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April 16, 11:14 AM ET
Chat with Ed Hinton

Ed Hinton
  (2:00 PM)

Good afternoon, all. Green-green-green-green.

Brent Madison WI [via mobile]

Why is it the subway fresh fit 500. The track is a mile long and there r only 312 laps? Or is my local paper wrong?

Ed Hinton
  (2:01 PM)

It's 312 miles, or 500 kilometers. Phoenix historically has measured its NASCAR races in kilometers, but has been a little bit sneaky about it, calling the races "500." ARCA, for example, is up front about it, calling a 500-kilometer race a "500K."

rick tallassee alabama [via mobile]

Do u think j gordon will continue to run strong at dega and increase his points lead

Ed Hinton
  (2:03 PM)

Of course he'll be strong at Talladega. Always is. But there's always the question of The Big One, and also the crapshoot luck of the shuffling in the draft. The strongest car doesn't always win there. It's the guy who gets the right push at the right time. But Gordon is as good as anybody at putting himself in position to get that push at the right time.

Taylor Lugoff, sc

no thts right , just like the bristol and martinsville race the just cam up with a number

Ed Hinton
  (2:05 PM)

Continuing on the theme of "500," because this is a longtime annoyance to me. "500" is just an old promoters' gimmick to make fans think they're seeing longer races than they are. I'd love to see Martinsville and Bristol call it "250 miles." They might end up better off. I think a lot of fans think too many races drag on too long. Right here on this chat a couple of weeks ago, somebody asked why they didn't just shorten Martinsville to 100 laps, because that's where most of the action is.

David Fuller (Marion, NY)

Hi Ed, what is your take on the 'start and park' situation?

Ed Hinton
  (2:08 PM)

I just posted a little thing on "Rumors" that the supposed crackdown on start and park is over -- if in fact it was ever in force. Believe me, they want full fields. Why Pemberton ever got off on this topic i'll never know. Soon as he said it to, two more senior nascar officials said basically, how could they police it EVEN IF THEY WANTED TO. They don't. So now they're saying it's not an issue. I agree. With 43 cars, who cares if a couple of poor underfunded guys park early and get out of the way, and make a little money to build up their teams? Policing it was a silly idea in the first place.


What do you think about the new sponsor for the Southern 500

Ed Hinton
  (2:10 PM)

The column I just posted, with the headline "Naming Names," elaborates on how I feel. Basically I'd like to see Southern 500 stand alone. But Chris Browning has to make money. Making it the "Southern 500 presented by" is the best compromise. What would have been weird is a " 500." Replace THE most traditional race name in NASCAR, Southern 500, with the brand of one of the most here-and-now, for-the-young companies around.

Taylor L Elgin, SC

ok so im a jr fan and i dont have a problem with tony jr but considering dale jr got most of is wins with tony sr i dont see why they try tht for awhile, i've listend to there radio during the races and iknow they are joking most of the time i just dont see jr talking to tony sr in the same manner he does with tony jr its at least worth trying for the chase if he doesnt make it dont u think so?

Ed Hinton
  (2:13 PM)

Not a bad idea. "Pops" keeps order in the pits and on the radio. He once even shut up Dale Sr. during one of Junior's Busch races. Trouble is, Tony Jr. is now settled in as a full crew chief. I doubt Pops would want to come in on top of him. Pops would deem it a kind of setback for his son. And if Pops won't do it, Rick Hendrick isn't going to force the issue.

Heath Hinton, Laurel, Ms

What are the chances Kahne is driving for another tam next year? And if so, which team and will it be a good move for him?

Ed Hinton
  (2:15 PM)

Hard to see him making an upward move. The good rides at the big teams are filled with people in line -- e.g. Mark Martin at Hendrick, with Brad Keselowski standing in line. Roush's going to have to drop somebody to get down to the limit of four drivers -- at long last. So there just aren't many seats available, and plenty of promising talent to play the musical chairs game.

RAY GORDON REID oceanside cal 92054


Ed Hinton
  (2:17 PM)

Not sure sure JJ will four-peat, what with Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart and their strengths at Phoenix. My trifecta would be Gordon-Stewart-Johnson.

