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May 21, 10:58 AM ET
Chat with Ed Hinton

Justin Behling (Boyceville, WI)

Hey Ed, you should take a look at this article and tell me what you think: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/177812-finally-some-answers-about-the-struggles-of-dale-earnhardt-jr

Ed Hinton
  (2:03 PM)

Hi, all. Let's get started. Justin, I had a look at this. For the rest of you, it's an opinion piece claiming Earnhardt and Eury take a different setup to the tracks than the other HMS cars -- all three of them supposedly identical. I can't buy that. No way Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon take identical setups to the track. And Mark Martin's going to be different from the other two. Eury told me a while back that their setup is closer to JJ's than anyone else's at HMS.

Jason - Amherst, VA

Ed, I know this is a NASCAR chat, but would you take a second to give your thoughts on the passing of Larry Rice yesterday. Thanks, he was a friend.

Ed Hinton
  (2:05 PM)

Rice was one of the dwindling breed of pure Indiana USAC racers Robin Miller put it best -- there was no racer who didn't like Larry Rice, and, said Robin on SpeedTV.com, "that's unheard of" for any racer.

Jerry (Tampa, FL)

What do you make of Reutimann's slide the past few races? As a fan, I'm optimistic they can turn it back around and they've been the victim of some bad luck. Others might say the early season performance was a fluke. What's your take?

Ed Hinton
  (2:06 PM)

I don't think the early performance was a fluke. Reutimann will have his ups and downs of, as you say, luck.

Justin Behling (Boyceville, WI)

Don't you just think it's awesome that NASCAR is teaming up with iracing.com to make the best racing video game of all-time?

Ed Hinton
  (2:06 PM)

Seems like every game to come out is the best of all time. That's progress, right? My son will be able to give you a better evaluation than me.

Evan (Richmond)

After clearly outperforming David Ragan in the Showdown, despite starting way deep in the field....Do you think that Jamie McMurray is safe at Roush-Fenway? I know that sponsorship is been part of the reason people think J-Mac's gonna be out, but remember IRWIN would follow him anywhere. So just curious.....Thanks

Ed Hinton
  (2:07 PM)

I think Roush is very high on David Ragan, and that there's no way one event's going to change that. McMurray's always strong at Charlotte, if only in spurts.

Heath Hinton, Laurel, Ms

What is the reason Nascar will not come out with a banned substance list? Seems to me Nascar is helping fuel the fire with the whole Mayfield incident, your thoughts.. PS. My father wanted me to ask you when the barber started charging you a finder's fee for haircuts?

Ed Hinton
  (2:09 PM)

It's a power thing. They want to leave the list wide open so they can exercise banning power on anything they want. You know how all those TV commercials list side effects in the fast talk at the end? Pretty soon they may all be adding, "and may cause suspension from NASCAR."

Bill (FL)

Hi Ed. If you were starting a new team, which of these 3 drivers would you hire: Vickers, Sadler or McMurray?

Ed Hinton
  (2:10 PM)

Under those circumstances I might think twice about starting a team.

derek (iowa)

do you think Congress will get involved to see what changes need to be made to the 88 team?

Ed Hinton
  (2:11 PM)

Na, the North Carolina congressional delegation has too little seniority. And the Texas congressmen are all tied up bashing the BCS.

steve (tenn)

what was your opinion of the all-star race?

Ed Hinton
  (2:12 PM)

It spoke well for double-file restarts and a 10-lap dash at the end. If you ask me, they should run 30 laps total -- 20 and the final 10.

Dave (L.A.)

who do you like in this weekends race?

Ed Hinton
  (2:14 PM)

Smoke, Rowdy, J Gordon and JJ, not necessarily in that order.

craig (alabama)

do you think MWR has what it takes to hang with the big boys aka Hendrick,Gibbs.

Ed Hinton
  (2:15 PM)

No. Maybe if Mikey got out of his car and went executive, they'd grow into it in four or five years.

