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

David Newton
  (2:01 PM)

Welcome to a wild Wednesday in which the Ground Hog is frozen in his hole in Chicago and I still haven't made up my mind which college I want to commit. Only a week before packing the bags and Ernie the dog in the Jeep and heading to Daytona. Let's get to the questions.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

I Read On Assorted Websites that Richard Petty Motorsports Wants Danica Patrick in one of their cars in the Sprint Cup Series in 2012, do you think that she will drive for Richard Petty Motorsports in 2012?

David Newton
  (2:03 PM)

Who doesn't want Danica Patrick in a Cup car next year. She will attract sponsors like no one else. Unfortunately, Danica wants a chance to be successful so that rules out RPM. She also has a certain loyalty to JR Motorsports and Rick Hendrick. Don't look for her to fall too far from the tree that brought her here.

Matthew (Columbia, NJ)

Hey David, 1 of your colleagues think Biffle is a darkhorse for the championship. agree?

David Newton
  (2:04 PM)

I don't. I'd rank The Biff third among the Roush Fenway drivers on my list of darkhorses. I do like Carl Edwards and under this new format where consistency is more important than ever I like Matt Kenseth.

Chad (Washington DC )

Will Dale Jr do something this year? Or will I have to cheer on Jimmy at least he is a winner 5 time winner

David Newton
  (2:05 PM)

You read it here first, Dale Jr. will win two races and make the Chase. But Jimmie will win the title. Why do people still spell his name with a Y. No respect.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Will Danica Patrick be in the Nationwide Series race at IRP or what ever that race track in Clearmont,Indiana is Called on July 30?

David Newton
  (2:06 PM)

They haven't announced, but if it fits into her schedule I imagine she will. She wants to drive a lot of the tracks she didn't last year.

Nick Rolando (Orlando)

David, you see Roush re-signing Edwards and Biffle but letting Ragan go at the end of the year?

David Newton
  (2:07 PM)

I do see Ragan disappearing unless he turns things around, and by that I mean makes the Chase or is awfully close to it. Roush would love to re-sign Edwards and Biffle, but I suspect he'll get some competition at least for Edwards from Red Bull Racing.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Who do you like to win Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington,Texas?

David Newton
  (2:08 PM)

Green Bay. I'm an NFC guy at heart, but also love the way the Pack is playing, although I still have a sore spot for Aaron Rodgers for beating me almost single-handedly in my fantasy football league championship.

TG (PA)

I just read an article by Jimmy Spencer and he thought Rick Hendrick would let Junior go at the end of this year if he didn't do well and Rick would put Mark Martin in the 88. Your thoughts?

David Newton
  (2:08 PM)

Jimmy is crazy as ever. I talked to Rick at the end of last season and he is trying to sign Earnhardt to an extension that will allow him to remain at HMS as long as he wants.

TG (PA)

I didn't see the Race Hub with Jeremy Mayfield. What did he talk about on the show?

David Newton
  (2:09 PM)

I missed the show as well. I imagine he talked about how tough life has been since he was parked.

Drew (Baltimore)

Strange Question David,I suddenly (last 6 months or so) I cannot find any diecast cars anywhere locally. They used to carry them at Wal Mart/Target/KMart...etc. Now, nowhere. Is this something NASCAR stopped selling, or is it just bad luck on my end?

David Newton
  (2:10 PM)

Wal Mart should be the place. NASCAR is working on a deal if it hasn't finalized that would make the store the primary carrier of diecasts. Perhaps production has been slowed by the financial losses the company that provides the cars have taken the past few years.

Tommy Cook (Kentucky)

Is Dale Earnhardt Jr. Still dating Amy Reimann?

David Newton
  (2:11 PM)

I don't think so. I asked him last week when he planned to get married and his asnwer was something like, I don't know, but I'm glad I get to do the asking.

