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February 9, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with David Newton

David Newton
  (2:01 PM)

Vacation with Chevy Chase is on the TV and it's raining outside. The engines are quiet at Daytona International Speedway, so I am yours for the next hour. Blast away. The season has begun.

Max (AZ)

The last two seasons we've heard how great of a driver Carl Edwards is and that last year was Roush's fault and not his, and this year he's gonna come out and be not only the top Roush guy, but also a cup contender. My question is, has the media developed a crush on the guy and his golly gee we tried hard today quotes? Why has no one ever said maybe (even though he is a talented driver) 2008 and all his wins were a bit of a fluke? You never hear that, and it does happen (see Ryan Newman).

David Newton
  (2:03 PM)

No crush. He won nine times in 2008. No matter how you look at it that was impressive. He also has finished second and tied for second in points over the past five seasons. No matter how you look at it that is impressive.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Which 11 driver would not make the Daytona 500 if they had to use Pole Qualifying Results & the Gatorade Duels were Cancelled?

David Newton
  (2:03 PM)

Don't have that in front of me, but I can tell you that Michael Waltrip is not guranteed a spot and that Bill Elliott and Scott Speed are.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Do you think that Danica Patrick will do great in the Drive4COPD 300 or do you think that she will struggle badly?

David Newton
  (2:04 PM)

Does it really matter. She'll get seat time and her sponsors and Daytona and NASACR get the financial benefit of her being here. Having said that, I'll say she finishes 25-30 if she doesn't wreck.

Tyler (Arkansas)

Any chance Mark starts the Duel and then parks it or will he actually race like he did last year and try to see what he has? Seems like everytime he's been on the track he's trashed his car.

David Newton
  (2:05 PM)

Oh, he'll race. The guy is super competitive.

Chase (Atlanta)

I'm going to witness Daytona for the first time ever! I'm so pumped. Quick question. If Junior and/or Mark Martin were to get in a accident in the duels, would they have to start from the back for the 500 or are they using different cars than what they ran in qualifying?

David Newton
  (2:07 PM)

The rules are somewhat different here because of the qualifying races. Believe they are locked to front row.

Ray (CT)

Do you think that Jimmie hasnt won on a road course yet because the 48 team spends less time on the setup for such a small part of the season? I think if they added one to the chase he would get his first road win.

David Newton
  (2:07 PM)

Not at all. Jimmie wants to win a road course race really badly. It may top his list of goals outside of winning a fifth title this year.

Nick Rolando (Orlando)

David, hope your doing well, sorry if my typing's bad, my right ring finger is in a splint due to basketball. Anyways, I know it's a ways out but who would you say is driving the 6 car in 2011?

David Newton
  (2:08 PM)

Sorry about your finger. Unless David Ragan falls flat on his face they'll stick with him. But he needs to finish in the top 15 at least I believe.

Tim (New York City)

It seemed like the Toyotas got a little better when the flag stayed green in the shootout. Do you see the JGR, MWR or Red Bull drivers having a big day on Sunday?

David Newton
  (2:09 PM)

You are right Hamlin and a few Toyota drivers were better on the long run in the Shootout. So was Jimmie Johnson in a Chevy. The 500 will be a completely different animal because it's in the day when the track is hot and slick.

Tank (at work)

seem to me that NAsCAR could elimnate the guys who dont wanna finish races if they wanted...just tells guys that after 6 times not finishing half the laps, that you don't get paid for the race. nobody who is tryin every race gets more than 6 DNFs where they fail to finish 1/2 the laps...

David Newton
  (2:11 PM)

Knock me down, but I like your idea other than the half the laps deal. Sam Hornish had eight DNFS last season and he wasn't a start and parker, although a good bit of those came after 6 DNFS. But you're onto something, Tank. Maybe you're smarter than we give you credit. Like Michael Waltrip.

Tim (New York City)

It seems like everyone believes that RCR and Roush will be alot stronger this year and that Kyle Busch will find a way into the chase. Which guys from last year's chase do you think will be on the outside? I'm thinking Vickers and both Stewart-Haas cars.

David Newton
  (2:11 PM)

I agree with Vickers and maybe Newman. Stewart will be tough to beat. I like Kyle Busch to win it all, but RCR definitely will be stronger. They were pretty good at the end of last season.

Chris (Charlotte, NC)

If you had to pick an underdog for the Daytona 500 who would it be?

