Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

November 6, 11:26 AM ET
Chat with Terry Blount

Terry Blount
  (2:00 PM)

Hello folks. Brian France spoke to the media again today. That's twice in three days. Pretty unusual. What's on our mind heading to the season finale?



Terry Blount
  (2:01 PM)

Good question David, but it's not that simple. The problem is many of these teams, including Petty, are trying to merge. They can't hire another driver until they know how many cars they'll have if they merge with another team. It's puts guys like AJ and Riggs in limbo for the moment.

Adam (Crown Point, IN)

Who do you like as your favorite this week, the 99 or 48?

Terry Blount
  (2:03 PM)

If you're talking about the championship, it's the 48. If you're talking about who could win the race, I'll go with Greg Biffle. He's loves Homestead, but it would be cool to see Jeff Gordon close out the season with a victory to keep his winning streak alive.

Brian - Oklahoma

After driving several races for Petty Enterprises, in your opinion what needs to happen for Petty Racing to be more competitive?

Terry Blount
  (2:05 PM)

They need to merge with another organization to have the sponsorship and the R&D info they need to truly improve and become competitive.

Danny (Nashville)

Will Teresa sell DEI too Ganassi?

Terry Blount
  (2:06 PM)

I doubt it. They may merge is some form, but I don't see Teresa selling out entirely and riding off into the sunset.

Jerry (Omaha, NE)

Two weeks ago Gilliland got into Montoya causing a crash, resulting in his suspension for the rest of the race. Last Sunday, Kenseth did the exact same thing to Allmendinger on the final lap, and lo and behold the announcers' outrage was strangely missing, and I haven't seen any sign that NASCAR even took notice. Why the blatant double standard??? I think Kenseth should be parked for the final race!!!

Terry Blount
  (2:07 PM)

I don't think the two incidents were quite the same.


How many cars do you expect DEI to field next year? What organizations are going to merge - GEM, DEI, Petty, BDR???

Terry Blount
  (2:08 PM)

All this merger stuff is TBD. It's a very complicated process involved manufacturers and personnel As it stands right now, the most talked-about merger is DEI and Ganassi. Bill Davis said they are out for the moment. But anything could happen yet.

BB (Mpls)

So Gordon has made two changes to the 24 engineer and one mechanic. Looks to me like Letarte is safe and Jeff thinks the problem is car design/build and set-ups. What else will they do? Do you agree with my assessment of why the two changes?

Terry Blount
  (2:09 PM)

Letarte is staying. I don't see the 24 making a lot of major changes. They believe they aren't that far off. Sometimes it's better to ride things out rather than make wholesale changes.


On the merger line - when do organizations need to have plans in place for 2009? What is it about 70 days until speedweeks 2009?

Terry Blount
  (2:11 PM)

They needed to already have it done. It's way late in the process now, but it shows how hard it is to work these things out. And until recently, teams still were hoping they could find enough sponsorship to avoid mergers.

Rob (Ramstein, Germany)

With JJ nearly in the winners circle again they are saying that all he has to do is finish in the top 36. Does this include the factor of leading a lap?

Terry Blount
  (2:12 PM)

No. That's is he doesn't lead a lap and Carl wins the race and leads the most laps.

Jake (VA Beach)

Speaking of Jeff. Last week it was mentioned that the COT is tighter to drive and Jeff doesn't like that style. Will he ever adjust to possibly win another title?

Terry Blount
  (2:13 PM)

We're talking about one of the best drivers in NASCAR history. He's still capable of winning a title if his team is good enough.


Stewart Haas still has not announced the other half of sponsorship on the 39 car. Money is tight everywhere at the Cup level how are the Nationwide and Truck teams fairing attracting sponsorship?

Terry Blount
  (2:17 PM)

Not very well. It's tough for everyone. Right now, about 25 to 30 Cup teams have full sponsorship for next season.