Ryan (Ventura CA)

59 Degrees and Sunny Cold! All kidding aside what will be the biggest early season story pits stop no catch can? Carl Edwards Free agency watch?Thanks

David Newton
  (2:12 PM)

I'm going with how the Hendrick drivers do with the crew chief switches, particularly you know Mr. Popular who. Carl will be a while developing. The new gas can will be interesting to follow, though.

yuccadale (calif)

well have to give it to Edwards taking his trip.Always said if not for war it was a beutiful country,more greens than one can imagine.Not in my plans to go back though.

David Newton
  (2:13 PM)

So when did you serve there. As Edwards said repeatedly, than you for your service. I admire Edwards for taking such a trip. Just wish he had invited me to come and document it.

Jacob (Wellston)

With the 10 year anniversary of Earnhardt's death, is NASCAR planning on doing something at the track?

David Newton
  (2:14 PM)

Most definitely there'll be something at Daytona. No disrespect to E, though, I'm not into anniversary stories even though we'll tell plenty between now and Feb. 18. I hope this doesn't detract from what should be the main focus, and that is the Daytona 500 and 2011 season.

Shelby Parrack (Ont, Canada)

Love your articles, Out of Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin or Jeff Burton who do you think has the best chance to get the first win of 2011?

David Newton
  (2:15 PM)

I really believe Dale Earnhardt Jr. will win the Daytona 500.

jeff (snowed in Iowa)

Read a crazy rumor on a message board that said Mark Martin and Jack have made nicey nicey and that Mark could be in the 6 car in 2012. Your thoughts.thank you JEFF

David Newton
  (2:16 PM)

Was talking about that possibility on PRN's Pit Reporters that will air tonight. Think that would be the perfect place for Mark to end his career. I could see that happening, particularly if it helped Jack keep UPS. Not sure how MM would look in those brown short, though.

Jacob (Wellston. OK)

Do you see any big names leaving their rides after 2011 for a different team? (besides Kahne and Martin)

David Newton
  (2:17 PM)

Possibly Edwards to a team like Red Bull. Beyond that way too early to predict, although I was told this time a year ago that Kahne would sign with Hendrick.

Jacob (Wellston. OK)

What do you think of RPM using Danica to get into the news? Do they actually think they have a chance at getting her or Clint Bowyer?

David Newton
  (2:17 PM)

Let 'em dream.

scott (denton.tx)

on the new pavement at daytona they say that thhey can go 4wide do you thing we will see that when the gatorade duel at daytona in a couple of and maybe even at the daytona 500 the week follow the duel and in the nationwide race and with the new car in the nationwide what kind of racing are we going to see with those new nationwide cars for this year..

David Newton
  (2:18 PM)

Definitely will see four-wide. Likely will see a pile-up as well. A far as the racing I suspect it will be just as good or better than we saw last season in both series.

scott (denton.tx)

if jimmie johnson wins a another cup title this year with the new point system do you thing that mike helton will change the point system again ha ha just kidding by the way.

David Newton
  (2:19 PM)

No. And JJ would have won the title under the new system last year.

BRIAN (OKLAHOMA)

Who replaces Jeff Gordon in a couple years?

David Newton
  (2:20 PM)

Not sure he'll step away in a couple of years the way he is talking now. His plans of retiring at 40 changed after the second child. Who knows who will be the hot young star when the time comes. maybe Brad K will come back and drive for Hendrick then.

collin (minnesota)

does kenseth have a good chance to win a race this season

David Newton
  (2:20 PM)

He certainly believes so. He likes the way he finished last season, and Roush Fenway seems to have its act together.

scott (denton.tx)

with this being the last year of mark martin before kasey kahne takes over for next year do you maybe see him finally winning the big race and get that monkey off of his bak like dal sr did in 1997 in thing it was..

David Newton
  (2:21 PM)

It would be an awesome story and could happen, but I just don't see it.

Jacob (Wellston, Ok)

Mayfield said he was starting a recycling company, and that he couldn't talk much about the NASCAR deal because of the appeal.

David Newton
  (2:21 PM)

Thanks for the update. Having been at his farm he has a lot to recycle.

Jake (Irving, TX)

Hey Newt from snowy Dallas. Does the new pts. system make it easier or tougher for Dale jr to make the chase?

