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October 19, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with David Newton

David Newton
  (1:59 PM)

So the Chase is down to three drivers in Johnson, Hamlin and Harvick. Do you think it will stay that way or is JJ on his way to a fifth straight? Lots to talk about. Fire away.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

I am Just Curious Why does the Sprint Cup Series Qualifies for either the Coca-Cola 600 or the Bank of America on a Thursday Night?

David Newton
  (2:00 PM)

It's a long-standing tradition. The thought when it began, I suspect, was to add another day of activities to the home track for most teams. Honestly, I believe it's time to go to a Friday-Saturday show for the October race.

Ryan (Reynoldsburg,Ohio)

What are your thoughts on the passing of jeff byrd

David Newton
  (2:01 PM)

Sad. A first-class man who did a lot for theh sport and making Bristol the crown jewel.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Do you think that we will see Danica Patrick in the 54th Daytoma 500 which will probably be on Sunday February 19,2012 for her first Sprint Cup race?

David Newton
  (2:01 PM)

I have a sneaky suspicion you might.

Fred (Al) [via mobile]

Wats the latest news on Jeff Gordon sponsorship.

David Newton
  (2:02 PM)

Hearing they are close, that Hendrick is confident he has something locked up. Heard reports of 7-eleven last weekend. Stay tuned.

Fred (Al) [via mobile]

Wats the latest news on Justin Allgaier?

David Newton
  (2:03 PM)

Talked to him at Charlotte. It all depends on sponsorship, but nothing definite. Read my blog about him and Danica Patrick on ESPN.com and see what you think.

Rick (Philly)

David - I am looking forward to the Tim Richmond story tonight. From what I understand he may be the best natural talent to ever be in NASCAR. There is another aspect of his story, however. Lifestyle choices have consequences. I personally believe that one of the worst things that happened to sports was when we started to see the athletes up close and personal. I am not really interested what they do outside of their sport. But it is what it is and NASCAR more than most cares about the personalities of its drivers. While Tim's life was exciting and certainly colorful give me the vanilla persona of JJ anytime. From a role model standpoint there is no comparison. But like I said I really am interested in what the driver does on the track so I can't wait for this evening.

David Newton
  (2:07 PM)

I am not willing to say he was the best natural talent ever in NASCAR, but he was pretty darn good in the short time he was with us. While his lifestyle was colorful, the video doesn't give the perception he was out of control and since he wasn't married the sexual choices that infected him with aids was just part of those times when aids awareness first came into play. Make sure you catch the film. Well done.

Ryan (Reynoldsburg,Ohio)

I am fairly new to the sport began watching 05. But i have a real respect for the history of the sport, could you tell me a littel about Tim Richmond.

David Newton
  (2:08 PM)

Real flamboyant. Lived on a yacht in Florida, had a New York apartment. Came from money. A real character who loved to live life to the fullest.

Kevin (Boston)

Newt, I get the feeling that JJ is starting to become like Dale Sr. Just the meer sight of his car in the mirror is enough to make you sweat. I am not a fan of his but who can't be impressed by Saturday night?

David Newton
  (2:09 PM)

He's not intimidating like Dale Earnhardt was. As Jeff Burton said, Earnhardt would knock your "a**" out of the way. Johnson doesn't do that. But there is that uh-oh, here he comes feeling whe you see the 48 in the mirror.

Brenda (Baytown TX)

Dave with all the crap that has gone on over there at RPM or whatever they call themselves this day and time, Kasey Kahne has given them 11 wins and two non points races. He has won 4 races plus the all star race and a Daytona duel in crapy cars. Does Robbie Loomis really think Kasey is not pulling his weight? How many of their other drivers has won them a race? Does Robbie Loomis, really think Kasey Kahne is not doing his job?

David Newton
  (2:11 PM)

I wouldn't call them crappy calls first off. Paul Menard has run well in them and for the most part Roush Fenway has benefited from what RPM has found in its body building. I don't believe Robbie said Kasey wasn't pulling is weight. He just said Kasey needs to suck it up and play this thing out, not give up so easily when things go south.

Tracy (CT)

So who exactly is this "boss" that we are going to see "undercover" on Sunday night?