David Newton
  (2:12 PM)

Maybe Joey Logano. Or how about Bill Elliott? That 21 looks awfully fast.

David Newton
  (2:13 PM)

Should have mentioned Jamie McMurray above, but he's pretty good in plate races so I don't look at him as an underdog.

Bryan (Belmont, OH)

What ever happened to Jon Wood? He made a few cup races and then disappeared.

David Newton
  (2:14 PM)

Can you say not good enough?

Tank (at work)

Who is half thes guys tryin to qualify for the 500??? why doesnt you get in a car and give it a shot...i give you as good (or gooder) shot than Mike Waltrip!!!

David Newton
  (2:15 PM)

If you put up $150,000 for the car and NASCAR will approve me I'll do it. We could put a Tank on the hood.

Matt (Chicago)

In your opinion, how will Danica Patrick's first Nationwide start go this weekend?

David Newton
  (2:15 PM)

She won't take many chances. This will be a learning experience. Her focus should be on finishing, not where.

Freddie (Charlotte, NC)

I know that this is a sticky subject, but what do you think about sponsors signing on to a team, but only for a particular driver? The most notable ones never seem to show the talent that they belong in the cup series. i.e. Paul Menard, Kevin Conway, Jon Wes in Nationwide. There are so many great drivers who never get the chance because of guys like these who ride around in the back because of family or corporate money.

David Newton
  (2:16 PM)

Hey, that's life. It's no different than GoDaddy.com signing on for Danica Patrick but not Kelly Bires. By the way, it's pouring in Daytona now. Tomorrow will be a very green track.

Steven (Ohio)

Well Howdy Yall!! Who you think makes best lefty turns, and drives fastest?? Imma go comb my mullet, and put on me fannypack.. bye

David Newton
  (2:18 PM)

Always one in the crowd. Go with the guy at the front of the pack. Y'all come back now.

RAYGORDONREID ( CHARLOTTE NC28223)

QUESTION TO DAVID NEWTON 2.25 PM HIDAVID WHICH DAYTONA 500 IS YOUR FAVORITE

David Newton
  (2:18 PM)

Same as it's been for a week, Dale Earnhardt Jr.

David Newton
  (2:19 PM)

Btw, see a few of you have posted questions for me on my Twitter account, http://twitter.com/DNewtonespn. Will try to get to a few of those when I'm done here.

Gable (Augusta, Ga)

What was wrong with the Hendrick cars Saturday night? Dale Jr's car looked aweful. Do you expect the same issues Sunday?

David Newton
  (2:20 PM)

Jimmie was good on long runs. Gordon was coming on strong at the end before Biffle crashed in front of him. Had Biffle had fresh tires they may have blasted past Harvick. Junior's car was slow off the track. All the push has been on his 500 car. Martin's the same.

T-berry (J-town)

Help, Dave, there is so much snow piled up going down our driveway that it looks like a bob sled run. Anyways, I know Danica has the Go Daddy sponsor on her Nationwide car. What sponsor does Kelly Bires have for his car?

David Newton
  (2:23 PM)

I may be wrong, but I believe they're still trying to secure all of that.

Brett (Ocean Springs MS)

Is Carl Edwards complaing yet about the lifting some off the rules, Mostly the Bump Draft

David Newton
  (2:24 PM)

Not yet. He likes most of the changes.

ryan (GA mountains)

What's your take on Danica in the ARCA race and your expectations Saturday?

David Newton
  (2:25 PM)

She earned my respect in the ARCA race. Impressive rally. I have no real expectations for the Nationwide race. This is a different animal.

Jacob (Manhattan, KS)

Hey David. We know Jr. had a great qualifying car for the 500. We also know his shootout car sucked. Do you think the Shootout car was a pre McGrew car, and that may be the reason his car wasn't good? Or is Junior really losing it?

David Newton
  (2:25 PM)

His Shootout car was the third best in his stable. Don't read anything into it.

Mark (Ankeny, IA)

Were you surprised during the broadcast Saturday that there was no mention of that annoying Digger? I was and happy about it too

David Newton
  (2:26 PM)

I jokingly referred to him as the late Digger after Kurt Busch plowed through the infield and into the wall. Thought I saw a furball on KB's bumper.

Greg (Richmond, VA)

Is Dale Jr's beard insured by Nationwide?