David Newton
  (2:22 PM)

Doesn't change much at all, although poor finishes will penalize a driver heavier than before. So how's the atmosphere in Dallas. Covered eight or so Super Bowls and the worst one was the Ice Bowl in Atlanta. I'm in favor of making all Super Bowl sites warm weather such as New Orleans or San Diego.

Laura (Canada)

What are the chances of NASCAR ditching Sonoma and giving Montreal a Cup race in 2012?

David Newton
  (2:23 PM)

Hope not. Love wine tasting.

Jake (Irving, TX)

Do you think NASCAR needs a rule prohibiting HMS from having 3 pit crews -18 members-for the #48 and #88 teams while the other teams only have 1 pit crew?

David Newton
  (2:23 PM)

Not at all. Every team has backups. Knaus has simply organized it to a new level.

Marc (Malden, MA)

Does Danica Patrick takeover the #5 car when Mark Martin retires?

David Newton
  (2:24 PM)

No offense, but where have you been? Kasey Kahne will drive the 5 in 2012.

Will (South Carolina)

With all the talk of the new point system and the bonuses for wins, laps led, etc. Correct me if I'm wrong but I've heard nothing of awarding chase points to the "winner" of the regular season. What happened to this idea?

David Newton
  (2:25 PM)

That idea apparently was abandoned along with expanding the Chase field to 15, having eliminations and resetting the points with two or three races remaining. I'm a huge proponent of giving the regular season winner a bonus.

steve wheeling wva [via mobile]

Will NASCAR's ratings and attendance improve this year with the new rules?

David Newton
  (2:25 PM)

The rules shouldn't impact that at all. The economy should. As it continues to improve I believe attendance will as well.

Laurie (Rockville, MD)

personally, we consider it exploitation for Waltrip to be trying to capitalize on Dale but do you think he will fail to qualify on speed?

David Newton
  (2:26 PM)

Others have said what you apparently believe. As for qualifying, Waltrip is pretty good on plate tracks and he has fast cars. I suspect he'll make it.

Turk (Mich.)

Hope you are being sarcastic about Dale jr winning the 500. Wouldn't that be an obvious setup just like the #3 jeans run last July in the NW race? NASCAR would lose all credibility.

David Newton
  (2:27 PM)

No sarcasm at all. I really believe he will. And setups? Are you suggesting there's a script in NASCAR? Never heard that one before.

scott (denton.tx)

if somebody has the right equiment and the right adjustment who do you thing will win at the newly repavement daytona 500 and who will be the dark a horse this year..

David Newton
  (2:28 PM)

As I've been saying, I like Dale Earnhardt Jr. As for darkhorse, not sure it's fair to call Jeff Gordon a darkhorse, but I like his chances as well.

chris (oregon)

Is edwards and biffle the big free agent names for next year? Who else can sign elsewhere?

David Newton
  (2:28 PM)

They are the big names. Haven't looked at all the free agents, but will check into it at Daytona for you.

RAYGORDONREID ( MACCLENNY FLA 32063)

QUESTION TO DAVID NEWTON AT 2,25 HI DAVID WHO WINS 125;S NEXT WEEK

David Newton
  (2:29 PM)

Have no idea who will be in each field so a little unfair to ask. What if I pick two drivers who end up in the same race? Who are you picking?

chris (oregon)

After seeing Mark Martin what do you see him doing next year? He does not sound like a man who wants to retire.

David Newton
  (2:30 PM)

He definitely won't retire. I see him either taking over th 6 at Roush, which would be a helluva story, or going to a team like Turner and helping it build.

Shelby (Ont, Canada)

Lol no offence but im a huggge Carl fan, if he goes to Redbull i may cry.

David Newton
  (2:32 PM)

If you're a Carl fan, check out my column on ESPN.COM. Why so hard on Red Bull. You got something against a sponsor that keeps you up at night? At least Carl wouldn't be upstaged by a duck. http://sports.espn.go.com/rpm/nascar/cup/columns/story?columnist=newton_david&id=6081112

Will (South Carolina)

who do our Panthers take with the first pick in the draft?

David Newton
  (2:32 PM)

Either the Auburn DT or Clemson DE. No brainer. Can't go wrong with either.

