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February 13, 1:34 PM ET
Chat with Ed Hinton

Ed Hinton
  (2:00 PM)

Hi, all. Let's get started.

sebastian taylor

Hey I didn't like the way nascar official called the race on sunday.

Ed Hinton
  (2:01 PM)

Neither did I. You get that many people spending their hard earned money during this economic nightmare to show up at Daytona, and then you slap them in the face. They should have waited a lot longer than 15 minutes to call it. Radar or not, it appeared to be a big brushoff of the fans, both at the track and watching on TV.

Steiny (NYC)

Matt Kenseth recently said that steroids are not problem in NASCAR. Do you agree with him?

Ed Hinton
  (2:03 PM)

I totally agree with him. First, the physical movements and strength that steroids enhance are not the same as those used to drive a race car. So steroids would be useless to drivers. Plus, the majority of them are just too conscientious about their images. And sponsors are always watching.

Kenneth, Roxboro,NC

Just curious about something and by the way am a huge fan of Jeff's. If you see how the Series is panning out and the guys that are winning races now, they all seem to be taking more chances, like different pit calls. I was wondering why Steve Letarte calls such a conservative race? Even your team mates take chances and it seems like the drive to win has to be rekindled by doing things out of the "norm" that is working for the other teams that are now winning. I just feel sometimes you have to make your own luck to win, because clearly having the fastest car on the track hardly ever wins anymore. The days of passing everyone on the racetrack and winning the race is clearly over with this new car, and furthermore I don't think anyone can outdrive you in a race car, Jimmie, Carl, anyone so hang in there and I hope this helps.

Ed Hinton
  (2:06 PM)

For one thing, Jeff has a lot more say in the calling of a race than, say, Jimmie has. Chad calls the race. Steve Letarte calls the race with a lot of input from Jeff. So I don't think it's necessarily Steve calling a conservative race. Plus, Steve can make the split-second calls when he has to. He made some in '07 that won races. The occasion for him to make those risky calls just hasn't arisen much lately.

Steiny (NYC)

What are your thoughts on Richard Petty explaining why his son wasn't more involved in the transition?

Ed Hinton
  (2:08 PM)

There has been friction between Richard and Kyle off and on for a long time. I think Kyle is hurt that he wasn't included in the new deal. I try to remain neutral when they have issues, but this time I understand Kyle being hurt.

tyler ohio

Will matt kenseth be the ryan newman of the 08 season? Newman won the daytona 500 then was average the rest of the season.

Ed Hinton
  (2:11 PM)

I think Matt will win again -- maybe even this Sunday. The Roush cars are all going to be strong this year. A lot of people believe Roush will thrive like no other team under the testing ban. Edwards will be the big winner for Roush, but Kenseth should be good for maybe two or three more.

Cody (Charles City Virginia)

Do you see Dale Jr winning more than 1 race this year?

Ed Hinton
  (2:13 PM)

I've just given up forecasting about Junior. You'd think that in his second year with Hendrick, things will head upward. But it's just hard to predict what will go on.

Walter ( Taunton,Ma

Hi Ed, I am a big 24 fan..Do you think he has a shot at the Championship, and do you think his crew chief is safe??? Thanks

Ed Hinton
  (2:15 PM)

If they can get Jeff's issues with corner entry on the non-plate tracks resolved -- which I think they will -- then he will be a contender. I know a lot of fans are grumbling about Letarte, but Jeff told me the other day he is 100 percent confident in the guy. Remember, Steve is the guy who took him from the doldrums of '06 to a six-win season in '07.

Aaron (Florida)

Are you satisfied with the Daytona 500, or did you want to see a complete race?

Ed Hinton
  (2:16 PM)

I wanted to see a complete race, which I think could have happened late Sunday night, or returning Monday morning. More importantly, I wanted to see NASCAR wait more than 15 lousy minutes before making the call. It was just too quick.

Ryne (MD)

Elliott Sadler's goal is to win the Sprint Cup championship. Do you think he will accomplish his goal?

