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April 27, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Ed Hinton

Ed Hinton
  (1:59 PM)

Hi, all. Thanks for stopping by. Let's get to it.

Beth (Newbury Park, CA)

What is wrong at Roush-Fenway? It seems like all those Fords have forgotten how to race?

Ed Hinton
  (2:00 PM)

The drivers haven't. Maybe the Roush and Ford engineers have. They can't compete with GM and Toyota. And at Roush Fenway, operating as a business rather than a race team may be hurting.

Greg (VA)

Hey Ed, do you think Denny will get his 4th straight win in his home state this weekend?

Ed Hinton
  (2:00 PM)

I think he very well might.

ely (state college, pa)

great blog post today. i think that gordon "eating dust" and "jimmie's valet" are a little strong though. since johnson started in cup, gordon has the 3rd most wins (gordon 24, stewart 25), and based on total points would have two more championships. historically, gordon is 37 points in 1996 away from winning four in a row and five total. what johnson has done is certainly impressive, but let's not say gordon has been toast since 2002. 30 top tens in 2007!

Ed Hinton
  (2:01 PM)

All that you have mentioned feels, to Gordon, like "eating dust" and being JJ's valet. Running good is never the same as winning.

David (Huntsville, AL)

Hello Mr. Hinton, With Scotty SPeed's 5 top 20's vs. only 2 for all of 2009 do you think Scotty has proven that he's the real deal?

Ed Hinton
  (2:02 PM)

Not yet, but he's well on his way.

Jenny (Elizabeth Town)

Will Jeff Gordon win soon??? How do I be come a nascar reporter???

Ed Hinton
  (2:03 PM)

Yes, if his teammate will get out of the way. Being a NASCAR reporter is not a one-year climb. To me it's been a 35-year process.

Jordan McGraw (Lubbock, Texas)

Howdy Mr. Hinton! How about that finish? One of things I've agreed with you on is that multiple green-white-checkers are, while exciting to an extent, a bit contrived and usually end up wrecking alot of cars and costing teams even more money. Which brings me to my question: If you could get rid of one current rule, whic one and why? Thanks!

Ed Hinton
  (2:04 PM)

The green-white checkered is what I would get rid of -- even one of them. Nothing wrong with finishing races under caution. It's historic. Then NASCAR let a bunch of fans throwing cushions onto the track during a caution finish at Daytona a few years ago buffalo them.

YAR8pack (Candor)

Pleasant day, Mr Hinton. Just finished reading your blog. Good stuff. I've been pondering how it seems the NASCAR world may be righting itself. Racing has improved. The once NASCAR fortifield but unassailable COT has now become acceptable to change. Drivers are able to take risk and action with partial-impunity. And, finally, maybe, hopefully there's some sort of rivaly about to take shape. I don't know how much of a real rivalry or feud is about to commence--seems somewhat staged to me. Either way, I'll gladly take it. Just seems like NASCAR is ina cycle. Do you feel NASCAR is on the brink of a small rebirth by having a healthy feud? Afterall, Henry James tells "If evolution and survival of the fittest be true at all, the destruction of prey and of human rivals must be among the most important." Take it easy.

Ed Hinton
  (2:06 PM)

The resentment looks pretty legit on Gordon's part, although he knows the value of good rivalry. He has openly longed for a rivalry between him and Junior for years, to promote the sport.

Hugh (Maryland)

JGR seems to be flying under the radar with all the sponsor swap, JJ and Jeff spat, where do you think they are?

Ed Hinton
  (2:06 PM)

Well, Hamlin's certainly not under the radar. Kyle's showing signs of winning soon. Not sure about Joey.

kevin (new jersey)

Ed its a shame that one of the greatest races i have ever seen was won by my least favorite driver. And my new favorite driver david ragan had a chance to win on the last lap with mark martin but for some reason when mark caught denny hamlin for some reason he stayed in line instead of passing him.....anyway great race, and great finish

Ed Hinton
  (2:07 PM)

What, and he has the same first name as you?

kevin (new jersey)

do you think the only way for david ragan to make the chase is to have 36 restrictor plate races

Ed Hinton
  (2:08 PM)

Not the only way, but it sure wouldn't hurt.

