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 (2:00 PM)
Our Turn 4 is a hot one today, starting with he growing controversy over the NRA 500. We weigh in. Check it out: http://tinyurl.com/ardvk4u
Philli Cunningham (Englewood, Colorado)
Do you think that since Dale Jr has 2 Top 5's in first 2 races for first time since 2004 that his year will be very similar to that year?
Terry Blount (2:00 PM)
I think Junior has an excellent chance to compete for the title this season, but he's going to have to win more than one race.
As a NRA member and NASCAR fan we like the Texas sponsorship and wondered if you think they might get George Zimmerman to be the Grand Marshall or shout the "start your engines"?
Terry Blount (2:01 PM)
I expect Ted Nugent to get that slot.
We don't seem to blame the airline industry for 911, or the automakers and distillers for the 10's of thousands of drunk driving fatalities per year, but the NRA is somehow to blame for acts of very cruel people, I don't get it???
Terry Blount (2:04 PM)
You're missing the point Dave. TMS has every right to use the NRA as a title sponsor, and the NRA has every right to do it. But we're talking about one of the most polarizing issues in our country at the moment, and the NRA is smack in the middle of it. No doubt it's a great move for Texas, but nationally, some will see it as NASCAR catering to one political point of view. And NASCAR has nothing to do with it. It's a TMS decision. But the perception will be different.
Terry, did the beat down Rowdy Busch laid on Jimmie Johnson in the Phoenix NW say more about how important Knaus build cars are to Jimmie's success or more about what comes out of the JRM shop?
Terry Blount (2:06 PM)
Neither. It says JGR has great Nationwide cars which we already knew, and KyBu can do his bully act on and on. In related news, Lebron James won a dunking contest at The Shire against five Hobbits.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Hi Terry, do you expect the NASCAR tv ratings and attendence to rise and fall with Danica's results and points standing?
Terry Blount (2:07 PM)
Not much. If she ended up being a serious contender for the Chase, or she won a race, the ratings would go through the roof. I don't expect to see that this season.
In the past when Harvick had issues he'd throw the team under the bus, whine about crew chiefs, cars etc. but now that he's on his way out has he lost all leverage at RCR?
Terry Blount (2:09 PM)
I'm sure Kevin still will have his moments if things don't go well. Whether he has a moment of anger or not, it doesn't change anything on what the team does.
Ray from the Hood (Balt)
Menard beat #29 at Daytona and now Burton beats Harvick at Phoenix. Does this show that RCR is shifting resources away from #29 due to Harvicks lame duck status?
Terry Blount (2:10 PM)
Way too early to say that. Let's give it about five more races, at least. But Ernie Cope did a nice job subbing for Luke Lambert on the pit box for Burton.
Claudia (Western NY)
Interesing Nationwide commerical.."Every Race Counts". So, what does that say about The Chase?
Terry Blount (2:12 PM)
Nothing. Every race counts, whether you have a Chase or not. I wish more NW races counted for regulars winning the events. They're 0-for-2 so far.
your top 5 drivers and a darkhorse for Vegas
Terry Blount (2:13 PM)
JJ, Carl, Kenseth, Gordon and Kyle. My darkhorse would be Kurt Busch.
D Rose (Las Vegas)
Were you impressed that Toyota Racing Development publicly manned up, accepted responsibility and apologized to Kyle Busch for the motor issues?
Terry Blount (2:15 PM)
I really was, although there was one little question about it that wasn't fully answered. I asked if JGR, and Rogers specifically, was doing something to over-tax the engines that the other Toyota teams weren't doing? Didn't really get an answer to that one.
Do you think Vegas will be the real test to determine how well the Gen-6 cars are doing?
Terry Blount (2:17 PM)
It's an important look since the series has so many tracks like Vegas, but it's going to take time for the teams to learn how to set up this car. It helps that they have a extra day on the track. The team have six hours of practice Thursday. Johnson thinks everyone is going to see some great side-by-side racing Sunday.
As a former "NRA" member, I hope that they will use this platform to promote gun safety. I believe they have lost their way on this important part of their agenda
Terry Blount (2:18 PM)
I don't know for sure, but I would imagine the NRA has more members in Texas than any other state.
Marc (Malden, MA)
Nobody blames the NRA for gun violence...but the NRA shouldn't stand by and do nothing about the ridiculous numbers of automatic weapons that are out in the public. I have no problem with people owning handguns, rifles, shotguns, but don't tell me the average person needs a gun that fires 100 bullets per second.
Terry Blount (2:20 PM)
Marc, you passion on the subject shows why this is a controversial issue. And frankly, I think that's exactly what TMS president Eddie Gossage wanted. He found a way, as he always does, to bring tons of media attention to his track. Piers Morgan devoted a good part of his show to the NRA sponsorship issue last night on CNN.