Jerry (Tampa, FL)

Time for my Reutimann themed question of the week - what do you think of Reutimann's "The Franchise" moniker? It started as a joke, and I think he already wishes it would go away, but it's quite possibly the truth isn't it? It seems success is finding a guy who is completely deserving

Ed Hinton
  (2:19 PM)

Yeah, he was embarrassed about it the first time I heard somebody ask him. He's good, he's upwardly mobile, but it's a long climb to true "Franchise" status. That applies to Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson only right now. And to Dale Jr. if you count merchandise sales, sponsor attraction and popularity -- which, in a way, is what a "franchise" is all about. Franchise players draw attention. They don't necessarily win.

Ryan (ohio)

2 ? frist on is can mark martin make the chase and tony stewart #2 is why not replace tony jr with tony eury sr. put sr. as crew chife and jr, as car chife

Ed Hinton
  (2:20 PM)

Martin can still make the Chase, but he needs to pick it up. He's currently 93 points out of 12th. If he's 200 points out by Daytona in July, he'll be in trouble. On the second part, see my other answer on Pops Eury to the 88. Good idea, but probably won't happen because it would look like a put-down to Tony Jr. Pops would definitely keep them both straight, though.

Justin Behling (Boyceville, WI)

Dale Jr.- How many wins this year?

Ed Hinton
  (2:22 PM)

I'm out of the business of predicting on Dale Jr. Just impossible. Here's a stab at it: If he continues to work out, and that team comes together by midseason, they could win a couple. As they're going, though, I don't see them winning any.

nathan corona ca [via mobile]

hey i have kyle busch in my fantasy team do u think i should stay with him or switch to mark martin

Ed Hinton
  (2:23 PM)

Stay with Kyle and don't look back.

josh tx [via mobile]

if the 48 wins the title again what does it do for the sport? good or bad thanx for your time

Ed Hinton
  (2:25 PM)

It would be very good for the sport. Richard Petty used to tell me "there always needs to be somebody out front for everybody else to shootout." In his prime, "half the crowd came to see me win, the other half came to see me get beat." Booing is good in NASCAR. At least you know people are awake -- which is not always the case nowadays.

Cory, Geneva, IL

Has the new drug testing policy affected anything this year? I haven't heard anyone getting caught after the couple of crewmen early in the year.

Ed Hinton
  (2:26 PM)

The two crewmen are the only ones I know about. It's not surprising. I never thought any of the top drivers would ever have a problem anyway.

David Fuller (Marion, NY)

Any chance Mears gets to boot before the end of the season?

Ed Hinton
  (2:26 PM)

Don't think so. Richard Childress is more patient than that. Plus, Jack Daniel's is a very slowly aged beverage.


what food should i try while in arizona

Ed Hinton
  (2:28 PM)

In Arizona you get only two choices anyway: Mexican, and the one In 'n' Out Burger franchise in Phoenix. I've forgotten the address, though. No, wait a minute -- that's Vegas for the In 'n' Out Burger. In Phoenix, you should, and must, try Mexican food.

Ed Hinton
  (2:29 PM)

Wait a minute, is there still a Pinnacle Peak steakhouse in Phoenix? If there is, don't wear a tie. They'll cut your tie off with scissors and pin it up on the wall.

David Washington DC

Do you think Montoya can make the chase this year? I hear alot of people saying he doesn't really have a shot but this guy just keeps going. I think EGR really needs somebody in the Chase this year to help them feel better about what they're doing.

Ed Hinton
  (2:30 PM)

I'd say 50-50. He's hanging close right now, and if he stays clean and somebody higher starts to stumble, he could get in.

Joe Fleetwood PA

Hi Ed, I think NASCAR should have more Saturday night racing, your thoughts

Ed Hinton
  (2:31 PM)

I like it, but I'm not sure the TV networks do. Other thing is, Saturday night racing has already killed off most of the beloved American short tracks. Run on Saturday nights more, and there are no more short tracks to feed the system.