Ken (Richmond, VA)

What's your take on the penalty NASCAR gave Carl Long? I thought it was a little too excessive for a violation in what was basically an exhibition event.

Ed Hinton
  (2:16 PM)

NASCAR hit a tack with a sledge hammer again. They're getting way, way too forceful. This is unnecessary. AND, you'll notice they're picking on people they don't consider necessary to the show. They're pulling wings off flies here.

Cory, Geneva, IL

With NASCAR losing fans, why don't they consider some of the changes it seems all fans are clamoring for, double file restarts, looser setups, more bonuses for wins, no yellow laps in last ten. None of these affect safety or dramatically alter a race, but do probably make for better racing. What gives?

Ed Hinton
  (2:18 PM)

NASCAR is a deer in the headlines after the changes of the past couple of years. They're frozen. Absolutely, positively, they need to go to double-file restarts beginning no later than next season. They need to loosen up on shocks and springs. But again, they're frozen -- and too busy hammering little guys with huge penalties.

Ed Hinton
  (2:18 PM)

make that headlights

jarrod (hermiston OR)

will dale jr win in 2009

Ed Hinton
  (2:19 PM)

Maybe, but it's looking less and less likely.

Ken (Richmond, VA)

So I guess a follow up to that would be with the penalties they're giving out to guys like Mayfield and Long, basically field fillers, is this NASCAR's way of trying to move towards franchising?

Ed Hinton
  (2:19 PM)

Oh, no. Don't think that. Franchising would amount to the France family giving away NASCAR. Which ain't gonna happen.

Bob (texas)

does Stewert/Hass ever plan on making own engines and chasis or just riding the coatails of Hendrick?

Ed Hinton
  (2:20 PM)

An engine program is terribly expensive. They might do their own, but it's years away.

Adam (Galax, VA)

Who is your pick to win the Indianapolis 500?

Ed Hinton
  (2:20 PM)

Scott Dixon in a runaway.

Joe (Missoula, mt)

Ed, what are the chances you give Hamlin for winning this weekend?

Ed Hinton
  (2:21 PM)

Afraid 600 is too many miles for a team that seems to have its share of glitches in 400 and 500 milers.

jeff raines (Asheville, NC)

jeff gordon had the allstar race won it was way better than his performance last until kyle got involved do you think he is reckless

Ed Hinton
  (2:23 PM)

Kyle just said a few minutes ago that he didn't understand how he got blamed fro that one, but pondered and added, "I made it three wide in the middle," so he apologized to Jeff. Then Kyle mentioned the real culprit in that one: "I don't know where Newman came from."

derrick (guttenberg,iowa)

whats wrong with the Richard Childress cars?

Ed Hinton
  (2:24 PM)

They went into this season not knowing what their cars were going to be like. They were very nervous. Without testing, they're somewhat blind. But they do seem to be behind the progress other teams have made with the COT setups.

ted (n.y.)

Danna Patrick really isnt thinking of racing Nascar is she? i could see Kyle Busch putting her into the wall on lap 1

Ed Hinton
  (2:25 PM)

Danica's dad wants her to go NASCAR, but they may just be using this for a bargaining tool on contracts. I think if she came into NASCAR she'd have 42 feuds going in a month. If they knock her around, she'd hit back.

Jay (Paducah, KY)

Ed: Just read your article about the greatest weekend in auto racing: Memorial Day Weekend. I have been to the Coke 600 twice, but never to the Indy 500...at least not until Tuesday when I had two freebie Indy 500 tix bestowed upon me. Alas, I am going to my first Indy 500! As a NASCAR fan, I know what to expect when going to a NASCAR race. But, what can I expect at Indy? I hear you can't see the whole track from anywhere, but will I be able to see enough to keep me interested. How about the cars, i.e. can you see passing, etc.? Pleas provide some insight on what I can expect. Thanks.

