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December 17, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with David Newton

K. Lee Davis
  (2:09 PM)

David is running a few minutes late, but will be right with us.

David Newton
  (2:11 PM)

My apologies. I was so engrossed in my honeydo offseason list that I completely forgot about the chat. I'm here now. So fire away.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What drivers will make their NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Debut in the 53rd Daytona 500 on Sunday February 20,2011?

David Newton
  (2:12 PM)

You know, I'm sure there will be one or two, but since the entry list isn't out I can't say for sure. I wouldn't be surprised to see Danica Patrick entered, but that's just a gut feeling.

Connor (Chicago)

I heard Jimmie Johnson is making a video game. Your thoughts?

David Newton
  (2:12 PM)

Great idea. NASCAR needs to reach a younger demographic and this is a great way. Talked to him about it yesterday and will add more thoughts in a column next week.

James (North Little Rock)

Any word on changes to the Chase?

David Newton
  (2:13 PM)

Looks like they'll be announced during the Preseason Thunder test at Daytona. Looking for 15 drivers in the Chase, more points for winners, maybe a bonus for the regular-season champion and possibly a reset in the Chase.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

I read on SI.com that Johanna Long will race in the Sprint Cup Series Soon, When will that take Place?

David Newton
  (2:14 PM)

Probably not next season. Not an open ride to start with, but she could be put on the fast track from what I'm hearing. Maybe 2012.

Jake (Irving, TX)

Hey Newt, do you consider Rowdy to be a "dirty driver" as some media have reported?

David Newton
  (2:15 PM)

Dirty? No. He's aggressive, but that doesn't mean he intentionally wrecks people or puts them in harms way.

Dan (Charlotte)

Happy Holidays Newton! with the Daytona repaving, is Daytona now a horse power track as opposed to a handling track like Dega?

David Newton
  (2:15 PM)

Actually, Daytona has always been more of a handling track and Dega more horsepower. Think you'll see more Dega style racing at Daytona now, at least until it's worn in.

Matthew (Columbia, NJ)

Hey David, can we expect a wild Daytona 500 with the repaving of the race track?

David Newton
  (2:16 PM)

Isn't it always wild? But yes, it could get crazier than ever. All depends on how comfortable the drivers are and how far they're willing to push it.

Ernie (Alabama)

Hi David, do you think the main reason Dale and Gordon have been unsuccessful in the last 3 seasons is their inability to race the COT really loose like Jimmie and Kyle can?

David Newton
  (2:18 PM)

I wouldn't say Gordon has been unsuccessful. He's just struggled to get to Victory Lane. Definitely, though, the feel of the car has something to do with it. I wouldn't blame it on the COT since Gordon got off to a pretty good start on it. As for Dale Jr., perhaps you can look more at the car, but I think it goes much deeper than that.

Ryan (Reynoldsburg,Ohio)

What are the drivers saying about the track?

David Newton
  (2:18 PM)

I'm not in Daytona, but they're saying the racing will be faster and may open up more lanes.

Ryan (Reynoldsburg,Ohio)

Is NASCAR still planing on chagning the points systems. If so when will they anounce it and what will the changes entail

David Newton
  (2:19 PM)

As I said earlier, looks like January 19-21 Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona is where it'll be announced.

Ernie (Alabama)

Hey Newt, do you think Dale will be able to modify his behaviors to satisfy Knaus the perfectionist?

David Newton
  (2:19 PM)

I do. I really think this will have a positive effect on the 88 teamn.

Lois (Huntington, WV)

Merry xmas David! as a huge Jimmie #48 fan i'm concerned about Chad having to take on a "reclaimation project" like Dale and how that might effect Jimmies 6-pack. Your thoughts?

David Newton
  (2:20 PM)

Merry to you as well. As for Dale Jr. I don't think moving him to the 48 shop will drag that team down. And Chad likes a challenge, so I suspect he'll tackle this one like he does others and succeed.

Taylor (TX)

Merry Christmas, David Newton. The Cup cars look great without the splitter, but not as good as Kahne's #4 Red Bull Toyota. Any notable news from testing yesterday at Daytona?

