Chat with Terry Blount
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, 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 Friday at 2 p.m. ET!
Terry Blount (2:00 PM)
Hey gang. Welcome to the chat world of 2013. I hope everyone had a great New Year's.
Steve (Da Big Island)
Terry,Welcome back, Hope you and your family had great Holidays. How well or poorly will Pastrana run in NW in '13 Running RFR equipment? Top 10 in points like DP?
Terry Blount (2:03 PM)
Thanks Steve. Actually, running top 10 in the Nationwide Series is no great achievement since only 13 drivers ran the full schedule last year. So he should do that considering he has a great team and will run all the races. He's hoping for some top 5s along the way. Travis has talent, but he has a lot to learn.
Hyde (Houston, TX)
Hi Terry, hope all is well. I read the other day that The Dinger has been looking at potential open wheel rides, what have you heard ? Also, wouldn't it make more sense for him to go back in that direction since he has a somewhat tarnished image in NASCAR and the only team considering him is Phoenix ?
Terry Blount (2:06 PM)
AJ tweeted a couple of days ago that he doesn't have any firm plans yest for 2013. I know James Finch wants to run him in some races this season in the No. 51 Chevy. I don't think anyone in NASCAR looks down on AJ. He went through the rehab and he's ready to go. I know he would love to do open-wheel, but opporunities are limited there as well.
Do you expect Kenseth to take the "elder statesman" role at JGR like Mark Martin did during his tenure at HMS?
Terry Blount (2:08 PM)
Yes, somewhat. Matt isn't the type of guy that going to be a cheerleader and tell guys what to do. If they ask him, he certainly will offer his advice, but it's his professional demeanor and remarkable consistency that should rub off on Denny and Kyle, especially Kyle.
Assumming Harvick misses the Chase, do you see Kurt in the #29 for the final 10 races so Kurt and Gil or Berrier can get a jump on '14?
Terry Blount (2:09 PM)
Wow James. That's a giant assumption. I don't think any of those decisions have been made yet.
How did the Kasey Kahne and Brad Sweet deal came about with them splitting time at JR Motorsports? Should be an interesting NW season with all the quality drivers switching to different teams.
Terry Blount (2:11 PM)
I agree Mike that the NW season should be a good one. Great Clips loves Kasey and wanted him in the car for some of the races, but I've always liked how the Earnhardts do everything they can to give young drivers a chance.
Hey Terry! lot of buzz this off season, If this car drives more like the nationwide car, Do you think that will help Danica and Joey this year?
Terry Blount (2:12 PM)
Not really. Joey is good in NW because the competition is weaker and JGR's NW equipment is so good. The Cup cars have so much more horseppower that they drive totally different.
Great to have you back on chats, Terry! Do you think this is the year Kyle Busch and Will Power finally break through for their respective series championships?
Terry Blount (2:13 PM)
No and yes. Kyle isn't my pick to win the Cup title, but one of his teammates is. And I think Will can get it done in IndyCar.
Who is your favorite going into 2013 to be a first time champion? Or will it be someone else who has already won it? Could there be a surprise winner like a Stenhouse or a Logano??
Terry Blount (2:15 PM)
I don't see Ricky or Joey winning the title, but as I wrote this week, 10 guys are capable of winning the title who haven't won it before. Of those, my top pick would be Hamlin. But as of now, I'm picking his new teammate to win the crown _ Matt Kenseth.
Gibbs, Penke, Roush, Busch and Childress all run full-time Nationwide programs so why doesn't Hendrick?
Terry Blount (2:17 PM)
Doesn't need to, although he is part of Junior's operation. Hndrick has all the business he can handle with Stewart Haas and now Earnhardt Gannassi using Hendrick engines.
Don't all the great drivers adapt to cars, tires and conditions? Seems like Kyle, Johnson, Stewart and those guys didn't have trouble winning with the COT but only Dale cried about it?
Terry Blount (2:19 PM)
Gordon never liked it, either. Every driver has different styles that he prefers. The COT didn't help Junior's preferences for setting up a race car, but yes, some drivers adapt better than others.
Saul (San Diego)
As the NASCAR ESPN crew beat writers when do you determine and or who decides what races you get to go cover?
Terry Blount (2:21 PM)
The three of us (Ed, Newt and yours truly) make a list of the races we want to do. There's always a few races all of us want and a few none of us want. So we have to make some deals on those. I do most of the races out West since I live out here.