David Newton
  (2:11 PM)

Steve Phelps, a NASCAR executive. I don't know much about ti to be honest. We'll both find out more on Sunday night.

Jacob (McLoud)

We see the loophole Shell has in the Exclusivity clause in using Pennzoil. Why doesn't Verizon and AT&T do the same thing by branding their Cable and Internet branches.

David Newton
  (2:12 PM)

Trust me, they've tried everything.

cameron dopman (Saratoga Springs NY/Flint MI)

I do agree that they need more short tracks, but what they truely need are more road courses, like an extra race a year at both Watkins Glen and Infineon, add Road America and Mexico City, bring back riverside, and put a road course race in the chase. They also need to put Atlanta back in the chase. Ever since i was little, Atlanta was an end of the year staple race, but i find out that it wont be in the chase anymore. We need to spice things up.

David Newton
  (2:14 PM)

I don't disagree. Adding anothe road course or two would be find with me. The problem is you can't pack a large crowd to watch and there aren't a lot of viewing spots to see the whole track. Good for TV, not great for the track.

Jeff (Virginia)

Daivd, great article on martinsville. Is it just me or does this sundays race have the potential to be an instant classic? Denny vs. Johnson for the win and potentially the championship..

David Newton
  (2:14 PM)

It does. Plan on writing about that for my Friday column.

Tracy (CT)

So I guess nothing came out of the NW meeting? Is NASCAR to scared to tell the 18, 60, 33, and 22 to cut back to half a season or less?

David Newton
  (2:15 PM)

Yeah, I was shocked they didn't say anything about Cup drivers backing off. From what I was told nothing earth-shattering came out of it.

Chris N. (Crestview, FL)

Is the 88 team the laughing stock of NASCAR right now?

David Newton
  (2:15 PM)

Might be a bit extreme, but it's certainly not the standard bearer.

Chris N. (Crestview, FL)

If you listen to the 88 teams digital channel in the race (Not the regular scanner channel, its the one Junior can't hear) The team pretty much bashes him all race. Is there any hope for this team in its current configuration? They obviously don't believe in each other?

David Newton
  (2:16 PM)

I've written that a few times, but people in the organization seem to believe that's not the case. You may be on to something.

RAY GORDON REID ( ASHBURN VA 20146)

QUESTION TO DAVID NEWTON AT 2.25 PM HI DAVID WHO YOU HAVE FOR MARTINSVILLE SUNDAY

David Newton
  (2:16 PM)

Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin will tie.

Courtney (Ontario)

Do you think there will be more to come of this Kasey Kahne/RPM situation? Or is it over?

David Newton
  (2:17 PM)

Not much that can be done. Kasey has to finish the season for Budweiser. Case closed.

Tracy (CT)

NASCAR does need more short tracks! It needs Iowa. Although they will probably never get a race in Cup there unless they sell to SMI or ISC.

David Newton
  (2:17 PM)

Yeah, there is that little problem. I suggested Bruton Smith should buy it.

SCOTT ((DENTON.TX))

WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT JJ SPINOUT RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE GREEN RUN STRETCH IN THE RACE AND CAME BACK AND FINISH THIRD AT THE END OF THE RACE.

David Newton
  (2:18 PM)

It was a championship comeback. Surprised he didn't win the race.

Ray (CT)

I don't think Jr was ever as irrelavent as he was in the last race. I feel like his fans are going to be forced to endure one more year of this before any changes are made (gustafson to the 88 when Kahne arrives).

David Newton
  (2:19 PM)

Yeah, think Danica finished fewer laps back in Nationwide race than Junior in the Cup race. U may be right on Gustafson and Junior.

SCOTT ((DENTON.TX))

IF JAMIE MACMURRAY WAS IN THE CHASE THIS YEAR DO YOU THING THAT HE WILL BE A THREAT TO WIN THE TITLE FOR THIS YEAR.

David Newton
  (2:19 PM)

Well, he's good at Talladega and has had decent runs on the other tracks. Not sure he's ready to compete with the 48 and 11, but he would be a threat for top 5.

Jimmy (New York)

Dale Jr's crew chief next year: A) Lance McGrew B)Alan Gustafson C) none of the above. Also not that you need to hear something you already know but I'm to the point that as Jr. continues his slide I continue to fall more disinterested in nascar.