Why do I suspect Eddie Gossage will be marketing this race big time?
Terry Blount (2:21 PM)
He already has. My man Eddie is sly like a fox. He knows exactly what he's doing.
Claudia (Western NY)
See, this is why the sponsorship is a bad deal. Look at what we're talking about...not racing. Nascar will be overshadowed at one of its own events.
Terry Blount (2:22 PM)
But TMS will get enormous attention prior too, and during the race weekend. That's what they want, along with an organization that will pay them big bucks to sponsor the event.
I live in Texas, everyone I know owns a gun. I don't know anybody with a fully automatic weapon. You are from TX, how many people do you know have full auto that fires 100 bullets/sec? Please educate Marc from MA for me.
Terry Blount (2:24 PM)
I do know a few that collect those weapons. But everyone is Texas doesn't own a gun. There are 26 million people in Texas. I lived there for 50 years and never owned a gun, but I have nothing against people who do. It's their right.
What does Ed Gossage think about COTA and the success of the Austin track that drew 25,000 last weekend for the DP Grand AM race?
Terry Blount (2:25 PM)
You would have to ask him, but I don't think Eddie feels what happens their has much bearing on his evenbts or his fan base.
John (Santa Ana)
With NASCAR eliminating the top 35 rule this year do you think teams are going to start putting a bigger emphasis on qualifying runs in practice versus race trim runs?
Terry Blount (2:26 PM)
No. There's virtually no danger of any major team missing a race because they all have provisionals.
Saul (San Diego)
Did you get to dine at In and Out Burger?
Terry Blount (2:27 PM)
I did, but only because the good folks of PIR brought them to the track for lunch on Friday. I might make a I&O stop in Vegas this weekend.
Does NASCAR plan on promoting more Mexico series in this country?
Terry Blount (2:29 PM)
Not sure, but I hope so. All those teams were very appreciative of the chance to race at Phoenix. Jorge Goeters, one of the top Mexican drivers, is a really funny guy. He was asked what he hoped to gain out of racing in the U.S. He said, "Well, a spot at Hendrick Motorsports." Then he said, "Wait, Toyota sponsors our series, so I meant Michael Waltrip Racing."
Danica could miss this weekend if Speed and Bliss qualify in the top 36 and she doesn't, right?
Terry Blount (2:31 PM)
No. There are only 44 or 45 cars. She has provisional help if she needs it.
If AJ Dinger can do the rehab and get reinstated do you think we will see Jeremy Mayfield back racing anytime soon?
Terry Blount (2:33 PM)
No. I'm not sure Jeremy is willing to go through all the steps it would take at this point. He also still has a lot of legal battles to fight.
With the wreck at Daytona just a few weeks removed, has NASCAR talked to Turner-Scott yet? Has NASCAR shown that the 32 car was built properly and that it was the cross off gate/catch fence at fault for the car being shredded apart.
Terry Blount (2:35 PM)
All that is TBA. NASCAR is reconstructing the car and bringing team members to NC to discuss how it was seembled. NASCAR also is focusing on the gate and consulting the best engineers in the country, including Dr. Sicking.
Bart (East Bay)
Do you think the 4 car limit per owner rule is outdated because the lack of quality rides and that NASCAR should open it up and let HMS run a 12 car team if he wants to?
Terry Blount (2:36 PM)
In some ways, Hendrick already has a seven car team if you count SHR. I don't think the 4-car limit ever worked they way it was intended.
Saul (San Diego)
What is next for JC and his insensitive / inappropriate remark? Will NASCAR mandate a training/program for JC to undergo?
Terry Blount (2:38 PM)
Jemery will consult with Dr. Richard Lapchick, one of the leading authorities in the country on race relations in sports. I expect to see Jeremy back int he car within a few weeks.
Saul (San Diego)
Serious question. Do you know if Danica and Stenhouse share a motorcoach at the races?
Terry Blount (2:38 PM)
No they don't.
Terry, Will you be visiting The Heart Attack Grill when in Vegas?
Terry Blount (2:39 PM)
Probably not. That's a little scary since the owner died of a heart atack.
Do you think Danica will challenge Dale Jr for MPD and how much will it help his cause if he wins a few races and actually challenges for the championship?
Terry Blount (2:40 PM)
I expect Junior to hold on to the that crown no matter what DP does.
NRA claims to have 4.5M members but some estimates say it's as low a 2.0M so isn't this really a non-issue for what is a marketing campaign to sell product and not a political issue?