Is there any one thing you will be focusing on at the Daytona test next week?
Terry Blount (2:22 PM)
Mainly how the car races in a pack and how it affects drafting and tandem racing.
KB Nation (Global)
At Homestead Kurt finished 8th and Harvick 9th. Do you expect that finishing order to be common at RCR in 2013?
Terry Blount (2:23 PM)
No I don't. Predicting finishing order off one event at the end of last season is ridiculous.
Joanne (Ft. Myers)
As Rowdy Busch fans we miss old Kyle. Do you think the Kyle who dumped Harvick into the Darlington pit wall, payed back Hornaday and ran the Lexus 128 MPH with his wife sitting next to him on public roads will be back in 2013?
Terry Blount (2:25 PM)
I hope not. If it is, forget about him having a shot at the title. I hope Kenseth's professional attitude rubs off on Kyle.
terry, nice article. do you think Clint Bowyer can really repeat his excellent 2012 season and win the championship this year and do you forsee any future problems between him and jeff gordon
Terry Blount (2:27 PM)
I see MWR continuing to improve, which means Bowyer should do the same. I think the biggest mistake he could amke is worrying about a payback on Gordon. Just go out and race well and have a shot at the title. That's what matters.
What's all this about Jr. not liking the COT? Kyle won the first COT race at Bristol '07 and said it sucked but he still won 20 more races.
Terry Blount (2:28 PM)
And like Junior, he's still looking for his first championship.
With all Stewart running a 3 car team, promoting NASCAR races etc. do you think Harvick drives the #14 in 2014 with Tony going parttime like Mikey and Mark Martin?
Terry Blount (2:29 PM)
Absolutely no chance of that happening.
Saul (San Diego)
Does NASCAR have lobbyist who works the congressional offices? As part of the fiscal cliff deal, motorsports entertainment complexes/race tracks are getting tax breaks etc... About $70 million over the next two years.
Terry Blount (2:30 PM)
People are making a big deal out of this, but almost all professional sports organizations get tax breaks. And most cities have stadiums that were financed in part by tax dollars.
Jake (Irving, TX)
Good story about first time champs but couldn't it be argued that Logono and Stenhouse have a good a shot at winning the cup as Truex and Newman?
Terry Blount (2:31 PM)
Sure it could. I picked my 10, but I'm sure some people would put those guys in their 10.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Do you think the reason for Danica's limited NW success was due to the lousy equipment at JRM before Pops and Eury Jr. got fired?
Terry Blount (2:32 PM)
There were issues at JRM last season, but I don't think Danica would have set the world on fire no matter which teams she drive for.
On the NASCAR tax break, yes stadiums are financed by state/local taxes not federal.
Terry Blount (2:33 PM)
It's still tax money Andrew, no matter who is taking it. And other sports leagues also get federal tax breaks.
terry have you heard anything on travis kvapil on where he will be driving for this season?
Terry Blount (2:34 PM)
Wow Dwayne. Travis should name you the president of his fan club. As far as I know, he will race again for BK Racing.
Saul (San Diego)
With 50 days to Daytona, what is your number one story line you are focusing or looking forward to?
Terry Blount (2:36 PM)
I think the Gen 6 car is the thing most people are watching. The COT had such a negative response for many fans, but this car is just the opposite. Most fans, and drivers, love it. But it remains to be seen how well it will race.
Saul (San Diego)
Will the 88 Team make the Chase?
Terry Blount (2:36 PM)
They better. That team is hoping to do a lot better than just make the Chase.
Over or Under 13 Cautions in the Daytona 500 with the new car?
Terry Blount (2:37 PM)
I'll go with the under on that, but we peopbably still will see three or four in the last 20 laps.
Isn't the Gen 6 only a modified COT with slight weight reduction and removing the rear sway bar plus minor aero changes?
Terry Blount (2:39 PM)
I would say it's more than a slight change. It's lighter, shorter and completely different nose and tails. And the drivers say it drives completely different. Even the windows and side panels are different.
No sports league or org should be getting tax breaks.
Terry Blount (2:40 PM)
Maybe Joe, but that's the world we live in.
With Kasey and Gordon coming on strong in the 2nd half and Dale taking off 2 races is Jr. now 4th stringer at HMS?