Larry (MI)

Terry, to me it looked like the AJ/Kenseth incident was very similar to the Gilliland/Montoya incident. Two drivers had contact which resulted in one driver wrecking the other on purpose. AJ took a pretty hard hit and Kenseth is lucky he didn't get hurt, in my opinion.

Terry Blount
  (2:20 PM)

I didn't see replays of it because I was busy writing as the race ended. I know NASCAR reviewed. But NASCAR isn't about to sit a Chase driver down in the season finale unless they are sure he made a grave error.


If Ganassi and DEI merge who will have controlling interest do you think? And would it be called DEI or Gannasi racing.

Terry Blount
  (2:21 PM)

I imagine the title would be a combo thing. Determining who has the decision-making power may be one of the major holdups to getting this done. Frankly, I can't see Chip and Teresa working together.


If NASCAR prevents testing for the short term what effect will that have on the teams at the race? Yes it will save money but will the races be parades for the first half until the teams can adjust cars or will the fans really not notice anything? Without testing will NASCAR give the teams an extra practice session each race weekend?

Terry Blount
  (2:22 PM)

Here's what Rick Hendrick proposed. Make Friday just a long practice session day to set up the cars. Qualify on Saturday and race on Sunday.

josh (slc)

with the auto industry on it heels, wouldnt it be a good time to invest in chevy stock if you have money to waist? i cant see G.M alone shuting the doors.

Terry Blount
  (2:23 PM)

I'm no broker, but that seems logical.

Larry (MI)

For the DEI/Gannasi name, how about this. Dale Earnhardt Inc with Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabatas. Makes sense right?

Terry Blount
  (2:23 PM)

UGG. Please don't force me to write that title every week.

Ed, Hartford Ct

The only interesting thing at Phoenix was David Gilliand spinning his tires trying to get off of the 84 car. Scot Speed said he was sprayed with rubber. It seems as if Gilliland has gone over the edge..hasn't he?

Terry Blount
  (2:26 PM)

I think David's just a little frustrated that things haven't improved as the season winds down.

Kyle( NC)

If you can't see Teresa and Chip working toeghter then how would a merger work period?

Terry Blount
  (2:28 PM)

Only if one of them is willing to let the other make the major decisions. Or maybe they'll have a board of directors do that.

chris (Fernley)

Does AJ have a ride for next year yet?

Terry Blount
  (2:28 PM)

Not yet. But I think he's shown enough that he'll get one eventually.

Larry (MI)

Are Joey Logano's struggles this year maybe a sign that he should have more time in the Nationwide Series? Do you think it is a mistake to bring him to Cup next year?

Terry Blount
  (2:30 PM)

Joey is tremendously talented. But certainly it's a lot to ask of any teenager to race full time in Cup. They just need to be patient with him and not expect too much too fast.

Larry (MI)

Who had the better career in Cup? Keselowksi or Logano?

Terry Blount
  (2:32 PM)

Excellent question. Looking 20 years down the road, I'd have to pick Logano. However, I see Brad having a successful Cup career, also.

josh (slc)

do you think team red bull will ever own up and admit they made a mistake in letting A.J go? speed will eventually be good but doesnt that team deserve a better out come each week. its like they where garbage got better and garbage again.

Terry Blount
  (2:33 PM)

Politics were involved in that decision. Scott has a long history with the Red Bull suits in F1. I think Scott can become a quality Cup driver in the long run, but I'm not so sure about next year.

Larry (MI)

With one to go, who gets left out of the banquet?

Terry Blount
  (2:37 PM)

Very close battle there. I can tell you NASCAR is hoping Junior isn't one of them. I'll guess Hamlin and Kyle Busch, but Junior and Stewart also are in the danger zone.


have you ever gone to pir before? and if so how do you get tickets to sit up on the rattlesnake hill? it looks like a sweet view.

Terry Blount
  (2:38 PM)

Been to PIR many times, including last weekend, but never sat on the hill. I bet the view is spectacular, but fans must get baked in the sun.


