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February 20, 1:08 PM ET
Chat with David Newton

David Newton
  (2:01 PM)

Wonderful Wednesday is here again. Let's get straight to the questions.

Dora. From Azusa [via mobile]

Are the Dodgers are going to keep manny or what.

David Newton
  (2:01 PM)

You'd think they'd do everything they could, but if they can't maybe they can land Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Steiny (NYC)

Earnhardt recently said that 20% of drivers don't care about wrecks. Do you agree with him?

David Newton
  (2:02 PM)

From the looks of it on Sunday it's true. It's always the same guys wrecking. Just kidding. From the standpoint drivers don't worry about wrecks, I agree. If they did then that would affect performance. You can't drive scared and be successful. Just ask Ricky Bobby.

Steiny (NYC)

Will Matt Kenseth make it three in a row and win in Vegas?

David Newton
  (2:03 PM)

Wouldn't it be a great story? The odds aren't bad. He's won two of nine events there and finished in the top eight more than half of them, so he's always in position to win.

Steiny (NYC)

What exactly is wrong with Carl Edwards?

David Newton
  (2:04 PM)

Nothing that I know of. He's never good at Daytona. He wasn't that bad at California. He seems happily married. Have you noticed something I've missed?

Steiny (NYC)

Why is Kyle Petty still not happy?

David Newton
  (2:05 PM)

Because somebody took the keys to his car and won't give them back. He still believes he can compete, although his statistics say otherwise. But for those who have competed all their lives it's tough to stop cold turkey.

Steiny (NYC)

How disappointed were you with Michael McDowell last Sunday?

David Newton
  (2:06 PM)

Didn't give it much thought to be honest. He's young.

Glen, Fla

David. asumming you have already arrived in Vegas, who did you lay money down on to win this weekend

David Newton
  (2:07 PM)

Alas, Vegas is not in my travel plans this week. Budget cuts and all. If I were there I'd put my money on Jimmie Johnson or Jeff Gordon. Jimmie has won three of the last four there. Gordon liked the car he raced at California so much they're turning it around for Vegas.

Glen.Fla

David youre the guilty person for saying Jr's name first this week so no bashing Jr questions. how long before Rick splits Jr and Tony up. I'm not impling anything about Tony because I think he's one of teh better one in the garage

David Newton
  (2:08 PM)

I agree he's one of the better in the garage, but I get the feeling this marriage is going to break up soon. Very soon.

Dustin Bloomington IN

Can smoke make run for the championship?

David Newton
  (2:08 PM)

Yep. He's got great equipment and last I looked he hasn't forgotten how to drive.

M. Cook [Atlanta, GA]

David: I was wondering if you got to shoot your machine gun into the stands at Auto Club Speedway? Do you do that often?

David Newton
  (2:09 PM)

Good memory. No, didn't take a shot into the stands. There were more people than most expected, so one or two might have been hit. I don't have a machine gun. Think they're illegal. But I do like to shoot a shotgun from time to time.

Pete (Daytona Beach, FL)

who would win a race to the media center buffet line -- David Poole or any photographer?

David Newton
  (2:12 PM)

Photographer. If you're ever in a media center lunch room, you'll notice the photographers outnumber the writers 3-1. I had to go buy lunch at Daytona because they ate everything before i could get in line. And why does Poole get picked on for buffet lines all the time? Is everybody trying to be like Tony Stewart, who does that more than most?

Leander (Greenville,AL)

Can Jeff Gordon realistically compete for a title this year?

David Newton
  (2:12 PM)

Heck yeah. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see him win it. He seems to have figured this new car out.

Ronnie (Covington, LA)

Will Joey Logano stay outside the top 35?

David Newton
  (2:13 PM)

Selfishly I hope not. Doug Rice of PRN and I have a friendly wager. I said before Daytona that Logano would finish inside the top 15. Not a good start for me, but it's a long season.

Chad (Las Vegas)

What is up with this 'parts' story? Little E and Mark Martin finish in the back of the field and blame it on parts but Gordon and Johnson had the same parts and finished top 10?