David Newton
  (2:21 PM)

Nothing much. A lot of the top drivers didn't even go, choosing to wait until the January test. You're right, Kahne's ride is hot.

BB (Mpls)

David, most of us Jeff Gordon fans placed most of the blame on Latarte and his car chief last year. With everyone saying the Gustafson is maybe the smartest crew chief in NASCAR what do you expect from that team this year? Can they go from poor (in the minds of his fans) to winning it all?

David Newton
  (2:22 PM)

I wouldn't say smartest. Maybe one of the smartest outside of Knaus. But I do think Jeff is the big winner in the HMS changes. One of his shortfalls was the mile and a half tracks. Gustafson seems to have a good grip on those. Not sure if they can win it all, but I wouldnt' rule it out.

Jason (Asheville, NC)

Hi David, as a big fan of #18 do you think that Rowdy will be thinking about getting revenge on Harvick and Reuitman or move on and focus 100% on winning races and the Sprint Cup?

David Newton
  (2:23 PM)

He's focused on the Cup. Talked to him at the banquet for a good while during the Myers Brothers luncheon and he really has matured. He wants to win the top prize badly and believes next year could be his.

Dee (Mobile, AL)

Where do you think Scott Speed will be racing in 2011? NW, trucks, Rolex, Indy cars?

David Newton
  (2:24 PM)

I suspenct NW and Trucks. He's talking to a few people about partial rides in each series.

G (Pgh)

Hello, is anyone here

David Newton
  (2:24 PM)

Yep, I'm here. My apologies again for being late.

Byron (Ocala, Fl)

Is Mikey Waltrip retired or will he be trying to qualify for the Daytona 500?

David Newton
  (2:25 PM)

Believe the Daytona 500 will be his last hurrah, although he's added more races in the past.

Andrew (Glasgow)

What are the chances we see the pony cars in the Sprint Cup Series

David Newton
  (2:25 PM)

I know Ford wants to move the Mustang there. NASCAR is redoing the Cup car by 2013 anyway, so I suspect you'll see something closer to what's in NW.

Alan (NC)

What a year for Bobby Santos. Any idea on his plans for 2011?

David Newton
  (2:26 PM)

Haven't heard. Anybody out there want to fill Alan in.

David (St. Cloud, MN)

How do you like the Jeff Gordon, Alan Gustafson pairing?

David Newton
  (2:26 PM)

Love it. As I said earlier I believe Jeff was the big winner in the swap.

Tony (SF)

Newt, any feedback from the drivers on the new nose?

David Newton
  (2:27 PM)

Most don't think it's going to change things significantly, but there are some that believe it will make the car easier to drive.

nik (nc )

will jeff gordon get five ?

David Newton
  (2:27 PM)

If he does, he'll have to stop JJ from getting six.

Matthew (Graham, NC)

Dave, Glad to talk some December NASCAR! Can you give me a reason to really pay attention to the sport from February through August? I mean it's become meaningless! (Yes.....I'm kinda hinting at the fact our current five time champion has really yet to dominate a season.....just those 10 weeks....Greatest NASCAR driver ever though...miraculous though his greatness only shows up in the fall!)

David Newton
  (2:30 PM)

Can give you a great reason. NASCAR is looking at giving the regular season winner a bonus. Will make driving for that more meaningful. Plus there's a lot of great racing between February and August. As for JJ's greatness only showing up in the fall, I disagree. Winning titles is about peaking at the right time, and that teams has got it down pat. Do you discount the Super Bowl winner when it's a wild card team or not the team with the best record all season? Heck, I was second in points scored in Fantasy Football this season but had a losing regular-season record. Now I'm in the semi-finals. If I win the title will it be tainted?

Richard (Buffalo)

I read a rumor that Bayne may be in the #21 for Daytona and a few other races to start the year. Any truth to it? I think they are getting the owners points from the #19 so he would be locked in.

David Newton
  (2:31 PM)

They are getting owner's points from the 19 and I've heard the Bayne rumor as well. Time for fresh blood in that car.

Richard (Buffalo)

Any chance Scott Speed ends up in trucks atleast part time with Kyle's team?

