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)
Check out our Turn 4 answers today to these questions: Is Bobby Labonte near the end? Should NASCAR qualify of Saturday after a Friday rainout? Did Toyota dial it back too much. Can Dale Jr. win at Michigan? tinyurl.com/lxnzjfw
Thanks to JJ I have a renewed interest in baseball and cannot wait for NFL. Wake me up when JJ retires.
Terry Blount (2:01 PM)
Jay, why not just enjoy one of the great sports figures of his era, someone people will remember as one of the all-time greats for many years to come.
Frank (Kingston, pa)
I hear that people are complaining that JJ should not be racing in a lower series like the sprint cup. It is not fair to have a driver of his caliber in superior equipment stinking up the show.
Terry Blount (2:01 PM)
Very funny Frank. So where should he race? Jupiter?
It was an interesting weekend for NASCAR Next drivers, especially Chase Elliott. If things keep progressing with him, where do you see Hendrick Motorsports in 3 or 4 years and who is the odd man out?
Terry Blount (2:03 PM)
Way too early to say and Chase is still a long way from up, but he'll get there. Obviously, Gordon is gong to race two or three more years and probably retire.
After the Iowa fiasco it occured to me that "stand alone" Nationwide events are nonsense. Why doesn't NASCAR make all NNS race companion races with cup?
Terry Blount (2:04 PM)
I couldn't disagree more Craig. NASCAR can't control rain. The Iowa race is a great event that had some bad luck last weekend. The good news was the rainout mean a Cup regular didn't win it. Three cheers for newlywed Trevor Bayne.
Digity Dog (Huntersville)
Since Denny Hamlin and Mark Martin are finished for 2013 and 99% guaranteed to miss the Chase why doesn't TRD use #11 and #55 to test the Toyota motors and run 18, 20, 15 and 56 at slightly reduced power for reliability?
Terry Blount (2:06 PM)
Denny isn't close to 99 percent finished. Martin isn't competing for the Chase, so they could do that with him.
Painful seeing the 3 get beat at the end in Iowa, but brought back good memories of the 3 out front. Is A. Dillon going to be in the 3 in cup next season, or 2015?
Terry Blount (2:07 PM)
Probably will be in the 3 in Cup soon. The timetable is still up for debate, depending on how he does this year.
Frank (Kingston, Pa)
In all seriousness, it seems like HMS excels with major changes in car design (and Gibbs is this year as well). Historically, though Roush has been lagging at the initial launch and it takes time to catch up. Do you think this is a management issue, since you would think that from an engineering standpoint Roush should be ahead out of the gate?
Terry Blount (2:09 PM)
HMS has more money and more personnel than any other organization. And better personnel, to do more R&D.
Can Joey Logano make the chase this season?
Terry Blount (2:09 PM)
He can, but I don't think he will.
What are your thoughts about Brendan Gaughan and James Beuscher stating publicly that they support Cup regulars in their series because they want to race against the best in NASCAR?
Terry Blount (2:11 PM)
Drivers always say that. What they want and need to do is win and earn the purse money that goes with it.
Greg (South Bend, IN.)
Hi Terry, I think everybody should do what I am doing. Boycotting NW races until they do something to fix the cup (Kyle Busch) guys from winning every race. I won't be watching this weekend when I saw he was racing in it.
Terry Blount (2:13 PM)
I wouldn't suggest anyone to do that Greg. The races still are fun to watch, but they would be better with the NW regulars vying for wins, as was the case Sunday. And how about the great emotions from the Burton family after Jeb won the Truck race Friday at Texas? Wasn't that better than watching a Cup guy win it
Neal (Denver, CO)
Saying the race at Pocono was like watching paint dry would be an insult to watching paint dry. Please tell me we're gonna see some tweaks to the Gen6 because there seems to be passing everywhere except out front, and I really don't care about position changes deep in the field.
Terry Blount (2:14 PM)
It was a slumber party instead of the Party in the Poconos, but in this case, I think it was just a factor of Jimmie having such a dominant car.
Josh (Portland, ME)
any chance of Jr. getting back to multi-win seasons? Been a long time.
Terry Blount (2:15 PM)
Sure, he could win two races this year. If you mean four or five, I don't see it.
I completely agree with your comment in turn 4 bringing F1-style qualifying to Cup. I can't stand to watch an F1 race, but their qualifying is must see TV, especially after the clock hits zero and flying laps count!
Terry Blount (2:16 PM)
It's thrilling. Qualifying is actual racing. If NASCAR wants more people to show up on Fridays, changing the qualifying format is a must.
Being 36 yrs old, I never had the chance to see Richard Petty & Dale Inman work their magic. So I consider myself fortunate to watch Jimmie
Terry Blount (2:17 PM)
As we all should Caleb. We are watching history being made. Enjoy it.
