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February 8, 1:30 PM ET
Chat with Ed Hinton

Ed Hinton
  (1:30 PM)

Hi, all. Thanks for stopping by. We've got a big group already. Looks like it's racin' season again.

Mike (NJ)

Have you heard if the engine explosion at Joe Gibbs Racing had anything to do with running ethanol and the greater horsepower?

Ed Hinton
  (1:31 PM)

Haven't heard that and I doubt it. Dyno fires are not uncommon. RCR had a big one a couple years ago. Don't think the methanol contributed; engines just blow on the dyno sometimes.

Nick Rolando (Orlando)

Ed, I know that RPM is looking to expand eventually, could Bayne and/or Stenhouse be a part of that?

Ed Hinton
  (1:32 PM)

Bayne could be.

Carlos (Hollywood, Fl)

Do you think Paul Menard will finish ahead of Burton in points and maybe even win a race for RCR?

Ed Hinton
  (1:33 PM)

He might win a race for RCR, but won't finish ahead of Burton in points.

bryan (virginia)

What's your expectation's for RPM this year?

Ed Hinton
  (1:34 PM)

Dinger wins a race or two on ovals, and Marcos might break through with a road Cup win.

Turk (Mich. )

Are you hearing anything about Robby Gordon Racing becoming a satelite Dodge team of Penske's?

Ed Hinton
  (1:47 PM)

Sorry, folks. Got knocked off my network and it took a while to get back on. Will catch up fast as I can.

Patti (Orlando)

Stevie will be Dale's 3rd crew chief in 4 years and his 7th in 12 years. What ever happened to the conventional wisdom about crew chief continuity being key to success?

Ed Hinton
  (1:48 PM)

Junior and conventional wisdom are incompatible terms.

Walt (GA)

How do you think Travis Pastranna will do?

Ed Hinton
  (1:48 PM)

It'll take him a while. Pretty big jump.

Goose (NJ)

I live near Pocono and make that race every year, but if I'm going to do a road trip this year is it Martinsville, Richmond or Darlington?

Ed Hinton
  (1:49 PM)

Gotta go to Darlington.

Beverly (Highpoint, NC)

Most of the pre-season picks I've seen don't even have Junior rated in the top 20. Do you think that's fair to him especially on the 10th anniversary of Dale Sr's passing?

Ed Hinton
  (1:50 PM)

You don't pick these things with your heart. You pick 'em with your brain. 10th anniversary won't make Junior run better, but Letarte might.

Sonia (NV)

Hi Ed, do you think Carl Edwards or Kyle Busch has the best chance of finally breaking #48 stranglehold on Sprint Cup racing?

Ed Hinton
  (1:50 PM)

I think Carl. He's coming back strong. Kyle isn't a proven Chaser yet.

Rick (Philly)

Ed - Great article on chasing the 48 team. What seems to separate the 48 team from the rest is Knaus's incredible single mindeness to the point of sacrificing his personal life and Johnson's incredible focus and discipline. While all teams have some of this it remains to be seen whether any single team has it at the level of Knaus and Johnson. I wonder if the end will come when Knaus and Johnson have had enough.

Ed Hinton
  (1:51 PM)

I certainly think if they split, the dominance ends.

Jeff (Maryland)

Do you think B. Labonte can have multiple top 10's this year?

Ed Hinton
  (1:51 PM)

Probably. Brad Daugherty and his partners run a pretty good team.

Steve (Chesterfield VA)

McMurray has said he wouldna??t have traded his 2010 season for a chase berth. Obviously, making the chase is almost every drivers goal. If Jamie makes the chase but doesna??t win one or more of the a??biga? races, will 2011 be considered a step back for him? Sure, making the chase is an accomplishment. What Jamie did in 2010 was epic.

Ed Hinton
  (1:52 PM)

I don't think it would be a step back to make the Chase . . .and repeating a Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400? oooooh. unlikely.