Mel (Houston, Tx)

Give me a break, all the complaining about JJ run in X2 with Gordon. You (media) say he's vanilla - and he's showing some spice - teamate or not. If it was Kyle Busch - you would be loving it!

Ed Hinton
  (2:09 PM)

Did I say I didn't love it? You can criticize a guy and still love the spice. And JJ as villain is a new stripe that should liven up interest in him.

Branden (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ed, if JPM wasn't blindingly loyal to Ganassi, do you think any team out there would offer him a seat? RCR looks like they may need a driver, same with Petty. I would love to see Montoya driving for Tony Stewart.

Ed Hinton
  (2:10 PM)

Don't think Tony has any room, given all his circumstances. I do think RCR would have interest in a driver with JPM's grit.

Ed Hinton
  (2:10 PM)

Posting the next two together, for one answer.

Mike (Nijmegen, Netherlands)

In yesterday's chat Ryan McGee suggested that Tony Stewart won't win a championship as long as Hendrick will provide him form engines and chassis. Hendrick will provide Stewart from second tier parts and pieces, because otherwise he's a huge threat for Johnson and Gordon in the chase. Do you agree with this statement?

Jim (DC)

Maybe I am crazy but...I can't believe that Hendrick is selling engines (14, 39) that are equal to the engines he is putting into his own cars. Does Tony really think he can win a championship buying engines from his competition?

Ed Hinton
  (2:12 PM)

Tony's choices are very, very limited. Few teams the size of SHR dare start their own engine programs. Those things cost millions and millions a year. Trying it just about broke Darrell Waltrip's own team. Hendrick contends they put together all their engines on the line "blind." Plus, Tony gets a great deal from them. RCR has more power right now, but Tony couldn't get such a good deal from them.

Mike (Nijmegen, Netherlands)

Will Daytona and Talladega sweep their typical race circumstances now Daytona will be repaved by next years Daytona 500 and now 'Dega gets slippier and slippier?

Ed Hinton
  (2:13 PM)

They are VERY different tracks. Dega is wider and more forgiving. Daytona may get scary fast with repaving . . . but they'll just put on a smaller plate.

Lewis (DC)

Hi Ed, Great story with new information. My question is even if Gordon hadn't "discovered" Johnson wouldn't a driver of Jimmie's talent have been snatched up by Gibbs, Roush or Penske anyway?

Ed Hinton
  (2:14 PM)

I'm not so sure. Johnson wasn't getting a lot of attention at the time Gordon spotted him. Gibbs isn't the type to go out casting the net for unknowns. And if JJ had ended up with Roush or Penske, where would he really be now?

Brian (Richmond, Ky.)

Any chance the "IRL to Daytona after repaving" talk actually comes to fruition? I know ISC and NASCAR are technically separate, but there's no way NASCAR lets the open-wheelers on the high banks, right?

Ed Hinton
  (2:15 PM)

They tried to put Indy cars on Daytona right after it opened in 1959. It was a disaster. Never again. EVER. Unless they use the road course, but that would still leave the banking too risky.

Mike (Merrillville)

The sport has needed a rivalry forever. If jimmie wants to play, the Jeff should play. Jeff will spin him out one time and the fans will cheer. Don't you think its ironic that this is almost a complete 360 from how fans used to feel about Jeff? 15 years ago he was Jimmie and Earnhardt was him in this situation.

Ed Hinton
  (2:16 PM)

This reminds me a bit of how DW was a perennial boo victim until 1989, when Rusty spun him at the end of The Winston. DW's been a hero ever since.

gage (germany)

Hey Ed is Nascar implementing ways to make restrictor plate racing safer because of Carl Edwards comments after talledega last year?

Ed Hinton
  (2:17 PM)

They're trying to keep cars from going airborne, period.

kris (wi)

if it was dale jr. winning 4 straight titles and dominating the sport would people love it or start to hate him like they hate JJ?

Ed Hinton
  (2:17 PM)

Good question. Suspect Anti-Junior Nation would be bigger and louder.

JT (Smith, Nevada)

After all the wrecks Waltrip has caused over the years isn't it hyprocritical of Waltrip to make negative comments about Kyle especially since Waltrip is basically a start and parker?