Ed Hinton
  (2:18 PM)

I doubt it, at least this year, because that team is still questionable for the long haul. They had three of the top nine finishers at Daytona -- but Daytona is not an indicator of the season as a whole. Even Richard Petty said Sunday night that "next week is when the season begins."

tyler (ohio)

Would have matt kenseth won the 500 if the race was run to lap 200

Ed Hinton
  (2:20 PM)

I think he'd have had a good chance, if you mean AFTER Kyle Busch got knocked out. That's part of what's sad about NASCAR calling the race too quickly. If Kenseth had won it in 200 laps, it would have looked a lot better for him. And he was strong enough to do that, without Wild Thing in the race.

Grant (Richmond)

Do you see Nascar changing rules about calling the race after it is over halfway done because of the rain?

Ed Hinton
  (2:22 PM)

No, they'll never change that. Halfway is the long standing custom. I think what people were griping about after Daytona was that they should have made a little extra effort to get more of the race in, considering that they call it their "Super Bowl." But for the average race out on the circuit, halfway will always be the line.

Mark (Mount Airy,MD)

Hey Ed, NASCAR has changed from 10 to 20 laps to go for single file restarts. Would you like to see the lap down cars start behind the lead lap cars all the time??? With the free pass, the lap down guys get their chance.

Ed Hinton
  (2:24 PM)

You better believe it. I think lapped cars need to go to the back all the time. Line 'em up for every restart double file, according to position, just like you start the race. The lapped car deal on the inside is obsolete due to the lucky dog rule. And double file restarts, leaders only, would intensify the racing and give people a chance to improve position on every restart. Then maybe we wouldn't hear so much complaining about "track position" and "aero push."

John, KY

Any word on whether Jimmy Johnson's cut finger is still an issue?

Ed Hinton
  (2:25 PM)

I don't think it was an issue at Daytona. Let alone now.


How long will it take the other drivers forget about the Vickers/Junior wreck. Any retaliations coming!! I'm sure Nascar will be watching closely.

Ed Hinton
  (2:29 PM)

Oh, I think they'll forget about it right away, unless it comes up again at Talladega, another plate race. Don't see any retaliations. Junior doesn't operate that way, despite his having a real bad day Sunday. And Vickers knows better than to mess with a big name like that.

John (New York)

Last year we saw the Nationwade race in the rain, when will NASCAR let the Sprint Cup race in the rain with those same tires?

Ed Hinton
  (2:31 PM)

That all depends on Goodyear and whether it's willing to manufacture a Cup rain tire. And, as you, Tony Stewart and the world have seen, Goodyear pretty much has its hands full making adequate slicks for this new car, much less trying to put rain tires on it. The way the new car eats up right-side tires, I can't imagine a rain tire that would stay on it for more than two or three laps. They'd burn right off once the track goes from really wet to just damp.

jerry kansas

When Earnhardt took out Vickers while he was below the yellow line, why wasn't Earnhardt penalized for advancing his position?

Ed Hinton
  (2:32 PM)

NASCAR hid its head in the sand about everything Junior did on the backstretch -- and everything Vickers did too. If they weren't going to get them for the slamming and blocking, then why bother with the yellow line? And, you'll notice Junior just doesn't get yellow line penalties.

tyler (ohio)

Will kentucky speedway get a sprint cup event in a few years.

Ed Hinton
  (2:34 PM)

How Bruton Smith pulls that one off, I'd like to see. It cost him a fortune to get a second race at Texas -- he had to buy Rockingham from ISC and cannibalize the date to Texas. He'd just about have to move a date to Kentucky from one of his other tracks.

Ryan (West Virginia)

Hey Ed, did you like Digger on Fox and plus his mini show?

Ed Hinton
  (2:35 PM)

I didn't see the "Digger Biography" or whatever on the pre-race. Heard lots of complaints about it, though, considering the race start time and the rainout.

Marc (Malden, MA)

If they're going to finish on Monday, that's a decision that has to be made before the race starts. Once teams gamble on an early finish, you can't punish them for being correct by coming back on Monday.