Ed Hinton
  (2:27 PM)

Best short answer I can give you is, see if you can sit where you can see the cars going through the north or south chutes (sets of corners). what'll delight you is how much faster they go through the corners than NASCAR. And don't think this is the same Indy 500 as it was 15 years ago, when it was truly great and ultra fast. This thing is a shell of its former self.

Joe (Missoula, mt)

Ed, Even if Kyle was to blame for the Gordon wreck, good for him, it made for one of the best races all year! Why are people so set on thinking Kyle is reckless?

Ed Hinton
  (2:28 PM)

Oh, NASCAR fans would rather hate somebody than love somebody any day. You know that. NASCAR Nation is truly happy with Kyle, whether they understand that or not.

ted (AZ)

You don't think any Roush cars will be in the mix for the win this weekend?

Ed Hinton
  (2:28 PM)

Not unless they get their 1.5-mile act back together like it was last year. They've been a terrible disappointment on these tracks this year.

Ryan (Villanova)

Little Al dueling with Emmo in '89 comes to mind. I was just a youngin then, but still remember it vividly.

Ed Hinton
  (2:29 PM)

One of the great finishes in Indy 500 history, no doubt about it.

Jay (Paducah, KY)

I heard Jeff Gordon's stepfather say once that they went stock car racing because IndyCar teams expected you to bring sponsors with you back in the early 1990's. Aside from Paul Menard's situation, could an unkown buy a ride in the Cup series these days if he/she brought a sponsor with them?

Ed Hinton
  (2:30 PM)

Sure, if the sponsor's big enough. NASCAR is not sinless in the buy-a-ride area by any means.

Jay (Paducah, KY)

Will Goodyear have the Indy tire problem solved by the time the Brickyard rolls around again? If not, what will NASCAR do about the issue? Would NASCAR ever abandon the Brickyard?

Ed Hinton
  (2:31 PM)

They'd never abandon the Brickyard. With Tony Stewart going to test there in a couple of weeks, I'd made the chances of another tire disaster 50-50. If there's another one, there's going to be a nasty finger-pointing year between NASCAR/Goodyear and the Speedway/Tony George.

Jeremy (Knightdale, NC)

Are you hearing any rumors of Stewart-Haas adding a third or fourth driver other than Keselowski?

Ed Hinton
  (2:32 PM)

I may be creating those myself. A third car is a natural for next year, assuming sponsorship is available, and HMS has no room for K, what with Martin re-upping for another full season.

Adam (Galax, VA)

Which race would you pay to see and why?

Ed Hinton
  (2:33 PM)

Monaco is the only one of the weekend I'd pay to see. Just too lovely, too exotic. I'd have paid to see Indy in the glory days, but not now. Charlotte just goes on forever.

Aron (Las Colinas, Tx)

Who's got the best shot to win on Sunday? a Ferrari, Danica, or Dale Jr. ?

Ed Hinton
  (2:34 PM)

Ferrari. You never know when they'll come blasting back out of the blue.

jimbo (oakville,tenn.)

how many more years do you see Jeff Gordon racing?

Ed Hinton
  (2:34 PM)

Three or four, max. He turns 38 this summer and has said for a long time he may not stay much past 40.

Ken (Richmond, VA)

I actually thought that two of the last three Indy 500's, Franchitti's rain win not included, were better than the 600 in those years. So do you really expect this year's Indy 500 to be a dissapointment because I don't.

Ed Hinton
  (2:35 PM)

Oh, I'm not saying it won't be better than Charlotte. It almost certainly will be.

derrick (iowa)

is the Charlotte race to long?

Ed Hinton
  (2:35 PM)

Oh, let 'em rip this one time a year. I'd be strongly against more than one 600.

Ryan (Villanova)

Are you as happy as I am to see Ferrari and McLaren (and Lewie Hamilton)not doing so well this year? Socialism for F1!

Ed Hinton
  (2:36 PM)

I'm more happy to see Ross Brawn, the genius who made Michael Schumacher at Benetton and then again at Ferrari, finally get his due. Brawn finally gets to keep the money he used to make for Flavio Briatori and Jean Todt.