David Newton
  (2:20 PM)

A. And don't give up on the sport because of one driver. Pick another and have Junior as your backup.

Ray (CT)

Nascar should just buy all the tracks so that the dates arent held hostage by tracks that offer terrible racing. Or would it be possible to sell contacts to own race dates. Then tracks can bid on them for a certain number of years 3, 5 etc... it is just clear that something should be done.

David Newton
  (2:22 PM)

What if a company, not NASCAR, but maybe Disney or something like that owned all the tracks and set the schedule? Agree, though, it would be great if the schedule didn't have any restrictions when being set.

Howard (VA)

Is it to late for Hamlin? He can win on Sunday and then Dega is a crap shoot... DH needs to pick up 20 points this weekend though. Will anyone beat out JJ for the title?

David Newton
  (2:23 PM)

Listening to Denny on a conference call now. He says the pressure is on JJ cause the 11 has won the last two races at Martinsville. Sure he can come back. He's been really consistent.

Matt (Charlotte, NC)

Hey David, just read Ryan McGee's article on Tim Richmond, was wondering if any of the driver's at the time reached out to him or helped him in any way? or was he just given the cold shoulder by everyone in nascar?

David Newton
  (2:24 PM)

No, most didn't. As Kyle Petty says in the film, one of his biggest regrets was he didn't reach out. If you recall, Aids was scary at that time because of so many unknowns. The reaction was in a way understandable.

SCOTT ((DENTON.TX))

AND O ABOUT YOU QUESTION FOR WHEN YOU ARE COMING TO TEXAS AT FOR A COUPLE OF DAYS THAT GOT SOME GOOD RESTRAUANT'S DOWN HEAR IF YOU LIKE PORK-RIBS ALSO IF YOU LIKE JUST ANY OTHER FOOD HEAR THAT GOT THAT TOO HOPE YOU HAVE FUN HEAR IN A COUPLE OF DAYS HEAR IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS.

David Newton
  (2:24 PM)

Love pork ribs. Love any kind of ribs. I'll arrive on Thursday and be ready to hunker down with a bib.

Andy (Chicago)

Love your story today. I agree in full. Shame the old Chicago Motor Speedway is gone. Would have been a change of pace from the 1.5 mile tracks.

David Newton
  (2:25 PM)

Shame a lot of the old tracks are gone. All for the sake of progress,I suppose.

Jeremy (Port Angeles)

With Danica announcing her 1st 4 races for 2011. What do you think the rest of Danica 2011 nationwide series schedule would look like?

David Newton
  (2:26 PM)

She said 13 or 14 races. Hearing Indy likely won't be one. Is there one in particular you are interested?

jason (las vegas)

Heard about DTM being involved with NASCAR. Do you know anything more about this?

David Newton
  (2:26 PM)

Not much at this time.

zack (las vegas)

Since Kenny Francis is leaving who will be Marcos Ambrose's crew chief in 2011?

David Newton
  (2:28 PM)

Now that is a tough question. Will ask around this weekend.

Jeff (SC)

Why is ESPN and Ryan Magee prasing Tim Richmond? He was alcoholic , did hard drugs , addicted to prostitutes and Knowlingly spread AIDS to unsuspecting woman. Thats murder. Dont you think thats ridiculous?

David Newton
  (2:29 PM)

Said the piece was good, not that Richmond was a saint. Do you watch Law and Order? Lots of bad stuff happening on there. Do you watch Surviror? They eat bugs. If you don't watch and are a NASCAR fan you'll be missing out. Just saying.

Cory (Geneva, IL)

How does NASCAR deal with ties on the track at any position at the end of the race?

David Newton
  (2:30 PM)

I was joking about DH and JJ tying by the way. Never has been a tie in a race, so not sure what they'd do. Not sure it could happen. as for the Chase if there's a tie the first tie-breaker is wins.

kimberly (new hampshire)

What is your take on the Kasey Kahne situation? Should they not give him more respect given what he has done for them?

David Newton
  (2:30 PM)

The guy is bailing on the organization, so to speak. And I don't think this has been disrespetful.

