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February 20, 12:59 PM ET
Chat with Terry Blount

Terry Blount
  (1:59 PM)

How's it going folks? Off to Sin City this week, where Kenseth can make history.

George, FL

Are you surprised by the # of entries for the first 3 races? At what point do you think this number will decrease.

Terry Blount
  (2:01 PM)

Pleasantly surprised. And there are ton of entry at Vegas. If the dropoff happen, it will come after the fifth race when teams fail to make the top 35 and start running out of money, But the entries so far are very encouraging.

Steve (St. Anthony, MN)

I loved Greg Biffle's honesty after the race that he should be fired. If that incident did not happen do you think he could have won the race?

Terry Blount
  (2:01 PM)

No, I still think Matt would have won, but it's nice of Biff to take the heat.

Greg (Richmond, VA)

Decided to base a Vegas trip around the race. Anything I should definitely check out while I am there?

Terry Blount
  (2:02 PM)

Depends on how big a gambler you are, although you can do that anywhere in Vegas. But I would check out the water show at the Bellagio and walk in the Wynn hotel. Quite a place.

Steve (St. Anthony, MN)

What do you think of Jr's chances of making the chase after the first two races?

Terry Blount
  (2:04 PM)

He still can make the Chase without a problem if the 88 teams runs the way they're capable of running. He probably would have ended up in the top 10 Sunday if not for the engine failure.

Cory, Geneva, IL

At the start of a week, how similar are the 4 Hendrick cars? What makes them different by the end of the week? Crew chief, driver, all of the above?

Terry Blount
  (2:05 PM)

Those things and the skills of the pit crew. As we saw at Cali, getting off pit road first can determine who wins the race.

Josh, Irving, Texa

Bad parts for Earnhardt? Isn't that just the latest excuse, eury jr, track surface, races too long etc?

Terry Blount
  (2:06 PM)

No, the same batch of parts caused Martin's engine to fail. This time it really was bad luck.

Marc (Malden, MA)

If Tony Stewart didn't become an owner, would he be willing to join the new American F1 team?

Terry Blount
  (2:06 PM)

Not a chance.

dave (union,ky.) [via mobile]

what do you think of smokes performance so far?

Terry Blount
  (2:07 PM)

Not bad, although I'm sure he's concerned about Newman's team. But it appears Stewart could challenge for a Chase spot.

justin(durham nc)

great job so far with coverage this year guys......do u think riggs will stay in top 35 all season..thanks....had a strong run at daytona for a startup team and the break at cali....do u see huim staying in top 35

Terry Blount
  (2:09 PM)

I think it's iffy. When you lack personnel, the chances of bad tings happening increase. Riggs is a decent driver and Baldwin really knows th sport, but do they have enough quality people to finish well every week? We'll see.

Saul (San Diego)

I asked this question yesterday's chat and want your take. In the NFL, you lose the first to games of the season and teams begin freak. The third game is a must win. So with 24 races to go to make the chase, is any team/driver freaking out, or to early yet.

Terry Blount
  (2:10 PM)

No panic mode yet, expecially if you were part of a wreck or had a mechanical failure. Bit if you ran 30th in both races without those problems, you probably have a lot more concerns.

Don, Raleigh

Earnhardt is 35th in owners points. If he falls out of the top 35 after the 5th race will he have to qualify on time with the rest of the "go or go-homers"?

Terry Blount
  (2:11 PM)

Yes he will.

David, Seattle

Are Kurt's great 2009 performances the sign that Penske is back and that getting Newman and his negativity out of Penske has improved the team?

Terry Blount
  (2:12 PM)

I don't think Ryan leaving has much to do with it, but Kurt is a lot happier these days with the team's performance. The new Dodge engine that debuted near the end of lat season is a much better motor.

Randy

How do you feel about the cup cars droping down to the nationwide series , on saturday the top 8 places were cup cars. It doesnt seem fair to the nationwide guys at all.

Terry Blount
  (2:13 PM)

I hate it and I always have. It's not a real feeder league with Cup guys like Edwards and Busch running the full NW sked.

Shelly, Las Vegas

What do you know about Kurt and Kyles relationship as brothers? Do they talk shop? Is Kurt, Kyle's #1 adviser?

Terry Blount
  (2:14 PM)

Definitely not his No. 1 adviser. They aren't enemies, but they aren't big buds either.

Jason (Nashville, TN)

I followed JPM in F1 and now in Nascar, as well as Scott Speed now trying to make the transition. I hear all the chatter, and have followed his career so far closely, but what do you think his year will look like?

Terry Blount
  (2:15 PM)

Montoya seems to have found a groove in the merger with DEI. Speed has tremendous talent, but tons to learn before he's seriously competitive.

Jason, IL

Your prediction please, does Truex bolt?

Terry Blount
  (2:16 PM)

If I have to guess today, I say yes.