David Newton
  (2:27 PM)

OMG. Too funny. It is a bit long don't you think. Trimmed back like mine would be much better. He's starting to look like Grizzly Adams.

Branden (Pittsburgh)

Dark horse pick for the 500?

David Newton
  (2:27 PM)

Mentioned earlier Joey Logano or Bill Elliott, but Jamie McMurray is starting to grow on me. Wait, that doesn't sound right.

Buckley (Chico)

Can Danica be a force in NASCAR?

David Newton
  (2:28 PM)

Think she already is, at least from a marketing standpoint. The rest stay tuned.

Hogan knows best (tampa)

did you see Carl Edwards on Monday Night Raw??

David Newton
  (2:28 PM)

I missed it. Bet he looked pretty stout compared to those wrestlers. Not sure anybody else from NASCAR could compare.

derrick (iowa)

doesnt mark martin have to go to a backup car for wrecking in the shootout, witch means starting at the back of the 500? or am i missing something?

David Newton
  (2:29 PM)

You are missing it all. The Shootout is an exhibition. Nothing to do with the 500.

Brett (Ocean springs MS)

Do you think Johnson is going to win his 5th Straight Championship

David Newton
  (2:30 PM)

I've put my play money on Kyle Busch. I also have said I am stupid for picking against JJ.

Matt (Chicago)

Kahne was able to keep up with the big boys in his Roush/Yates Ford in the Bud Shootout. Chances on Sunday?

David Newton
  (2:30 PM)

Kasey is really high on the Roush Yates engine. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him running for the win.

Tracy (CT)

What is the issue with Jr driving the 88? I am sure the sponsor does not care what number he is in. Does that mean Bired had no sponsor for Daytona? Because if he did I would think JRM would have 3 cars down there. Jr in the 5, Danica in the 7, and Bires in the 88.

David Newton
  (2:32 PM)

Dale Jr. had committed to sponsors to drive in the Daytona 500 way back. GoDaddy.com was only sponsoring Danica. And no, JR Motorsports did not have the funds to put a third car on the track. It's a shame for Bires, but an economic fact.

Alan (Washington DC)

What is J.J. Yaley doing these days?

David Newton
  (2:32 PM)

Heard him on the radio a few weeks ago.

JR (CO)

David, those Fords sure looked improved during the shootout. What are you hearing around the garage about the blue oval camp? Thanks

David Newton
  (2:34 PM)

Edwards looked pretty strong the first part of the Shootout. Not sure what happened the last 50 laps. Can't put a lot into the Shootout, though. Those weren't the best cars for any team. Blue oval? My mind must be turning to mush.

mike (chester)

weren't there other woman drivers in the arca race? then why all the hype on danica? i hope somebody puts her in the wall and she can stomp around the track like she did years ago

David Newton
  (2:35 PM)

There were several, but none with the experience or marketability as Patrick. And Chrissy Wallace will be in the Nationwide Race as well, so Danica won't be the only female there. So why do you want her in the wall? Sounds a bit harsh.

Bill S (High Point, NC)

Haven't seen the entry list for the Nationwide race yet but how many are Cup guys? And who outside the "Busch Wackers" has a chance at a good finish?

David Newton
  (2:36 PM)

Eleven last I looked. Outside the Nationwide Whackers _ doesnt' sound quite right _ I can't say there'll be anybody in the top 10.

Rick H. (N.C.)

Mark Martin is hurting my wallet by wrecking all my cars.

David Newton
  (2:36 PM)

Sell a few more cars, then.

David Newton
  (2:37 PM)

Still getting questions on Twitter at http://twitter.com/DNewtonespn. Will go there as soon as the chat is over. Be patient.

henry (indianapolis)

david, do you think jimmy johnson becoming a first time father will have any sort of impact this year.

David Newton
  (2:38 PM)

He'll get a lot less sleep and learn a lot more tolerance for bad smells. Otherwise, I don't see him slacking off.

Nevin (Mountain View)

Guess Who? Biffle. Why has Biffle tailed off so much?

David Newton
  (2:38 PM)

He finished seventh in points last season for an organization that was off. I wouldn't say he really has tailed off as much as the organization did last season. He is no less talented.

Branden (Pittsburgh)

Montoya, one year fluke, or finally arrived in the big time?

David Newton
  (2:38 PM)

He has arrived.

