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April 23, 7:01 AM ET
Chat with Ed Hinton

Stephen - Madison Heights, VA

Will you be participating in the Chicken Dance at Talladega this weekend?

Ed Hinton
  (2:00 PM)

This question amused me so much I forgot to drop the green on this chat. Anyway, green-green-green-green. And an answer: Terry Blount is covering Talladega for us this weekend, but now I wish I were going. I'd do the Chicken Dance in the media center just to get David Poole's blood pressure up. Assume you're referring to his recent column on Normally I wouldn't be caught dead doing the Chicken Dance, but anything to give our old friend from Charlotte a hard time. :-)

Aaron (Stanberry, MO)

Can Kyle Busch win either series race at Talladega?

Ed Hinton
  (2:02 PM)

You better believe it. Any driver will tell you Kyle is now capable of winning anywhere, any class, any time. I wouldn't be shocked if he swept both races, although Sunday is a taller order what with the real crapshoot of the new car in the draft.

Chase (Atlanta)

Hey Ed! I'm getting pumped for this weekend! Heading to Dega' Friday afternoon. Who is your Top 5 finishers for the weekend?

Ed Hinton
  (2:03 PM)

Now you talk about a longshot! Top five in order at Talladega? How about asking me to pick the top five numbers drawn in the next Powerball lottery. But here goes: 1. Jeff Gordon; 2. Jimmie Johnson; 3. Kyle Busch; 4. Tony Stewart; 5. Ryan Newman.

Ed Hinton
  (2:03 PM)

Several questions about the RCR crew chief swap, so I'm going to post a few before I answer.

Hook (Southern Maryland)

Do you like the crew/crew chief swap for the 29 and O7 teams?

John (DE)

Based on talent alone, is Harvick capable of winning a championship? He must be really frustrated at how this season is going...

Ed Hinton
  (2:06 PM)

I've never seen a crew chief swap be particularly successful. When Teresa Earnhardt tried it in '05 with Junior and Mikey, it was a disaster for Junior, so they switched back before the season was over. Childress did this once before, to separate Earnhardt Sr. and his "dream" crew chief, Larry McReynolds. I don't recall that it was particularly effective. But give Childress credit for this: He's not going into this blind. He's done it before, so he knows the pluses and minuses from experience. Yes, Harvick is capable of a championship. Look at all those top 10s he put together the second half of last season.

Ed Hinton
  (2:07 PM)

another occasion for several questions. I'll post some on Earnhardt Jr. and the "penalty," then answer.

taylor , sc

on nascar now's round table on monday ricky craven was the only one that said that jr should have got penalized for the contact with casey mears on the cool down lap... your thoughts?

Justin Behling (Boyceville, WI)

Don't you just think it's stupid that a driver gets put on probation for a little love tap or two? Especially when no one is in danger.

Ed Hinton
  (2:09 PM)

Well, probation in and of itself is absurd. Nobody ever got suspended for a second offense while on probation. I think NASCAR messed up bigtime Saturday night. They should have called them both to the trailer for the ceremonial talking-to. that would have pleased the TV audience. Agree, no harm done. But probation doesn't mean anything either, so why not?

Jason - Amherst, VA

With Jeff Gordon closing in on the all time win list do you credit Bobby Allison with 84 or 85 wins?

Ed Hinton
  (2:11 PM)

Bobby is adamant that he's got 85. Not long before Bill France Jr. died, he threw Bobby out of his office for continuing to argue about it. Bobby bases his claim on winning a Cup race in a Grand American car at Winston-Salem, circa 1970. But Tiny Lund had similar wins of Cup races in Grand Am cars, and Tiny never got credit for a Cup win. Historian Greg Fielden, one of the best, sides with Bobby on some technicality I don't recall at the moment. But to maintain a 35-year friendship with Bobby, I'll vote for 85. :-)

Ken - Lynchburg, VA

How big a relief was Helio's win in court for Jimmie Johnson?

Ed Hinton
  (2:13 PM)

In talking to Jimmie throughout the trial weeks, I think Jimmie expected an acquital all along and wasn't surprised. If he'd been worried, he'd have dropped Alan Miller when the issues first came up. He tells me Alan's always been fair and above board with him. Besides, Jimmie's got some pretty good advice, including Rick Hendrick himself and plenty of lawyers, so if Jimmie had sensed a problem he'd have switched.

ray gordon reid knoxville tenn 37902


Ed Hinton
  (2:14 PM)

Like asking where the roulette ball is going to land . . . but, Jeff Gordon, based on good performance lately and excellent drafting skills.