Ron (OH)

Who thought it would be a good idea to make racetracks 8-10 lanes wide? Give me a Darlington over a Fontana any day.

David Newton
  (2:31 PM)

Got me, but whoever it was didn't ask the fans. Agree on Darlington 200 percent.

Ron (OH)

So how was the attendance on Saturday?

David Newton
  (2:31 PM)

Less than 100,000, better than they were anticipating. Overall, not great.

SCOTT ((DENTON,TX))

DO YOU THING THAT BESIDE JJ DO YOU IS ANY ONE ELSE LIKE A HAMLIN OR A HARVICK TAKING IT AWAY FROM JJ AT THE IN OF THE YEAR IF WHO DO YOU THING HAS A SHOT AT IT.

David Newton
  (2:32 PM)

If one or both of those guys can stay within 30 going to Homestead it'll be fun to see what happens. Sure I believe it can happen.

Billy (TN)

Do you think there is any chance that Labonte takes over the #47, Ambrose moves to the #9 and Kahne takes the wheel of the #83 for the last couple of races? Seems like Labonte being free to do this would make it work. Thanks.

David Newton
  (2:33 PM)

Nope. Budweiser has too much invested.

Mark (Mount Airy,MD)

Hello David, Kudos on picking Jamie Mac to win last week. Who you got this week??????

David Newton
  (2:34 PM)

Glad somebody remembered I pulled one out of my . . . Hard to pick against JJ or Hamlin this week, but I'll go with Gordon. If I keep picking him he'll win one day.

Ron (OH)

Any suggestions for a person going to Martinsville for the first time? Besides the hot dogs?

David Newton
  (2:35 PM)

I usually stay in Greensboro, so can't recommend a lot of places around there. The hot dogs are good if you can get past the red ink. Otherwise, get there early to beat traffic and enjoy a great race.

Kevin (Texas)

Another chase, another predictable finish.. no wonder nascar's ratings are down. They are stupid to be going head to head with the the NLCS and Ohio st. Wisconsin plus the NFL on Sundays do they not realize this when they make the schedule. Oh well, soon the sport will be irrelevant when all the races are on speed and the vs. channel just like the IRL

David Newton
  (2:36 PM)

I'd love to see the season shortened and end the first week or so in September, but that's not likely to happen. Other best solution would be Thursday night races.

Bobby (Midland Park nj )

Hi Dave the chase is only 8 races the last 2 no one races the leader I guess they do not want to get black balled nascar.

David Newton
  (2:36 PM)

Don't agree.

Adam (NC)

David any news on AJ and best buy and is it true Marcos Ambrose is maybe thinking he made a mistake signing with RPM

David Newton
  (2:37 PM)

Still hearing Best Buy to stay with AJ. Haven't heard the Ambrose deal. Think he likes the check they wrote him, although with RPM's financial troubles _ particularly George Gillett's, I'd be wary.

Josh (Ga)

Is Ron Hornaday looking elsewhere for next year?

David Newton
  (2:38 PM)

Not that I have heard.

JT (TX)

Hey Newt, with all the recent news about the history of NASCAR- HOF and Richmond-I was wondering if, in terms of accomplishments, team and equipment, any driver has ever done less with more than Dale jr?

David Newton
  (2:38 PM)

You could make that case for sure.

Jack (Brooklyn, NY)

Dave, I realize this question is completely hypothetical but, had they each lived, who do you think would have had the most successful career in Cup: Tim Richmond, Alan Kulwicki, or Davey Allison?

David Newton
  (2:39 PM)

Wow. A powerful trio. I'll go with Davey Allison. Richmond had arguably more talent but likely would have burned out faster.

Todd (Ga)

David, Do you think that with the way JR has been running at HMS that when his contract is up he will have a lot of options on where he wants to go, or is he going to pretty much going to have to bring JR motorsports to cup?

David Newton
  (2:40 PM)

You left out Childress, of course. It all depends on how marketable he is. If sponsors still flock to him then any team would take a gamble.

John (PA)

David, what do you think the chances are of seeing the "pony cars" in Sprint Cup in the next few years???

David Newton
  (2:40 PM)

They get my vote, but not happening. Cup is making changes that will make them closer, but not the same.