Rick (Pa)

David - Did you scare Chad away from the Chat with your Moby Dick Story? No matter what he says it has to eat at him. Since Malec replaced him on the chat what are the chances of Ron replacing Chad on the pit box in 2011? One can't help but be nervous that Chad did not sign an extension before the season started

David Newton
  (2:40 PM)

Don't be nervous. Chad is in the final stages of getting a very long-term deal done. And he wants to be with Jimmie on the box through the end of Jimmie's current extension, which I believe was for five years. I am guessing Chad simply was busy with something else. So what did you think of the column? Did you believe Chad?

Chad (Selinsgrove, PA)

Do you see any first time winners this season?

David Newton
  (2:42 PM)

How about Dale Jr.? Sorry, thought you meant first-time-winners-in-a-few-years. OK, bad joke. How about David Ragan.

Brett (Work)

Will the 88 camp rebound this year? How many wins? Will he make the chase?

David Newton
  (2:42 PM)

Three wins, including the Daytona 500, and he will make the Chase. Happy?

Jacob (Manhattan, KS)

Steven shows the arrogance of the uneducated when it comes to NASCAR

David Newton
  (2:45 PM)

I could say something smart-alecky here but I won't.

Johnny ((NYC, NY))

On a typical Sunday, i think you've got 10-15 or so cars that compete for the win (after 15 laps, that number is realistically often smaller). How many cars do you think can win at Daytona? because of the crashes and the ability of mediocre cars to push their way to the front of the draft, I think its closer to 25-30...what do you think?

David Newton
  (2:46 PM)

Daytona is different. You can have an unknown come out of nowhere to win. I agree that anybody that can stay in the top pack has a chance. Twenty-five to 30 maybe about right.

Awayne (Indy)

How big would the celebration be on pit lane if Mark Martin finally won at Daytona,gotta think it would be kinda like Big E finally winning one(similar but not quite as emotional)

David Newton
  (2:47 PM)

It would be pretty close to Earnhardt. So would a Stewart win.

Nicholas Rolando (Orlando)

David, thanks for the thoughts about the finger. Quick a look at the forecast for Sunday has low 37, hi 58. Would that have any positive effect on handling? Hope your dad's doing well!

David Newton
  (2:47 PM)

It'll be much slicker and the racing will be broken up into smaller packs, so look for the cream to rise to the top in this one. Thanks on my dad as well.

T-berry (J-town)

Dave, do you wear those white shoes when you travel like Clark Griswold! And remember not to tie Ernie to your back bumper!

David Newton
  (2:48 PM)

Be right back. Ernie is calling from the back of the Cherokee.

Ray (CT)

Which driver(s) do you see joining SHR at years end?

David Newton
  (2:49 PM)

Kevin Harvick.

Rich (LA, CA)

David, with the success of Kahne in a Ford on Saturday, do you think it bodes well for Sadler and the other RPM cars?

David Newton
  (2:49 PM)

It's encouraging, but Kahne is by far a better driver than his teammates. No offense to those guys. He just is.

Mike (Orlando)

....... Reply: "Well Howdy Yall!! Who you think makes best lefty turns, and drives fastest?? Imma go comb my mullet, and put on me fannypack.. bye"......Dont forget to take your shirt off to show your JR tattoo and remember to bring your cooler of Budweiser. Not all Nascar fans are like that.

David Newton
  (2:50 PM)

Thanks for pointing that out.

Nevin (Mountain View)

Do think Biffle can be a top driver? Oy Vey and Good Luck!!

David Newton
  (2:50 PM)

He already is. Whether he can be THE top driver is another question. Not sure he has the complete package with that team.

Tim (New York City)

I realizt that Kurt Busch and Penske have to say all of the right things regarding Dodge, but I don't see how being the only full-time team running that make is a a goo thing. What do you see happening there? I think Kurt will be ok, but I have to think Brad will have a hard time (not because he lacks talent, just experience).

David Newton
  (2:51 PM)

They do get the advantage of being at every tire test. Can tell you a bunch of other teams that would love that. I also can tell you that having more teams to draw on helps. We'll see. As for Brad K, I believe he'll be a top 15 driver this year.

Awayne (Indy)

Wreck,restart,green white cheeckers wreck race over.Will this ever change at restricter plate races?

David Newton
  (2:52 PM)

Probably not.

