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March 10, 6:03 AM ET
Chat with David Newton

David Newton
  (2:02 PM)

Sorry I'm a minute late. Was serving a one lap around the house penalty for playing in traffic on Park Road. Fire away.

Steiny (NYC)

Which Busch will have a better season? Kurt and the No. 2 or Kyle and the No. 18?

David Newton
  (2:03 PM)

Tough one. Some would say Kurt is every bit as talented as Kyle, but hasn't had the best equipment. Now that he's getting more power and better handling he's starting to show his stuff. Kyle may win more races. He's flashier. But Kurt is more mature and more consistent. Will be an interesting battle.

Steiny (NYC)

Do you agree that Jimmie Johnson has been much better than his points position suggests?

David Newton
  (2:04 PM)

Definitely. Don't worry about the 48. It will be there when it counts.

Kevin (Boston MA)

While I certainly understand the need for a week off, why wouldn't either the NW or Trucks run this weekend? They would be the only show in town, yet they also take the week off?

David Newton
  (2:05 PM)

Yeah, but a lot of the organizations would have to use some of the same folks from the other series, so it really wouldn't be a break for everyone. Hey, enjoy the weather. Spend some time with your family.

Kelly, Texas

Have you heard anything on what Landon Cassill is up to?

David Newton
  (2:05 PM)

Not lately. I will be glad to check into it, though. What are you hearing?

Rusty (MO)

Who will be the first "big name" to drop out of the top 35 in owner's points after Bristol and have to qualify on time. My money's on Logano. How about yours?

David Newton
  (2:07 PM)

I'll go with Newman. I expect Logano to do well at Bristol since aero won't be a factor. Mark Martin's in the most critical spot though. One slipup by him or somebody else and he's on the outside looking in.

becka,va

has reed falling into a trap like he did last year

David Newton
  (2:08 PM)

You mean this isn't how he's always driven? Nothing against Sorenson, but he's never quite lived up to the potential many expected.

Matt, Indianapolis, IN

End of race strategy question. Why didn't Junior (or anyone at the end of the lead lap for that matter) stay out before the green-white-checker instead of pitting. If Junior stays out he leads a lap (5 points) and could possibly get a top 5 or top 10. There were only 11 other cars on the lead lap. Being passed by 11 cars in two laps is highly unlikely, but even if they did he would have finished were he finished any way. (except with 5 bonus points)...any thoughts?

David Newton
  (2:10 PM)

Once the leader pitted and a few cars behind him did everybody else had no choice. Four fresh tires on that track was a huge advantage. Junior would have been left in a cloud of Amp dust. He may not have finished 11th. He would have had those bonus points though. Would have to go back and do the math to see if it would have been worth it.

lynn,va

who should be my dark horse at bristol, I have jeff gordon winning

David Newton
  (2:11 PM)

Gordon's not a bad pick to win. Kurt and Kyle Busch might be better. As for a darkhorse, how about Martin Truex Jr. Doh't ask for a scientific explanation. Just a hunch.

Bristow, VA

Which cars are in danger of not showing up at Martinsville and beyond due to lack of sponsorship or being outside the top 35?

David Newton
  (2:12 PM)

Travis Kvapil for starters. Most of the rest will at least attempt.

Guy (Enfield NH)

For some reason I think 4 races was a little excessive but I guess NASCAR was trying to prove a point. Any thoughts...

David Newton
  (2:14 PM)

I agree with the penalty totally. It does sound excessive, but if they're not harsh then the next race a crew member could run onto the track to get a caution for his driver and not have to worry about the consequences. I know that' sounds absurb, but it could happen. Safety also is a big factor. NASCAR doesn't take kindly when somebody puts himelf or others in harms way.

Ryan (WV)

I heard that Hendrick Motorsport change engine guys between the 24 and the 48. Is this the reason why Gordon team are running strong than Johnson team?

David Newton
  (2:15 PM)

As far as I know the same guys that work on the 48 work on the 24 and vice versa. It's been that way since the shop was formed.

CP, Hamilton, NJ

Hi David, Do you think Rich Hendrick would have any regret that he traded Kyle with Jr.? I always like that #5 car because I knew that Kyle is fast and he can drive.

David Newton
  (2:16 PM)

Hendrick didn't let Busch go because he didn't think he could drive. He let him go because he didn't believe Busch was good for the chemistry of the organization. And Junior has brought him way more money in sponsors and such than Busch ever would have.