Ed Hinton
  (2:18 PM)

Don't think MW meant to start and park that one, but yes, he sounded pretty odd criticizing somebody else's bad move.

Ryan M (NJ)

What are the odds of these two racing for different teams within the next 5 years?

Ed Hinton
  (2:19 PM)

Who, Jeff and Jimmie? No chance. Gordon's signed for life, Jimmie through 2015.

Marybeth S (PA)

How come all Sunday, no one talked about Mark. And bam he finishes 5th. Why is that. With Phoenix Racing for sale do you think he will buy it, b.c. they get Hendrick chassis & engines.

Ed Hinton
  (2:20 PM)

You must have missed our live chat. We talked about Mark some. He was in survive-this-race mode in the race he calls The Lotto, and he did. Doubt he'd want the headaches of owning a team. The sad part about Phoenix for sale is that owner James Finch is one of the nicest and most colorful guys in the sport, and he will be missed.

wooly (macon, ga.)

was it nice to see that jimmy j don't come close to winning .

Ed Hinton
  (2:21 PM)

Nice or not, he wasn't close to winning Sunday. Started on the pole and barely contended from there.

TG (PA)

Harvick rode around in the back until the last 50 laps. Last year he called Carl a "pansy" for doing that same thing. What gives.

Ed Hinton
  (2:21 PM)

You know Kevin. You know Carl. Enough said.

KB (Sunny Florida)

Is it coincidental that James Finch puts his sometime Hendrick affiliated team up for sale about the same time as the Kahne signing and Martin expressing interest in team ownership? You can guess where I'm going with this...

Ed Hinton
  (2:22 PM)

I know, but like I said, regardless of what Mark may think now, I just don't think he'd want that headache after really thinking about it.

Armando (Ft. Meyers, Fl)

Now that Dale finished 14th at Dega is his next best chance to win a cup race Daytona in July?

Ed Hinton
  (2:22 PM)

Yes.

Randy (Texas)

Does the Daytona 500 mean they travel 500 miles, or 500 laps?

Ed Hinton
  (2:23 PM)

miles. track is 1.5 miles around. 200 laps, 500 miles.

lynn (flordia)

who decieds which series goes to which tracks

Ed Hinton
  (2:23 PM)

ultimately Mike Helton.

Mark (Mount Airy, MD)

Hey Ed, Does Graham Rahall have a ride for Indy this year?????

Ed Hinton
  (2:24 PM)

If you can call Sarah Fisher Racing backup car a ride.

Jack (Brooklyn, NY)

Do we know who will be inducting Earnhardt into the hall of fame yet?

Ed Hinton
  (2:25 PM)

All I know is, it shouldn't be Teresa and it shouldn't be Dale Jr., because if it's one of them the other won't show up. To me, Rusty Wallace would be the best candidate. He knew him longer, better even than DW, who was quite an Earnhardt critic in their time.

Jordan (Lubbock, Texas)

It looks like Hendrick Motorsports is down at restrictor plate tracks this year. None of the four cars have been able to put a full strong run together. Is it just me, or have other teams caught up to them at Daytona and Dega?

Ed Hinton
  (2:26 PM)

RCR has more power than anybody, especially on plate tracks, this year.

Billy (Birmingham)

Hey Ed, do you think JPM can salvage the chase? How many wins do you see him getting this year?

Ed Hinton
  (2:26 PM)

I still think he can win on an intermediate oval or two.

Mike (Paris, OH)

In the TIME magazine article Brian France leaves open the possibility of changing the posint system again. Any chance we will go back to a season long championship system since it seems most fans are still anti-Chase after 6 years?

Ed Hinton
  (2:27 PM)

No chance of old way. Look out for a more jazzed-up chase, though.

Dan (New Jersey)

What do you think is the reason behind Gordon's increased success this year?

Ed Hinton
  (2:28 PM)

Increased intensity. Letarte is more focused and dedicated than ever. Both of them are more physically fit, which the Hendrick mindset believes increases concentration. Also, Letarte has finally found the right chassis combo for Jeff's old-school style.

John (CA)

Ed, is Elliott Sadler washed up?

Ed Hinton
  (2:29 PM)

Unless he somehow falls into a ride with a better team, and that would be a miracle.