Cody (NC)

Is media making to big of a deal about Danica?

David Newton
  (2:52 PM)

Not judging by the fan interest. And by the way, Clark just lost his dog on the back of the station wagon in Vacation. Still makes me laugh.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

Mr.Newton: What do you say to Sports fans like myself who don't want to left out of the water cooler NASCAR discussions and yet find it hard to get excited about cars going around in a circle?

David Newton
  (2:53 PM)

Join the ESPN.com discussion on raceday package or follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/DNewtonespn and I'll do the best I can to entertain.

Nevin (Mountain View)

Do you feel a Nascar Driver has to be a top flight athlete? Or could a hot dog scarfing athlete like John Daly be a driver?

David Newton
  (2:54 PM)

I do. Years ago when only a small handful of drivers stayed in great shape you could get away with trips to Dairy Queen. Not now. If you pick up a tenth of a second by being fit that is huge.

Mike (Atlanta)

Is the fact that Jr is getting cars capable of winning the pole anything to get excited about? Which do you think the outlier will be, qualifying for the 500 or being absent in the bud shootout?

David Newton
  (2:55 PM)

I do believe he's capable. Picked him already. As for the order, it's so different with the qualifying races you can't really say. But you will see the best cars rise to the top.

big ben (nc)

how do you feel about all the start times being move to 1pm?

David Newton
  (2:56 PM)

Like it. Gives me more time to write and still an evening to enjoy. Personally, though, I like Saturday night races.

Dave (NC)

"Gordon was coming on strong at the end before Biffle crashed in front of him."So are you saying that the ultimate crybaby against bump drafting jeff gordon didn't smash into the back of the 16 and wreck all those cars? We must be watching different races my friend. Old tires or new, to me gordon flat out made a dumb mistake. I think gordon has lost that edge, just my opinion though.

David Newton
  (2:56 PM)

Didn't mean that at all. Gordon took him out, but because Biffle had old tires it likely would have happened no matter who was behind. And you are right, it is ironic that the driver most against bump drafting had that happen.

YAR8pack (Candor)

Some may think I'm a blasphemer for saying this, but the 150s and the Truck race are the best events of Speedweeks. Don't get me wrong, I love the 500. But the 150s and Truck races will cause a man's pulse to jump. What say you? Oh yeah. How's Ernie doing?

David Newton
  (2:58 PM)

I am with you. Ernie is sound asleep at my feet just like Chevy Chase's Vacation wife while Chevy gazes at Christy Brinkley in the convertible.

Greg (Boston, MA)

About jr.'s beard, I heard he is taking after hockey players in the playoffs. He is not going to shave until he gets a win! Any truth?

David Newton
  (2:58 PM)

I will ask tomorrow. Hope he wins soon if that is the case.

Bryan (Belmont, OH)

If Harvick leaves RCR after the year. do you think he will take his team to Cup or just join someone? if he joins who do you think?

David Newton
  (2:59 PM)

Join Stewart-Haas Racing. He has said he doesn't want to race for his own team. Lots of headaches.

Jimmy (Conway, AR)

David I think Kasey is a dark horse title contender this year, with the better equipment he's in and with his talent I really think there's a solid chance of the pieces falling into place for him.

David Newton
  (3:00 PM)

If he finds consistency you could be right.

big ben (nc)

with fewer drivers being natives of NC and now only one track in NC getting a race, do you see a time in the future when the major race teams aren't housed in NC?

David Newton
  (3:00 PM)

Not for a long time, if ever. Costs a lot to move these days.

Hank (Indy)

Did you like the Danica commercials? I am sure guys where looking at her the way a fatman looks at a chili cheese dog.

David Newton
  (3:01 PM)

I'll take the fifth on that one.

Ed (Fort Worth)

Hey Newt, I keep seeing that Nascar plans to implement the spoiler in March, but do you have any idea at which track? Bristol and Martinsville don't seem to be ideal, Atlanta would make the most sense.

David Newton
  (3:02 PM)

I am hear Martinsville is the pick for now. They want to get that Charlotte test in first.

David Newton
  (3:03 PM)

Thanks for entertaining me for the last hour. Sorry I couldn't get to all the questions. Well over a hundred is impossible in an hour. If you have something to ask I'll check in my Twitter account _ http://twitter.com/DNewtonespn _ and try to get to as many as I can. Later.