Ed Hinton
  (2:37 PM)

Nah! They could make that call during the race, easy. Teams don't prepare to outrun the weather until it's getting really close. No use saying that at drivers' meeting. I saw 'em in the rain at Charlotte one time, late at night, when they announced they were going to run 20 or 25 more laps and that would be it. They made that decision on the spur of the moment.

Eric (Columbia, MO)

Ed, you said Roush might be the biggest benefactor of the testing ban. So, in your mind, is this season Carl's to lose? Last season, he took second in both Cup and Nationwide ... does running in both series work against him or help him?

Ed Hinton
  (2:38 PM)

I don't think it's exactly his to lose. Johnson's going to have a lot of say in that. I do agree with a lot of other media types that Edwards should have the strongest effort all season.

Ned (The Glen)

What are your thoughts on Watkins Glen being the only road course on the circuit?

Ed Hinton
  (2:39 PM)

Last I looked, Sonoma's still there. Now you may complain that Sonoma's been doctored so that it's not a pure road course, but by NASCAR standards it is.

Christian (High Point, NC)

Harvick wins the Bud Shootout and finishes second in the 500 ... random occurence, or the hint of a strong season?

Ed Hinton
  (2:40 PM)

Not necessarily. Again, Daytona is such an aberration from the rest of the season. Ask me again after California, Vegas, Atlanta and Martinsville. We'll have a better idea then.

Jerry (Tampa, FL)

What do you think about Michael Waltrip Racing's chances this year. Daytona is always a wild card, but Waltrip finished 7th and Reutimann 12th. Do you think this organization has a chance at winning a race this year, specifically as it pertains to Reutimann? He was by far one of the most improved drivers drving for one of the most improved teams towards the end of last year.

Ed Hinton
  (2:42 PM)

Reutimann ran pretty well toward the end of last year at several tracks. He's a good driver. Depends on whether the team can get it together for him. Michael, alas, is a plate track guy -- no matter how much he hates for me to say that.

BH (Lompoc, CA)

No matter whose fault the wreck was on Sunday do you think that the lead lap cars starting in front of the leader contributed to the leaders being taken out in the accident? And, why do they start them that way instead of the tail end

Ed Hinton
  (2:44 PM)

Generally speaking, I NEVER like to see race leaders stuck behind guys who are supposed to be behind them. Whether that be double-file restarts, or tail-enders up front. Just a terrible, terrible idea that nearly always causes trouble. NASCAR's thinking is completely obsolete on this stuff.

Greg (NY)

I think Nascar should have Cup races on Saturday nights on tracks that have lights. Have the Nationwide races on Saturday afternoons and the Cup races at night. It works for the networks because they want races and primetime and works for the fans as well. Plus by racing on saturdays, Nascar would not have to compete for ratings with the more popular NFL during the chase.

Ed Hinton
  (2:45 PM)

What? You want to kill off Saturday night local-track racing altogether? They're already struggling because NASCAR runs so many Saturday night races. If the local short tracks die out, where's nascar's driver feeder system going to come from?

Justin (NJ)

What was the deal with Stewart racing under the Hendrick Banner in Nationwide the other day? I thought all Hendrick nationwide operations were now under the JR Motorsports Banner?

Ed Hinton
  (2:46 PM)

Oh, that Hendrick bunch is just one big happy growing family, all intermingled. All rick needs to do now is hire Carl Edwards, and everybody else could just go home.

Chester Michigan

Will Denny Hamlin make the chase this year?

Ed Hinton
  (2:48 PM)

He'll probably make the Chase. Thing is, I just question the total support from JGR. Seems like they're always focused on somebody else. I never have thought Denny got his fair share of emphasis from them.


I read a suggestion somewhere that they should start the lap cars on the outside instead of inside row. Would that be better?

Ed Hinton
  (2:49 PM)

Maybe marginally better. Then again, it could cause bigger wrecks than ever. Lapped cars to the back, period. That's what I say.

