What a beautiful day poolside from Hilton Head Island. Temperature 74 and sunny. A perfect day to answer your questions. Fire away.
Hi David, Do you know if there are any serious talks going on about trying to fix the inflating problem of 'start and park' teams in the Nationwide series? What are your thought on this situation?
I haven't heard anything major. This is a tough one. How can you prove a team is there to start and park? And even if you can, do you want to cut the number of teams so low that you are below 43? NASCAR is keeping an eye on it, but I don't see it as a major problem.
Are there any talks of moving more races into primetime next year?
If anything there are more talks about moving them to the traditional 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. start times on Sunday. It seems the average race fan likes these times more than others. Personally, I'd like to see more races on Saturday night. The atmosphere is so much more electric, plus it gives the fans Sunday to stagger home.
Yo Fig Newton, In your opinion, would the 48 team be able to perform at their high level without Knaus on the box? I know that a couple of years ago, the 48 did it at the beginning of the year with Grubb, but Knaus was still running the show at the shop.
Good question, and thanks for the Fig. Haven't heard that one in a while. A few years ago I might have said it wouldn't run at the same level, but the depth of Hendrick Motorsports has proven they continue on when key people are sidelined, and Jimmie is at a point in his career where he is better at telling the crew chief what he needs. He did a great job with Darian Grubb in 2006, winning two of four races in which Chad was gone. But you're right, Chad still was hard at work setting up the cars back at the shop. Maybe one day we'll get to find out if Jimmie can survive without Chad. I know Earnhardt won titles with several different crew chiefs.
Any updates on sponsorship for the 28 team, or a possible driver change that can bring sponsorship and get that car back on the track? Seems like a good ride and opportunity for sponsorship and driver that can deliver.
Nothing new to report there. It's a shame. Travis did such a great job getting that car in the top 35 last season and by no fault of his own lost his points and potential sponsors.
Do you see any problems possibly developing between Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson in the near future? I would think that Jeff may not be as secure in his spot as possibly the top dog at Hendrick if Jimmie captures another Cup this year. What do you think on the matter? How would you place the pecking order at Hendrick (also including the satellite organizations of Stewart-Haas and Furniture Row Racing) as far as Cup teams go?
No problems whatsoever. I know Jeff is driven to maintain his spot as Hendrick's top driver, but he also understands how good Jimmie and that team are. He's part owner of the team so he doesn't want to see it struggle. Jimmie will tell you as well that Jeff is the top driver at Hendrick. and will be until he has more titles and wins. Last time I looked Jeff had twice as many as Jimmie. As for ranking, I'd go Jeff, Jimmie, Mark Martin, Earnhardt, Stewart, Newman and Furniture Row.
After the week off in the Spring Cup, who should benefit in this weeks race?
I like that typo, Spring Cup instead of Sprint Cup. As for who benefits, probably teams such as Carl Edwards that have had pit road problems. They have used the time off to adjust personnel and hopefully solve some of the problems.
I believe Dinger will be gone to a powerhouse team at the end of the season sound crazy?
I'm not sure about the terms of his contract with RPM, but I don't see him bolting at this point.
Where do you believe Johnson will finish this week as opposed to Gordon?
Wouldn't surprise me to see them finish 1-2. Johnson has dominated this track, winning the last three. Gordon's not half bad there either and has momentum coming off the Texas race.
Does Hamlin have a good shot at winning on Saturday night?
He's been OK there, but unless somebody finds a way to slow Johnson there it's his race to lose.
David How about that #5 car...everyone seemed to write old Mark off a couple of weeks ago but they really seem to be hitting their stride. Mark should have won the phoenix race last year...what do you think are his chances in improved equipment this year? Also if not at Phoenix where do you think he will break through?
You're right, he should have won at Phoenix last year in that No. 8 at DEI everybody called subpar equipment. Martin and the team is on its game, but again he'll have to go through Johnson to get to Victory Lane.
If Mark Martin doesn't come back full time next year, any chance Hendrick snags Kahne for the 5?