Mike (Bolivar, OH)

The truck series takes a month off. Why don't they go to North Wilkesboro or Rokcingham during that month? It could be a one-day show and very inexpensive for the teams.

Ed Hinton
  (2:30 PM)

Rockingham's in shape to handle them. Wilkesboro may have a little ways to go. But both are in VERY small markets, and that's the biggest obstacle.

Dave (Ohio)

What do you think about the 24 chance this weekend to win? He was pretty strong at Richmond last year..

Ed Hinton
  (2:30 PM)

Good chance, although his real strength this year has been on intermediate tracks like Vegas and Texas.

Donald (Livermore, CA)

Do you think AJ will follow Kasey out the door at RPM seeking greener pastures?

Ed Hinton
  (2:31 PM)

Yep, if a good door opens for A.J.

Jason (CA)

What did you think of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton laughing about how slow Schumacher was in China during the post race press conference?

Ed Hinton
  (2:32 PM)

Michael never should have tried that comeback. Now he gets the sort of medicine Nigel Mansell got for his ill advised comeback.

Rob F (Hoboken, NJ)

Hey Ed, Good piece, as usual. If the rift between JG and JJ is legit, will it have an impact on the 24/48 shop and their overall performance on the track? I don't know how it truly works in there, but I gotta imagine it's a negative for both...

Ed Hinton
  (2:33 PM)

Been wondering about that myself. I've actually been inside the 2448 shop and they were warm and fuzzy beyond belief. They probably still are -- for now. But if this goes on . . .

Maxine (Terrell, Texas)

Do you think that just like baseball players step it up and play harder during contract years Harvick is doing the same trying to boost his value?

Ed Hinton
  (2:33 PM)

Na, I think Harvick is always all-out. He just has the engines to do it right now.

Mike (Paris, OH)

More jazzed up Chase? I think I am going to get sick :(

Ed Hinton
  (2:34 PM)

That's life in NASCAR nowadays.

lee (atlanta, ga)

uh ed, daytona is 2.5 miles around, not 1.5.

Ed Hinton
  (2:35 PM)

brain fade. sorry. i did have the other math right, 200 laps, 500 miles. but hit the wrong digit.

Shawn (Gastonia, NC)

I am not a big fan of three GWC's at the end of the race either. I think the problem could be resolved in a hybrid approach. With 5 laps to go (4 at road courses or restrictor plate tracks) to the white, there would be a GWC, however only lead-lap cars are allowed to participate, the "lucky dog" would lead the rest of the cars to the garage and the rest would be allowed to race. That would reduce the clutter and chances of the back of the pack forcing another GWC.

Ed Hinton
  (2:35 PM)

don't complicate things for the guys in the tower even more. they have a hard enough time.

KINJY (INDY)

What if anything can be done by Nascar to save the truck series from folding?Each year it's a little less and soon will be gone.

Ed Hinton
  (2:37 PM)

Don't know what can be done. Their racing -- the product -- is fine. I always thought it was an ill-advised series to begin with. So did Bill France Jr. But Ford and GM talked him into creating it as a marketing forum for their trucks.

Teri (Burbank)

Interesting comment about the Hendrick mindset regarding being "fit." What does Jr. do to workout/be fit?

Ed Hinton
  (2:37 PM)

I said that's the Hendrick mindset. I didn't say they enforced it with everyone. Letarte is a new convert.

KINJY (INDY)

I wish Kasey all the luck in the world at Hendrick but is it good for NASCAR?If teams like RPM and other "mid major" teams become nothing more than feeder teams to the 3-4 big time teams can the series grow?

Ed Hinton
  (2:39 PM)

Well, F1 has operated for a long time on two or three top teams a year. This is NASCAR evolution and would be very hard to stop. Besides, when you get intra-mural feuds like at Hendrick now, that's pretty spicey -- like with Senna and Prost at McLaren years ago. They wrecked each other in the season finale in Japan, and it was the talk of F1 for the entire off season.

Eric (PA)

Heres a question: Its the final lap at Richmond, 48 is leading but 24 is on his back bumper..What happens next?

Ed Hinton
  (2:40 PM)

24 moves him, of course. if 48 just moves, 24 will own up to a short track shove-and-go. if 48 wrecks, 24 will come up with something like, "didn't mean it but he had one coming." something like that.