Terry Blount (2:44 PM)
No, anyone who thinks having the NRA has the title sponsor of a major NASCAR race isn't political is naive. The organization is involved in one of the hottest political topics in America and this sponsorship comes on the heels of the Newtown tragedy. No matter where you stand on the issue, it's as political as it gets.
Do you think Dale Jr would have won phoenix if it wasn't for casey mears cutting in front of him in the pits??
Terry Blount (2:45 PM)
I'll say no. For one thing, Jr. messed up under caution, not mainitaing speed while trying to save fuel, and had to give up a position.
Terry Blount (2:56 PM)
Hey sorry, gang. I had a brief emergency with my dog, but all good now. I will go OT here to make up for it.
Are tracks going to be offering free tickets to the armed forces again?
Terry Blount (2:56 PM)
I don't know, but I hope so. It's a wonderful gesture.
I know its only one race, but do you think Cousin Carl will be in contention this year for the title now that he's got back to victory lane???
Terry Blount (2:58 PM)
Not sure about contending for the title yet, but I expect Carl to run well this year, and I thought that before Phoenix. I sense a real chemistry between Carl and Jimmy Fennig. And Carl is great at Vegas. It wouldn't shock me to see him win back to back.
Ryan D. (Winston-Salem, NC)
Did you beleive Junior's excuse that he was slowing down because he was told by NASCAR to slow down to let the Lucky Dog get a lap back?
Terry Blount (2:59 PM)
Sorry, not buying it. Denny said he had to slam on his brakes a couple of times because Jr. was going so slow.
Terry , Should Eddie sorta put out an olive branch to the naysayers and place red cans and bell ringers at the track for Newtown donations? I emailed him with this idea.Your thoughts.
Terry Blount (3:01 PM)
I think that's an excellent idea. But Eddie already has made one concession. He said if the winner doesn't want to do the pistol shooting pics in Victory Lane, they don't have to.
Is your dog okay?
Terry Blount (3:02 PM)
He's fine. Choked a little on a bone he found, but he's OK.
Gen-6 car or no Gen-6 car, something needs to happen to make the Phoenix races better. Changing four tires with 100 laps to go should never ruin your chance at winning.
Terry Blount (3:03 PM)
The Phoenix pavement still is pretty new and it will get better. But Hamlin also said the new tire needs to be softer. He said a team could have run the whole race without changing left-side tires it they elected to.
With A.J. Allmendinger talking about a possible return to the Indy 500, I've gotta ask: will anyone ever try to do "The Double" (Indy 500 and Coke 600 in the same day) again? Have "the powers that be" even talked about moving start times, etc. to facilitate this?
Terry Blount (3:05 PM)
They have Jay, but I think the whole daily-double thing has run it's course. No one really wants to do it anymore.
With the Knaus 48/88 teams 1-2 in points is it time for NASCAR to admit they gave too much advantage to Chevy with the Gen6 and make some new rules to even the playing field for Toyota and Ford?
Terry Blount (3:06 PM)
Way too early to assume that stuff. And a Ford did win the race Sunday.
Hey Terry, do you think the NRA sponsorship of the Texas race will put people in the stands and people in front of the TV, more so than the Samsung sponsorship? I mean, isn't that the bottom line?
Terry Blount (3:11 PM)
I really don't think the title sponsors of a race makes people say, 'Hey, let's go to this race since so-and-so is the sponsor.' Most of the time, I don't think people even know or care. But in this case, I've had quite a few emails and Twitter messages today from people saying they will not go and won't watch because of the sponsor. I don't think that will make a significant difference, but I do think Gossage has brought huge attention to his event it wouldn't have gotten otherwise. From his perspective, that's a good thing. That's what he's supposed to do.
Saul (San Diego)
Do you know if anyone has talked to Edwards about not doing the Flip anymore for self preservation/safety issues. Its fun watching but i cringe.
Terry Blount (3:12 PM)
He actually talked about that a little after the race, saying he was a little worried about it since he hasn't done it in a while. And he did have to brace himself with his hands when he landed. But Carl's a great shape. I expect his backflips to continue a while longer.
Maybe it's because I live in Texas but I love it when nascar comes down to TMS to race. I was wondering which race is your favorite one to watch during the year??
Terry Blount (3:14 PM)
Texas is my favorite to attend because it's a fantastic facility, and Texas is home, so I see a lot of friends and family. But it isn't the best race to watch. I enjoy watching he Richmond races, and the road races. Darlington always is fun to watch, and the plate races are wild at the end.
Saul (San Diego)
Earnhardts have a huge following etc., who in your opinion held a similar following before the Earnhardts?
Terry Blount (3:15 PM)
The Pettys, of course.
Terry Blount (3:17 PM)
I gotta run folks. Best chat of the year so far. Really great questions. Very informed. Have a great week. Peace.