Dan Western NC

How great would Matt be if he decided to work on qualifying and thus get the number one pit stall? It seems that no one could beat him out of the pits with that pit crew. It worked for Jimmie last year, do you see more teams focusing so much on qualifying to secure a good pit stall?

Terry Blount
  (2:17 PM)

No, it's not worth it to take the extra practice time away from your race set up. If you have a good car and a crew as good as Matt's, it doesn't matter much where you pit.

Marc (Malden, MA)

So if Jr. falls out of the top 35, NASCAR is going to change the rules, right?

Terry Blount
  (2:18 PM)

Not this year, no matter what Jr. does. But eliminating the top 35 is something they need to do.

Debra, Omaha

Looks like Childress has more problems than Chevrolet motors. Only Clint seems to be running stong. What's up with that team?

Terry Blount
  (2:20 PM)

It's early, so don't read too much into it yet, but so far, I dn't see an improvment. However, Clint deserbes a lot of credit for running well with a new team.

Doug, DC

Does Roush-Fenway really control Yates, HOF and Wood Brothers?

Terry Blount
  (2:21 PM)

Depends on what you mean by control. RFR certainly has influence on how those teams do, but they still make their decisions independently.

Saul (San Diego)

Can you explain again why laps cars start double file at re-starts (why is that important). I wish re-starts would be single file for all re-starts not just with 20 laps go. I sat in the Cali stands and was amazed at the re-starts how fast, once the two or three lead cars cleared lap cars and easily began to chase down the other lead cars caught up in the lap traffic jams.

Terry Blount
  (2:22 PM)

Before the lucky dog rule, NASCAR wanted to give lapped cars a chance to get back on the lead lap. Now they shuld eliminate it.

Sam, Houston

If Kyle only ran Sprint cup would he be even stonger?

Terry Blount
  (2:24 PM)

It's a two-sided deal. He gets more track time running in the other events, but it could wear him down physically late in the season. If it were my call, I wouldn't have him run the entire NW sked.

dustin (halifax Va)

who wins first this year...vickers or ragan?

Terry Blount
  (2:25 PM)

I'll say Ragan, but I hope Brian also gets to Victory Lane. Vickers is one of the real good guys in the sport.

Allen, Los Angeles

Did you catch Jimmy Johnson on Jimmy Kimmel last night? Are the drivers spending all week hanging around LA and Vegas partying or did some go back to NC?

Terry Blount
  (2:25 PM)

Most of them stay out West and doing promotional stuff.

Michael (Oklahoma)

I was wondering who your pick was to win the Sprint Cup Championship before the season started. Do you think Jeff Gordon has a good shot at it?

Terry Blount
  (2:27 PM)

I picked Edwards. Clearly, Gordon's team has stepped it up this year, but I'm not sure he has another title in him. I know he's more focused and determined than I've seen him in a long time. He has the eye of the tiger right now.

Jason (Madison, WI)

Number 17 car...is he a true conteder for the chase or just on a hot streak?

Terry Blount
  (2:28 PM)

He's a true contender for the championship, not just the Chase. And he can make NASCAR history this week by becoming the first driver to win three in a row to start a season.

Greg (Richmond,VA)

How come Denny Hamlin seems to be the forgotten man at JGR?

Terry Blount
  (2:29 PM)

He isn't forgotten, but he isn't winning and he isn't a highly-touted rookie. Maybe not being the center of attention at JGR will be good for him.

Johnny (NYC, NY)

Terry -- Two questions: I am gonna be in Vegas this weekend...you gonna be signing books anywhere? I know Vegas somewhat well, but have never been there for a Cup weekend...anything special I should check out? Perhaps a place where I'd see a bunch of Nascar people? If not, not worries, its gonna be a fantastic weekend no matter what!!!

Terry Blount
  (2:33 PM)

Drivers tend to make appearances at the fancy hotels _ Bellagio, Ceasar's Palace, the Wynn, and the VIP nightclubs. The newspapares will run a list of where drivers are signing autographs. I don't have a book-signing planned this weekend, but if you see me in the infield around the garages or the media center, I'd be happy to sign the book for you.

Scott (NOLA)

Terry, is there a possibility that Matt Borland could replace Gibson on the #39 pit box? He's still with the team, correct?

Terry Blount
  (2:33 PM)

He's still there, but I think they're a long way from making a switch at this point.

dustin (halifax Va)

out of all the development drivers not in sprint cup which one do you think as the best chance of being a star?

Terry Blount
  (2:36 PM)

Good question. I'll list a few _ Brad Keselowski, Colin Braun, J.R. Fitzpatrick, and Justin Allgaier.

Teresa (Avon Park, FL)

Crew chief and driver relationships I would guess to be extremely important, especially on a trust level. Most agree that J.Johnson/C.Knaus is probably the best in the business...Would you say that Kenseth/Blickensderfer have that potential--not based on the last two races alone, but Drew's success in the Nationwide level as well?