GLYNN (ATLANTA)

Why does Nascar insist on this early season break just weeks before it will take another break for Easter. The juices just get flowing for weekly racing and they slam on the breaks, irritates me every year. I've even heard some drivers in interviews say they wish this week off was saved for the middle of the long summer stretch. Is this just another example of the powers that be stomping their feet and saying, "because we're in charge and can do what we want!"

David Newton
  (2:18 PM)

It does seem early, but it's better than taking the week off after the second race as they did before. You also have to remember this is college basketball tournament time, so the ratings would be down anyway.

Dave (CA)

If testing are bannned, then are NASCAR going going to have an Indy test becasue of what happen last year?

David Newton
  (2:19 PM)

Goodyear has done several tire tests with all four manufacturers represented and plans to do another soon. They believe they have a handle on it. I'm writing on tire testing for tomorrow, so check that out and see if it helps.

Tank

What does you think of stimilous pakage? I woold have put more money for racing? $800 billion and noting for my freinds in Rockingham or North wiksboro??? Just not right!

David Newton
  (2:20 PM)

How much would you put toward beer and hotdogs, Tank? Glad to see you back by the way. As for the package, I'm not a fan of it. Nothing so far has convinced me it's good for the country. Your thoughts?

TG

People say everything little thing Junior does is announced to the world. Well look at poor Truex, the whole world knew the exact hour he passed his kidney stone. Made me laugh.

David Newton
  (2:20 PM)

Bet Truex wasn't laughing. Those things are painful I'm told. As for it being announced to the world, isn't modern technology wonderful?

Brady (Portsmouth, OH)

WOOOOO TONY STEWART'S WINNING IT ALL THIS YEAR!

David Newton
  (2:21 PM)

Sure you are not Ric Flair in disguise? Woooooo.

Claire

Who do you think is the worst smelling driver? How about the best? Do these guys wear cologne when they race???

David Newton
  (2:22 PM)

Those driver suits keep the smell pretty much boxed in and away from us. I know Junior had his own cologne a few years ago. That smelled worse than any sweaty body I've been around.

Tank

why does you think therre isnt racing in Missipi? Theys got tacks in Florida, bama, georgia, the carolinas, tennese...but not Missipi? Maybe I is seeing the world in new light this week...that also ain't right!!!

David Newton
  (2:23 PM)

Or better, why aren't they racing in Lousisana? In New Orleans to be more precises. Would love an excuse to spend the weekend there instead of Pocono.

Steiny (NYC)

What does Talladega stand for?

David Newton
  (2:25 PM)

Never really thought about it. I do know the road leading to the track is called the "Redneck Riviera," if that helps.

john (NY)

Do u like Joakim SOria or Carlos Zambrano in Fantasy Baseball????????

David Newton
  (2:25 PM)

Go with Zam.

Steve (St. Anthony, MN)

I was wondering what your take is on the 4 race ban for Ambrose's tire changer. Per Nascar they deemed it to be very dangerous but if that's the case why wasn't Kurt Busch suspended for his little pit road altercation with Tony Stewart when one of Stewart's crew almost got hit?

David Newton
  (2:26 PM)

This was all about pit road safety and being beyond the boundaries when cars are flying around the track. The penalty may seem harsh, but I believe it was justified.

Sean (hinsons@csr.nih.gov)

Do the Hoyas have a chance at getting Latavious williams, Vee Sanford and roscoe Davis?

David Newton
  (2:27 PM)

What? You don't want Dale Jr.? He has college eligiblity left.

Matt (Chicago)

Kahne's consistant start (sans Daytona, where he was in an incident right before the red flag), sign of a Chase year for the Bud Dodge or will there be another August collapse for the #9 team?

David Newton
  (2:28 PM)

He seems to do well every oher year, and this is an "other" year for him. He's one who has performed well with good equipment. Time will tell.

CP, Hamilton, NJ

David, Thanks for the answer, however, I thought the purposes of this sport is to winning races and nothing else, isn't it?

David Newton
  (2:29 PM)

That is the weekly goal, but the season-long goal is to win the title. Dale Earnhardt won titles when he didn't win the most races. Does that mean he didn't deserve them?

alexis (florida)

i love nascar how bout jeff gordon? ya digggg.

David Newton
  (2:29 PM)

Gordon seems to have his swagger back, no doubt about that.

alexis (miami)

i love you.

David Newton
  (2:30 PM)

Doesn't everybody?

Jason (TEXAS)

I heard the Nationwade cars are going to race in COT very soon, it that true or false?

David Newton
  (2:31 PM)

True. They are looking to introduce them next season I believe.