Willie (Cali)

Do you think Toyota, Ford or Dodge have a shot at winning the pole for the 500?

Ed Hinton
  (1:52 PM)

All three. But Ford might be the darkhorse if the FR9 plate version is as good as the unrestricted.

Cletus(Apex, NC) [via mobile]

Ed, since ya'll (sports writers) have jumped off the Jr train like rats off a sinking ship, is this the year we can stop hearing about how good JPM is being as he has what 1 win to his record?

Ed Hinton
  (1:53 PM)

Na, you'll keep hearing about JPM.

RAYGORDONREID ( DE LAND FLORIDA 32724)

COMMEN TO ED HIMNTON AT 1,25 PM WORST SUNDAT IN NASCAER

Ed Hinton
  (1:53 PM)

Ray Gordon, you gotta be more legible than that.

Ryan (Ventura CA)

Michael Annett arrested for driving with .32 BAC. What action if any will nascar take?

Ed Hinton
  (1:54 PM)

Good question. The Wallace team itself used the term "substance abuse," I believe. Thing is, it wasn't a NASCAR test at a track. We'll see.

Jake (Irving, TX)

Hey Ed, what's all the fuss about Annette's DUI when Allmendinger got busted for DUI last year and Petty didn't do anything and Waltrip rolled his SUV and fled the scene and nothing ever came of that?

Ed Hinton
  (1:55 PM)

I think the fuss is 4 times the legal limit.

Chris (Crestview, FL)

Will the crews have this new gas can figured out by Daytona or do you think it might cost somebody a win this season? I read the gas can is pretty bad and slow.

Ed Hinton
  (1:56 PM)

the good teams say they've got it figured out. if it costs somebody a race this season, it'll be a dark horse team.

Drew (Bloomington, Ind.)

I gotta ask you, Ed: Is 2011 finally the year someone steps up and beats the #48 team? If so, who will it be?

Ed Hinton
  (1:56 PM)

Could be Edwards, Harvick, Hamlin . . .

Chris (Crestview, FL)

If Junior wins a couple races this season will people cut him some slack? Its pretty amazing to me how people think 18 wins and 2 Busch championships equals a mediocre driver at best. 95% of the drivers in the garage would kill for those stats.

Ed Hinton
  (1:57 PM)

Except for the Nationwide win last year, all those stats you cite are pretty old. People are going on recent years.

Chris (Crestview, FL)

How many people are going to blame Junior coming over to the 48 shop as the reason if the 48 fails to win a 6th title this year?

Ed Hinton
  (1:57 PM)

As many as feel like it.

Shannon (Williamstown, VT.)

Sir, could you explain the Hendrick swap please? Did Dale Jr. move to the 24 Team with the 24 cars, crew and crew chief? Did Jeff Gordon move to the 88 team with those cars, crew, and crew chief? Or did the teams swap shops except for crew chiefs?Also could you enlighten us as to where the 'Rainbow Warriors' are now, are they still working the 48 car or did they return to the 24 or are they now on the 88?There was never a clear explaination as to how everything landed?

Ed Hinton
  (2:00 PM)

I'm not sure who really is clear on everything, but I'll give it my best shot. Gordon described this as a "driver swap." I doubt HMS would part a crew chief from the fleet of cars he has prepared. So my best understanding is: Junior goes to the Gordon cars in the 2448 shop, and gets Letarte; Gordon goes to the 5 shop with Gustafson and gets Martin's cars; Martin goes to the 88 side of his same shop and gets McGrew and Junior's cars.

Andy (MD)

Will JJ start his own team in the future?

Ed Hinton
  (2:00 PM)

Not if he stays as smart as he is now. I don't think he's the type to want the headaches.

Ryan (Ventura CA)

Mr Hinton was the fire at Gibbs related to the new fuel blend?