David Newton
  (2:14 PM)

Hendrick officials are writing it off as they were lucky the parts broke in only two of the cars.

Nick (SLC)

Im finding it hard to find someone to root for ever since Rusty retired. He was my Idol.

David Newton
  (2:16 PM)

I'm sorry on both counts. Just kidding. Rusty is a good guy and we're proud to have him at ESPN instead of behind the wheel. As for a driver, how about Matt Kenseth. He's one of the classiest guys in the garage.

Chris ((INDY))

who would you take in a flat out street race? Tony Stewart or Burt Reynolds?

David Newton
  (2:17 PM)

Depends on whether Reynolds gets to drive that souped up Trans-Am he had in "Smokey and the Bandit'."

Pete (Daytona Beach, FL)

You, Terry Blount, Ed Hinton and Ryan McGee in a steel-cage death match. Who comes out alive?

David Newton
  (2:17 PM)

Ed. He would talk the rest of us to death.

Ryan ( Arlington,TX)

Do you feel like Junior would get better results with Lance McGrew as crew chief?

David Newton
  (2:18 PM)

Interesting pick. Let me think about that one. But I do think a change would be good, and it has nothing to do with Eury Jr.

Mark (Mount Airy,MD)

Hey David, Is there any chance they will recind the new pit rule in the truck series???? Let them get gas and tires at the same time. For safety reasons if nothing else.

David Newton
  (2:19 PM)

I'm hearing rumblings there could be an adjustment, but I haven't seen a lot of problems in the first two races.

adam (syracuse)

Do you think ryan newman will eventually get out of the recent skid he has been in or is he just trying to get adjusted to his new team?

David Newton
  (2:20 PM)

He's simply had some misfortune beyond his control. I would think, based on Stewart's efforts, he has some good runs ahead of him.

Sam, bustling metroplis of Greer, SC

Has there been any indication of the Dodge teams Penske and RPM working together this year in the garage to help the Dodges compete as a group?

David Newton
  (2:21 PM)

None whatsoever.

Ronnie (Covington, LA)

I have tickets to Talladega again this year, I say Waltrip will win that race for sure. Your prediction?

David Newton
  (2:21 PM)

Waltrip won't win that race, for sure.

Mark (Mount Airy,MD)

David, Do you see the single car teams like Mayfield, Nemechek, and Tommy Baldwin running the entire season if they can stay in the top 35??????

David Newton
  (2:22 PM)

You bet. The paychecks they've collected in the first two races will keep them going for a while. All seem committed at this point.

Lee (Fort Worth)

Do you think the 44 will perform well enough these first 8 races to get a sponsorship for the rest of the year? And if A.J. is competing well, but can't get a sponsor will Gillete be forces to shut that ride down?

David Newton
  (2:23 PM)

I don't foresee a sponsor stepping up to take the whole year. If that were going to happen it likely would have by now. Companies already have money for the year committed. He just needs to hope RPM can put together enough deals to keep him on the track for as long as possible.

Pete (Daytona Beach, FL)

I bet Hinton's next story is about a fishing trip he took with Jesus Christ, Mozart and Big Bill France. How come every story is about how the good ole days were so much better? I want analysis on today's era.

David Newton
  (2:26 PM)

He and I debated last season whether racing was better in the good ole days. He said it was. I clicked about five times blindly on years of old on racingreference.com. Each time I did only one to three cars finished on the lead lap. That's not to say those cars didn't put on a good show, but I believe the overall competition today is better than ever and the racing is just as good, if not better. That's nothing against his viewpoint. The beauty of sports is we can all agree to disagree. Wouldn't be as much fun if we all agreed.

Saul (San Diego)

I hope that Jr's start is not the beginning of some Greek Tragedy to befell him. But is his structure or character to complex build around last name of Earnhardt, the pressure to be competitive and be a consistent front runner and win to match his popularity, and as Martin said something like Dale Jr has broad shoulders carrying NASCAR on his back, does all this impact his skills, split seconds judgments that translates to mistakes and poor finishes caused from the outside world? Are we asking to much of him and is he asking to much of himself?