Stu (Mass. )
Why should fans bother watchung the truck or nationwide race when the best drivers in NASCAR are sitting at home?
Terry Blount (2:18 PM)
Because you are watching future stars in the making competing at their own level, not Cup stars bullying the competition where they don't belong.
Yo Terry!!! Let's discuss: Who had the more dominant weekend, Sebastian Vettel in F1 or Jimmie? Jimmie did whoop the field, but his next two competitors were Biffle & Jr. Sebastian led every lap and finished 15 sec in front of two former world champs, Alonso
Terry Blount (2:19 PM)
Both of them at great races, but I'll say Jimmie because whoever gets in front early at Montreal tends to dominate the race.
Where do you see Furniture Row Racing in 10 years?
Terry Blount (2:21 PM)
Ten years? You much be kidding. The universe may crash into a giant black hole in 10 years. Who knows?
How long do you think it will be before the TRD engines are a non-issue and they're back to winning again?
Terry Blount (2:23 PM)
I don't know because TRD engineers don't know. They hope the compromise works and they will win without blowing up so many motors. This weekend is a big test because Michigan is high RPMs constantly for 400 miles.
Hey Terry, any chance Dodge will pursue Chad Knaus about heading their program back into NASCAR knowing full well he'll say no? A la Ray Evernham back in the day
Terry Blount (2:24 PM)
That would be a no chance.
Isn't the biggest problem at Roush drivers? After all Jack let his 2 Cup Champions, Kenseth and Kurt Busch, get away and hasn't won the cup since Kurt Busch in 2004.
Terry Blount (2:25 PM)
Edwards and Biffle are two of the best drivers in Cup. That's not the problem.
Do you see Brad K. still being in the hunt for the title this year when it gets down to the last 2 or 3 races in the chase?
Terry Blount (2:26 PM)
My guess is no, not this year. They are not as good as they were a year ago.
Herman (Brewer Me)
The drivers as a whole seem to not like the restart protocol. With 5 time leading the way do you think we could see a modification next year?
Terry Blount (2:27 PM)
Probably not, but the solution is simply. Do away with the restart zone and let the flagman restart the race. If someone jumps the start, throw a yellow and do it again. If they jump it twice, they get a penalty.
Greg (South Bend, IN.)
Terry, Any chance that Chad moves on to bigger and better things? He just looks so bored sitting on the box anymore.
Terry Blount (2:29 PM)
Chad rarely shows his emotions, but he isn't bored. They've gone two season now without a title and he's hungry to prove they can get a sixth one. Then things really get interesting with the going for a record-tying seventh for JJ.
Saul (San Diego)
The way the 48 is racing, do you see them wrapping up the cup before homestead?
Terry Blount (2:32 PM)
It's very difficult to do that in this points system. He could, but I sure hope he doesn't. I think someone else still will be in contention at the end, and hopefully it will be two of three other guys. Best-case scenario would be several guys with 20 points of each other for the last race.
Problems at Pocono a cause for concern for Kahne, or just a bump in the road?
Terry Blount (2:33 PM)
Just a rare mechanical deal. He'll be fine this week. Kasey is good at Michigan.
Frank (Kinsgston, Pa)
A couple of years ago it was announced that John Darby was going to assume a different role, and my guess was Knaus was going to be hired. That obviously is not going to happen so do we know who will take over for Darby?
Terry Blount (2:34 PM)
No, but I also find it strange that John announced he was leaving, and then nothing else was said about after all this time. Obviously, he changed his mind.
Your top 5 drivers and a darkhorse for Michigan?
Terry Blount (2:35 PM)
Biffle, Junior, Kahne, Brad K and Kenseth. My darkhorse is Ambrose.
Phillip (Albany, NY)
Hey Terry, I'm not sure if you heard this or not, but heard yesterday that Johnson's car BARELY passed post race inspection at Pocono. Did you hear anything about that?
Terry Blount (2:36 PM)
Just rumors. Barely doesn't matter. Actually, barely is good. Tat means it was set up on the edge.
JGR Fan (NJ)
With the down-on-power, Toyota's detuned looks like Kyle and Kenseth will have to settle for Top 10's and since Ford is missing something is it declare #48 '13 champion and season over?
Terry Blount (2:37 PM)
Not even close. There are 22 races still to run. They aren't even half way. Anything could happen, and probably will.
When Austin Dillon makes the move to Cup, do you think fans will like him, because of the number or resent him, because of the number?
Terry Blount (2:39 PM)
I think far more will like it than hate it, but there will be a few fans who think no one should race the 3 again. Since Austin is part of the Childress family, I think most fans will embrace it.
