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April 22, 7:15 AM ET
Chat with David Newton

David Newton
  (2:01 PM)

Welcome to Hump Day Chat. Fire away with those questions.

Nick Rolando (Orlando)

Newt,always appreciate your knowledge, 1 week left of college! Anyways, I'm wondering about this whole fifth Roush car thing, do you think Crwon Royal would go to Yates if/or McMurray went there? Any news about Kenseth's new sponsor with DeWalt?

David Newton
  (2:03 PM)

I'm not sure about Crown Royal, but I believe Jamie is headed that way. As for Kenseth, they are working hard to get an associate sponsor with DeWalt so DeWalt won't have to carry the full load. The compnay wants to stay in racing, but not for as many races.

Amber

So David, how big a deal is the "Jr. rules" to other drivers besides KB? Can you give us more names?

David Newton
  (2:05 PM)

I can't tell you how many times I've heard drivers and crew chiefs throw out the Junior Rule. I'm not going to mention names. I mentioned Kyle because he made his public. But there is a perception there. To be honest I don't put much stock in it.

Steven (Ft. Worth, TX)

Who's got a better shot at winning this week? Harvick or Shrub?

David Newton
  (2:05 PM)

Shrub. He's gotten his plate program together. He's been leading laps and winning races. Harvick has not.

Lindsay

Do you see JG having a primary role (maybe general manager or something) at HMS after his driving career?

David Newton
  (2:06 PM)

He mentioned earlier this year that he'd like some sort of role there. I imagine he'll also have some role in television as well, whether it's on Regis or NASCAR coverage.

Larry (MI)

So whats with the rumors of the 88 and 5 teams switching crew chiefs? Did Mr. H. really hold a meeting over Easter break to discuss this move? And now with the 5 team getting to victory lane do you see that move happening now?

David Newton
  (2:07 PM)

That's a tough one. I heard a while back that there could be a switch, but the Hendrick folks have vehemently denied. While I believe Mark could work well with about any crew chief, I'd hate to break him and Alan up. Stay tuned on this one.

David R. Fuller (Marion, NY)

Is is a large amount of teams that are asking NASCAR to let them tweak with the new car or just a few?

David Newton
  (2:08 PM)

They've been asking from the start. NASCAR to its credit has remained steadfasst and not allowed anything. The reasoning is sound. Once you start making changes that throws a whole new wrench into the problems.

Cory, Geneva, IL

Jr is qualifying 10-25 spots lower race after race than last year. How different are the car setups year to year allowing that to happen or is he just running bad laps?

David Newton
  (2:09 PM)

He's struggling and others are doing better. I'm not sure it has much to do with setups.

Jason, NC

So do you think the probation for Dale Jr and Mears came about because of the noise level from the fans. Seemed a little unfair to do nothing. Why is consistency so hard for them?

David Newton
  (2:11 PM)

That and the fact that several people, including myself, pointed out it was inconsistent. They made a 360 degree turnaround from what they said on Monday. Fans rule.

Joe (FL)

Why did Sadler go back to RPM this year? It's obvious that they don't want him there and they're giving him crap to drive. It's sad really....where do you see him ending up next year?

David Newton
  (2:12 PM)

He had a top 10 at Daytona. I don't think it's a matter of them giving him crap. He hasn't had great finishes for several years now. As for why he went back, he had little choice. If he lost that ride he may be on the sidelines now. As for next year, I see his sponsors going to Allmendinger if that is possible.

David R. Fuller (Marion, NY)

Is it just me or does Roush really have a hard time getting AND securing sponsors?

David Newton
  (2:13 PM)

Not at all. They have probably more sponsors than any organization in the garage. Everybody is having trouble hanging onto them now. Even the folks at Hendrick are in danger of losing some big names.

Scott Lugoff,SC

Who's your favorite for Dega?

David Newton
  (2:13 PM)

I like Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch. Gordon is one of the best plate racers alive, and Busch is starting to get it.

Matt (Madison, WI)

RPM has said that once they had felt secure with their drivers' programs that they may begin using the R6P8 engine in at least one of the cars. With much more mediocre results than the drivers are capable of, AJ safely in the top 35 and pressure from Kahne to upgrade the engine, are we going to see it soon? They just seem to lack so much horsepower on the intermediates.

David Newton
  (2:14 PM)

You'd think they would have to make the switch soon. Maybe they can experiment with Sadler. I wouldn't do that with Kahne until they are sure the engine works for them.

Devin (Johnson City TN)

Im confuzed about the Junior rules perception, didnt he and mears get the same penalty that Edwards and KB did after Bristol? How are they favoring Junior in this situation and others?