GLYNN (ATLANTA)

Did you really ask Tank for more of his thoughts?

David Newton
  (2:32 PM)

Yeah. Do you have a problem with that? He's a brain surgeon you know. Or is it a lawyer this week?

lynn,fl

what medicine can drivers take when they are hurt or injured

David Newton
  (2:35 PM)

Basic stuff. They just have to make sure there's no steroid or other substance that might show up as an illegal drug. And on occasion NASCAR will OK something if doctor approved.

Linda (NC)

What's the future of the 5 car? Is Mark Martin coming back next year? If not, who do you think will be in that car? There are several drivers with contracts up at the end of this season.

David Newton
  (2:36 PM)

If Mark doesn't make the Chase it's hard for me to believe he'll want to go through another season. Keselowski had been tagged as the next driver, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Martin Truex Jr. if he opts not to return to Earnhardt Ganassi.

ryan chicago

is this a racing site or a dating site? didn't know you had such a fan club

David Newton
  (2:37 PM)

Only one fan that I'm worried about and she is supposed to be working now.

justin (san juan)

do u see the chevy teams like hendrick switching 2 toyotas if gmc foils?

David Newton
  (2:38 PM)

Interesting thought. Rick Hendrick does own some Toyota dealerships. I'll have to think about that one some more. They could just keep running Chevrolets without factory support.

Matt (Chicago)

Dave, I'm curious has anyone at NASCAR ever thought about taking a couple Cup dates (2nd Cali race is a good example) and maybe making it a "wild card" date, say we go to Kentucky in 2010, The Rock in 2011, etc. I'd think attendance at those places would be above average since they'd only get a Cup race every few years. Any thoughts?

David Newton
  (2:39 PM)

I've heard that proposed before. I like the idea, but it would be hard to get ISC or SMI to give up a date at an existing track to do that. Personally, I'd like to see more tracks involved and more single race dates.

Mark (Mount Airy,MD)

David, the new engine package that Penske is running seems to be doing very well. When will RPM go with this engine package????

David Newton
  (2:41 PM)

RPM is trying to take the economical approach, using up the inventory of old engines first. There's no set date for introducing it, but if Busch continues to do well with it they might have to reconsider.

Kelly, Texas

Re: Cassill ; I've only read that JRM has put Wimmer in the 5 car and Landon still doesn't have a ride.

David Newton
  (2:41 PM)

Thanks for the update, Kelly.

Bristow, VA

Can we take up a pool to put a "hit" out on Digger? My friends and I think a better use for Digger would be in a recipe book.

David Newton
  (2:41 PM)

Roadkill sounds good to me.

Colin Cowherd (Bristol)

I think alexis (miami) meant lust not love. You love your family not a sportswriter. But anyway Dave you are better than some of these 'bloggers' we employ here at ESPN.

David Newton
  (2:43 PM)

Thanks. I do appreciate the kind words.

Joe (FL)

How do you think the 19 will perform this year?

David Newton
  (2:43 PM)

About the level you've seen so far. I really like Sadler, but honestly, until he shows more than he has the past few years there's no reason to think otherwise.

lynda,va

you are mean to digger, he's cute and cudley

David Newton
  (2:44 PM)

And iritating. Don't forget iritating.

mike ( new york)

true or false ...if false why? does dale jr finish up his career at HMS?

David Newton
  (2:47 PM)

There was a time when I believed he would finish up in the No. 3 at RCR. I'm not so sure about that anymore. If he doesn't perform at Hendrick, though, he won't finish there. Hendrick doesn't keep people for the mere pleasure of it.

Jeff (East Bay, CA)

With the success (albeit over a short time)of Penske this year so far, do you think Newman may be regretting leaving the team?

David Newton
  (2:51 PM)

No. He was unhappy there for a lot of reasons there. Things weren't the same for him after Don Miller stepped down as president.

Carol

Do people hate that camera angle or the stupid rodent? One is great, the other is a stupid rodent???

David Newton
  (2:52 PM)

Maybe Digger should be suspended. He's in the infield grass.

casper

im still not sold on the 2 car.. i feel like every time the blue deuce was on the verge of breaking out the past few seasons, we didnt hear from him again for weeks. any reason i should feel differently this time around?

David Newton
  (2:53 PM)

That the 2 has performed better on the mile and a halfs defiitely is reason for that team to be optimistic. They weren't very good there last season and Kurt is great on those tracks. I'm sold.