Bristow VA

The whole Daytona and rain issue could have been resolved simply by seeing the weather report Sunday morning to bump EVERYTHING up by 90 minutes. The people are already in the building milling around. The garage opens at 9 so have it open at 8. The prerace on Fox started at 2 have coverage start at 1. Speed could still have their show on if they wanted too. NASCAR dropped the ball big time on this one. The green flag should have dropped closer to 2:30 than 3:45.

Ed Hinton
  (2:50 PM)

Well, we've been saying that sort of thing for years. And nascar's never done anything about it. I suspect they never will.

Jeff (East Bay, CA)

Ed...when you say Sonoma's been doctored, what exactly do you mean? This is the first I've heard of this...

Ed Hinton
  (2:51 PM)

Well, straightened out a bit here and there for better spectator views -- a little less twisty in places than before. But that's been a while. I just thought the Watkins Glen guy meant something like that. But sonoma's still a road course to me.

Mark Testerman (Mount Airy,MD)

Ed, Do you see Bobby Labonte running much better this year at HOF Racing than the past few years at Petty????

Ed Hinton
  (2:52 PM)

The Petty operation was in such disarray last year that Labonte can't help but run SOME better. The problem is, HOF was pretty bad last year. The affiliation with Yates and Roush will help. But Yates is pretty far behind as a team, too. He'll run better, but perhaps not a lot better.

Ed, Hartford

the way these cars handled at Daytona was just terrible. I know the bumpy surface was a big part of it. Do you think the will EVER be able to get them to handle decent? They look too big.

Ed Hinton
  (2:54 PM)

they're pretty boxy and clunky, all right. They drive the crew chiefs nuts-- mainly because NASCAR is so rigid with the rules. The center of gravity is too high and there's no front downforce. I suspect eventually you'll see nascar quietly loosen the rules on shocks, springs, etc., to help a little with mechanical grip.

David (Miami)

When Jimmie's career is all said and done how many wins and championships does he have?

Ed Hinton
  (2:55 PM)

At the rate he's going? And if Chad Knaus stays? He could surpass Gordon's records. Say, six championships and 90 wins.

Marc (Malden, MA)

I remember when races started at 12:30 and finished by 4:00...I really liked those days.

Ed Hinton
  (2:56 PM)

So did I. And so did a lot of people. I predict that within a year or so, you're going to see at least some of the races starting at a more reasonable hour.

Stewart (Petersburg)

I know this is to early to tell, but do you see Joey Logano winning a race this year?

Ed Hinton
  (2:57 PM)

He might well win one, maybe on a 1-mile or 1.5-mile track. Atlanta or Texas, maybe?

Eric (Columbia, MO)

Ed, not to bring the chat full circle or anything, but I'm a little fascinated that you don't think steroids/performance enhancers are a potential issue in NASCAR! It seems with this new-generation car, fitness is more essential than ever -- and it seems the more successful drivers last year were the fitter ones. Thoughts?

Ed Hinton
  (2:58 PM)

I don't think the new car requires any more physical effort to drive. it's just a maddening car to drive.

Marc (Malden, MA)

Why are they waiting 3 years to repave Daytona? To finally admit there's a problem, but say you're not going to fix it for 3 years is stupid.

Ed Hinton
  (2:59 PM)

The France family does what it pleases, when it pleases. That's natural law, as surely as the ebb and flow of the tides on Daytona Beach.

Ed Hinton
  (3:00 PM)

Martinsville. They've ruined Bristol by widening it when they repaved it. Only Carl Edwards moving Kyle Busch, and then their cool-down lap run-in, saved Bristol's reputation. Martinsville is now THE place.

Kyle (morgantown, WV)

I am fortunate enough to get to go to martinsville & bristol this year back-to-back. What will be a better show?

Ed Hinton
  (3:01 PM)

oops! answered before I posted. See this question, then see my previous answer.

zach indiana [via mobile]

what are ryan newmans chances of getting into the chase wath tony as a team mate

Ed Hinton
  (3:02 PM)

I think his chances are equal to Tony's. And they're both looking pretty good out of the box. We'll know more after the next few intermediate and short track races.

Ed Hinton
  (3:03 PM)

well, we're out of time. Bye, all.