Ed Hinton
  (2:01 PM)

Don't think so. Again, engines blow on dynos all the time. they did long before methanol.

austin (denver)

BUD SHOOTOUT WEEK! Who wins? I'll say Kahne gets some wings and passes on the backstretch to edge Junior.

Ed Hinton
  (2:01 PM)

sounds as good as any scenario to me.

Adam C (Vermont)

With the points situation in Nationwide and KHI equipment, is Elliott Sadler a top pick to win the title in 2011? Name your Top 5 N'wide drivers this year.

Ed Hinton
  (2:02 PM)

yessir. not in order but Sadler's one, definitely Almirola, then Leffler, Bayne, Stenhouse.

Jane (NY)

Hey Ed, who's your pick for Saturday night?

Ed Hinton
  (2:03 PM)

Harvick.

YAR8packX2 (Candor)

Good day, Mr Hinton. First: Just thinking about your column and how Ms Aguilera provided even more evidence to as to why the National Anthem should be sung the correct way, sans doo-wap and untraditional ranges. Second: Okay, time for a question. NASCAR is rumored to be entertaining the idea of shorter races. That's fine. But shouldn't ticket prices, concession prices, parking prices and hotel prices be adjusted as well. Who wants to pay the same for less? Not me! Take care.

Ed Hinton
  (2:04 PM)

Not sure NASCAR is entertaining it, but they are getting strong suggestions from Mr. Hill at Fox.I don't equate miles with entertainment. I like the idea of shorter races.

Andy (MD)

Any leaked informations that SHR will have 3rd car for 2012?

Ed Hinton
  (2:04 PM)

No, but I'm sure Smoke's always on the prowl for more sponsorship.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Which NASCAR race will Danica Patrick be racing at in Indianapolis on the Last weekend of July since the IZOD Indy Car Series is Off that Weekend?

Ed Hinton
  (2:05 PM)

It'll be the Nationwide if she's there. They're not about to throw her into the Brickyard as her first Cup race.

James (North Little Rock)

Ed nice column, but when Brian France sarcastically mocked Jenna Fryer at his opening press conference when she asked him tough questions facing the series it summarized my thoughts. Ever since Brian France has taken over he has shown constant ignorance to the fans and refuses to address the main issues in the sport (emphasis on winning, more short tracks/less cookie cutters, shorter races/season). I don't care how good the racing is, my love for NASCAR will never be as big as it use to be as long as he keeps giving us the bird

Ed Hinton
  (2:06 PM)

I'll just let those feelings stand on their own.

Ben (Minneapolis)

Will JPM ever win the Sprint Cup?

Ed Hinton
  (2:06 PM)

Probably.

Brenda (Baytown TX)

Hi Ed,Excited for the new season. Glad you are back with us for another season. My question is about Kasey Kahne. Why are there so many sports writers who are so hard on Kasey Kahne? Kasey has had some hard times in the past few years with the team he was with. I see good times ahead for Kasey. Would like your take on the matter.

Ed Hinton
  (2:07 PM)

Hmmm. Must be the eye of the beholder. I don't know anyone who's been rough on KK. I know I haven't. I think he'll win a race or two for Red Bull this year.

Anthony P. (Danville, PA)

Do you think NASCAR will ever actually listen to its fans, or will Brian France always be in charge? Please make Mike Helton the Prez.

Ed Hinton
  (2:08 PM)

Helton IS the Prez. And he always listens to Brian France, who is the chairman.

Scott Trent (Cumming, GA)

Just wanted to says thanks for writing 'Daytona:...' I really enjoyed the book and the stories. What do you make of the new or latest version of the points system? I still like the old points system and kind of wish they had left it alone. Did we really need a playoff in Nascar? Under the old points system, every race was a playoff race.