David Newton
  (2:15 PM)

They did get the same penalty, but initially said they were doing nothing. Seems they had a change of heart after many called them out for a lack of consistency.

Glen, Fla

David. I know your like Jr as a person and even stated you believe he's a good driver. but you take shots at his fans all of the time. shouldnt you take shots at all of the other fans for not being passionate about Nascar subjects, want proof, find any Jr article and you will see more postings than all other articles combined

David Newton
  (2:17 PM)

Not sure I've taken shots at Junior fans. I respect their devotion, although I don't totally understand it. And I do like Junior as a person and a driver. Many times we have to write things that make it seem we don't like the subject, but that's because we can't play favorites and it is our job to point out these things.. You're right about the passion of Junior fans. If more drivers has that ratings and attendance would be much higher.

Stephen - Madison Heights, VA

Will you participate in the Chicken Dance world record at Talladega this weekend?

David Newton
  (2:18 PM)

Alas, I won't be dancing, at least in Dega. One more week before I return to the track. Maybe I'll dance at Richmond. It is the South and I like to Shag.

Jason (Mobile AL)

I like how you stated in your Dale Jr hauler article that "some" in the media think NASCAR has a unfair bias towards Dale Jr. I wonder who those "some" could be? Since March 25 youve written articles, saying Dale Jr is not that good and Kyle is great, stop blaming Teresa and start blaming Dale Jr, and NASCAR favors Jr becasue they werent going to put him on probabtion. So natutally my question is, who are those "some" that you make reference to...?

David Newton
  (2:20 PM)

Whoa! I never said Junior wasn't good. In fact, as an earlier chatter said, I believe he's a good driver. I did say it was time to stop blaming Teresa for all that has gone wrong at DEI. The two had a rocky relationship and both Teresa and Junior are to blame for that one. As far as naming peers, just read what others right and maybe you'll get an idea.

Ryan (Arlington, TX)

What are your thoughts of Ron Malec possibly becoming the 88 crew chief? I feel like the team would get about the same results as they had with Darian Grubb being involved with them.

David Newton
  (2:21 PM)

If they were to make a change, and there is no indication they will, Malec woudl be a great choice. He's a great motivator and a big part of Johnson's success.

TC

Hey David any truth to the crew chief swap of the 5 and 88 before this past weekend?

David Newton
  (2:22 PM)

No truth whatsoever, according to the folks at Hendrick

Scott Lugoff,SC

Who's the most overrated driver in NASCAR

David Newton
  (2:22 PM)

Richard Petty. Too much fuss about those 200 wins.

Devin (Johnson City TN)

Isnt this whole probation thing worthless anyways. Take last year for example, do you think if KB or Edwards, or even Jr at Talladega this week would "wreck" somebody, NASCAR would do anything. They arent going to do that to Jr at Dega, and they probably wouldnt do that to KB and Carl last year becasue of the chase.

David Newton
  (2:23 PM)

For the most part it is worthless, but it at least puts the drivers on notice that if they get out of line again they could get hit hard.

Jimmy (MI)

Good run for Hornish last saturday. I think he's finally turning the corner after his runs at TX and PHX. What do you think? It's always taken him some time to get comfortable. The same thing happened in the IRL.

David Newton
  (2:24 PM)

It was a good run, but I'd like to see a string of good runs before saying he's arrived.

Tom

will Brad K wait as long as it takes to get a seat at HMS?

David Newton
  (2:24 PM)

The question is will Hendrick wait on Brad K to get good enough for a fulltime ride?

David Washington DC

OK really enough with the JR and Hendrick questions! Do you think shutting down the 8 car will ultimately benefit the other three cars at EGR? If so, why?

David Newton
  (2:28 PM)

They're actually a two-car operation now. Montoya and Truex Jr. The Andretti car just gets technical support. But I do believe this will help in the long run. They can put all the energy into making those teams strong without worrying who has a job the next day on the 8.

T-berry

I agree with Glen. I'll bet you couldn't get to your computer fast enough to write that story about Junior and Mears. I guess Dale SR was right when he told Junior something about "good or bad, at least they are writing about you."

David Newton
  (2:29 PM)

Trust me, it's more fun to write about Junior when he's winning than when he's struggling. Nobody wishes ill on any of the drivers.

Devin (Johnson City TN)

Do you get to choose what to write about or does ESPN kind of lean you in one direction and let you run with it?

David Newton
  (2:29 PM)

Most of the time I choose, but some times the boss steps in and makes suggestions. If you have something in mind I'll gladly consider it.

Bryan Breathitt KY

How about a question that ain?t about Jr. How much longer until Smoke wins?

