saw promise. That promise is now coming to fruition. Congratulations to Ricky and the entire 6 group. That one was a long-time coming. And look who he beat, too...
David (Los Angeles)
I thought it was really interesting that the 88 took a 2 year-old car to Lowes for comparison and that Junior asked Letarte to make big changes for every run. The 88 seemed very happy about their "test session" for the 600, and I would do the same thing. Teams used to be innovative at the all-star race (see T-Rex), but the 88's approach was more about the season than the night. Does that hurt the all-star race? Still, hard to blame the 88 based on Junior's struggles there the past couple years. Your thoughts?
Marty Smith (1:19 PM)
They were trying to get the thing to run, David. It was fast at the end of the Showdown, but it was never very fast during the AllStar race. They're a different team than they've been since Dale has been at Hendrick. They've never been this consistently good before. I expect big things from Dale. He'll win in 2011. And when he gets one, he'll get a few. Want to see NASCAR return to prominence? When the 88 wins a couple, the stands will start to fill back up...
Anthony (Hampton Georgia)
Besides the obvious drivers who are four or five drivers that have a decent chance to win this Sunday?
Marty Smith (1:22 PM)
I'll take it your "obvious drivers" are the 18, 99, 29, 48, 24, etc... The 11 and 14 need speed. I'm not sure if you consider Greg Biffle and Clint Bowyer "obvious," but both are flying right now. I think Marcos Ambrose is knocking on the door. David Ragan, too. Kahne is fast everywhere but his luck is awful. I'm not sure his motor will hold up for 600 miles. If it does he'll be there. Nobody's better at Charlotte than he is.
marty what team do u think danice drives for next year in nascar whether its cup or nationwide series?
Marty Smith (1:24 PM)
JR Motorsports is my guess.
David (Los Angeles)
I know everyone likes parity, but I believe the races are more entertaining in Truck and Nationwide (where dominance reigns supreme) than they are in the Cup series. And it also seems like drivers are so much more aggressive in the Nationwide cars and tracks due to the increased mechanical grip. They drive it in deep without fear. With the COT, you back up the corner entry to go fast. What are your thoughts?
Marty Smith (1:25 PM)
My thoughts are that you know a lot about racing, David. That was a good post, there.
Heres a hard one for you, who do you have as a cup champion down the road Dillon, Whitt, Stenhouse, or Bayne?
Marty Smith (1:28 PM)
Every one of them have a legitimate chance. I'm more encouraged by the young talent coming up than I've been in a while. Austin and Ty Dillon are both good drivers, and Cole Whitt is every bit as good as advertised. Ricky's confidence will now skyrocket after the Iowa win. I continue to pray for TBayne. I can't wait for him to get healthy first, then get back to racing cars again. If I had to pick just one driver in that group, I reckon I'd pick Whitt.
Matt (Rochester, NY)
hit enter dude...
Marty Smith (1:30 PM)
Let's try again now, Matt... To answer Brad's question from earlier, in segments ... I asked Carl after Saturday's win how the speed he's had all year this year impacts his decision. He's the most-coveted free agent in NASCAR, so he'll have plenty of choices. This was his response:
Marty Smith (1:31 PM)
It's not working man...
Marty Smith (1:31 PM)
Christine (Jasper, IN)
I read an article that said that Dale Jr. had an old car(I think one of JG) for the race Saturday, and that's why he did not perform well. Do other teams do something like that; was that kind of a test session for them?
Marty Smith (1:34 PM)
The car in which Carl Edwards won the race was the one he crashed at Phoenix. This was the funny exchange between Carl and crew chief Bob Osbourne after the AllStar race...
Marty Smith (1:35 PM)
Osbourne: We ran this car at Phoenix and Martinsville this year. Edwards: That thing was all used up anyway. Osbourne: Maybe once or twice. Edwards: That's the one we crashed just like that at Phoenix? Osbourne: Yeah, we did the same thing at Phoenix to that car. Edwards: We should do that more often!
Marty Smith (1:36 PM)
I figured out why the previous Edwards free agent question wouldn't send... This program gets angry when you try to cut and paste...
JPO (Tallahassee, FL)
Who is your pick for this week's race? Also where do you think Junior will finsih in this week's race?
Marty Smith (1:38 PM)
Edwards sweeps May at Charlotte. Seven other drivers have done it, including two in the past three years. (Kahne '08; Kurt Busch '10)... I think just the 99 is so dialed in on 1.5-mile tracks, and Osbourne and Edwards are awesome at staying ahead of track changes, which is vital in the 600...
Cole Trickle (Eagle Rock, CA)
Great post, David. I've been lovin' the Trucks series this year.
Marty Smith (1:39 PM)
Marty Smith (1:40 PM)
Alright, Team... That's my time. Thanks for hanging out! Awesome questions, as always. Have a great week, and we'll see you at the 600!
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