Kahne has a few years left on his deal, and I don't see how Mark doesn't return. He wants to. Hendrick wants to. They just have to finalize a few things with sponsors.
Same question as Bret's except about the 8. Any rumor's of a driver change to invoke some sponsorship money? You would think the number alone would get some sponsors to at least think about it.
Nothing new on the 8. Unless a driver steps forward with a sponsor in hand I don't see them dumping Almirola.
Is there a hangover coming for the 14 this year, or has that team truly gelled and gotten up to speed this quickly?
No hangover coming that I see. I said before the season Tony had hired great people around him. He already had great equipment from Hendrick, and having former HMS employee Darian Grubb as his crew chief has only made things better because of his relationships. Nobody should be surprised they are off to such a fast start.
Where does Jeff Gordon rank all-time in NASCAR?
If I were ranking them, I'd put David Pearson, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon. But that's just me. Nothing official.
Where do you believe Brian Vickers would be right now if he had stayed a Hendrix driver?
That's a hard one to answer. Brian really felt the need to get out from under the HMS umbrella where he was the fourth wheel. He's only 25, so he has a bright future ahead of him and he really enjoys being top dog at Red Bull. That said, it wouldn't surprise me to see him back at HMS one day in the No. 25. He and Hendrick's son, Ricky, who owned the 25, were very close.
Thanks for your article on the Teresa DEI thing. I agree it isn't her fault, but it isn't Jrs either. It is a series of unfortunate events. What happens if the 8 doesnt run again this year. Does Ganassi-DEI have top priority next year with the number, or is it first to claim it?
Thanks, and I agree, it was a series of unfortunate events. But some of those events I believe were orchestrated. As for the 8, it's Teresa's as long as she wants it just as the 3 is Richard Childress' just as long as he wants it.
What is up with calling Junior? While I disagree with the premise of your article, I can understand what you are trying to say. I don't get why you have to throw Junior under the bus, and then back up over him.
Wasn't throwing Junior under the bus, but I do believe he deserves some of the blame here. I actually like and respect Junior. What he has done with the weight that has been put on his shoulders is admirable. I also believe much of what he demanded that resulted in the split was made knowing Teresa would not _ and she shouldn't have had to _ meet those demands. Read into that whatever you want. It's just my opinion. Basically, I was tired of seeing all the blame put on one person. It takes two to tango.
have you heard of ryan blaney...I think he's the next big thing, kid has a lot of talent!
I've vaguely heard of him. Tell me why you believe he is the next big thing.
Aside from eliminating the pit road mistakes what can the 88 team do to start the climb up the standings to get into the chase?
Last I looked that team has made a good climb already. The problem with having to climb back into contention is that one slip puts you back in a deep hole. If they continue to run off top 10s and top 15s, Earnhardt will be right there when the Chase begins.
I say lets make them rankings official!!! What about tracks??? Dega is #1, and then what??? YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEhaw!!!
Dega No. 1. Not. If i were ranking, I'd go Richmond, Darlington, Martinsville, Bristol and then throw a bunch of them into a hat. Yes, Martinsville belongs. Some of the best racing we see all season is there now that the old Bristol is dead.
David, who do you think has the most raw talent, Vickers, McMurray or Sadler?
Vickers hands down.
Got a hypothetical for you. If Dale Jr. brings JR motorsports to Cup racing, any chance he tries to get that number 8 again for his own team?
He can try, but unless he starts playing real nice with Teresa he won't get it. Hey, it's just a number. Junior didn't win a Cup title in it and he won only 17 races. Drivers have changed numbers all the time in the history of the sport. It's time to get over this.
Junior is simply a guy living off his dad's reputation. Why does everyone think hes so great?
You'd have to ask them CR8. But having the Earnhardt name is one attraction. He's also a pretty cool guy, so that makes him likeable. Having Budweiser for an initial sponsor didn't hurt, either.
How much longer before Hendrick loses patience with Jr's performance and lets him walk?