David Newton
  (2:30 PM)

I'm going with Richmond. He's really good there. That'll make a great non-Junior story.

norm, palm springs ca

What you you make of Vickers chances this weekend?

David Newton
  (2:32 PM)

He's done well in some plate races, so maybe this will be a breakthrough. Most expected him to be higher in points by now. Not sure what has happened the past month.

David Newton
  (2:32 PM)

pj (texas)

ok i am a jr. fan and have just about had enough but i want to know why can most of the other teams keep improving there car through out the race and when jrs car wasnt the best he had a real shot at a top 5 run at phoneix but once again the changes that was made only made his car worse what is goin on with tony jr. please help me understand why i shouldnt be upset with tony jr. thanks david

David Newton
  (2:34 PM)

As I recall he was a contender at Phoenix because he pitted out of sequence with the others due to some problems. I'm not convinced he ever was a top five car there. As for Eury Jr., he can only do so much with what the driver tells him. If he's not getting the best information it's hard to set up the car to be a contender.

Tom

I a lot of it dealt with sponsorship, but are HMS still serious about Landon Cassil? Will he possibly take over the 24?

David Newton
  (2:35 PM)

That's three or four years down the road, so I can't speculate that far ahead. Remember, Mark Martin has retired 100 times. But Landon definitely is a guy to keep an eye on a a future Cup star.

Colleen (ottawa canada)

Ok David, tell us the truth. Were you scared in the pace car with Denny driving? It sounds like you guys had alot of fun.

David Newton
  (2:36 PM)

It was a lot of fun. I was a bit nervous when we almost hit the wall. Denny admitted he was as well, not anticipating the wind. But the fellow reporter in the front seat was the real nervous one, and yes she did scream. I was laughing so hard I couldn't.

TC

So David, just wondering what's the difference if any of how Jr. and Sr. described how their cars were handling? Is there any?

David Newton
  (2:37 PM)

You'd have to ask a crew chief that worked iwth both to get an answer on that one. And I'm reluctant to compare a driver with 18 wins and no titles to one with 76 wins and seven titles. You'd have to think the one with seven titles did a better job of working with his crew chief.

Nick Rolando (Orlando)

Neet,read about Hendrick having a hard time with sponsors, any names of who might leave? Also, you think Yates runs four cars next year and dips into the free-agent market?

David Newton
  (2:39 PM)

From what I understand all but Lowe's is looking for a lesser role. As for Yates, they'd like to go to four cars and picking up a Roush car simply makes you believe that is possible. But without sponsorship for a t hird car this year it makes a fourth car unlikely at this point.

Jordan (Candor, NC)

WHAT!? Going back to one of your earlier replies where you say "fans rule" at 2:11 pm. Are you crazy? If fans really ruled NASCAR, wouldn't the true Southern 500 be in Darlington on Labor Day weekend. Wouldn't there be just 1 Pocono race? Wouldn't we start and end the season at Daytona? Fans rule, my ***.

David Newton
  (2:40 PM)

Good point. And I am with you on the Southern 500 on Labor Day weekend. Let's just take the probation as a baby step.

Devin (Johnson City TN)

No suggestions from me, your doing very well as it is..maybe you can write on here that the only reason your responding to all Dale Jr questions is becasue Im guessing your inbox is flooded with them right now..sorry, but I think if you answered non stop questions about Dave Blaney and David Gilliland, you would lose readers...just my opinion lol

Clay (Charlotte)

What do you think is the main cause of the abnormal amount of pit errors this year?

David Newton
  (2:43 PM)

Wrote a story about that four weeks ago. The biggest problem is there is more tread on the stem for the lug nut. That is throwing the wrench man out of sync. There also has been a problem with the glue holding on the lug nuts. These guys will figure it out.

devin howell michigan

duse sam stay in the top 35 in point whit that 9th place for the rest of the year

David Newton
  (2:43 PM)

One race does not make a top 35 contender for the year.

Patrick (NC)

Malec to crew chief, Tony Jr down to car chief all over the All-Star Break.

David Newton
  (2:44 PM)

i'm told no way, no way. Would certainly keep us busy if it happened though.

norm, palm springs ca

Do you think the lug nut issues will continue? From a fan's point of view, it seems Nascar goes out of it way to make changes that make racing a non factor in the outcome of the race. I read everywhere that numbers are down.

David Newton
  (2:46 PM)

The teams will figure the lug nut problem out. NASCAR made the change because teams were triming the thread so low that there was a danger that the nut would not hold and the tire could come off.

Aron (Las Colinas, Tx)

Your top 5 this weeekend?