Saul (San Diego)
Good Omen or bad one. Last year Jr wins with Batman this year he has superman...BUT this year JR Hildabran has superman in his #4 and crashes at Indy...
Terry Blount (2:40 PM)
Wow. That's some kind of serious superstition going there Saul. Frankly, I don't think it matters if he has Superman, Batman or Alexander the Great on the car.
Isn't the reason some fans do NOT support the Dillon's, he same reason some fans don't like Danica. Didn't earn their way into the sport?
Terry Blount (2:42 PM)
Some might think that, but it isn't true. Both Austin and Ty and raced their up the ranks since they were boys. And they've won at each step along the way. It's totally unfair to criticize them simply because of the blood lines. Both guys are talented drivers.
Do you think Jeff Gordon gets a 5th championship in the next few years before retiring?
Terry Blount (2:43 PM)
It would be nice to see him do it, but I don't think he will.
Molly Maid (Terry's Kitchen)
Hi Terry! Taking another work break. Can the #48 go back to back? or will his bad luck at MI continue to plague him? Back to work now........
Terry Blount (2:44 PM)
Molly, I'm docking your pay for all these unscheduled breaks. I don't think JJ will win this weekend, but it's never a surprise when he does.
Saul (San Diego)
When JJ retires, do you think he will be all time leader as Cup Champion?
Terry Blount (2:46 PM)
I think he's going to reach seven titles to tie Earnhardt and Petty, but I'm not so sure about eight. That's a tall task.
P-Dub (Vancouver, Washington)
Great run by the Biff at Pocono...is he back and will he make the Chase and does he have a chance to do well in it?
Terry Blount (2:47 PM)
Biff probably will make the Chase. Ford still is a tiny bit off. I don't think Biff can win the Chase this year.
Good Afternoon Terry, If AJ does well in the #47, could he get that ride full time next year???? Bobby is in the last year of his contract and I don't think it will be renewed.
Terry Blount (2:50 PM)
If Dinger posts a top 5 this weekend at Michigan, a big if, Bobby is done very soon. Either way, Bobby is nearing the end of a great career. He may get a ride somewhere in 2014, but his days of driving in quality equipment are over. This weekend will be interesting to see who races better _ AJ in the 47 or Bobby in the 51.
Keith H (Seattle)
Good morning, Terry. The work thing got in the way and I'll catch up. I'm wondering if NASCAR fans need to just dial back a bit when it comes to Jimmie Johnson. We're watching the modern entry to Mt. Rushmore at the height of his powers. When we see a performance like Pococno, it isn't boring. It's greatness being shown before our eyes. Soon we'll be calling him "six time." Thanks again.
Saul (San Diego)
Do you think the 14 is beginning to find its groove and then challenge the 48?
Terry Blount (2:52 PM)
It's normal for fans to dislike one guys or one tam that wins all the time. That's true is every sport. But they should realize they are watching one of the best ever.
Terry Blount (2:53 PM)
Sorry, posted for the wrong question. On Smoke, they are getting it together, but he isn't ready to challenge the 48.
Hi Terry! Having trouble getting my questions to post. One more try: any word on what the damage was to the #2 at Pocono that reduced its performance?
Terry Blount (2:55 PM)
I have no idea Chris. But they are looking forward to Michigan, Brad's home track. I expect him to do well Sunday.
Ryan D. (Winston-Salem, NC)
The Biff needs a Cup championship to become the first driver ever to win a championship in all three of the top NASCAR racing series (Trucks/NW/Cup).Who do you think will be the first to do it, or will one driver winning all three never be accomplished?
Terry Blount (2:56 PM)
Never is a long time. But I don't see anyone doing it in the near future.
TRD sort of reminds me of Bill/Ernie/Dan Elliott in the 80's. They were either going to blow the field away, or blow a motor trying. Thoughts?
Terry Blount (2:58 PM)
That was true of several cars back in the day. But engine failures are so rare now that it becomes a major concern when it happens.
Is Chad Knaus the best crew chief of all time? His "innovative" car set ups must set him apart from most of them.
Terry Blount (2:59 PM)
Chad has a ways to go to catch Dale Inman for eight Cup titles, but I think it's tougher today to get an advantage, so Chad wins it in my book.
Frank (Kinsgston, Pa)
JGs last championship was when he was 29. JJ is going strong at 37. Has Johnson redefined the need to be in excellent physical and mental shape to compete at the highest levels of stock car racing?
Terry Blount (3:01 PM)
No. Most of these guys are in great shape these days, including Gordon. But honestly, I don't think you have to be in perfect physical condition to win races. It doesn't stop Smoke from winning.
Terry Blount (3:02 PM)
Gotta run folks. Have a great week and enjoy the Michigan race. Peace.