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February 25, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Ed Hinton

Ed Hinton
  (2:00 PM)

Good afternoon, all (or morning, Pacific and Mountain time). Thanks for stopping by.

Victor (Groton CT)

Ed, Do you think Scott Speed has an outside chance of making the chase this year?

Ed Hinton
  (2:02 PM)

I sure do. At the rate he's going, by the summer we might think of it as more than an outside chance.

Cory (Geneva, IL)

There are a handful of drivers who are below their career norms in the new car, Jr and Gordon specifically, do you see going back to the spoiler helping them and anyone else who never go the hang of the new car, or is still so different from the old car it won't matter?

Ed Hinton
  (2:03 PM)

I think there's a good possibility it will help the "loose in" issue that's plagued Jeff all along. Could help Junior too -- but mainly Junior's big help is going to come on the plate tracks, where the spoiler will make the closing rate even faster and play right into his hands. I'm 100 percent for the spoiler. It's ugly, but it's proven.

Tim (AZ)

Ed, now that all the facts are out regarding the 17 crew chief change, what are your thoughts? To me it almost seems like Kenseth took a stand and wants Reiser back, although Roush made it perfectly clear he was at the press conference to endorse Drew and show his uncertainty with Matt's decision. Thanks

Ed Hinton
  (2:05 PM)

I said last week this decision was Matt's, not Jack's. I think Matt is searching for something and not quite sure what he wants. Brad Parrott at times has been a band-aid crew chief, so they may be paving the way for Reiser to come back. But remember, Matt wasn't always happy with Reiser's cars, either.

big ben (nc)

is going back to the spoiler more for the "look" or to make the racing better?

Ed Hinton
  (2:06 PM)

Absolutely it's to make the racing better. They thought the wing looked snazzy but it turned a lot of people off aesthetically. The spoiler's ugly too, but it works, and crews know how to work it.

Ryan (Texas)

Ed,What are the chances Jr is released this year from Hendrick? I know it is only two races, but something tells me the performance is not going to be there. What are the chances he lands at RCR if Kevin leaves?

Ed Hinton
  (2:08 PM)

I don't think Junior will ever be released from Hendrick unless he asks to be. You might notice Richard Childress has brought back the slanted "3," for his grandson in Trucks. Junior for years has had mixed emotions about driving the "3," but he's struggling to find himself so much now that, who know? RCR has always been a possibility in my mind.

Heath Hinton (Laurel, Ms)

Do you think that NASCAR made a mistake taking races away from places like Rockingham, and giving California 2 races, seems they would like to keep some tradition, but who Knows?

Ed Hinton
  (2:10 PM)

Well, it didn't look like a mistake at the time. Remember, Rockingham usually had half-full grandstands too, and it's really out in the middle of nowhere. I think a lot of the sentimentality for the Rock and Wilkesboro is misplaced -- for the Rock because the racing wasn't THAT good and attendance was so-so. For Wilkesboro because those were, bar none, the meanest race fans ever, when they got good and drunk after the races.

Ed Hinton
  (2:11 PM)

Next, I'm going to post this comment from my cousin in Mississippi, Heath's dad, just to document that I have been around racing just about all my life.

Dannie Hinton (Laurel, Ms)

Hello Ed, thought i would shoot you a comment. I loved your story last year about the old track in Laurel, Ms. I remember that place so fondly and all the great times had there. From our dads watching the race, and maybe having a few tugs from a jug, to Uncle Buford climbing up on the buildings to watch the race. Thanks for that story.

Ed Hinton
  (2:12 PM)

Yep, far as I can recall, neither Uncle Buford nor Uncle Dave ever paid to see a race at Laurel. They were always on the roof of that cattle barn off the fourth turn.

YAR8pack (Candor)

Mr Hinton, hope all is well. Looking past all the hubbub about Kansas getting a 2nd date, do you think that's a good idea. I don't. That track is terrible. Just another cookie-cutter 1.5 mile track. It's the exact same place as Chicagoland. Sure, the place may be getting a casino, but I think that novelty will wear off rather quickly and we'll be having the same conversation about Kansas as we are about ACS. Thoughts.

Ed Hinton
  (2:14 PM)

I agree, YAR. It's a terrible move for the sport, and it's all about money for ISC. Truly killing the goose that laid the golden egg. It'd be OK if they took a race from California for KC, but if they move one from Martinsville, there could be a full-scale fan rebellion -- and I just might lead it.

dz (phx, az)

hey ed! i was reading a few article online and something caught my attention. the article was stating that a small south carolina college had a 4 year degree in motorsports management. i just thought it was interesting that's all. any thoughts? i guess not all of us can be drivers...