Terry Blount
  (2:37 PM)

Absolutely. But it's more than just the driver/crew chief relationship. It's whether the CC can get the most of the team and keep them motivated. Drew really has a talent for that.

Glen. Fla

Terry. how can you say it with a straight face that RP's 200 wins are not that great because of the amount of races he ran. if you take half his starts and wins away the only driver that beats him is the grey fox.

Terry Blount
  (2:40 PM)

You're missing the point. As I wrote, its still an amazing accomplishment (I list Richard No. 3 on my all-time list in the book), but it can't be done today, so the record isn't comparable to today's drivers. Who's to say how many races Earnhardt or Gordon would have won in the 1960s when they often raced three times a week. And who can say how many Petty would have won if his entire career had taken place in the modern era.

Dallas, Texas

This is the year... the Year JPM makes the chase... What are your thoughts about Juan finally making the chase?

Terry Blount
  (2:41 PM)

We're jumping the gun a little here. I think he has a shot, but it's still a tough task considering the guys he has to beat.

Tyler (Iowa City, IA)

Where do you see the new UPS driver finishing this season?

Terry Blount
  (2:42 PM)

Solidly in the Chase, but short of a championship

tyler [via mobile]

Do you think joey logano will be successful this year

Terry Blount
  (2:43 PM)

if Joey's finished in the top 20 in the standings, I think evryone at JGR would consider that a very successful rookie year. He has a shot to do that.

Matt (Spartanburg, SC)

Do you think Tony Stewart will have continued success in his first season as a team owner? Is it possible that he has a significant chance to win a championship with it being his first season elsewhere?

Terry Blount
  (2:45 PM)

Winning the champonship might be a stretch, but Tony's talent alone is enough to give him a good chance at making he Chase.

Mark (Lexington, KY)

Now that Montoya has shown competency on ovals, and is without question the best road course driver, do you think he makes the chase this year?

Terry Blount
  (2:46 PM)

Wow. Lots of JPM fans on the chat today. That's great. I still would be surprised if he makes the Chase, but it appears this is the best chance he's had since he came to Cup.

Johnny (NYC, NY)

As team owner, what is Stewart thinking about once a race starts...the team, or just himself? Once the flag waves, does he care about Newman? Seems hard to think he would?

Terry Blount
  (2:48 PM)

It's all Tony and the 14 when the race starts. He says he's all driver starting Friday, but I think he still has some owner concerns until the race starts.

tyler [via mobile]

Who is your sleeper pick to make the chase this year

Terry Blount
  (2:50 PM)

I hope AJ gets to run the full season and take a shot at it. Before the season started, I said Vickers, but he has to pick it up.

Tom Gulf Coast

Im sure you have heard about the new USF1 team..What are your thoughts about some Cup drivers moving to F1 to race?

Terry Blount
  (2:51 PM)

Just don't see it. Cup guys make tons of money. Why leave for a unknown team that's probably going to run in the back even if it comes to fruition.

Brian(Evansville,IN)

Terry, what's your take on Kyle Petty's comments and do you see him ever getting in a cup car again?

Terry Blount
  (2:53 PM)

Kyle probably will get a one-off here and there, but no full time ride. Clearly, Kyle is bitter, but he needs to let it go. He a great guy who has doen a tremendous amount for this sport on and off the track.

Michael Langley Atl Ga

What do you think will happen if junior struggles again this year? New crew cheif?

Terry Blount
  (2:54 PM)

That's the obvious change that would happen if the 88 team stuggles in the first half of the season.

scott (toledo, ohio)

do you see martin truex finishing out with DEI or is he done with them after this season? i cant imagine him and JPM are bffs

Terry Blount
  (2:56 PM)

Truex and Montoya get along fine, but Truex will have other options for 2009. Unless he fells EGR is up to championship caliber, he's probably out.

Tom Gulf Coast

Thanks for the reply about the USF1 team. But one more question. What about some of the guys that are on teams that really don't have a great chance of running in the front in Nascar? Like A.J. Allmendinger.

Terry Blount
  (2:57 PM)

AJ left a little wiggle room when asked that question at Cali. He wants to stay in Cup, but if he doesn't have a full-time ride and the F1 thing offered him a big check, he might have to take it.

alex (phoenix az)

why is it that people criticize jr for being 35th so far but not jeff burton? Also burton doesn't get written off as a contender but jr is said to be in his last year for a real shot at age 34?

Terry Blount
  (2:59 PM)

Junior always will garner more attention, more stories and more comments than any other driver. Everything he does is under a microscope, fairly or unfairly.

Terry Blount
  (3:00 PM)

Gotta run to my next assignment folks. Great chat today. Have a good week. Peace.