David Newton
  (2:28 PM)

Bottom line, winning a title is not easy. If it were, Mark Martin would have several now. Junior has shouldered a lot of responsibility since his father's death. For me, the way he's handled that has been more impressive than anything he's done on the track. Not sure if that answers your question. If not, feel free to ask in another way.

Cory, Geneva, IL

Racing is slowly getting better with the new car. Are the drivers figuring it out, or is NASCAR bending bit by bit to make it better?

David Newton
  (2:29 PM)

If you go back to the previous car crew chiefs and drivers complained about it for a while. Yes, they are figuring it out. It's no different than a football team figuring out a new offense. It takes time.

M. Cook [Atlanta, GA]

I pay close attention to the stock market. General Motors is trading around $2.50 per share. They have borrowed billions from our government. What would happen to a team like Hendrick Motor Sports if GM filed for bankruptcy?

David Newton
  (2:30 PM)

That's an interesting question since Rick is one of the largest owners of GM dealerships around the country. You wouldn't see HMS go away, but if things don't turn around you could see the organization looking for outside help like almost everybody else.

Chad (Las Vegas)

Who is the worst driver on the circuit? We know the other drivers won't say it so I am hoping you will.

David Newton
  (2:31 PM)

You never like to criticize somebody that has the guts to drive 200 mph around some of these tracks. Some just do it much better than others. Just look at the standings over the last few years and I think you can figure out who is good and who is not as good.

Sam, Grrrrrr, SC

What would you put the odds of Kyle Busch taking on of the new USF1 teams seats for the 2010 season.

David Newton
  (2:32 PM)

First of all, love that you said Grrrrr instead of Greer. I don't hear that as much as I used to. As for Kyle, he's got enough on his hands than to fool with an F! team. But if he did he'd probably be great at it.

Tom (Port Orange, FL)

Big fan here David :) Do you think AJ Almendinger could get on a 42" and above roller coaster ride?

David Newton
  (2:33 PM)

Laughing at that one. Your point before I answer?

Marc (Malden, MA)

The competition is better now, but the presentation was better then. Races started at a more reasonable time, there was more racing than commercials and no gimmicks like Digger.

David Newton
  (2:35 PM)

We had this discussion yesterday. It seems NASCAR fans more than most like that early start time. The way things are today with three networks and multiple start times I have trouble myself knowing when the races are on. I wish it was a more concrete time like the NFL, which has 1 pm games, 4 pm games for the most part, not counting the single Sunday night and Monday night games. As for Digger, I prefer not to comment on another network's gimmicks, particularly when they do nothing for me.

Tom (Port Orange, FL)

Who is better looking, Scott Speed or Joey Logano? My vote is for Joey :)

David Newton
  (2:37 PM)

And what do you have against Mark Martin? He's in better shape than either of those guys.

Jeff (FL)

Who's a good dark horse for this weekend?

David Newton
  (2:38 PM)

Juan Pablo Montoya. Just a gut feeling.

Lee (Fort Woth)

Do all of the NASCAR officials, clean-up crew, etc. travel to each track every week or do local folks do work at each track respectively?

David Newton
  (2:39 PM)

Locals help out with the infield care center and clean-up, but NASCAR has a fulltime travel crew of officials just like the NFL and NBA have fulltime travel crews.

Lee (Fort Worth)

Are Scott Speed's hats the worst thing to hit NASCAR since Gilliland?

David Newton
  (2:39 PM)

I'm glad you noticed. Feel like I'm watching the old Pittsburgh Pirates every time I see him.

Trevor Clearwater, FL

wouldn't mind seeing Pops on the Pit Box for Jr. again...Jr.'s said himself he respects him like he did his father.. Thoughts?

David Newton
  (2:40 PM)

He was on Junior's box when Junior won two Nationwide titles.

Sam WV

Will Kurt Busch continue to Struggle on intermediate Tracks?