Jason (Atlanta)

Dave, First of all, absolutely upset we are losing a race here in Hotlanta and they're keeping two dates at Pocono. my question for you, will Hamlin be able to close in on Johnson this weekend at martinsville?

David Newton
  (2:41 PM)

He believes he will and is pretty convincing talking about it. That probably means not. Sure his words only add more motivation to JJ.

Trini (new hampshire)

Hey newt how's the injury? Heard Hornaday might be talking to other teams. is that true? what's going on?

David Newton
  (2:42 PM)

Ribs are healing, but sore. Not up to speed on Hornaday's talks. He and Harvick are tight, but Harvick also wants to use Sadler more.

Ryan (Ventura CA)

I see that the next gen. car is scheduled for 2013, and could possibly be pony cars. Any chance nascar could move that up a year seems that may be the shot in the arm nascar needs camaro vs mustang

David Newton
  (2:44 PM)

Not the pony cars, but something that will be close to that. The new front nose next year is a start.

Riley (Oregon)

Hi, Mr. Newton, do Gordon, Martin, Burton and Harvick complain about getting regularly beaten by guys like Jamie and Stewart who run customer cars from RCR and HMS?

David Newton
  (2:44 PM)

Not at all. Should they?

TG (PA)

I liked your mention of the passing of June Cleaver. I'll bet she wore her pearl necklace to the end! Loved that show.

David Newton
  (2:44 PM)

Huge fan of Leave it to Beaver. Godspeed June.

Iron Head Forever (NY)

Is Jeffrey the best driver in the Earnhardt family nowadays?

David Newton
  (2:46 PM)

Nah, think that honor goes to Taylor, a top barrel rider on horses.

Billy (georgia)

With ratings only down 3% on ABC and a lot higher on ESPN, wouldn't it make more sense to put the races on ABC instead of cable and couldn't NASCAR demand they should?

David Newton
  (2:46 PM)

Seems the ESPN ratings were pretty steady last year. Not sure how to explain what has happened this year, but I appreciate your logic.

Rick (Philly)

David - Loved the short track article. Could not agree with you more. Martinsville is my favorite track in spite of the location and lack of amenities. The action is non-stop. I have seen both JG and JJ get bumped early only drive from the back to lead the race. There is action at both ends and on every lap. Even the pit stops are more exciting. I suspect that we will look back at the 1.5 mile tracks someday like we did the multi purpose stadiums of the 70's. Sounds great in theory but turned out to be a miserable fan experience. Unfortunately we just added Kentucky, another 1.5 mile track to the schedule.

David Newton
  (2:48 PM)

Ditto.

Brian (Woodbridge, VA) [via mobile]

Which will be higher this weekend, the # of laps the 43rd place cars runs or the # of penalties against the cowboys?

David Newton
  (2:48 PM)

Dallas penalties.

Ted (Miss. )

Hr. H seems to make his major team personal decisions after #88 has a lousy race at Charlotte like when he fired Eury Jr after Charlotte. Do you think there are any changes coming to the #88 before the end of the year?

David Newton
  (2:49 PM)

Think Mr. H is focused on winning a title with JJ, not salvaging the final five races for Jr.

Dave (Virginia)

Headed to Martinsville this weekend...anyway we can pre-arrange some late afternoon showers and just agree to shorten the race to 300-400 laps and cut out the middle of the race riding?

David Newton
  (2:49 PM)

Never mention rain before the start of the race. Was there in the spring for the tornados in the area. Scary.

ron (rochester, ny)

Read that KHI might run 2 full-time NW cars next year. Any word if Sadler could be in in it full time or more of a split deal with the RCR drivers and Austin Dillion?

David Newton
  (2:50 PM)

If Dillon is in one, then Burton or Bowyer will be in the other unless the rules change.

Ted (Miss. )

Since you don't believe cup drivers should be in Nationwide how do you feel about cup drivers (Sadler, Harvick, Hornaday, Skinner, Benson) racing in the truck series?

David Newton
  (2:52 PM)

First, I'm not totally against Cup drivers in Nationwide. As for those guys running in Trucks I haven't given it much thought. You left out Busch by the way.