Mike (CA)

Why is JJ the villian in all this? To me, Gordon is and always will be nothing but a golden boy crybaby. "I'm trying hard for the first time in the last five years, and my teammate is still better, boo hoo".

Ed Hinton
  (2:40 PM)

24 has a decent car for a change.

JD (Georgia)

Ed, Sunday's race was one to remember. I have one question however. What would Senior say about the "out of bounds" yellow line? I think that it causes more issues then it prevents.

Ed Hinton
  (2:41 PM)

i agree. senior wouldn't have liked it, but they might have forced it on him. he'd have gone below it a time or two to test the rule.

Sue (NC)

Didn't Michael Waltrip have 4 cars that were illegal at Texes?

Ed Hinton
  (2:42 PM)

It was a radiator pan NASCAR said had not been approved. MWR said they didn't know it needed approving. Seriously doubt it made much difference.

Rich (Illinois)

Why is it that everybody will draft with Junior until the last 20 laps and then he get's hung out to dry. Is he a product of his own success at restrictor plate tracks? Also do you envision at least a top 10 for him this weekend?

Ed Hinton
  (2:43 PM)

I don't think anybody wants any part of him one-on-one on a plate track late. This week, top 10 yes, because Richmond's a good track for him.

Cale (Boston)

The Truck Series needs to go back to its roots and run more short tracks. When it started, it was the national touring series that would still run the local places, at a time when the Busch Series was abandoning them. Bring it back to that and it will connect with a lot more fans.

Ed Hinton
  (2:44 PM)

Very well might, but NASCAR is enamored with how the Trucks perform on the big tracks. They tout that all the time.

Dan (NC)

Did you know if your last name is France, you are above the law?

Ed Hinton
  (2:44 PM)

You mean the dropped charges on J.C. in Volusia County recently?

Manny (Winter Park, FL)

Spencer was saying last night that Jimmie's weak link is his restrictor plate race and he's never won a road course. If Jimmie sort of a 1.5 miler and Martinsville specialist?

Ed Hinton
  (2:45 PM)

Please don't force me into agreeing with Spencer. DW once proposed giving us a topic and letting us argue for an hour. Sort of a fight of the century for the opinionated.

Howard (VA)

Nice run the 11 car is on now. Are they the favorite to win in Richmond? How good are they going to be when Hamlin's knee is close to 100% and he isnt in pain.

Ed Hinton
  (2:47 PM)

They're the Richmond favorites, but watch out for teammate 18, who's also good there. The 11 team should be strong from here out -- if they don't get back to their old pit problems.

Lexi (San Dimas, CA)

Do you rate Henricks, Gibbs, Childress and Penske as the Big 4 with Roush-Fenway, Stewert, Red Bull, Waltrip, RPM as Tier 2 teams?

Ed Hinton
  (2:47 PM)

Top four, agreed. After that I'd put Roush and Stewart as the second two, then the others.

David (Los Angeles)

Was Dale Jr.'s 443 quality passes the most ever in a Cup race. Although I have no problem with riding in the back (as many top finishers did), as a fan who gave up my Sunday, I really appreciate guys like Junior who raced hard all day long.

Ed Hinton
  (2:48 PM)

"Quality passes" is some sort of NASCAR stats fabrication which I neither understand fully, nor recognize.

Sam(St Louis) [via mobile]

Why does newman have such bad luck at talladega? Is it something he is doing?

Ed Hinton
  (2:49 PM)

If anything it's that Newman always seems to drive on or over the limits of his car, everywhere. And that can, and usually does, bite you at Talladega.

Tim (AZ)

Hey Ed, when it comes down to it, will any Roush cars be anywhere near the title hunt? Also, what is your opinion of the FR9? It doesn't seem like it even really exists.

Ed Hinton
  (2:50 PM)

They claim the FR9 is being slowly adapted and developed, team by team. They'd better hurry up if they want to make the Chase.

Remy (KC)

Is the reason the IRL race is Sat. and the truck race Sunday here at Kansas so that the Sprint Cup drivers can make the race Sunday?

Ed Hinton
  (2:50 PM)

Maybe it's because the Truck race is the bigger attraction.