Jeff (Tallahassee)

If the Hendrick teams are communicating with each other about their findings on the track why does it always end up being Dale Jr, this year anyways, being the lame duck of the group?

Ed Hinton
  (2:32 PM)

Dale Jr. historically has run a different setup than the other Hendrick drivers. Closest setup is Johnson's, but not exactly. Plus, Johnson is more willing to hustle a fitful car around a track than Junior is.

Larry (MI)

Do you think if Dale Jr was majority owner of DEI they would have these same problems?

Ed Hinton
  (2:35 PM)

They'd probably still be a separate team, but I'm not sure they'd be very good. Teresa hastened the demise, for sure, but Dale Jr. probably wouldn't have had the time to make the thing go. Plus, they were missing an awful lot of essential equipment at the Garage Majal. I think DEI was doomed the day Senior died. Teresa made it faster, Junior would have held on longer, but without great success.

David Fuller (Marion, NY)

Wouldn't it be a good idea if the 36 and 41 combined resources and ran 1 car?

Ed Hinton
  (2:36 PM)

Na, you don't want just one anymore, even with the ban on testing. Even if you're going to the Rock or Little Rock to test, the more data gathered on more cars the better.

John (KY)

Mr. Hinton, I say the old man gets it going this week in Phoenix, he loves this flat track. Your thoughts?

Ed Hinton
  (2:37 PM)

Who, Mark? Nah, too many strong runners ahead of him -- JJ, JG, Stewart, et al. And just as I say that, Mark will win, and you guys'll be on me next week. If he wins, he can thank me first.


will jamie be the odd person out at rousch next year

Ed Hinton
  (2:38 PM)

Sure is looking that way, more and more. I think Jack sees a lot of potential in David Ragan.

Tom, Boston

Hey Ed, What's it gonna take for Yates Racing to be competitive again? Please tell me Paul Menard is not the future for this team.

Ed Hinton
  (2:39 PM)

Money. And by that I mean money other than Paul Menard's billionaire daddy's money. Get my drift?

Mike, Ny

God bless him, but in your opinion, just how good was Adam Petty gonna be? I would compare him to a Kasey Kahne/Clint Bowyer type.

Ed Hinton
  (2:41 PM)

We all said when Adam was just getting going that the genes had skipped a generation, from Richard to Adam. Richard saw a huge difference between what Adam's focus was and what Kyle's focus wasn't. Kyle even had a wry joke about it: "Richard Petty's finally got the son he never had." How good? Put it this way. When Adam died, something approaching $100 million in future sponsorships went away.

Larry (MI)

Thought I saw something about Rusty moving his team up to Cup. Please tell me he is not thinking of Steven as a Cup driver. There is no way he is ready to go Cup racing.

Ed Hinton
  (2:42 PM)

Larry, I saw exactly the same thing. And I thought exactly the same thing.

Scott Lugoff,SC

How long before Darlington can reclaim a 2nd race if ever?

Ed Hinton
  (2:44 PM)

From everybody I've talked to, from NASCAR to Darlington officials, the consensus on the chances of getting a second race back are "slim to none."

Scott Lugoff,SC

How long will Steve Letarte be Jeff Gordon's crew chief I hope for a long time

Ed Hinton
  (2:46 PM)

I think you get your wish. Talking to all parties concerned, I figure Letarte is Gordon's crew chief for the rest of his career -- which may not be that much longer, three to six years maybe.

Larry (MI)

I know Steve Park is racing in the East series. Do you see him ever making it back to one of Nascars top 3 series?

Ed Hinton
  (2:47 PM)

Don't know because I haven't seen him race lately. That Darlington tragedy really cost him, in the way of reflexes, etc., I think. Sure would love to see him back, though. What potential he had, and how sadly his career was stopped.

gary battista [via mobile]

why did dale jr turnhis back on dei why would he go to the hated team jeff gordons team

Ed Hinton
  (2:48 PM)

Welcome back from Saturn, or wherever you've been. Just Google "Teresa Earnhardt" and catch up on the past five years' news.

Jason (Miami)

Do you think that Darlington will ever be able to reclaim the Labor Day event or are chances of that happening as slim as getting a second race?