Ed Hinton
  (2:16 PM)

Yeah, colleges in the Carolinas have begun to offer various degrees in motorsports management, engineering, etc. But alas, like everything else, the job market is shrinking. Nobody's under more pressure than managers -- i. e. track presidents -- to fill seats that can't be filled.

Scott (Manchester, NH)

Does the purse money for the races come from ticket sales at the tracks primarily? And if so aren't the fans that pay to go to the races the ones getting the shaft by the start and park teams that are just there for a paycheck?

Ed Hinton
  (2:17 PM)

Ticket sales and TV money, but also a huge amount of "contingency" and "plan" money that comes from sponsors and amounts to appearance money. I don't think fans are getting shafted because 43 cars are too many anyway. I'd rather see 30 good ones without the clunkers in the way. So when they start and park, I just think, good riddance.

Earl (Boone County)

You ever eat some fried tomaters?

Ed Hinton
  (2:18 PM)

Yes indeed. But the Alabama and Georgia varieties give me heartburn.

Justin (Northern Virginia)

Is there anyway you could get the folks that cover the races for ESPN to go back to covering the races and not folks the entire race on Danica? That was a heck of a finish for the nationwide race at Cali but the focus was all on Danica. Infact that was some of the best racing I've see at Cali.

Ed Hinton
  (2:20 PM)

No doubt about it, that Nationwide finish was fabulous. I defy anyone to cite a better finish in NASCAR anywhere, in recent years. I think our TV folks did back off Danica in time for the big finish among the others. And in their defense, a whole lot of folks were watching -- literally world wide -- just because of Danica. Maybe it annoyed some NASCAR purists, but they were truly trying to strike a balance for a global audience NASCAR wouldn't have had without Danica.

YAR8pack (Candor)

Indeed. Well, O Captain, our Captain, I'll commence to sharpening the pickaxes and pitchforks!

Ed Hinton
  (2:21 PM)

YAR, you're impressive on the lit side. First the Faulkner and McCarthy, now the Whitman!

JD (Boston)

NASCAR has made good rule changes, and the start time standarization are all good moves- but being neutalized by the pothole and the issues in Cali with attendance and such- bottom line- is NASCAR moving forward despite bad luck and other issues- or will they be moving sideways until new sponsors step up and the economy improves?

Ed Hinton
  (2:22 PM)

The most important thing they can do now is get their basic product -- the racing -- back in shape. The public interest will return if the product is good. So, no, they're not moving sideways. They're moving up, though some would say from rock bottom.

Cale (Boston)

In a perfect, money-is-no-object world, what current non-Cup tracks would you want to see on the Cup schedule? Irwindale seems like it would be fun, and I'd be locally biased to places like Seekonk and Stafford. You?

Ed Hinton
  (2:24 PM)

Oh, man. So many good short tracks still around. Irwindale I'd agree with, and several of the New England tracks would create some bumper-car shows a la Martinsville -- maybe even more slam-bang.

jeff (kentucky)

what do you think about Bristol moving the walls in 3feet in the turns

Ed Hinton
  (2:26 PM)

They're just trying to get the rubbin' back in the racin', and with it the hot tempers, paybacks, flipoffs, etc., that make Bristol Bristol. Management there has been afraid the past two years that they made the place too clean.

Eric (SC)

You said the spoiler may help the "loose in" condition that plagues Jeff Gordon. Any ideas why this condition affects him at all? It seems to me that someone with his history and success on dirt tracks would prefer that since dirt cars are in an almost constant "loose" state.

Ed Hinton
  (2:27 PM)

Jeff and I have literally spent hours discussing this, and he gives a much more complicated explanation of the way he likes a car to set in the corners. He won't like this, but to my eyes he just doesn't like a loose car the way he did when he was younger. He was fine loose in his first six or eight years, for the reasons you mention.

Bill S. (High Point, NC)

You say your not in favor of the start and park guys, but without them we come one step closer to the franchise teams.

Ed Hinton
  (2:28 PM)

I didn't say I'm not in favor of them. I meant I don't think they hurt the show by dropping out, because 43 cars are too many anyway. If they want to come and earn a paycheck and leave, more power to 'em. I'd rather they do that than stay around throughout the race and get in the fast cars' way.

Rick (Buffalo, NY)

Is JRM going to run the #7 car all year with various drivers to keep it locked into the top 30 in points so when the media circus comes back from Indy Cars in a few months she won' have to qualify on time?

Ed Hinton
  (2:30 PM)

They're being somewhat nebulous about their plans, but I don't think qualifying on time would be an issue for her anyway.

Kyle (Burlington, VT)

Hey Ed, should us Denny Hamlin fans be concerned? Or is this just a bit of bad luck and being in the wrong place at the wrong time? He has been quoted as saying JGR will not be showing all its cards as early this year.