David Newton
  (2:31 PM)

Talked to Scott the other day and he didn't mention that one. Kyle already has a lineup. His greatest worry is sponsorship.

Matthew (Graham,NC)

15 drivers in the chase!!!! So someone can be a midpack car all year...prep for the chase and deserved to be called a champion?

David Newton
  (2:32 PM)

Yep, just like the NFL, NBA, NHL. And do you not enjoy it when a low seed wins in the NCAA Basketball Tournament?

Larry (MI)

Newt, what are the chances of Scott Speed landing any type of full time ride next year in any series?

David Newton
  (2:33 PM)

Probably none in Cup. I'd say 50-50 in NW or Trucks. I look for him to get as many quality rides as he can and split it up.

gregory lejeune (richard louisiana)

do u see joey logano making the chase next yr

David Newton
  (2:33 PM)

I actually do. Was impressed with the way he ran the last part of the season and believe he's ready to take the next step.

gregory lejeune (richard louisiana)

also when will we kno who will b in the budshootout

David Newton
  (2:34 PM)

Tney usually announce that in January.

Gary (Indy)

David, I asked Santa for a new 2011 Champion in Cup...you think the man in red will come thru?

David Newton
  (2:34 PM)

Only if the driver in the Blue No. 48 gets run over by a sleigh with eight tiny reindeer.

Dee (Vegas)

What expectations are there for Truex now entering his second year at Michael Waltrip Racing?

David Newton
  (2:35 PM)

I'd say he definitely needs to step it up. MWR didn't put him in that ride to struggle like he did last season. He's got a good crew chief, pit crew.

gregory lejeune (richard louisiana)

how do u think jgr will b in 2011

David Newton
  (2:35 PM)

Solid as usual. I wouldn't be surprised to see all three drivers in the Chase, with Kyle Busch and not Denny Hamlin leading the way.

Brian (Oklahoma City)

An odd question, but who do you think will be the first current full-time driver to retire? Jeff Gordon in 5 years?

David Newton
  (2:36 PM)

Others will go before him. Mark Martin will hang it up fulltime after this year likely. Bobby Labonte can't drive much longer.

David (St. Cloud. Mn)

I am curious as to your thoughts on the moves at Hendrick and more specifically on the Gordon, Gustafson pairing.

David Newton
  (2:37 PM)

Covered this one a few times, but I like the swaps. Hendrick really had no choice. Gustafson already was working with the 88 team to a degree as they shared a shop. Moving Gordon into that building and Junior in with the 48 makes sense when you think about it. And I love Alan and Jeff together. Championship material.

Shawn (Gastonia, NC)

Hey David! Do you foresee a good race at Daytona, post-paving or do you think we'll see a caution-fest like the first race after Charlotte was paved?

David Newton
  (2:38 PM)

A little bit of both probably. Will definitely add some intrigue.

Brian (Oregon)

It sounds like MMM did not release the #4, but that NASCAR reassigned it as is their right. Is that correct? Will MMM get it back next year, or is Hendrick going to get it?

David Newton
  (2:39 PM)

I don't think Hendrick is interested in it. The 5 has been a part of his stable and he wants to make it successful. As for the reassigning, that may be right.

Heidi (Albany, GA)

Hey David, do you know if Kyle has gotten full season sponsorship for KBM and who will be racing Kyle's trucks, besides Kyle?

David Newton
  (2:39 PM)

He hadn't as of the banquet. Haven't talked to him since then. He's planning a Jan. 31 wedding you know?

harvy (daytona)

jimmie johnson is the new england pats of nascar!

David Newton
  (2:40 PM)

Good comparisons. Both teams are smart and not about a bunch of egoes.

Stephie (Florida)

Do you think Trevor Bayne will be driving more in the Sprint Cup series in 2011?

David Newton
  (2:40 PM)

As we said earlier, maybe for the 21 in a few races. Haven't heard anything else.

Dee (Vegas)

I, personally, would love a nasty rivalry between Kyle and Harvick. Would be fantastic and spill over to all 3 series.

David Newton
  (2:41 PM)

It would be a fun one to watch, but only if it maintains in Cup. It won't get nearly the attention if it stays mostly in the lower series. Harvick had a little fun with Kyle at the banquet toying with him about dumping him at Homestead.