Jerry (Tampa, FL)

It was nice to see Mark Martin get the win Saturday night. Now that this team has a little momentum, what do you think their chances are? If they keep it up, the Chase should be easy to make, and from there, who knows? (P.S. Reutimann is now 9th in points)

Ed Hinton
  (2:15 PM)

I think Mark could very well get on a role. But don't expect it to continue at Talladega. It's his least favorite track. Once they get back to intermediate tracks, though, he could roll.

Rick :kent ohio: [via mobile]

My darkhorse this week joey lagano ur thouts on that

Ed Hinton
  (2:16 PM)

Not impossible, because it IS Talladega. But darn near impossible, because Logano tends to get turned every which way but loose in a draft like that. Even if he's top four or five at the end, they'll shuffle him all the way back to the courthouse lawn in downtown Talladega.

Jonathan (Birmingham, AL)

Heading to Dega for the first time tomorrow. I've heard the stories about the infield. What's the craziest thing you've ever seen there?

Ed Hinton
  (2:18 PM)

Many years ago it had rained all morning. Was riding through the infield with two other writers. Some rather rotund ladies were playing in the mud. One writer yells to them, "sooooo-eeeee!" and after their boyfriends started coming after us, we had that rental car sideways trying to get out of there.

Travis (dc)

How many drivers will follow the "safe in the back" strategy for most of the race sunday?

Ed Hinton
  (2:19 PM)

Maybe a fourth of the field. Any more than that, they'll all be running 2/3 throttle, so the whole bunch will be going slow.

Laura, Hudson Valley NY

Hey Ed! Do you see Brian Vickers winning a race or two this season?

Ed Hinton
  (2:20 PM)

Don't think so. But he's pretty good on plate tracks, and did win at Talladega a while back. So he could be a dark horse Sunday.

Craig (Illinois)

Ed, I read your story about Talledega today and am wondering if your aware that Alabama had a small earthquake the other day? Think this spells doom for Sundays race?

Ed Hinton
  (2:21 PM)

Hadn't heard about the Bama earthquake. You sure that wasn't the crowd down at the Tide's spring game booing the offense's lackluster performance? Nah, I think the Talladega Jinx is really down to who gets in the big one nowadays.

Aaron mn [via mobile]

Hey Ed i remember the days when DEI owned plate racing and it took teams actually working together to dethrown them except for kurt pushing ryan in the 500 is that kind of fading againg especially Hendrick?

Ed Hinton
  (2:23 PM)

I don't think teamwork is fading, except that 24 and 48 haven't necessarily been able to hook up so well lately. You could see tag-teams re-emerge in the blink of an eye come sunday.

Nick (big easy)

On the local radio they were guessing what Talladega meant in Indian language, whats your guess? The best I heard was "the big one" the funniest was "go dale go!"

Ed Hinton
  (2:25 PM)

Hello, NOLA! Wheh ya at! Down toward the bottom of my column, I translate both Eastaboga and Talladega. Eastaboga means "in water or a low place." Talladega means "border town." Nothing eerie about that.

Ed Hinton
  (2:26 PM)

OK, folks, gotta give AntiJuniorNation their weekly vent. Here goes . . .

joey independence ky [via mobile]

why do people like jr so much when id sucks as a driver? he isn't what his dad was and never will be.

Ed Hinton
  (2:27 PM)

Vent completed, now we can continue.

Ralph (WV)

If you would have a race at dega' with all drivers post 1980, who would be you top 10?

Ed Hinton
  (2:29 PM)

We'll just run wide open on this. 1. Cale Yarborough; 2. Jeff Gordon; 3. Dale Earnhardt; 4. Buddy Baker; 5. Jimmie Johnson; 6. Earnhardt Jr.; 7. Ernie Irvan; 8. Michael Waltrip; 9. Darrell Waltrip; 10. Davey Allison. That's not in particularly good order, nor does it go by stats there. It's just who I think was best at working the draft.


hey ed, is dega your favorite superspeedway?

Ed Hinton
  (2:31 PM)

It is since Daytona, the town, has undergone so many changes. I just like all the wide-open, yahoo, good ol' boy style of both northern Alabama and the race track.