Ed Hinton
  (2:49 PM)

Na, Labor Day's out, too. I elaborate on that in the column that is currently in the lead spot on the NASCAR page.

taylor , sc

i dont understand why kyle busch is such a butthole to the media, i wish dale was still around so he could set that little boy straight( even tho they are similar)the only solution i see now is a punch from tony, i cant wait to see the day he spins tony out for a win

Ed Hinton
  (2:50 PM)

He's not! I think he's tons of fun! Never had a problem with him. Even when he's abrupt, he's cool abrupt. I've always said I'd rather be insulted personally by a guy who gave me a good quote, than have a guy be polite to me and give me lousy quotes.

Steven (St. Louis)

What about Brendan Gaughan getting another chance at Cup racing with Rusty Wallace Inc.? Good chance/bad chance/snowball's chance?

Ed Hinton
  (2:52 PM)

I'm laughing out loud, honest, at the very thought of Brendan Gaughan and Steve Wallace on the same team. Talk about an explosive mixture.

Melissa (Texas

Hey Ed! Can you imagine the combo Kasey Kahne & Kenny Francis under a car owner like Hendrick, the possibilities are endless! Do you agree?

Ed Hinton
  (2:54 PM)

If I were Rick Hendrick i'd be courting Kasey Kahne for similar reasons to picking up Earnhardt: Public appeal! I'm constantly getting questions about Kasey from a) the ladies, and b) under-30 males. He has a huge following and therefore a huge market. HMS ought to sign him just for the money he'd rake in -- and then put him in a winning car, which would really get the cash flowing.

Aaron mn [via mobile]

hey ed darlington is deep in tradition it's totally renovated sweet racing why doesn't NASCAR give back a second date it always sells out what's the problem?

Ed Hinton
  (2:55 PM)

C'mon, Aaron. When was the last time you saw NASCAR show common sense?

Jeff (Tallahassee)

GOing with the whole night races theme, why don't they try to incorporate some more transition races into the mix? I think that this way you get the best of both worlds, great racing during the day and a spectacular finish at night? Also doesn't that open up the competition a little more with the changes in the track?

Ed Hinton
  (2:57 PM)

I'm not big on transition races. They drive crew chiefs nuts, going from sunny and loose to dark and tight. Used to be you'd set up a car really loose, then let it tighten up as darkness came and the track cooled off. Now, the COT, that loose, would be out-of-control loose.

Will (Virginia)

Who's the better crew chief? Knaus or Letarte?

Ed Hinton
  (2:58 PM)

Knaus currently, but he pays the price. Letarte enjoys life. He'll go play golf after practice, or spend time with his family. Chad is all racin', all the time, every waking moment.

Jimmie (El Cajon, CA)

Do you prefer the Chase format with 12 drivers or 10? I personally like 10 better (something about that number). :)

Ed Hinton
  (2:59 PM)

I prefer a five-race Chase with six drivers, one of whom is eliminated every week. But then, I don't get a vote.

Smoke (pa)

Ed what can NASCAR do to the COT to allow more excitement in the race, its so bland right now

Ed Hinton
  (3:00 PM)

The great David Pearson, who ought to know, says they could fix the COT easily. Just get 'em off the bump stops and give 'em some right-front spring.

Tom, Boston

How realistic is this line up for Yates Racing in 5 years: Jamie McMurray, Kasey Kahne, Colin Braun, & Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Nascar's new super team.

Ed Hinton
  (3:02 PM)

The least realistic part of that is that Yates, after all these down years, and in this economy, could come up with that much sponsorship in the next five years. You're talking four primaries and 10 or 12 associates.

Aaron mn [via mobile]

hey Ed do you ever see DEI being a seperate company again and do you believe it was srs intention to leave it to jr and just let teresa look over it till then?

Ed Hinton
  (3:03 PM)

Never again. I think Senior fully intended DEI as a legacy to his children. I'll leave it at that.

Ed Hinton
  (3:04 PM)

Gotta go, folks. Sorry. Got a dentist's appointment. Wish me luck.