No time soon. Rick really likes Junior and most of what he brings to the organization. I say we lay off of him and let him drive.
Joey Lagano beat Kyle Bush in similar Nationwide cars. Colud it be he hasn't figured out the COT yet?
I wouldn't go that far. He definitely has a grip on the old car, but the COT, despite all the testing he did in it before this season, remains a work in progress. Don't judge him until the second half of the season when he's been around once, and even then it's probably too early.
Will Martin ever retire??
I'm afraid he'll be driving when we're all dead and gone. The guy is amazing, isn't he?
Do you believe junior has made his last move, or do you think he will end his career somewhere else?
He's always said he'd like to maybe drive the No. 3 for Childress at the end of his career. I'm not sure where else he could go without taking a huge step backwards.
With his great start is Smoke due for a win at Phoenix
Not sure Phoenix is the place it'll happen, but don't be surprised if he wins at Talladega, Richmond or Charlotte.
Whats up with Boris Said?? Do You Know How any Races He Will Run This Year?
He may try a superspeedway, but I haven't heard anything new on him. Said Heads may be Dead Heads.
The number thing isn't all that small. Say, hypothetically, somebody has the #8 tattooed on their back, but then Jr. switched to the #88...what can they do??? Add another 8? Right! What could they do if he went back?!?!? It would be mayhem...please tell him to stay!!!!
I am laughing poolside. That somebody would tattoo the number of a driver on any part of their body is something I'll never understand.
Any rumors already floating around of drivers on the hot seat and losing their rides?
Roush Fenway has to make a call on losing one of its drivers with the four-car limit. It's likely Jamie McMurray, but he'll only go to Yates Racing, which basically is a Roush team. Nothing else major.
Hey David, A few weeks ago one of you guys said, And I don't remember who it was. That Truex might end up at Stewart-Hass. Does that mean Newman's in trouble there already or that there adding a third car?
I have mentioned it several times because that was a team he was rumored to be heading last season. That doesn't mean Newman is in trouble. It would just mean that Stewart is expanding to three teams, although he said he won't do that until he has the two cars already there in Chase contention.
David, if you say we should lay off of him, why throw Jr back into the spotlight during an off week?
I did that because the attacks on Teresa were picking up to the point I felt something needed to be said. I wasn't attacking Junior so much as I was saying Teresa didn't deserve all the blame. That's the problem with this. Everybody wants to put the blame somewhere. As a chatter said earlier, there were a lot of unfortunate circumstances that got us to this point.
Kyle Busch cant let some bad luck get him down. This is his year to win it all. Just have to get some consistency going, thats all. You think his crew can overcome some misfortunes and arise into a championship?
Why should he be down? He has two Cup wins and wins in the Truck and Nationwide Series. He's second in the Nationwide Series and seventh in Cup. He's having a great year.
when are nascar fans that adore JR. gonna realize that he isnt that good. HE never wins, every now and then he gets in the top ten, but never wins, and all i ever see in JR stuff everywhere!!???
Fans can choose to like whoever they want and for whatever reason they want. I loved the Braves for years when I was a kid and they were in the cellar almost every season.
If Dale Sr. were still with us, would Mikey have ever left DEI to start MWR?
Interesting. I've never thought about that. I really don't have a good answer. My guess is had Waltrip not improved performance he definitely would have been let go at DEI. The timing was right for Waltrip to start his own team and, after a couple of rough years, things are starting to go right for him.
With a possible rebound in the economy do you believe the forecast for NASCAR is better for next year?
I'm still skeptical that things will be back to normal in NASCAR or any sport until 2011. Most of the sponsor deals for next year are being made now and unless things turn around real fast there still will be struggles on that front.
Wow, I am tired of hearing Jr this and Jr that. He isnt that great of a driver or else he would have a championship or two. Come on, the real story this year are the drivers that havent had much luck, all the sudden in the mix and doing well. Like "The Dinger", and "The Franchise". Heck, even look at Mr. Pablo. I think he is the great cantidate for the nickname "Mr. Excitement" since Jimmy Spencer used to ruffle everyone elses feathers.
