Chat with Ed Hinton
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com NASCAR writer Ed Hinton will stop by to talk about all the latest news and notes from around the track.
Hinton began his career covering NASCAR in the 1970s working for the Orlando Sentinel. He has also worked for Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, where he worked until leaving in January 2008.
Send your questions now and join Hinton Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Ed Hinton (1:57 PM)
Good afternoon, all. I'm going to jump the green flag a bit.
Ed Hinton (1:58 PM)
Reason is, I'm pinch-hitting for Terry on quick notice while he pulls TV duty . . .I'm going to have to cut the chat off about 2:45 due to a previous commitment.
Ed Hinton (1:59 PM)
Lots of questions here about the Kenseth-Stenhouse breaking news. That's the story Terry's working for TV side.
Hey Ed, where do you think Kenseth ends up driving next year and is there any chance Roush let's him bring Jimmy Fennig with him?
Ed Hinton (2:00 PM)
Speculation is wide open right now, and that's what makes this such an intriguing breaking story. Don't know what Jimmy's contract is with RFR . . .but he's a great teacher for young drivers, and I would imagine Jack would love to have him working Stenhouse's rookie year.
The problem with Kenseth is the guy just flat out doesn't have many fans. Go to a track and look for #17 hats, shirts, etc. They're few and far between. At some point the sponsors and eventually the team can't ignore that. Your thoughts?
Ed Hinton (2:02 PM)
He sure has tons of fans in Wisconsin. The Chicago Tribune was one of the papers in the chain I worked for before coming here, and I got tons of Kenseth email, etc. in Chicago. Nationwide, you're probably right -- you don't see 17 as much at the tracks as, say, 24 or 88.
Warren (Tottenville, NY)
Hey Ed - thanks for your time! What is your opinion of Bowyer? Seems like this is the type of guy NASCAR could really market if he won more. He has personality, humor, gives good interviews, and seems pretty affable. Any chance a couple more wins puts him up there with the top guys in terms of media exposure? He's still not a well known name at this point.
Ed Hinton (2:03 PM)
Oh, yeah, he's a great personality, but I think he's a while away from being at the level of a Gordon or an Earnhardt or a Johnson. It would take quite a few wins and maybe a championship to get to the top tier like that.
How about the odds on Home Depot to the 14, Kenseth and Mobil1/Office Depot to a 4th car at SHR?
Ed Hinton (2:06 PM)
You mean a third car at SHR? Don't know about sponsorship swaps, but you can bet if Smoke can find the sponsorship, he'd field a third car for Kenseth. Also, I understand Newman's contract is up. So there's some speculation of a possible Kenseth move to the 39.
Teri (North Hollywood)
Hi Ed! I am in shock... Matt Kenseth has always been my favorite driver. Do you think this move will kill his shot at the cup this year? It didn't hurt Tony last year, but that seems like an anomaly.
Ed Hinton (2:07 PM)
I think we're all astounded today by th sudden announcement, and by Kenseth's declining comment so far on the matter. No, I don't think he's blown his championship chances. I think they'll hang in together.
Do you think the split between Kenseth and Roush is on good terms? Even with sponsor woes, it seems very odd.
Ed Hinton (2:08 PM)
Tough one there. Frankly, I'm getting bad vibes. Haven't been able to work this story directly due to a major project, but the tone of things just sounds abrupt and a bit cool.
Has Ferrari figured something out? They looked like a mess at the beginning of the year, and now Alonso is atop the points.
Ed Hinton (2:09 PM)
Didn't get to watch Sunday's race, but summaries indicate it was quite a mess. You can bet Ferrari is constantly working and that they've figured some things out, but based on Sunday it isn't clear whether they've figured out as much as they need to.
Rob F (Hoboken, NJ)
Hi Ed, assuming Kenseth goes to JGR, who makes out in terms of pure talent: RFR or JGR? I ask on two levels: Kenseth vs. Edwards (Carl heavily flirted with JGR last year) and Kenseth vs. Stenhouse. One other thought: is Kenseth officially a lameduck driver come Chase time? I don't know how he's supposed to perform if his access is revoked.
Ed Hinton (2:11 PM)
That's a pretty big assumption in that Gibbs told David Newton a couple of weeks ago that Logano's job is safe. But as for the comparison of drivers, I'd have to take Kenseth in either head-to-head, just on his experience, record and that fact that he hasn't lost a step at all.
Ryan (Florence, AZ)
He Ed, nice to see you chatting again. What's the deal with Villaneuve? I mean, I know he is racing for checkers or wreckers, but how in the hell can Penske keep putting him in these road course races when all he does is run over anyone and anything. Thanks for your time.
Ed Hinton (2:12 PM)
Well, he indicated his tires got dirty when he got run off into the grass just before hitting Danica. Said he couldn't stop. My biggest problem about it was that he was too flippant about it, both to Eury Jr. and to our TV folks.
Racing Fan (The Track)
This might be a stupid question, but why is a hairpin like turn 11 at Sonoma considered "one turn," but the ends of a true oval (like Martinsville or Bristol) are considered "two turns?"