Jay (Paducah, KY)

Would Jeff Gordon ever give the Indy 500 a shot before he retires? I honestly think that, with a good team, he might have a legitimate shot of running competitively.

Ed Hinton
  (2:37 PM)

Oh, I think he'd run well there. But I doubt seriously he would try it at this stage.

Jay (Paducah, KY)

Will Marco Andretti or Graham Rahal ever get a legitimate shot at an F1 ride?

Ed Hinton
  (2:38 PM)

Marco might, but time is running out and he isn't looking too good in the European stepping stone formulas. Marco has the leverage of Mario. Bobby doesn't have the same clout in Europe for Graham.

jimbo (tenn)

does Gordon plan on being around racing, like team ownership, or anything like that or just done period.?

Ed Hinton
  (2:39 PM)

He has said he wants to be part of the Hendrick operation in some way. I can't imagine why. If I were him I'd be long gone from NASCAR when I quit. But he seems to want to stay around it.

robert (oklahoma)

do you think Johnson wins 3 championships without Knaus?

Ed Hinton
  (2:40 PM)

No way, no how.

Ryan (Villanova)

I really wish that Kyle Busch would race at Indy. He'd be a huge threat to win. Provided he gets a legit ride of course.

Ed Hinton
  (2:41 PM)

I'm afraid he'd be like Earnhardt Sr. would have been. Too accustomed to rubbing, he might end up climbing wheels and causing big ones.

alec (seattle)

who is better marco andretti or graham rahal?

Ed Hinton
  (2:41 PM)

Marco.

derrick (iowa)

Knaus has to be one of if not the greatest chiefs in racing not?

Ed Hinton
  (2:42 PM)

The greatest of his time, for sure. And may end up surpassing Evernham for best of all time.

jamal jones (seattle)

does danica patrick have a realistic chance to win on sunday?

Ed Hinton
  (2:43 PM)

Doubtful. She's not in a Penske or Ganassi car, and she didn't qualify particularly well. If she were in the first two rows I'd give her a chance. But she really, really doesn't like turbulence, and is pretty poor back in the pack.

Adam (Galax, VA)

Imagine if Daytona was the final race of the Chase. That would be awesome!

Ed Hinton
  (2:44 PM)

And that's what needs to happen, by 2010. Homestead just isn't the place. And Daytona July is fading. So move it to november, and get Talladega out of the chase. Make Daytona november the only plate race in the chase.

Mark (Mount Airy,MD)

Ed, how do you think the Penske teams will do at Charlotte and Indy on Sunday????

Ed Hinton
  (2:45 PM)

They've probably got a better chance to win both races than ever before, but only with Kurt Busch down here. I can see a Briscoe-Busch sweep. Not likely, but possible.

Stu (Madison, Va.)

Would Knaus win three championships without Johnson?

Ed Hinton
  (2:45 PM)

Probably not. Few drivers would put up with Knaus's domineering style of calling a race.

Luke, Gloucester, UK

Ed, If and I know it's a big one. Would Montoya be the first driver to win the monaco gp, indy 500 and the coke 600? And would you see it as a big thing?

Ed Hinton
  (2:46 PM)

Without checking record books, I'm pretty sure you're correct. It would be a very big thing to me -- would be right up there with Foyt and Andretti in the versatility category.

Jay (Paducah, KY)

The IndyCar Series ran a feasibility test at Daytona a couple of years ago. Was there ever a serious discussion about Daytona hosting an IndyCar event?

Ed Hinton
  (2:47 PM)

Never serious. They just ran down there on the road course to get some publicity. That was about it. It was a silly thing even at face value, but the IRL needed publicity and their NASCAR friends were willing to help.

Joe (Fleetwood PA)

Do you see Smoke giving the Indy 500 one more try

Ed Hinton
  (2:49 PM)

He might, but it's probably four or five years down the road. If he's successful enough as a NASCAR car owner, he might climb out and just go play where he wants to race.