Jim Staesville NC

Digger has to be roadkill you are correct... From My Grill To Yours... All the Prerace stuff neeeds to go we want news we read HERE. Not tune in on race day.

David Newton
  (2:53 PM)

Didn't realize Digger had so many fans.

Bristow, VA

If the Martinsville HotDogs had not been around for so long I would have thought that maybe they were Digger Dogs - I mean just what color is the inside of a Gopher anyway?

David Newton
  (2:54 PM)

I don't want to know. The inside of the Martinsville dog is bad enough. Tasty, but not pretty.

Chad (Las Vegas)

There is a childrens book called 'Digger Man" my 2 year old enjoys it.

David Newton
  (2:54 PM)

Enough Digger, please.

Kirk (Utah)

I think my hopes are a little high for Joey Logano. What should I realistically hope for this year from the kid?

David Newton
  (2:55 PM)

I'd look for him to show marked improvement the second time aroudn at these tracks. I talked with him at Darlington on Wednesday and he's still feeling confident despite a poor start.

TG

When Jeff Gordon retires, he plans to remain with the Hendrick organization. What do you think he will do there? Would he ever want to be a crew chief?

David Newton
  (2:56 PM)

No, he wouldn't be a crew chief. He'll play an onwership/management role I'm sure.

Ray (OH)

If I was a driver, who would I sign so that I can win races and chamionship?

David Newton
  (2:56 PM)

You'd better start with Jimmie JOhnson since he's won the last three. You might try to get Chad Knaus and the rest of his crew and engineers as well.

Marc (Gulfport, MS)

David-- What qualifies as "talent" in racing? Isn't it 90% car, 10% driver? I'm just not sure what the talent difference between Kyle Busch and let's say Reed Sorensen is. It just seems to be consistently better equipment. What say you?

David Newton
  (2:57 PM)

No, it's a lot more driver than that. I mean, the 18 was going nowhere when Kyle stepped in.

Jason, Louisiana

I don't think the economy is playing the major role in the empty races Nascar is saying it is. The NFL is thriving, the NBA had its best all-star weekend in years. I see the problem as the COT, and all the rules Nascar has placed on competition the last few years. Bottom line..fans don't like watching a 500 miles race end with no one racing to the checkers. Thoughts?

David Newton
  (2:58 PM)

Dont' be fooled. The NFL is struggling as well. Teams are laying off folks. Everybody is hurting. NASCAR is just more visible because sponsors play a more visible role.

casper

Mr Newton.. up for a gentlemans bet on the 2 car not making the chase this year?

David Newton
  (2:59 PM)

I'll bet you one Digger that he makes it.

Chase

I was at AMS this weekend and they announced roughly 95,000 in attendance. Didn't seem like it. How do you think attendance will be for the night race on Labor Day weekend?

David Newton
  (3:01 PM)

I agree, 95,000 seemed way high. If they don't get that much or more on Labor Day weekend they should take a date without thinking twice.

Catfish

How can you make a gentleman's bet with a guy/girl named "casper"???

David Newton
  (3:01 PM)

Or respond to a guy or gal named Catfish?

Matt, Indianapolis, IN

Should Eury Jr. stay or go? Every race I have been at over the past two years and listened to, Junior complains about the same thing every week...the car rolls over on the right front...why can't Eury, or someone @ the vast HMS complex, fix this. It's not like it is a new problem for him. It seems like I hear the same problem on the scanner every week! If Eury can't give Jr the car he needs then maybe a change is needed. Is this a COT thing or something that should have been fixed by now? (or both)

David Newton
  (3:02 PM)

I don't think Eury Jr. is the problem with that team, but I do agree with my colleague Terry Blount that it is time for a split.

Jeff (East Bay, CA)

Newt...have many (any?) drivers made the transition to crew chief (or vice versa from crew to driver?) Or are those two different paths that don't cross?

David Newton
  (3:03 PM)

Junior Johnson did. A lot of crew chiefs are drivers that couldn't make it as drivers. Robby Reiser, for example. It's not that uncommon.

CP, Hamilton, NJ

David, I would really like to kill that digger/gopher, can you help?

David Newton
  (3:03 PM)

And with that, I will bid you all farewell. It's been a blast, digger aside. Enjoy the off weekend. I know I will.

Matt Kenseth (Concord) [via mobile]

Hey David, I enjoyed the conversations today. It was good to talk about Digger!

David Newton
  (3:05 PM)

Sorry, not sure if th is really is Matt. I really have my doubts. But I couldn't resist posting this in case it was. Until next week.