You are right, there are a lot of great stories out there. You've definitely hit on a couple. It'll be fun if a couple of those guys can make the Chase and shake things up.
If you were to put a NASCAR team together today who would be your 4 driver line up, your manufacture, and the team you affiliate yourself with?
I'd take Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch and Mark Martin. I'd be a Chevy team and I wouldn't want to affiliate myself with anybody. With that lineup who needs help?
Last question (promise). Your opinion.....would shrub have been able to achieve the success he's had if he had stayed with Hendrick, or did he need #1 driver equipment (and a chip on his shoulder) to be able to win so many races?
I don't think he had No. 2 or 3 driver equipment at Hendrick. I do believe he would have achieved this success had he stayed, although you may not have noticed it as much since Johnsonand Gordon still would steal headlines. The change did light a fire under him, though, and perhaps sped up the process.
so i know next year you cant have more than 4 cars in your teams stable.. but teechhnnicallyy... doesnt jeff gordon own the 48? which means that HMS could open up the 25 to run full time with keselowski until Mark hands over the 5 car?
Nope. Co-ownership counts as ownership.
What changed with Carl's crew, they went from being brilliant last year to losing him spots this year, is this change on the right side going to make the difference?
They had a few injuries and had to sub in some guys. Chemistry is key on pit road. Jeff Gordon's crew has been together for the most part since 2001 I believe.
Does DW own a stake in Michael Waltrip Racing?
Honestly, I can't say. Michael has a financial partner, but whether his brother had any stake in the original company I don't know.
Where the hell is Tank?
I wish I knew. Perhaps he's on vacation like I am, or at least I'm trying to be.
Honestly, when am i going to get my fat butt in victory lane this year?
Don't be so hard on yourself. Just stay away from the Dairy Queen.
Hey David, with Jim France stepping down and Leesa stepping in, do you believe she will be more apt to make changes to the race schedule? Thanks.
She's always had a strong imput, so I don't see that changing much. Her first goal will be putting a second race at Kansas.
earnhardt name doesnt hurt, being a likeable guy doesnt hurt, budweiser doesnt hurt, but you left out winning 18 races doest hurt. theres alot of popular drivers out there with less wins than that.
You're right. But if Jimmie Johnson had Dale Jr.'s fan support he'd be the Michael Jordon of NASCAR instead of the John Stockton of the sport.
Did you read the Wall Street Journal article about Joe Gibbs racing and their investment into perfecting the oil they run in their cars? Very interesting. Its posted at the Joe Gibbs racing website.
I'll have to read that. I've been taking some time off and haven't read it. Thanks for the tip.
Do you think Kyle Busch will get in trouble with the law like his brother did a few year's back in Phoenix?
Good attempt at being funny, Steve. No, I don't think so. And the incident with Kurt was way overblown. That sherrif is a publicity hound.
When Hamlin got bumped out of the way by Johnson a couple weeks ago, could Denny have handled the situation any better in front of the cameras?
He's always been a very gentleman racer and typically does well on camera. If you remember he could have knocked Johnson out of the way to win his first race at Martinsville during his rookie year and didn't. He earned a ton of respect from me that day.
Where do you think Brad Keselowski ends up next year if Mark runs full time?
Right where he is, the Nationwide Series.
Last year it seemed that Jeff Gordon and Steve Letarte would start a race fast and go backwards. What do you think they have figured out and do you think now they have a win Gordon will come back this Saturday with his old swagger instead of the "awe shucks" I can still win a race?
He's had his old swagger all season. Exactly what they have figured out is it takes hard work, great communication and some luck to win races. All are on their side right now.
Your at Hilton Head.....are you going to the golf tournament this weekend?
The golf tournament is a possibility. Have been before, including last year. It's a great venue. Too bad it comes the week after the Masters when many of the big names take the weekend off. Speaking of taking time off, my time with you guys is done. Enjoyed it. Until next week.