Jerry (Tampa, FL)

While we're off the topic of NASCAR, what do you think of the proposed F1 budget cap and teh major teams saying they will leave?

Ed Hinton
  (2:50 PM)

I think $60 million is absurd, considering the $400 million teams have been spending. I think Ferrari and Renault really mean they'll quit, and I don't blame them. Max is trying to turn F1 into a gussied-up IRL.

Jay (Paducah, KY)

Going back to the "whatever happened to" file, what is Lake Speed up to these days?

Ed Hinton
  (2:51 PM)

Funny you mention it. I saw him at Darlington and we spoke for a few seconds, but that was all. He may be looking around at the possibility of starting a team, but I just don't know. Only saw him briefly.

Drew (Castalia, OH)

Ed: I have been an Indycar fan for years and attended nearly 30 Indy 500 races. My question to you is at the 500, why don't they sweep the "marbles" off of the track during yellow flags? It seems like every year drivers fall victim to "the marbles" and crash in to the wall. It seems to me that sweeping them up would be the easy solution

Ed Hinton
  (2:52 PM)

Well, the Indy 500 is a horifically fast-paced race. Cautions are short. That's the only explanation I can give you. It's a fast show and they want to keep it moving. Sweepers drag on and on.

Jerry (Tampa, FL)

It seems you have the same feelings for Max as I do. Bernie also needs to go bye-bye as well.

Ed Hinton
  (2:53 PM)

Trouble is, if Bernie quits, who's left with the savvy to run the thing. Bernie has done a whole lot of questionable or outrageous stuff. But he's the only one I've seen with the backbone and gall to keep the show going.

Stu (Madison, Va.)

Are you saying Tony Stewart will turn in to Robbie Gordon? Or will he actually be successful?

Ed Hinton
  (2:54 PM)

Didn't say that at all. Tony is going to be very, very successful as a team owner.

Bryan (KY)

Is Smoke a serious threat to win this weekend, and win the chase?

Ed Hinton
  (2:54 PM)

1) sure is, and 2) sure is

Sven (Seattle, WA)

If you had to guess, who do you think will be the next driver to be caught?

Ed Hinton
  (2:55 PM)

Woooo. Now there's an interesting question. But i wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole right now, at least in public.

Trevor (Charlotte, NC)

i live in charlotte, which is already swamped with race fans, so do you think the slow economy is going to effect race attendance?

Ed Hinton
  (2:56 PM)

Yes. It'll seem like a lot of people to you, but imagine what you'd have to live with in a good economy.

Drew (Castalia, OH)

Who is your pick to win each of the three big races this weekend?

Ed Hinton
  (2:57 PM)

In chronological order for the day: Button, Dixon, Stewart.

Scott (Indy)

Isn't the good equipment rub why cross-overs aren't very successful? I mean, how many of the open wheel cross overs have had good equipment in NASCAR?

Ed Hinton
  (2:58 PM)

Not necessarily. They're just different disciplines. Vastly different. Indy and F1 are the closest, but they're still far, far apart.

Ryan (Villanova)

Are you heading out to Eldora to catch the "Prelude," in a couple of weeks?

Ed Hinton
  (2:59 PM)

I was going from Dover to Eldora with Tony, but now he's gotta go test tires at Indy that Monday-Tuesday, so our trip's been monkeywrenched.

Mike, Netherlands

Do you think Montoya can win sunday? Do you see Montoya is the best (all-round) driver ever? Will he drive a Truck or Nationwide race this year?

Ed Hinton
  (3:00 PM)

Doubt seriously he can win Sunday. Not even close to the best all-around driver. Mario and A.J. were the top two.

Ed Hinton
  (3:01 PM)

Well, our time is up. Gotta go chase around the garage at Lowe's for awhile. Thanks, everybody, for stopping by.