David Newton
  (2:47 PM)

Gordon, Kyle Busch, Johnson, Kurt Busch, Tony Stewart.

casper

marcos ambrose. how good is this guy? hes stepping onto tracks for the first time, all shapes and sizes and racing well with only slightly above average equipment

David Newton
  (2:48 PM)

I really like what he has done this season. He's put together a pretty good string of races. He' s also a hoot to talk to.

David Washington DC

Can you elaborate on Andretti getting technical support? Who actually owns the car? I wish he would run up front occasionally...I like the Taco Bell scheme on that car.

David Newton
  (2:49 PM)

He drives for Front Row Racing, which gets support from Ganassi Earnhardt Racing but no ownership involved. Run for the border.

casper

i have a hard time understanding practice speeds. i kno you want to be at the top of the charts, duh. and i kno the first practice is qualifying trim. but why are the speeds often 2-3 MPH different in practices two and three?

David Newton
  (2:52 PM)

Teams experiment with different things between runs. They also work on qualifying setups, which are faster, during one run and race trim during others.

Shawn (NY)

Who do you think will be the first driver to get their first Sprint Cup Win this year? My guess would be David Reutimann. Although I guess Ambrose on a road course is also possible. Ragan and Logano do not seem to be running well enough to do it at the moment.

David Newton
  (2:53 PM)

Reutimann is the strongest at the moment, but I'd look for Logano to be much stronger the second half of the season. Right now if you're not Hendrick you're not winning. Three in a row. Pretty impressive.

DuPont

Hey David, how did you get your start reporting for NASCAR or racing in general?

David Newton
  (2:54 PM)

I covered a few drit track races early in my career at Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney. Then started doing more big-picture stories in the late 1990s while covering the Carolina Panthers. I didn't start fulltime until 2003, but I've been around it for a long time. Actually was born in Darlngton. My parent's house was two blocks from the track and I used to sneak into races.

Cory, Geneva, IL

How does an official know that a lugnut is loose? Can they really see a back lug nut standing in front of the car like they do?

David Newton
  (2:54 PM)

They don't call them back for a loose lugnut, but they can see when one is rolling around pit road.

Joe (Missoula, Mt)

So what exactly happened in the pace car at Lowes?

David Newton
  (2:55 PM)

Denny was goofing off and a big blast of wind almost sent us into the wall at over 100 mph. As he said, there was a backup waiting if he crashed that one. Not sure there is a backup for me, though.

Mike(WI)

What's wrong with the #17 team? Thanks David

David Newton
  (2:56 PM)

Nothing major. A pit road mistake cost them a couple of weeks ago. That has been the biggest problem.

Mark (Mount Airy,MD)

Hey David, Will the #34 continue to run when Andretti starts preparing for Indy???? They are in the top 35 in points.

David Newton
  (2:56 PM)

He'll miss two races, Darlington and the Coke 600, but he'll be there for the rest.

John (PA)

Do you think the 26 will get a win before the end of the year?

David Newton
  (2:57 PM)

No.

norm, palm springs ca

Who's got better luck pickin? You or Mark. I was not aware of yours until today. Is yours weekly? You can never get enought Nascar info. PS no JR on your top 5, he is a five time winner. He could fire this weekend.

David Newton
  (2:58 PM)

I've been pretty good with my picks, although most of them are on this chat. As for leaving out Jr., he also could shoot a blank. I just went with what my heart told me.

Scott Lugoff,SC

Does that make David Pearson the most underrated driver in NASCAR?

David Newton
  (2:58 PM)

Funny. I'll agree on that. I believe he is the best driver as I've said more times than I can count.

norm, palm springs ca

Denny is getting close to winning, he seems to be handlinig himself better this year.

David Newton
  (2:59 PM)

He's a much more mature young man than he was this time a year ago. It wouldn't surprise me to see him contending for the title this year. He's really putting all of his effort toward that.

Hank (Lake Tahoe, CA)

Dale Jr has one top 3 finish in his last 29 races, is it possible that he just can't drive the C.O.T. as good as some of the other drivers.

David Newton
  (2:59 PM)

Maybe you've hit onto something. It took Gordon a while as well to get a handle on the car.

Shawn (NY)

Marty Smith reporting that Mears and Harvick swapping crew chiefs. Harvick has struggled and Mears has as usual. If Mears only signed a one year deal my guess would be he is out after this year. Does this move surprise you?

David Newton
  (3:00 PM)

It surprises me that they are giving Mears Harvick's crew chief, but not that they are making a change. Childress had to do something there.

David Newton
  (3:01 PM)

Sorry, but my time is up. I wish I could get to all the questions, but you guys and gals have overwhelmed me. Save them for next week and we'll try again. Enjoy Dega.