Ed Hinton
  (2:32 PM)

Also had another "should I worry about 11" question. Well, they certainly haven't gotten off to the start I expected. BUT, some of the teams are focusing on getting their act together with the spoiler, starting March 28 at Martinsville, and may be sacrificing performance in the few races remaining in the "wing season" as they call it. Better to make a call on the 11 after the spoilers are back -- plus, remember how well he runs at Martinsville, so that could be their calculated kickoff for showing their cards.

JAMMER (UTAH)

DOES MARK MARTIN GET HIS FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON THIS WEEK?

Ed Hinton
  (2:33 PM)

Has as good a shot as anyone. But watch out for Harvick, who's been running great everywhere.

Brian (NJ)

The 500 was amazing,only because someone like Jamie Mac won, The Racing has a long way to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Give it a few more weeks and it will be the same old story all year long, The Haves and Have nots !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ed Hinton
  (2:34 PM)

How can you say that, with a record 21 different leaders? Would you have grumbled if Junior had won? JJ?Honestly, some of you folks, I don't think will ever be happy with the racing.

jeff (kentucky)

any inside info about a cup date at ky speedway now the lawsuit has been dismissed again

Ed Hinton
  (2:35 PM)

No, but knowing the inside history, I would say Bruton's going to have to move one of his own races to Kentucky -- that, or buy out another track for another date.

Bill S. (High Point, NC)

We have 35 drivers locked into the race each week, sure its about money and sponsors, but it would be great to see that number decress to like 30 and make more people fight for those last spots. How many free spots are you in favor of? And the purist I am I'd really like to see every one need to qualify to get in like the old days.

Ed Hinton
  (2:36 PM)

I'm not in favor of any free spots. All time trials, I say. But the guaranteed spots amount to a bone NASCAR throws the better teams to keep them from constantly pushing for franchising. It's a tweener kind of thing.

Kane (IA)

is it just me or is Dale jr getting worse by the year

Ed Hinton
  (2:38 PM)

Just posting a standard Anti Junior Nation vent here, folks. His performance has suffered in recent times, but I think that's more because of his mindset. I think he's got a more positive mindset right now and will do better.

Sean (Socal)

Will Kyle make it two in a row at Vegas?

Ed Hinton
  (2:38 PM)

Very possibly. He looked mighty strong at times at Fontana. And he's better on the 1.5 milers than the 2.0.

Brian (NJ)

Even though Kahne and Harvick are running better,Kahne not by performance, but who bolts first? and where? I believe both need a change

Ed Hinton
  (2:39 PM)

Oh, I think Harvick's good as gone to Stewart-Haas next year, unless something happens where Tony can't find full sponsorship.

Kyle (Burlington, VT)

Do you think Joey Logano is ready to challenge for a chase spot yet? He has looked impressive in an admittedly small sample

Ed Hinton
  (2:39 PM)

Let's look at four or five more races, get some short tracks in, etc.

Justin (Northern Virginia)

Why would NASCAR even consider taking away one of the races at Martinsville? The kind of racing they get there is the kind that they seem to want to have with the beating and banging. Never seen a bad finish at Martinsville. Plus it's pretty cool to go from one short track to just down the road to another. If only Martinsville had lights.

Ed Hinton
  (2:41 PM)

Sheer greed. Money. Disregard for what the fans want, in favor of raking in all that casino money from Kansas. Killing the goose that laid the golden egg? Darn right. But they've been butchering away ever since Bill France Jr. stepped down as czar.

Smart One (NY)

Nascar should not be a sport it is a activity

Ed Hinton
  (2:41 PM)

Looks like somebody wandered in here from a hoops chat.

Ed (Fort Worth)

I know she's just doing her job, but I can't believe Gillian Zucker maintains Fontana needs two track dates. As a fan, I was embarrassed to see all the empty seats on the broadcast. Cali definitely only needs one, and YAR is right. Adding that date to Kansas would lose a lot of NASCAR's credibility they're trying to build, at least in my mind.

Ed Hinton
  (2:43 PM)

The key is, just doing her job. Gillian's a smart woman, and may know deep inside that a single race becomes much more of a happening to promote. Out your way, Eddie Gossage is feeling the two-race blues, to a lesser degree -- but he too would never admit it, in the course of doing his job.

Buckley (St. Louis)

Guess who??!! Biffle! Do you think Biffle will be able to go to the slate and take a run at the Las Vegas 400 this weekend? Do you think he has an Otter Pop's chance at pulling off a victory - I hope he milks that car like a common dairy cow this weekend! Oy vey and good luck!

Ed Hinton
  (2:44 PM)

I'm posting this one due to the sheer -- uh -- uniqueness of the phraseology.Yes, I think Biff has a good shot at winning.