With all the effort put into finding the next great driver, do the teams do anything to find the next great crew chief? I'd rather find the next Chad Knaus than the next Jimmy Johnson.

Terry Blount
  (2:40 PM)

Teams are constantly grooming potential crew chiefs. Often it comes from the guy who is listed as the car chief. Obviously, teams look for guys with a lot of snap, but they also want guys who they see as potential leaders.


Who ends up in the top 35 in points to end the year - the 7, 84 or 47? 47 and 7 are currently in but 84 has Mark Martin in it for Homestead.

Terry Blount
  (2:45 PM)

Another very close battle with the 84 only 17 points behind. They may put Mark Martin in the car this weekend to try to get inside the top 35. But it may not matter much next year since few races will have more than 43 cars.

Savannah, Raleigh

When all is said and done how many championships does Johnson end up with? Can he get to 7 or maybe even 8?

Terry Blount
  (2:46 PM)

It doesn't seem out of the realm of possiblity now. But I still think it's unlikely any driver can get to seven Cup titles in this era.

Marilyn Illinois

Do you think that Dale Jr. will run better next year. They will have a full year under their belt, and will hopefully have more consistency.

Terry Blount
  (2:47 PM)

Historically speaking, teams usually make a big jump in performance from Year 1 to Year 2 in an organization. I think we'll see that with Junior.



Terry Blount
  (2:48 PM)

Geez. Can't we get through this year first? OK, I'll play along. I'll say Biffle.

john Mack Ga.

Isn't Dale jr.'s problem Tony Jr.??

Terry Blount
  (2:49 PM)

Some people think so. But in Tony's defense, he probably had a bigger adjustment this year than Junior. Hendrick does a lot of things differently than what he was used to at DEI.

marcus columbus ohio

what do you think about paul menard leaving DEI and do you think he will do well with yates or the same as he did with DEI below AVG.

Terry Blount
  (2:50 PM)

Judgining by the two cars at Yates now, I don't see Paul making a major step upward.

Eric, Atlanta

Is NASCAR at all concerned about the lack of parity in the sport. The COT was suppose to help address that but from my view things are worse now. Only 3 teams (48,99,18 and maybe 16) look competitive on any given weekend consitantly, the rest are running for second place. What makes the NFL so great right now is any team can win. The lack of competition is getting boring.

Terry Blount
  (2:51 PM)

Brian France said again today he believes the COT is working and competition is improving. There seems to be a disconnect with his perception and that of many fans.'



Terry Blount
  (2:53 PM)

Nothing's been decided. Every team is throwing this chips on the table and seeing who wants to play.

Jon Mack Ga.

Terry please tell these people that the teams can be more competitive by putting the sponsor's money into the car instead of into their own pockets!!

Terry Blount
  (2:54 PM)

Believe me John, every cent team owners get from sponsors gets spent on trying to make the cars better. Well, maybe I should say almost every cent.

Ed, Hartford Ct

Doesn't Dale Jr's problem and many other's problems this year come down to the handling of the new car

Terry Blount
  (2:55 PM)

Almost every team that doesn't win the title could say that.

Felipe (Dallas)

Is it true JPM was offered a ride in Formula One and he turned it down??? How do you think he will perform next year? Seems like the last 6 weeks or so he has ran very strong!!!

Terry Blount
  (2:57 PM)

Apparently is is true, but JPM doesn't want to go back to F1. He enjoys the lifesytle in NASCAR. However, if things don't improve next season, I could see him changing his mind.

Eric, Atlanta

Disconnect is a huge understatement. F1 is more competitive at this point. That championship went down to the last race (and last lap) for two years straight. Hard to imagine NASCAR would fall behind F1 in competition but that have managed to do it.

Terry Blount
  (3:00 PM)

NASCAR officials believe things are improving as the teams learn more about the car. Let's be fair. Some races have produced exciting finshes this year and some haven't, but overall, it needs to improve.

Terry Blount
  (3:01 PM)

Gotta run folks. I'm off to Miami tomorrow. Have a great week. Peace.