Ed Hinton
  (2:09 PM)

Thanks. I thought the points "simplification" was much ado about very little. doesn't really change much. I've always said NASCAR has as much right to hold playoffs as any other sport. When you think about it, no playoffs are necessary. They're all about money, ratings and public attention.

greg (louisiana)

whos do u think will b the biggest suprise and biggest dissapoinment this year

Ed Hinton
  (2:10 PM)

Biggest surprise: Carl Edwards is back with a vengeance. Biggest disappointment? I don't think this but I fear it: what if Letarte can't get Junior going?

Richard (Rochester, NY)

Do you see anyone outside of Amirola or Sadler actually winning the NW title this year? I know the young guys (Allgier and Bayne) look suited to challenge for the title but the experience of KHI and JRM crews and drivers will be tough to beat

Ed Hinton
  (2:12 PM)

I think Bayne's got a shot. Pops Eury's bunch, plus the experience Almirola gained running for the Truck title last year, make Aric my pick.

Kyle (Burlington, VT)

It seems there are two competing schools of thought in regards to following a runner-up season. Some say it cause a championship "hangover" and makes it tough to bounce back, while I've heard other champions say it helps, "you have to lose one to win one." Do you see Denny Hamlin and the 11 team wilting after last season's disappointment? Or will it be an asset to a maturing championship caliber race team?

Ed Hinton
  (2:12 PM)

Denny says a lot of people will expect him to wilt, but is pretty adamant that he won't. I'm of the lose one to win one school.

Ernie (PA)

Didn't AJ Allmendinger get a DUI last year like this Michael Annett did so why is this getting blown up into a big deal? Is it because Annett is a Rusty Wallace driver and Allmendinger works for Petty?

Ed Hinton
  (2:13 PM)

Again, I think this is all about the allegation of four times the legal limit.

Richard (Rochester, NY)

Is there anyway Carl Edwards leaves Roush after the year is up? With Silly Season occuring earlier and earlier if he were to annouce a move to a team, 2011 would end up being a lost cause for him when he is in position to challenge for the title

Ed Hinton
  (2:14 PM)

Can't see him leaving Roush. No room at RCR (and there's the Harvick issue), no forseeable room at Hendrick, Gibbs unlikely.

Jeremy (Des Moines, IA)

I think at some point Jr fans need to let reality set in. Jr is a good driver, and had a strech where he was one of the best in Nascar, no doubt. But looking at the currect field of drivers, is anyone going to say with certainty that Jr is in the top 12? The man will hopefully win occasional races, but I really hope people can have realistic expectations about how he can do...

Ed Hinton
  (2:16 PM)

As usual, just letting the sides have their say.

travis (illinois)

everybody needs to get off the jr bashing and let him be jr he didnt ask for the last name of earnhardt. go jr!!!!

Ed Hinton
  (2:16 PM)

the other side speaks

Adam C (Vermont)

Name your driver with the best chance to win 10 races in Cup this year, and will they actually achieve it?

Ed Hinton
  (2:16 PM)

Hamlin. No.

Karl (AZ)

Are all the distractions that Stewart and Harvick have running race teams, sponsors etc. the reason they don't win more races?

Ed Hinton
  (2:17 PM)

Don't know if it hurts, but figure it can't help.

Scott (Minneapolis, MN)

Any chance that NASCAR moves the date of the 500 if the NFL expands to 18 games?

Ed Hinton
  (2:18 PM)

No. Somehow I think that collision will be avoided.

Jackey (TX)

I want to know where the Jr um "haters" for lack of a better term got the idea where his fans said he was the greatest ever or something. 95% of Jr fans know he is decent and don't claim anyting more.

Ed Hinton
  (2:18 PM)

more debate

Karl (AZ)

So Harvick has enemies in Edwards, Joey, Rowdy, Burton? Did I forget anyone?

Ed Hinton
  (2:19 PM)

don't you remember his feud with the Biff in trucks?

Jeremy (Des Moines, IA)

Actually, I think Travis made the same point I did. I wasn't trying to bash Jr, just saying I hope people remain realistic and don't call for Letarte's head if they manage only a "decent" season.