James (Stillwater)

Why does Nascar every year follow up a typically exciting race in the Daytona 500 with a extremely boring race in California. I know cold weather limits options in February, but new fans who enjoyed Daytona might be uninterested after watching California

Ed Hinton
  (2:45 PM)

Na, I think fans know the difference. My neighbor is a very knowledgeable fan, and he thought Daytona was great, looked forward to Fontana on TV, and took the racing there for what it was -- considerably better than usual.

Brady (PA)

Ed,RCR cars have looked really strong for the first two races, do you think this is the real RCR or have they just been lucky so far.

Ed Hinton
  (2:46 PM)

That's all horsepower and handling. No luck there, except for the old Bobby Allison line that the harder you work the luckier you get.

Justin (NC)

I think the standardized times will make a huge difference, the spoiler will help too. My dad is actually watching the races this year, after not caring at all the last few years because he knows when the races start, and was so excited about the racing at Daytona that he didn't even care about the hole issue. He's even going with me to the Atlanta cup race. As big a Cup fan as he was during my childhood this gives me hope that they may be turning it around.

Ed Hinton
  (2:47 PM)

That's exactly what encourages me. "Veteran" fans like your dad and my neighbor are turning around, smiling again, saying things are looking up.

Justin (Northern Virginia)

Hey Ed, any advice for someone looking to get into journalism?

Ed Hinton
  (2:48 PM)

The same as I gave my 22-year-old son: law school. Journalism at the entry level is just too frantic right now.

Melting Snowman (MD)

Congrats to Carl Edwards and his wife on a new baby. Do you think the arrival of his new baby will affect his performance on racing in Sprint Cup?

Ed Hinton
  (2:50 PM)

Depends. If he tries to be an all-out, full-fledged, up all night father from the get-go . .. well, Jeff Gordon didn't get much sleep during that stage, and acknowledged it didn't help him on the track.

jeff (kentucky)

was the crew chief change for the 17 fair or do you thinf kennesth threw him under the bus

Ed Hinton
  (2:51 PM)

I think the latter. I think Matt's thrashing about for answers. That of course will make me a Kenseth basher among his fans, though I'm just trying to make an honest, objective observation.

James (Kennewick, WA)

Ed, What ever happened to talks of building a NASCAR track right here in the State of Washington? If NASCAR wants to build a bigger fan base they need to make attending a race more accecible.

Ed Hinton
  (2:51 PM)

Best I understand, some of your politicians out there quashed it.

Ed (Fort Worth)

Oh hell no, Gossage would never admit he was feeling the pinch. As much cain as he and Bruton raised about getting a second date, they won't say a word. I was at both races last year, front stretch was pretty packed, but the back stretch was thin at spots.

Ed Hinton
  (2:52 PM)

There you go. It's not just Fontana. Texas suffers too. and if ISC gives Kansas a second race, you'll see things cave in there too, casino notwithstanding.

Jason (bay area)

Talla or Bristol??

Ed Hinton
  (2:53 PM)

Why don't we run all the races at those two, half at Bristol, half at Dega?

Nino (Sterling Heights, MI)

Is Casey Mears career in NASCAR done? Just low budget teams for him? Or do you see him going back to RCR if Harvick leaves?

Ed Hinton
  (2:54 PM)

Unfortunately I think this is about it. If Harvick goes, look for somebody like Kahne, who's a proven winner.

Biff (the basement)

How bad is the rear axle issue at HMS or is it just an anomaly?

Ed Hinton
  (2:55 PM)

May be an issue until they get back from the West, but believe me, they'll work and get it fixed soon.

Mike (AZ)

What up with Gordon and Latart seems like they just cant get the right set-up figured out?

Ed Hinton
  (2:56 PM)

True, but hasn't that been the way of it for a year or so? Nothing really new there.

Drew (Pickerington, OH)

Does Jimmy Johnson's constant domination of the sport hurt NASCAR? I just don't see him as a Tiger figure where people watch hoping he wins everything he enters.

Ed Hinton
  (2:57 PM)

NASCAR fans generally don't like a dominating figure, so most people think it hurts. In any other sport, JJ might be worshiped.

jeff (kentucky)

tell dega to put some lights up and give us sat nite shootout

Ed Hinton
  (2:58 PM)

Now there's a thought.

T.B. (horrisville)

i didnt think The Biff did anything wrong racing Lagano during the Nationwide Race,,, did you?

Ed Hinton
  (2:59 PM)

Absolutely agree. The Biff did nothing wrong. If anything, Logano should have been miffed at Brad K, who did whack him.

YAR8pack (Candor)

Thank you, Mr Hinton. Though, I think some of your colleagues would disagree with my ability to interpret literature.

Ed Hinton
  (3:00 PM)

Bet Monte Dutton doesn't question you.

Ed Hinton
  (3:00 PM)

Well, gotta go folks. It's been fun as always. Thanks for stopping by, and see you next time.