David Newton
  (2:40 PM)

He looked good last week with a fifth-place showing. He was great when he drove for Roush. Me thinks he and the folks at Penske are turning things around quietly.

Matt ( Baltimore )

What will be Rick Hendrick's plan for the 88 if Jr. doesn't make the chase?

David Newton
  (2:42 PM)

Assuming he doesn't, and that's still a big if, i would expect a major turnover in personnel.

Ben Ackerman, Ms.

Can't wait until Cup races are on ESPN!!!

David Newton
  (2:42 PM)

Atta boy. Support the home team.

Brad (Dallas, Texas)

So, could the Dinger take over the Digger cam duties if he can't extend his sponsorship?

David Newton
  (2:42 PM)

Great idea. They are about the same size, so they wouldn't have to dig a bigger hole.

Pete (Daytona Beach, FL)

Who has the best chances of making the Chase: Scott Riggs, Kyle Petty or Bill Lester?

David Newton
  (2:43 PM)

Why not throw Ricky Bobby in there while you're being a comedian.

Kayla Wallace Helena MT [via mobile]

Will Kensith proceed to vegas and if so do you think that hes going to place another win under his belt?

David Newton
  (2:44 PM)

Kenseth will show up, or proceed, as you say it. As I said to open this chat he's won twice in nine tries there and finished in the top eight more than half the time, so the odds aren't stackeda against him.

Big Mama (Yazoo City)

will mark martin burn out from a full time run this year? i prefer mature men myself

David Newton
  (2:45 PM)

That's the question a lot of people have. He's in great shape, better than most, but he hasn't run a full schedule since 2006 and you wonder if it eventually will take its toll. I'm betting not, though.

Larry (MI)

If Junior doesn't make the chase this year, do you see a crew chief change happening?

David Newton
  (2:45 PM)

I see a change before the Chase. Maybe way before.

Kerstin (Bloomington, IN)

Any word on how/why they lost the handle on the 48 last Sunday? That car went from dominant to finishing 9th. Very wierd for that team.

David Newton
  (2:46 PM)

It happens to the best of them. If you recall, the 48 lost the handle a lot early last season but still won a third straight. Sometimes yo just don't make the right adjustments.

Jamie Bloomington Indiana

Jr asked Dw 'what's wrong with that" to Dw's question about aggressive driv'n. I for one happen to be glad to see Jr mix'n it up more. I've always felt he has was try'n not to be like his dad on the track, and it's cost him some w's. Do you think this new "aggessive" Jr is here to stay? I sure hope so.

David Newton
  (2:47 PM)

I really don't see him more aggressive than before. What I do see is a man who desperately wants to win a title and may be feeling the pressure to do it.

Woody (Denver)

Can Kasey Kahne rebound to his rookie form with Petty Motorsports and Kenny Francis?

David Newton
  (2:48 PM)

Sure. He seems to be pretty good every other year. This is an other year for him.

Darryl ( Stamford Ct )

DW was right at Sundays interview Dale Jr is too distracted with all of his other ventures.

David Newton
  (2:49 PM)

I don't buy that. Tony Stewart is third in points and he has more ventures than any driver. Of course, most of Tony's involve racing and not owning bars and such.

Pete (Daytona Beach, FL)

I'm really good friends with a Toyota PR girl. She insists it's Denny's year. Your thoughts?

David Newton
  (2:49 PM)

I definitely like the maturity I'm seeing and hearing from him.

Andy Schroeder (Kaukauna WI)

Can you find a hotter crew cheif or person in sports then Drew Blickinsderfer?

David Newton
  (2:50 PM)

No, and not one with a tougher name to pronounce or spell without looking back.

Andres Lincoln ne

as a jpm fan Im thinking hes starting well what do do think of a chase for him

David Newton
  (2:51 PM)

I said before the season this is a key season for Juan's Cup career. The Earnhart Ganassi cars are better than I anticipated, and he's taking advantage. He just needs to keep that consistency he has lacked the last two seasons.