Ed Hinton (2:13 PM)
Well, because on road courses that's the way those big loops are designated. It's not an oval, so you don't use oval terminology.
Do you think Stenhouse is ready for Cup? Or will he crash and burn quickly?
Ed Hinton (2:14 PM)
Oh, I think he's probably ready and will do a nice job. That's a much bigger step than people realize, though, so I'll reserve judgment until after he's had, say, 10 races among all the big boys.
i know that jr was going to struggle at sonoma this past weekand do you think he will bounce back at kentucky this weekand and maybe have a another top 10 or a top 5 at the end of the race for this saturday night....
Ed Hinton (2:15 PM)
I think he's got as good a shot at any. He's never been great on road courses but can have his good races on the intermediate ovals.
Justin (Northern Virginia)
Where was NASCAR born, the beach in Daytona or the dirt tacks and back roads of North Carolina?
Ed Hinton (2:16 PM)
The organization was born in Daytona Beach, at a convention in December 1947. The actual racing, before NASCAR, didn't just start in North Carolina. Georgia was actually a bigger player in the pre-WWII years. Junior Johnson himself, born and raised in NC, has told me GA is the true home of stock car racing.
so how do you think that danica did on the road corse at road america before she got booted by villevnue and finish in the 12 postion she had a top 5 car all day long.....
Ed Hinton (2:17 PM)
I think she did a fabulous job, especially considering that road racing was not her strong suit in IndyCar. He did, however, have lots of road racing training in England as a teenager.
how do you thing ricky stennhouse jr do in his first season at fenway roush do you think he will struggle or maybe be and okay season for his first season at roush you thoughts on that......
Ed Hinton (2:18 PM)
To expand on what I said earlier, I think Stenhouse has the emotional maturity to handle the situation. I don't think he'll choke at all, but the question is, how will he stack up when he's completely surrounded by the big boys every week? He'll get there eventually -- how soon, I don't know.
I am Shocked Kennseth made this announcement this soon, but I think he should go to Penske since they are switiching to Ford next year, and Almendinger is only on a one year deal
Ed Hinton (2:20 PM)
that makes the shock unanimous nationwide. Penske isn't a bad guess at all, along with JGR and SHR. Matt is definitely Penske's kind of driver, and poor Dinger just hasn't had much luck this year.
NASCAR Fun (Toronto)
As a Canadian we support World Champ Jacques Villenueve and were disappointed on Eury's disrespectful comments. Do you think Jacques might be running the Penske #22 in both Nationwide and Sprint Cup next season?
Ed Hinton (2:21 PM)
Hi, Toronto. Lot of NASCAR fans there I know. Remember, though, that at first glance, Villeneuve's move looked like a blatant punt. I'll take his word for it, though, that he couldnt stop after his tires got dirty when Papis crowded him onto the gras.
hi ed, do you see parallels in kenseth leaving rfr and bowyer quitting rcr where the drivers wanted more $$$$ than the teams were willing to pay?
Ed Hinton (2:22 PM)
I think that could be one factor, but not everything. Roush isn't known for paying a whole lot, and if, say, Edwards got a huge deal and Kenseth wasn't being offered the same, well . . .I've never seen any love lost between Matt and Carl . . so it isn't impossible that Kenseth just had enough.
When are Nascar teams going to accept the idea that they've priced themselves out of the market on what they're asking for sponsorships and stop just blaming the economy?
Ed Hinton (2:23 PM)
Oh, they've got it. That's why they're using several different primary sponsors where they used to go with just one. Nobody's willing to pony up the full ride. And the teams are still as addicted to money.
Roscoe (Chino, Ca.)
Has TRD provided Rowdy with detailed explanations as to why the Toyota motors have failed Rowdy 3 straight races and is there any suggestion that foul play might have been involved?
Ed Hinton (2:24 PM)
I'm sure they've explained to him in great detail and listened to his input. Foul play? whoooo, that's a reach.
Joanne (Ft. Myers)
How important is it to Clint to have a champion of Kurt Busch's stature visit him in victory lane to congratulate him on a job well done?
Ed Hinton (2:25 PM)
I'm sure he liked that. Kurt, at least for a weekend, has sure turned his demeanor around.
Chris Fiegler (Latham, NY)
Since Danica was never much of a road racer in Indy car do you think she made a mistake talking on the radio about Algaier making mistakes as if she was forcing those mistakes?
Ed Hinton (2:26 PM)
Well, even "not much of a road racer" in IndyCar still has more rr experience than most nascar guys.
I was under the impression that Kenseth was leaving the Ford camp altogether. Does Gibbs have enough money for a 4th car? Also, I don't think Dinger should lose his rid. Like Jeff Gordon, he's had terrible luck this year. I don't think people are putting too much pressure on him in such a short timespan.
Ed Hinton (2:26 PM)
Well, one story did say that. I didn't see where it was clearly substantiated, though.