Ben (Darlington, Indiana)

was the 48 point system coincidence, or a way to honor Jimmie

David Newton
  (2:32 PM)

It's the 43-1 system, and it wasn't to honor Richard Petty.

Rey (League City, TX)

Saw a story on Dale jr with a foreign car, in a foreign country built by foreign workers so how come old fans bash foreign Toyota and not foreign made Chevy?

David Newton
  (2:33 PM)

It is complexing since I believe the largest Toyota factory is in the U.S.

scott (denton.tx)

i ask this the other day to somebody about the crew swamp in the hendrick motorsports camp they said that maybe jr might be in the chase this do you thing so..

David Newton
  (2:34 PM)

He definitely could make the Chase, although ESPN's panel of so-called experts didn't give him one vote when compiling the preseason top 12.

chris (oregon)

How does gordons lifetime contract work with hendrick? I read a few years back JJ was going to sign a lifetime contract but didnt, any idea why not?

David Newton
  (2:35 PM)

Gordon is locked into HMS for his entire career. Ownership is involved in it. JJ didn't sign a lifetime deal I suspect because it made more sense financially not to do so.

Will (South Carolina)

How many bad races will it take for Jr. fans to start rumors about Ray Everham replacing his understudy Steve Letarte as 88 CC?

David Newton
  (2:36 PM)

You can start all you want but Ray has no desire to return as a crew chief.

scott (denton.tx)

by the way it is freaking cold down here in is 14 degress down here..

David Newton
  (2:36 PM)

At least you're not in Chicago where 14 might seem like a balmy day.

Nelly (NC)

Does NASCAR have a rule prohibiting drivers from twitting during a race like the NFL does with it's players?

David Newton
  (2:38 PM)

First, it's not recommended that a driver tweet while going close to 200 mph. Second, they don't usually carry their cell phones in the car. If you see a tweet from a driver during a race it's the PR person. BTW, I tried to tweet driving a Toyota pace car around Charlotte Motor Speedway at 120 last year and it didn't work out so well.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Who do you think will drive the #71 Chevrolet this season?

David Newton
  (2:40 PM)

I'm drawing a blank. Somebody help me out here.

scott (denton.tx)

no it will be kasey kahne you dummy...

David Newton
  (2:41 PM)

Think you are referring to the Danica to the 5 question. Or are you calling me a dummy?

Marc (Malden, MA)

Sorry, I just forgot about Kasey Kahne taking over the 5 car.

David Newton
  (2:41 PM)

No problem. It happens. I'm still banging my head against the wall trying to remember who will be in the 71.

Jake (Irving)

Should be 60 degrees for kickoff. Seriously

David Newton
  (2:42 PM)

It's mid-60s in Charlotte today. Think Jerry will open the roof on Sunday?

yuccadale (calif)

Have to say it was nice to see Travis pastrana have a fine first showing.Now maybe we can hear something more than Danica mania and the ROTY last year.And he remains humble.

David Newton
  (2:42 PM)

It was a nice start for Travis. Looking forward to seeing if he can bring a few younger viewers into the NASCAR fold.

scott (denton.tx)

if kasey kahne does better this year for the red bull racing do you thing that maybe he will stay for a another year or just go over there an way you thoughts..

David Newton
  (2:43 PM)

Nope. He's committed to Hendrick. Red Bull is resigned to losing him. If Kahne does well it just makes the 4 car more attractive for getting a high profile driver.

Marc (Malden, MA)

Nice to see NASCAR dealing with the low-hanging fruit (points system) and still getting it wrong. Glad to see they're really "listening to the fans."

David Newton
  (2:43 PM)

I'm glad you're glad. Oh, that was sarcasm.

Nick Rolando (Orlando)

David, why in the world would Carl ever consider Red Bull besides maybe more money? That group is nowhere near the level of Roush and has only one cup win.

David Newton
  (2:44 PM)

But what if the level improves, then more money sounds pretty good.

scott (denton.tx)

by the way what do you thing about the new sytem when there is bad weather where in the area at any track it is going to be the fast that goes first and the slowest goes last what is your take on that..