Ted (Miss. )

Is Henricks picking up 100% of the tab for Red Bull to run the 3rd car for Kasey in 2011?

David Newton
  (2:52 PM)

Hendrick is not paying for anything, and right now Red Bull hasn't said anything about a third car. In fact, they've been pretty clear it'll probably be two.

Joe (Indianapolis)

Is the "Dinger" going to win a race in the 43? Is the 43 the flagship at RPM now?

David Newton
  (2:53 PM)

If he does, I hope I'm there. Will be great to see that number back in Victory Lane.

Thomas (MN)

How long do you think it will be before NASCAR figures out the simple economic principle of supply and demand? Shorten the schedule, thereby reducing the number of available seats (especially getting rid of some of the cookie-cutters that many fans detest), then the demand for the remaining available seats should logically increase. Yes, the economy is part of the issue, but the sanctioning body isn't exactly listening to the fans either.

David Newton
  (2:54 PM)

Since when did NASCAR believe in simple economics?

Cory (Geneva, IL)

I know its the chase and I shouldn't care about Jr, but he's my guy and I do. That said, I think the previous poster is onto something about his team not clicking. When is the last time he picked up a spot on pit road?

David Newton
  (2:54 PM)

June 5, 2007.

tommy (california)

With hardly no cup guys at Gateway, do you see this as a good opportunity for Danica's best result?

David Newton
  (2:55 PM)

It can't hurt.

Joe (Indianapolis)

Isn't the "1" technically owned by Teresa E?

David Newton
  (2:55 PM)

It's all under the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing umbrella, but I believe you're technically correct.

John (Illinois)

Who will retire first, Mark Martin or Morgan Shepherd?

David Newton
  (2:56 PM)

Shepherd, I think.

dw (AR)

What are the attendance differences for short tracks versue some of the larger tracks? And if the numbers are of significantly smaller capacity, could the number of seats be increased feasibly?

David Newton
  (2:57 PM)

Bristol tops them all with 160,000, or close to it this past year. Martinsville is about 65,000. No need to expand. Just fill the seats available and put on a good show. Would rather have 65,000 packed into Martinsville than 50,000 short of capacity at Atlanta or Charlotte.

Joe (Indianapolis)

At least they didn't talk about Junebug the whole night - that was a first.

David Newton
  (2:57 PM)

True.

Marc (Malden, MA)

In addition to more short tracks, Darlington needs to have 2 races again. It is THE best track on the schedule.

David Newton
  (2:57 PM)

YES.

Ron (OH)

Do you read the other ESPN NASCAR chats?

David Newton
  (2:58 PM)

Some, but not all. Am I missing something?

Andy (MD)

Are we going to see some empty seats at Martinsville this Sunday? That crowd at Charlotte was not that good.

David Newton
  (2:58 PM)

Sure you'll see a few.

Jason (IL)

First off I am a Jr. fan, poor me right? My thing is though, if Hendrick was truely all about winning, why would he keep him? A better driver would make up for the loss of merch money with winnings. His average finish is right on par with Vickers and Mears and they both got dumped.

David Newton
  (2:58 PM)

Hendrick is all about making money, too.

Bill S (High Point,NC)

Does Shepard still have his roller skates?

David Newton
  (2:59 PM)

He does. Saw him in them at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony earlier this year. Rolled down the red carpet.

Gene (Ohio)

Great article today, it's the truth.

David Newton
  (2:59 PM)

Thanks, Gene.

Debbie (Dallas, TX)

Ray E made a great suggestion about Jr and CC - listen to their radio chatter and learn from it. Mr. Hendrick is a smart man, maybe he needs to listen to another smart man and see if that suggestion would help. Thoughts...

David Newton
  (3:00 PM)

Mr. H does listen to the chatter. That's why he talked to the two earlier this year and had several heart to hearts with Earnhardt and Eury Jr.

Dave (Virginia)

Who makes the dumb mistake/hot-headed reaction that costs one of the three contenders at Martinsville?

David Newton
  (3:01 PM)

Let's go with Kyle Busch going for a win. On that note, I'm done for the day. Be sure to read my column on ESPN.com. I'll jump in there on the comments section and mix it up later.