With Busch, Newman, Kenseth, and Vickers out there, how comfortable is Martin Truex about keeping his job. I'd think the upgrade from Truex to Kenseth would trump the Bowyer/Ruetimann upgrade they did last year...
Ed Hinton (2:27 PM)
I think Truex's job is safe, but with a talent like Kenseth out there on the open market now, I just wouldn't rule out anything, anywhere, except perhaps at Hendrick
Isn't the issue with Kenseth and Roush pretty much the same issue we had with Bowyer and Childress last year? Good driver that wouldn't leave accept for the fact that his current team can't find sponsorship for him. Another new team can get sponsorship, so he jumps ship.
Ed Hinton (2:29 PM)
Could be part of it, but this would be a little different. If money is the issue, my guess -- just a guess -- is that Kenseth may have bolted if Roush didn't offer him the bucks Edwards got.
Gibba may have told Newton Logano was safe but come on, you don't think Home Depot would love a Cup champion who looks like he knows what a hammer is in their car?
Ed Hinton (2:30 PM)
Well, you're right about that. Kenseth is a potential game changer just about everywhere but Hendrick.
Mack (Spade Racing) (Wilmington DE)
I understand the concept of Starting & Parking to make money. What I don't understand is Joe Nemechek going cross-country to drive one lap--how did he make money on that deal? (Keep in mind he had his Nationwide car at Road America)
Ed Hinton (2:30 PM)
Well, he does the math, and it must work or a practical guy like Joe wouldn't be doing it. Probably has to do with low cost for parts and pieces due to little stress on them.
Ed Hinton (2:31 PM)
Just a note, here, guys. I'm going to have to go at 2:45 due to a previous commitment. I jumped in here at the last minute to pinch-hit for Terry Blount, who's pulling TV duty on the Kenseth story.
With Kurt, Kenseth, Newman, Vickers all available isn't Jeff Burton sweating bullets knowing he's next to be fired?
Ed Hinton (2:33 PM)
You guys are good today at bringing up issues I hadn't even thought of as this story breaks. I don't think Burton would be worried about Newman and vickers, but Kenseth is a whole other deal. As for Kurt, a lot would depend on whether Richard Childress himself wants to risk another problem child on his team, after going through Jeff Green and Robby Gordon.
Dave (Stoddard WI)
Earnhardt/NASCAR fan to the core, but the Euro GP was 10 times as exciting as whatevertheplaceiscalled, CA. What does NASCAR have planned to get more racing, less riding around.
Ed Hinton (2:34 PM)
They're working on the cars to try to make it more competitive. Didn't see the Euro GP, but understand it was quite a show. And my son, a big F1 enthusiast, says this is the best and most competitive F1 season ever.
Where does this Whole Roush thing leave Bayne? He needs a full time ride.
Ed Hinton (2:36 PM)
Since Bayne's Daytona 500 win, his very good friend Stenhouse has sort of leap-frogged him in the Ford pecking order. I'd say Bayne's still kind of in limbo for Cup.
Ryan (nova scotia) [via mobile]
Was Jeff green a wild child?
Ed Hinton (2:36 PM)
Not a wild child, but a serious complainer and didn't play well with others.
If I am Roger Penske, I am on the phone with Kenseth right now. Heck, I'd offer him Almendinger's ride today.
Ed Hinton (2:38 PM)
Agree totally, sir.
Ryan (nova scotia) [via mobile]
Do you think Jack was hurt by kenseth shopping around and fired him
Ed Hinton (2:39 PM)
No, I think Jack would have stuck with Kenseth no matter what. The guy's the cornerstone of that team -- was brought in by Jack's original driver, Mark Martin.
I could be wrong. but i have a feeling Matt already knows where hes going. I dont think he would Leave Roush this early in the year if he didnt.
Ed Hinton (2:39 PM)
Yeah, that's my gut feeling too.
I have often thought Matt should let the beast out that he shows on Twitter on TV...he is epic there no where near the automaton of his reputation.
Ed Hinton (2:41 PM)
Earnhardt Jr., Kenseth's best and oldest friend in NASCAR, has told me often that the public doesn't know "the real Matt." So junior pretty much agrees with you.
Has Kentucky figured out how to deal with traffic? I would hate to see another war of words through the media between the track and government.
Ed Hinton (2:42 PM)
I've actually seen Bruton Smith out directing traffic himself at tracks. If he does that this time, next step might be to threaten to move the race to another SMI track. He's big on strong-arming government, and you can bet he already has with KY.
Chris (Crestview, FL)
It always seemed to me that Kenseth didnt really appreciate the way Roush put Edwards above him in the pecking order and never tried to hide it to anyone. Is this one reason why Matt left?
Ed Hinton (2:42 PM)
I think it's gotta be at least part of it.
Isn't Jack's reputation though "pockets a mile deep and arms 6 inches long"....
Ed Hinton (2:43 PM)
You've pretty much pegged it, I think.
Ed Hinton (2:44 PM)
So, sorry, folks, but I have to wrap this up. I had a previous commitment before jumping in here for Terry. Apologies for not getting to all of you. I'll do better next time. Thanks to all for stopping by.