David Newton
  (2:45 PM)

I suppose you're talking about qualifying order based on practice speeds. Under the plan, the fastest in practice would qualify last and the slowest first.

JEFF (BAKERSFIELD,CA)

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF TONY STEWART'S CHANCE OF WINNING THIS YEAR ?

David Newton
  (2:45 PM)

Assuming he has found a helmet to replace the one he tossed in Australia pretty good. He's looking slim and trim and has a feistiness about him that I like.

Trina (Beaumont, TX)

With the Democrats picking Charlotte as the host city for the 2012 Democratic Convention do you think the Democrats will help ticket sales at the NASCAR HOF?

David Newton
  (2:46 PM)

Good question. I know NASCAR is a Republican nation, but the HOF would be crazy not to take advantage of the Democrats in town.

Will (South Carolina)

Who QUALIFIES (key word there) for a NSCS race first, Danica Patrick, Austin Dillon, or Travis Pastrana?

David Newton
  (2:47 PM)

Danica, only because she'll be offered a Cup ride first.

Larry (NY)

So i am from watkins and people from here have been talking about that they heard that there might be 2 race at watkins this year. what do you know about that

David Newton
  (2:47 PM)

People like to talk. Doesn't mean they are right. They aren't on this one.

Dee (Vegas)

That's for the chat, Mr. Newton. So, let me see if I have this straight. Stanly = hand tools. DeWalt = power tools. MacTools = delivery/distribution. So (1) there's no conflict of interest being on the same car and (2) the #9 of Marcos Ambrose has become one stop shopping for the handyman. Can Marcos win a race this year?

David Newton
  (2:48 PM)

Funny. And Marcos can win a race for sure as long as there's a road course on the schedule and he doesn't stop under caution.

Shelby (Ont, Canada)

Haha thats funny, I will check it out! Im not against Redbull, im against Toyotas ahaha. Ford girl born and raised!! :) Thanks for the link!!

David Newton
  (2:49 PM)

No problem. I was born into a Chevy family but not partial to one manufacturer.

Emily (NJ)

David, there is no way that Carl can leave Roush. He is way too loyal to leave Jack. With Carl, it is never about the money.

David Newton
  (2:49 PM)

I tend to agree with you, but I've seen crazier things.

Todd (GA)

Everyone says that if Dale Jr. doesn't run good now that he has finally run out of excuses. But, correct me if i'm wrong but i haven't heard JR make a bunch of excuses for the way he has been running. It is mostly his fans that make the excuses.

David Newton
  (2:49 PM)

Good point.

Sully (WV)

What does Kyle Busch have to do to make him into a fan favorite?

David Newton
  (2:50 PM)

Exactly what he's doing. I see more and more Kyle fans every day.

scott (denton.tx)

do you think that jimmie will help dale to get in the chase and maybe help him threw out the year and maybe win couple of races this year.

David Newton
  (2:50 PM)

Not just jimmie, but the entire atmosphere of that shop.

Liz (Roanoke, VA)

Do you think Knaus looks at Dale jr a challenging reclaimation project or a distraction to him and Jimmie?

David Newton
  (2:50 PM)

Knaus likes challenges.

Adam (Ohio)

Hey David, do you see any other major players in the Carl Edwards Sweepstakes? For instance, Stewart-Hass expanding to 3 teams, Penske, etc?

David Newton
  (2:51 PM)

Can't see him at Stewart-Haas. Maybe JGR if Gibbs decides to expand.

Marc (Malden, MA)

But how funny would it be to see Tony Stewart tweet during a race?

David Newton
  (2:51 PM)

Scary since he doesn't tweet at all now.

Larry (NY)

What car do you think kasey kahne will drive next year

David Newton
  (2:52 PM)

The 5 as planned.

Christian (Wellington, FL)

Is it true that while he was alive Dale sr wasn't popular and got booed at drivers intros like Kyle Busch gets today?

David Newton
  (2:52 PM)

Not that he wasn't popular, but he did have a group that didn't like him and booed him. His popularity grew after his tragic death as often is the case with celebrities.