Trevor Clearwater, FL

Followup... And, what, 16 of Jr.'s 18 wins? Do you think Rick and Jr. would "take" Pops away from Brad K.?

David Newton
  (2:52 PM)

If he thought that was the solution he would. Not sure he thinks that, though.

Matt ( Baltimore )

Why doesn't Rick Hendrick move the 88 into the 48 garage? Gordon & Martin are vets and can get things done, adding the 88 to the 48 would help Jr right?

David Newton
  (2:52 PM)

Would you move the New York Yankees to Jersey? Why take the chance on ruining a good thing in the 48-24 shop?

jason (nebraska)

why dont nascars have blinkers

David Newton
  (2:53 PM)

Because drivers would use them to fool the guy behind them and that would create disadvantages NASCAR doesn't want to deal with.

Sam Wv

Do you think Joey Logano Will get a win or top 5 in cup this year?

David Newton
  (2:54 PM)

I really do. The kid is talented and has great equipment. Maybe the second time through at some of these tracks we'll get to see that all come together.

Ben Ackerman, Ms.

With the way competition is now. Do you think anyone will ever win seven championships again, I don't.

David Newton
  (2:54 PM)

Probably not, but if anybody has that chance it's Johnson. That team is tight and I don't see it slowing down for many years.

Tony (Helena, MT)

Another Dodge question... watching them for the last few years has been painful. How much longer before all the drivers have the new motor? HP and balance seem a little subpar, and it has been speculated that the new motor will be a significant improvement.

David Newton
  (2:56 PM)

I blogged on that today. All the Penske cars are using them. the RPM cars are using the old engines because they don't want to toss them aside and lose the money invested in them. Check out the blog for more.

Victor ((Virginia))

What are the chances of Jeff Burton making the chase again this year?

David Newton
  (2:56 PM)

It seems early to say this is do-or-die time, but the more people you leave between yourself and the top 12 this early the more difficult it is to pass them all.

Darryl ( Stamford Ct )

Exactly, Bars and Such. Late nights and burned out before he even gets to the track

David Newton
  (2:57 PM)

I haven't been around him away from the track. Do you know something I don't? You hanging out late?

Lee (Fort Worth)

I know Mikey doesnt have as much raw talent as Smoke, but he was a competative driver at DEI, but why has MWR failed so miserably to the point of Mikey pondering retirement and Stewart-Hass seems so far anyways to be a contender?

David Newton
  (2:59 PM)

Competitive is stretching it. He did finish, I believe, 15th in points one year. And he did win a few plate races. But beyond that he was middle of the road. He's never shown half the ability of Tony Stewart, who has two Cup titles and 33 or so wins last I looked.

Donette, KY

Do you think Kurt Busch will make the Chase this Year?

David Newton
  (2:59 PM)

He'll be right there on the edge, but I'm impressed with his start. And I still believe he's one of the top five to eight drivers in the garage.

Larry (MI)

who has the better run in the Cup race this weekend, Brad or Joey? Assuming Brad makes the show.

David Newton
  (3:00 PM)

I'm going with Joey. I look for a top 20 this week.

Jordan (warren ohio)

Hi I am a big fan,but what the buccaneers just did is a very stupid move.they just realesed almost all my favorite players.Do you think that was a good move?

David Newton
  (3:01 PM)

It's the NFL and in the era of the salary cap turnover can be a good thing. I didn't see all the moves you're suggesting, but some change was needed to take a step forward.

Lee (Fort Worth)

I know its all speculation but who would you foresee taking over for Eury Jr. if that were to happen?

David Newton
  (3:02 PM)

How about Ray Evernham? I hear he's available. Sorry, forgot he said he didn't want to be a crew chief anymore, and the only person he would work with in any capacity would be Jeff Gordon. Let me think about this one and get back to you next week.

David Newton
  (3:03 PM)

Thanks for all the great questions. As usual, you guys entertained me. I do have one question. Where's Tank? I missed hearing from him. Until next week . . .