Cale (Boston)

Based on how well it worked for Harvick on Sunday, the rest of the field has to be hoping the JJ-JG thing escalates into full blown war, right?

Ed Hinton
  (2:52 PM)

I suspect there are some chuckles going through the garage, but Harvick gave me a straight-faced answer about it Friday. Course, that was before the race.

Gordon (Mt. Oliver, PA)

Hr. Hinton, Do you think Kyle Busch will be celebrating his 25th birthday Sunday with a Richmond win Sat night?

Ed Hinton
  (2:53 PM)

Either that, or teammate 11 will be celebrating his fourth "home state" win. One of the two.

Billy (Union, SC)

If Dale can only manage a 14th at Dega do you really think he has a shot a winning a race this year?

Ed Hinton
  (2:54 PM)

If he learned something about the new drafting techniques, he could win Daytona in July or Talladega fall race. That's about all I can see.

dz (phx, az)

hey ed. it seems as though drivers do alot of crying lately. i'm no professional driver but if i were a driver i would get motivated to drive harder the next weekend. my take is shut up and win some races! any thoughts?

Ed Hinton
  (2:55 PM)

They drive hard all the time. They can't motivate their cars.

Nick (Chicago)

Ed, I know you think the Chase is a publicity stunt, but thoughts on IndyCar's 3 championships--announced mid-season?

Ed Hinton
  (2:56 PM)

IndyCar move seems pretty limp to me. If it's a publicity stunt, they're not going to get much out of it. They have a hard enough time drawing attention to their points champion.

Mike (Nijmegen, Netherlands)

What's the deal with drivers becoming a teamowner more and more? It seems like a new trend or did it happen back in the day already (also with big suppliers offering engines and chassis?)

Ed Hinton
  (2:57 PM)

Oh, it happens from time to time, through the years. They perceive their car owners making big bucks, and want to cash in themselves. Most of the time they regret it.

Leo (Carrolton, TX)

Liked your story on Kyle Busch but aren't Kyle and Dave just following the Johnson-Knaus formula of focusing on big picture, insuring #18 makes the chase, win 2-3 chase races and the Sprint Cup?

Ed Hinton
  (2:58 PM)

No, I think the 18 team would take a win in a heartbeat if they could get it. And since I wrote the playing possum thing about the 48, they've come to the point that they could use a straight-up win, too.

Justin (Northern Virginia)

Hey Ed, is it me or is the racing better this season not because of that sharp fin or the return of the rear spoiler but because NASCAR ease up and let the drivers settle things themselves? It just seems that since the drop of the green flag at Daytona there's been a bunch of hard racing along with some more beating and banging all season long.

Ed Hinton
  (2:59 PM)

"Have at it" is the basic difference, but the aero changes have helped enormously too. For once, NASCAR's got its whole package right. Now if they just won't mess with it . . .

Woody (Spartanburg, SC)

Do you think it is good for the sport to have a team like Hendrick Motorsports hoarding all the driving talent. Me and my father fight about this a lot. I myself see no problem with it but he is an old school guy and he calls it a monopoly.

Ed Hinton
  (3:00 PM)

A lot of sports have those, like the Yankees. I think it helps a bit in drawing mainstream public attention, but hurts with solid fans like your dad.

Marcus (League City, TX)

How come Little Dale never has had a feud like Jimmie vs Jeff or Carl vs Harvicks or Everybody vs Brad?

Ed Hinton
  (3:00 PM)

Junior has just never been the fender-banger his old man was.

Steve (Grovtucky, OH)

Will kentucky ever get a cup race.

Ed Hinton
  (3:01 PM)

Don't think so -- and if they do, it'll be just another cookie cutter. ho hum.

Blake (Abilene, TX)

Ed, as popular as auto racing is world wide it surprises me that Jimmie Johnson is not getting more pub. for what he is doing? His domination can be compared tothat of Tigers or Roger federrer.

Ed Hinton
  (3:02 PM)

I call it the NFL vs soccer syndrome. The NFL is hugely popular here but nowhere else. Soccer is popular everywhere but here. Same with NASCAR and F1.

Ed Hinton
  (3:02 PM)

With that, folks, gotta go. Thanks for visiting.