Aaron mn [via mobile]

Hey ed between Daytona and Talladega it seems the bottom is prefered at Daytona and the top at Deaga is that true or does it not matter?

Ed Hinton
  (2:32 PM)

Daytona's a handling track, Dega isn't. To work the bottom at Daytona, you gotta handle well, and so that's an indicator of whose car is working. Dega's just flat-out, all the time. Reason they run up top so much is that when Junior ruled there, he loved to take the freight train up top just to see who all would follow him. It's more fashion now than technology.

kevin (new jersey)

I know David Ragan has struggled this year but do you agree with me that he is a favorite to win this weekend at Talladega since he has had 4 straight top tens at restrictor plate tracks

Ed Hinton
  (2:33 PM)

I don't think he's a favorite. I do think he's got a decent dark horse chance. Too many highly skilled drafters to make him a favorite.

devinbachman whitmorelake mi

it his kurt best shot this year to give penski his frist cup champion chip

Ed Hinton
  (2:34 PM)

Kurt has proven he can work the pressures of a championship run. Once Penske really sniffs a championship, I think they'll focus. Would love to see Roger win a Cup, after all his years of hard work.

Shawn (NY)

Ed just as a heads up Sportsnation has listed you as chatting Wednesday @ 2 for the last two weeks. Harvick and Mears switching crew chiefs seems like a desperate move. How often does that actually work? Harvick has had a rough time of late, but he has had success in the past with Berrier. I guess Gil Martin was good with Bowyer last year so maybe he will help Harvick. Mears would seem to be out after this year though if he doesn't get things going soon.

Ed Hinton
  (2:36 PM)

Newton and I trade days back and forth depending on who's traveling Thursdays and who's not. But I'll check into it. As I said earlier, I've never seen a crew chief swap be very effective, but this isn't Childress's first time to do it, so he knows the ups and downs.

Adam (SC)

Hey ED i guess we all have to be JR fans and ask dumb questions for you to answer our questions sorry im not a JR fan this chat is just a buddy system.i thought this chat was all issues related to nascar

Ed Hinton
  (2:37 PM)

Hey, Adam? This is the second vent I've allowed AntiJuniorNation today. And I don't recall posting one pro-Junior comment. AntiJuniorNation is at least as tunnel visioned as JuniorNation, as you have just demonstrated.

Shawn (NY)

I know it is a little bit of a crapshoot at 'Dega, but JPM seems to really like it there finished second there last year and seems to work well w/ others like Hamlin and Busch who use the new push drafting technique at 'Dega. It would be great to see JPM win at 'Dega. Do you see that being a possibility and if so how would the fans react to JPM winning in Alabama?

Ed Hinton
  (2:39 PM)

As with Ragan, I think JPM is a legit dark horse contender. But an awful lot of brilliant drafters around him. If JPM won, I think the fans would get a big kick out of it and cheer him.

Jimmie Ilinois [via mobile]

Hendicks been looking good lately (just not jr) how many races will they have won by the end of year Go JJ

Ed Hinton
  (2:40 PM)

If they follow normal patterns and pick up steam midsummer, maybe 15 to 20.

Marion (SC)

Kasey Kahne #5 kellogg's Chevy in 2011 What do you think !

Ed Hinton
  (2:43 PM)

If Rick Hendrick picks up on all you Kahne fans, and all those TV commercials he makes, maybe HMS would sign him like Junior, for the money-drawing appeal. Otherwise, I think Keselowski is HMS' top priority to break in.

Aaron (Stanberry, MO)

It seems like he (Busch) is either leading the race, or can't find his way through the pack so far this year. Any explaination?

Ed Hinton
  (2:43 PM)

If his car's good, he's up there fighting for the lead. If it's off, he tries to force it too hard -- hasn't learned to nurse a bad car along yet.

Marion (SC)

What will happen to the Chevy and dodge teams? i think Chevy will be ok but it doesnt look good for Chrysler will RPM and penske get support from another manufact. or will one of them fold

Ed Hinton
  (2:45 PM)

I don't think factory support is as vital to teams as it may look. If one goes, others can fill in the gap. The backing per team actually isn't nearly as big as the commercial sponsorships.

ray gordon reid knoxville tn 37902


Ed Hinton
  (2:47 PM)

Last time: Jeff Gordon, based on strong team currently, and superb drafting skills.