Gene (Ohio )

Lattitude 43 motorsports coming back this year?

David Newton
  (2:53 PM)

Haven't heard that one yet.

Drew (Bloomington, Ind.)

How do you personally define an elite driver in NASCAR? So many wins? Winning championships? Etc

David Newton
  (2:53 PM)

Not sure there is any other way outside of wins and titles.

scott (denton.tx)

oh by the way have you gotting little confuse about b k and kurt bush yet when you where at daytona couple of weeks ago when they where doing testing down there...

David Newton
  (2:54 PM)

I'll admit I want to call Kurt Busch Kevin Harvick when he's in that yellow Shell uniform.

Margie (Ft. Myers, FL)

What is your over/under pick for total Rowdy NASCAR wins in 2011?

David Newton
  (2:54 PM)

Six.

ryan (chicago)

So what's your prediction on Daytona, Newt?

David Newton
  (2:54 PM)

Can you say Junior?

Will (South Carolina)

Mike Bliss in #71

David Newton
  (2:55 PM)

That's it. Was announced this week. Had it on the tip of my tongue and couldn't get it out. Thanks.

Butch (MS)

We all read where it is expected that Kyle Bush and Juan Pablo will have much improved seasons due to gaining maturity. Do drivers in there 20's and early 30's really change their personalities and aggressive driving habits? Did Darrell Waltrip or Dale Sr or Pearson really mellow into greater drivers? Or isn't it just the stripes on a Tiger and they cant be changed? Thanks.

David Newton
  (2:56 PM)

Both will remain aggressive, but both have learned to temper that aggressiveness the past few years. If you ask Jeff Gordon if he was a better driver in 1995 than he was in '93 he'll tell you definitely. Maybe experience is a better word than maturity.

Nick Rolando (Orlando)

David, noticed a little shot a RPM in the earlier comment. I personally think they'll be successful because they have racing people running the opreation now and stability w/finances.

David Newton
  (2:57 PM)

Wasn't a shot, but when you think of teams that can contend for a title RPM is way behind Hendrick, JGR, Roush, RCR and a few others.

Marc (Malden, MA)

Is Bobby Labonte driving the 71 this year?

David Newton
  (2:57 PM)

Nope. He went to JT Daugherty team with Michael Waltrip Racing.

Justin (Alabama)

Do you think Talladega will ever get lights put at there race track? I want to know if there will ever be a night race at Talladega?

David Newton
  (2:58 PM)

I don't see it for a few years but it would be awesome. And scary. Imagine that crowd after a night race.

ryan (chicago)

What's your prediction for Daytona?

David Newton
  (2:59 PM)

That I'll get a lot of Marriott points and spend way too many nights at the Ale House.

Gary (Cary, NC)

David, thanks for report on Carla??s trip. Been there, 41 years ago. Hellish war. Constant rocket attacks at night. Some months, we had 1000+ fatalities, total in a??Nam.In any case, if any fans are near a Viet Vet ever at a night race, and they shoot off some unexepected aerial bombs, fireworks, give him a hug. Ita??ll do wonders for the guy and calm him down.Carl gas gotta get some wins!

David Newton
  (2:59 PM)

I just missed the draft by a few years. Can't imagine what it was like even after hearing and seeing many of the horror stories. And I agree, Carl will get some wins this year. Maybe a big trophy.

Jason (FL)

Will Rudd, K. Petty, W. Burton, Marlin, Spencer, Rusty, DJ ever race again in Sprint Cup?

David Newton
  (3:00 PM)

Nothing personal, but their time has come and gone.

chris (oregon)

any reports on sponsors for the 5 next year with kahne? I have heard ups. any truth?

David Newton
  (3:00 PM)

UPS is the one on my radar.

scott (denton.tx)

what do you think about texas host a night in the first race this when they come here in april..

David Newton
  (3:01 PM)

I think the weather better be better than it is for the Super Bowl. By the way, The Packers will win the Super Bowl and Dale Jr. will win NASCAR's Super Bowl. Gotta run. Thanks for all the questions. See you next week from Daytona.