Ed Hinton
  (2:19 PM)

Oh, there'll be calls for Letarte's head, all right. Just like there were calls for McGrew's head, and Tony Jr.'s before him.

Robert (Virginia Beach)

Do you expect this year to be the same as last year with reporters bombing Mark Martin all year with lame duck questions and retirement etc.?

Ed Hinton
  (2:20 PM)

BOMB Mark Martin? You're kidding! Just like the woman who said we rip Kasey Kahne. Honestly! Those two get better media treatment than anybody else.

Scott (Minneapolis, MN)

What will the change to the nose of car and splitter do for the ontrack racing?

Ed Hinton
  (2:21 PM)

It'll make the front of the car a lot less obnoxious to the eyes of the beholders. And, I suspect, ease a lot of the grumbling about the car.

bryan (virginia)

Jr has chewed up more divers than the original Jaws movie

Ed Hinton
  (2:21 PM)

Huh?

Benie (Winter Park, FL)

Do you think Kyle-Denny will lead a bunch of laps in the 500 or hang back all race and charge to the front at the finish?

Ed Hinton
  (2:22 PM)

JGR has a pretty strong history of riding at the back, going back to Smoke. But if Kyle and Denny can go up front easily, they'll probably go up there to ride.

travis (illinois)

i would be happy if jr runs in the top 10 this year with 1 win!!

Ed Hinton
  (2:23 PM)

realism speaks

Cletus (Apex, NC) [via mobile]

Thanks for answering my earlier question. I'm of the Jr fanbase that doesn't jump over board. Atleast knows how to win in NASCAR. Between JPM and Danica seems like the hype isn't worth the ink its writen in

Ed Hinton
  (2:24 PM)

we do the Danica and JPM pieces because the majority of the public wants them. not the other way around. believe it or not.

Anthony (Danville, PA)

keep protecting your brass Mr. Hinton. Instead of answering the real questions fans want to hear some answers on, you keep answering questions like is shr going to have a 3rd team. Keep the fools happy and not the fans who pay to be there week in and week out.

Ed Hinton
  (2:25 PM)

So what do you want answered? These questions come in at a torrid rate, and I just grab 'em at random.

Ryan (Ventura CA)

don't you remember his feud with the Biff in trucks? Don't figure get about rubberhead (Kurt Bush lol)

Ed Hinton
  (2:26 PM)

Oh, yeah. That one has run on since their short tracking days in California.

Justin (NC)

Honestly I think 50% of Jr hate is directed at his fans more than him.

Ed Hinton
  (2:26 PM)

You're probably right.

bryan (virginia)

Why are writers asking for shorter races? If you don't like the length, go report something else. I am sick and tired of hearing people say shorten the races or put a time limit on them.

Ed Hinton
  (2:27 PM)

it's not us. it's the TV powers at Fox, on behalf of their viewers.

Mike (Atlanta)

For arguments sake, let's say Mark Martin finishes oh, 18th in points. Can blame then be put on Mcgrew?

Ed Hinton
  (2:28 PM)

Nobody blames a crew chief for anybody's slump except Junior's . . . except for some fans blaming Letarte for Gordon's slump.

Dom (NJ)

Agree with Anthony. how can SHR even think about a 3rd team when they can't even put 1 decent car on the track?

Ed Hinton
  (2:28 PM)

Point made.

Jeremy (Des Moines, IA)

Why do people bash you guys? Seriously, you and your fellow Nascar writers on this site are probably the best group of chatters around!

Ed Hinton
  (2:29 PM)

Oh, NASCAR fans just love to complain about something, anything . . .

Scott (Minneapolis, MN)

Sorry bryan (virginia) I wouldn't mind the races being shorter not all races but some, sometimes less is more.

Ed Hinton
  (2:30 PM)

There you go. Exactly.

Ed Hinton
  (2:30 PM)

With that, gotta go, folks. Sorry for the interruption, and thanks for stopping by.