So Ed what did you think of Sam Hornish and his 9th place finish. From my few he has come far from last year and might even get a top 5. Think he will make it past this season?

Ed Hinton
  (2:48 PM)

If Sam were going to make it big in NASCAR, he'd be there by now. Think he's doomed to be a middle of the packer, just one more open wheel guy who couldn't make the full transition.

Mark (Mount Airy,MD)

Hey Ed, Now that Michael Waltrip Racing is much improved, do you expect Mikey to have a decent day (big one permitting!!!)

Ed Hinton
  (2:49 PM)

He can always get up near the front on a plate track. But can he last? My guess is, Reutimann will have a better day for MWR.


do teams usually bring the same car from daytona to dega since theres less handling and more aero here? id imagine it depends on how they finish at the 500..

Ed Hinton
  (2:50 PM)

They don't seem to care anymore, with the COT. I heard Kenseth say the other day that he doesn't care in the least that his 500 car is in Daytona USA rather than going to Dega. They don't customize 'em like they did with the old cars. The COT is a big ol' box, period.

Andrew NC

How many championships do you see Gordon winning before he retires? What about Johnson and Dale Jr.?

Ed Hinton
  (2:51 PM)

Five. I think he'll win it this year, then be off and on for a while, and retire by his early 40s.

taylor sc

dang dude dont type all tht junk u might as well give us your social security number too

Ed Hinton
  (2:52 PM)

Real short attention span, eh, Taylor?


so does that mean it just comes down to straight horses? you would think roush would make more noise here then

Ed Hinton
  (2:53 PM)

Unrestricted HP doesn't necessarily translate to plate HP. there's a whole secret to getting the four or five HP that's a big advantage on plate tracks. Hendrick has it, DEI used to, JGR is getting pretty good at it. But plate engines are a whole different science.

josh tx [via mobile]

why all of the sudden everyone is talking bout Gordons back even he says something bout it alot? was it the vegas crash last year?

Ed Hinton
  (2:54 PM)

While you were on Jupiter, Gordon was losing 47 straight races dating back to October of '07. That's why he and everybody else say he's "back."

Mark (Mount Airy,MD)

Ed, How do you see Clint Bowyer doing this week? He seems to fly "under the radar" every week. He's one helluva driver though.

Ed Hinton
  (2:55 PM)

Another interesting dark horse possibility. He could well be up front at the end, and if he catches the right push at the right moment . . . that's exactly what Talladega's famous for.

Kyle, Raleigh

Ed, what do you think the odds of Junior ever winning a championship is?

Ed Hinton
  (2:56 PM)

Odds? Oh, I'd make it about 9-5 against. That is, a little better than a 50 50 chance.

David R. Fuller (Marion, NY)

With NASCAR not penalizing Earnhardt at first over the 88 & 07 incident really shows that they do favor him, right? They only penalized him after uproar over fans when they said there wasn't going to be any penalty.

Ed Hinton
  (2:58 PM)

I think there's a subconscious reluctance to mess with him. And, it's like Mike Helton once told me: "Perception is reality." So if they're perceived to favor him, they'd better think of a way to keep it from being "reality."

Larry (MI)

I think Josh was talking about Gordon's back pain.

Ed Hinton
  (2:59 PM)

Oh! Sorry, Josh. He's been complaining about it, but so far they're working on it with a physical training program only. Martin can be his best adviser on that, because Martin had back surgery several years ago.

Josh Tx [via mobile]

His back problems! not back winning thats why brought up vegas sorry for not being clear

Ed Hinton
  (3:00 PM)

OK, sorry, Josh. Don't think it was the Vegas crash. Think it's just the cumulative effects of driving, the way Martin had. That's why Martin can advise him on it.

Clif, Pine Level

Ed, do you think if Jimmie Johnson wins the championship this year, people will begin the all time greatest driver discussions? Likewise, do you think he can get to the elusive 7 championships?

Ed Hinton
  (3:01 PM)

No, I don't think "all-time greatest" will come up a lot. Mainly because the Chase makes winning championships a different animal. And, yes, at this rate, I'd say he has a better chance of getting to seven championships than Jeff does.

Adam (SC)

My bad ED it was blount who favors all the JR questions

Ed Hinton
  (3:02 PM)

With that little concession from AntiJuniorNation, I'll quit while I'm ahead. Bye, all. Thanks for stopping by.