Terry Blount (2:41 PM)
No, especially not in sponsorship money generated and fan interest. He's No. 1 in both of those.
Who will be the first one to insult a reporter in 2013 Stewart or Busch?
Terry Blount (2:42 PM)
Well, that depends on what I sk them. Just kidding, and which Busch are you talking about?
People are making too much out of Kyle learning how to act from Kenseth. Kyle was at Hendrick under JJ & Gordon and he didn't learn a thing.
Terry Blount (2:43 PM)
He was much younger then Dan. Honestly, Kyle already has changed quite a bit.
Saul (San Diego)
Do you think there was or is a curse of the 25 at HMS as some folks like to believe?
Terry Blount (2:44 PM)
I don't believe in curses or unlucky numbers are any of that baloney. Having said that, I don't plan to walk under any ladders today.
Any chance we'll ever see a Monday night 500 again? That was probably one of coolest things ever
Terry Blount (2:45 PM)
That all depends on Mother Nature. But I'm all for a couple of Monday night races during the summer months.
Cameron (Palo Alto, CA)
Being in a casino was a bad idea for me watching the latest installment of Seahawks-49ers. Who do you have winning the Super Bowl? Sad to say, but I think my 9ers feel the payback from New England in the big dance. Take care, and happy 2013!
Terry Blount (2:50 PM)
Not a bad pick. I saw yesterday that a Vegas computer (one that has successfully picked the Super Bowl teams eight of the last 10 years) picked Denver and Seattle. I don't know about that. I would have to go with New England and Green Bay. But I would love to see an all-rookie QB Super Bowl of Luck vs. RG3 or RW1.
Saul (San Diego)
Will Gen6 car bring back the Dale Jr driving style,comfortablness etc pre-COT era?
Terry Blount (2:51 PM)
He hopes so, but it could make some other drivers a lot better, as well. Like Gordon, for one.
Keith H (Seattle)
Good morning & Happy New Year, Terry. What aspect of the new car hasn't been covered yet that you think is important?
Terry Blount (2:52 PM)
Ditto Keith. I would say how much the teams will be allowed to make adjustments, which was almost zero in the COT.
You write that it's "getting old" saying that Kyle is the best to never have won the cup but couldn't people say it's also getting old saying this year will be Jr's too?
Terry Blount (2:53 PM)
The expectations have never been as high for Jr. to win the title as they have for Kyle because many people see Kyle as the most talented driver in the sport.
Saul (San Diego)
Which is your favorite look, the Ford, Toyota or the Chevy SS?
Terry Blount (2:55 PM)
Good question. I guess I would go with the Ford, but my favorite look was a car we won't see anymore _ the Dodge Challenger in NW. That was as close to the real thing as anything in NASCAR for over 30 years.
Until Bowyer decides to strike will Gordon be watching his mirrors?
Terry Blount (2:56 PM)
No. Thess guys are pros. It's over. Both drivers are title contenders and that's their focus. Wrecking each other is counterproductive.
Do you sense that Brad still doesn't get the level of respect in the garage that Jimmie, Kurt, Kyle, Stewart, Kenseth, Denny and those guys command?
Terry Blount (2:58 PM)
Brad earned a tremendous amount of respect last year, and now just becauwse he won the title. His speech at the awards ceremony may have been the best I've ever heard from a champion. Brad is starting to take a leadership role in ths sport.
Saul (San Diego)
Do drivers in general have long memory of the past year fueds going into a new season or do they mainly let it go?
Terry Blount (3:00 PM)
It depends on the guy, but generally, you have to move on. If you're out of contention and a chance arises to get even with a guy, you might try it. But headhunting usually is a bad idea.
How many races can we see from Joey in that 22 Ford Mustang in the NW? Who would be the break out star in the NW? Predictions of the NW Champ?
Terry Blount (3:01 PM)
I'm picking Vickers to win the NW title.
Since Kyle Busch won the very first COT race do you expect Kyle to win the first Gen 6 race?
Terry Blount (3:02 PM)
Not out of the question. I could see him winning the 500 next month, but I bet he won't criticize the car if he does.
Terry Blount (3:04 PM)
I'm out guys. That was a blazing start to the chat season. Keep it up. I'll be on the annual media tour in Charlotte Jan. 21-24 and tweeting plenty of info, along with columns and blogs. Have a great week. Peace.