Bart (East Bay)

what happened to Kurt in the chase? was it Addington or that Penske is the only Dodge team?

David Newton
  (2:42 PM)

He just didn't have a good Chase. Not sure you can blame one person or that he was the lone Dodge.

Shawn (Gastonia, NC)

I'm counting on my fingers and with Scott Speed and Elliott Sadler gone, Sam Hornish on his way out, do you think we'll see races with 42 cars (or less) next year?

David Newton
  (2:42 PM)

Possibly, but I believe there'll be enough start-and-parkers that'll enter to keep it at least at 43.

Eric (Chicago)

David---in your opinion, what are the best and worst media centers on the circuit?

David Newton
  (2:44 PM)

Best, Indy, Texas, Charlotte, Homestead to name a few. Worst - Phoenix was hands down. It improved this year and am told more improvements coming.

Richard (Buffalo, NY)

Who are we more likely to see at Daytona - Bayne in the #21 (or a 5th car for Roush under the rookie exception) Danica or Hornish in the #77?

David Newton
  (2:45 PM)

Bayne in 21, Hornish in 77 and possibly Danica in the number they get for her.

Bart (East Bay)

Were you supprised that F1 announced they are going to 4 cylinder, 1.5 liter turbo engines?

David Newton
  (2:45 PM)

Nothing really surprises me anymore.

gregory lejeune (richard louisiana)

what do u think of joey logano

David Newton
  (2:45 PM)

A great young talent, super personality and a driver I believe will challenge for the Chase this season.

Austin (Memphis)

Think Logano will make a legitimate chance at the chase and/or championship next year? The last 7 or 8 races were pretty impressive.

David Newton
  (2:46 PM)

Clhase yes, championship probaby not. A lot of drivers have finished strong over the years and had it not carry over to the next year, but in this case I believe it will.

Brian (Oregon)

Have you heard anything about Truck racing on road courses like Watkins Glen and Portland Intl Raceway?

David Newton
  (2:46 PM)

Not really. You?

David (Jackson, KY)

Hey Newt. What are your expectations for Bobby Labonte in the #47 next season? Also, because of his time in the #71, I have at least a mild curiosity about who will end up in that car. Have you heard anything?

David Newton
  (2:48 PM)

Bobby hasn't done much in anything he's driven the past five years, so I really don't have any expectations for a great turnaround. As for the 71 I should know the answer but can't recall at the moment. Maybe it's all the chemicals in the cleaning stuff I've been dealing with on my honey-do list.

dw (Arkansas)

So if Daytona is faster with the new surface, will that mean changes in the restrictor plates yet again?

David Newton
  (2:48 PM)

NASCAR definitely will monitor and adjust if necessary.

Sheila (Panama City, Fl)

how come Dale doesn't have a twitter account?

David Newton
  (2:49 PM)

Just not intersted I guess. He's got enough on his plate between iRacing and living up to expectations.

Sheila (Panama City, Fl)

how many crew chiefs do you expect Kenseth to run thru in '11?

David Newton
  (2:50 PM)

I believe he'll stick with the one he's got. Talked to him as well at the banquet and he seemed quite happy with the way he finished the season.

grant (saratoga)

did jj's celebration seem dry and quiet. not much excitement over a comeback. are the drivers going to band together and wreck him this year

David Newton
  (2:51 PM)

Hardly. I heard more enthusiasm in his voice this year than the previous. No banding, although Kyle Busch and a few others suggested locking JJ in a porta-john when the Chase begins.

Renee (MI)

Can Penske continue to be the only Dodge team for another year? The second half of last year looked awful and Kurt Busch is too good of a racer to be in bad cars.

David Newton
  (2:51 PM)

Penske can, and I believe you'll see Keselowski step it up to give Kurt more help in 2011.

Turk (Mich.)

looking at the cup schedule after Daytona it's Phoenix, Vegas, Bristol then Fontana? Why go all the way back east and then back to California the next week?

David Newton
  (2:52 PM)

Good point and something NASCAR will look at in the future.

gregory lejeune (richard louisana)

thanks for answering ma queistons merry xmas to u and ur family

David Newton
  (2:53 PM)

Best to you. Can't wait for Christmas. Love the holidays. Especially looking forward to New Year's Eve in Aruba. After three days without a furnace theis week ready for sun and beach.

Tracy (CT)

Opinion on the Speed lawsuit? Is the 16th place or better clause true?

David Newton
  (2:53 PM)

It is true, but Scott says it's not completely true. Not sure what to make of it, but teams seldom lose these suits.

Shawn (Gastonia, NC)

I read a blurb in ESPN the Mag speculating about changing sports for the better, specifically holding a running a couple of races clockwise. I know it was written in fantasy land, but would you support all right turns for a race or two?

David Newton
  (2:54 PM)

You've got my head spinning with that one. Not up to me, but I wouldn't object.

Matthew (Graham, NC)

Dave, I don't buy comparing NASCAR to other sports...when it's one on one or team on team on a field or court that is relatively the same. Plus there is home field advantage!!! My point is the races in February through August have little meaning on the championship. JJ can have 5 straight DNF's in the summer and get a slap on the wrist while driver x can dominate the season (6months of racing!) Get caught up in a wreck at Dega and not be the champion!) Example: Gordon dominated 07 and is probably one of the greatest NASCAR seasons in the last 10 years, averaged a 7.4 finish for the season...JJ outperformed in for weeks....and a 350 point blow out season is wiped away....meaning: Gordon's 9 months failed to compare to Johnson's 4 weeks!

David Newton
  (2:56 PM)

I disagree on not being right to compare to other sports, at least on this matter. When you have a playoff there's always the opportunity for a team that didn't perform as well during the regular season to win. This is no different.

Heidi (Albany, GA)

Aren't Rowdy and Samantha getting married on New Years Eve?

David Newton
  (2:56 PM)

They are. In Chicago.

Jeff (SC)

What did Harvick say to kyle....Cant leave us hanging like that.

David Newton
  (2:57 PM)

Well, Goodyear had the gold car trophy it gives to the champion. This one had a 48 on the side, but you really couldn't tell unless you looked closely. Harvick was looking at it and called Kyle over and said it looks like the 18 cause it has a dent in it where he dumped him. Kyle I am told just walked away.

Billy (Reno)

With Harvick expanding to 3 trucks and 2 NW cars, do you think Rowdy needs to go ask him how to run a successful team?

David Newton
  (2:58 PM)

Nope. Rowdy won the owner's title in Trucks this past year.

Ian (Los Angeles)

I haven't read or seen it anywhere, but is Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson going back to their normal pit crews? Or was that swap permanent after all the Hendrick changes? Thanks.

David Newton
  (2:59 PM)

Nope. Gordon inherited the 88 crew. Johnson still has the 24 team he picked up, although there could be changes. I'm told 4 of those on the former 48 crew that went to the 24 already have moved on.

Nate (Aurora, IL)

Do you think Jimmie and Chad got special satisfaction from shoving that golden horseshoe down Harvick's throat?

David Newton
  (2:59 PM)

They got more satisfaction showing Denny and Mike Ford they weren't falling apart when they swapped crews.

Matt (Bloomington, IN)

Just read a (local) story about some of Tony Stewart's new charitable activities. Why isn't there more attention given to the social work of the drivers, especially during the off-season when there's so little to report on (slackers!)?

David Newton
  (3:01 PM)

First, they do charity work all season. It's difficult to report on all there are so many. Most of those things can be found on the driver's website. You don't read about Tom Brady's charitable acts as much as you do his touchdowns. And give us a break. We need some down time too.

Mike (Atlanta)

Newton! Long time. I have a request for media day (if youre there). Instead of the usual diatribe about season expectations and stuff how about some fun questions for the drivers. like the best place to get a burger, Memphis or Carolina BBQ, etc. some new insight is always fun

David Newton
  (3:01 PM)

I like it. I've actually had conversations with my wife about doing something like that. I like Memphis BBQ even though I am born and bred in the Carolinas, by the way.

David Newton
  (3:02 PM)

That's it for me guys and gals. Hope Santa brings you all you ask for. Have a great offseason and a Happy Year Year.