Poolside with Ernie the Dog in sunny Daytona Beach. Track is quiet except for Petty Driving Experience and Budweiser Clydesdales. Lots to talk about with all that has happened in the last week. Will get started early so I can take more questions. Have at it.
With Kasey Kahne driving the #5 Chevrolet in 2012 who do you think will drive for Team Red Bull in 2012?
Good question. I know they'd love to have Carl Edwards whose contract is up. Whether they are in position to do that may depend on how Kasey does in the 4 this year. If he can prove it's a championship contender Edwards may opt for that with a secure long-time sponsor in Red Bull. Heck, Mark Martin always could drive there since he has a relationship with top management.
Which Drivers & Cars will not make the Daytona 500 if the Daytona 500 was set by Bud Pole Qualifying time trials?
Ouch. Left my list in my briefcase, but I can tell you of guys outside the top 35 Bill Elliott, Travis Kvapil and Joe Nemechek are in.
What are Kvapil's plans for the upcoming season? How many Cup races do you think he will race in this year? Thanks!
The plan is to run him the entire season.
When Carl Edwards said, "I have zero respect for Harvick", was that because he has accomplished so little in 10 years in Dale's #3 or because Harvick runs his mouth about non 29 subjects?
Pretty sure it has more to do with the latter and other conflicts of personality.
Do you think Harvick has a chip on his shoulder because he only has 14 cup win in 10 years while Rowdy-19 wins, Edwards-18 wins and Denny-16 wins are all younger and have more wins than he does?
Not at all. Pretty sure Kyle Busch, Hamlin and Edwards would trade a few of those wins for a Daytona 500 win. And Harvick has established himself as a very influential owner as well. He's actually mellowed quite a bit lately. Looking forward to his Budweiser roast tonight.
Where does Harvick get the idea that he hands out "mulligans" to respected drivers like his teammate Jeff Burton?
I'm still trying to figure out how a golf term got into racing.
Did you hear about the stars of transformers being the grand marshalls for sunday's race?
Hearing that. Rather see the cars transform on the track.
Hi David, can you confirm that Scotty Speed has a deal to run the #33 Rheem car for KHI this year?
Haven't heard that one, but have put in a check for you. Will let you know when I get a response.
David, any word on Harvick's other sponsor for 10 races? Or will Budweiser sponsor him more?
He's close from what I'm told. Not to worry. He'll be full.
Do you think when Larry Mac called for more positive attitudes about NASCAR he was talking about stopping the negativity toward future NASCAR leaders like Kyle, Denny and Edwards?
No, I believe he was talking about the sport in general. I also believe he was out of line. I don't tell him what to say on TV.
Hey Newt, Does Harvick hold a grudge against Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing because they passed him over to sign Joey a few years ago?
I wouldn't say grudge. Are you referring to what happened between him and Joey last year at Pocono? He's a competitor and very brand and manufacturer loyal. That's it.
With Red Bull and Fiat-Ferrari owned Dodge already in NASCAR and McLaren coming next, do you see Mercedes, BMW, Renault and others getting involved in NASCAR?
I do eventually. Competition is good for the sport. You see how Toyota has made others step up.
Can Jeff Gordon ever reach a 5 plus win season again?
Dang right he can. He might have last season with a few breaks. Don't throw dirt on his grave.
Who finsihes better in the standings this year? Smoke, Rowdy, Gordon, Bowyer, or Burton?
Kyle Busch. I wouldn't be surprised to see him win it all. Two of those I don't see making the Chase.
In Marty's ESPN interview yesterday with Dale jr, he said enough is enough with all the Dale sr hoopla so why does the media persist with all the 10th anniversary stuff?
Got me. I would be happy if we didn't write a word about it, even though I wrote several words today. We wrote the same stuff five years ago when it was the fifth anniversary. I hope we don't recognize 15th and 20th. Maybe not again until 25th. Nothing against Earnhardt, but it's time for folks to move on. Appreciate how the sport has grown and the safety advances that came from his death.
On the double yellow line, Denny said the shootout wasn't worth it to risk putting the #39 in the stands, so why bother having a race that's not worth winning?
Good point. Think what he was saying is the Daytona 500 is signficant enough from a prestige as well as points event that he'd have held his line to win that one. Not worth it in an exhibition. I tend to agree. I also believe they should be able to race to the line for the checkered.
David, what do you have to say to all these people who keep claiming the fix is in for Daytona? That Junior is on the pole, will win, etc because of the 10th anniversary stuff.
Get a life.
Steve O'Donnell, the Vice President of Track Operations recetly said in a story on another site that NASCAR offers the best behind-the-scenes access in all of sports. (Talking about the Garage Cold/Hot Pass) I have been going to race's for 15 years and have yet been able to obtain garage passes for a Nascar race. I can get them for IRL race's without batting a eye, but not a Nascar race. Am I just going about obtaining these incorrectly? Can you help point me in the direction that Steve O'Donnell seems to say exists?
I would check with individual track ticket offices and see what they say. I agree the access is great compared to other sports. You can't open up locker rooms in the NBA or NFL.
Kyle just sort of laughed off getting wrecked by Mark Martin in the shootout so if Kyle is gonna be PC and nice all year who will be the villian in the black hat?
Trust me, that was an exhibition. If Mark did that in the 500 watch out.
Do you think Dale Earnahardt Jr stands a chance to win the 500 sunday?
He's been my pick for a month, so yes. But it's going to be pot luck for just about anybody who wins the way these two-car drafts are working.
David - The 48 team leads in media exposure (rightfully so given what they have done). Is there any pressure from NASCAR or the other sponsors to throttle back the 48 coverage? It would seem that the sponsors would be clamoring for my media time given they want the most out of their investment
Not sure the 48 dominates media exposure. JJ does get more during the Chase because he's winning all the titles, but that would happen to any team in that position. And I will say Hamlin and Kevin Harvick got a ton of exposure last year.
Why has Teresa Earnhardt chosen to be so reclusive as an owner since her husband's death? I wonder what she thinks as the 10th anniversary of her husband's death approaches.
She was that wasy before his death. No reason for her to change and even less for her to be at the track. People need to get off her back. She is who she is. As for the anniversary, would you want to relive that? She appreciates her late husband being honored, but it's not something she celebrates.
When will Timothy Peters get a shot at running in the Cup Series?
He's still a few years off. Prescious few rides out there.
David, who is your sleeper pick for the 500? I'm going with Paul Menard, he very well could have his Michael Waltrip moment this weekend.
He'll be in good equipment and he's done well in plate races. I like Joey Logano though.
Who will win the truck series championship this year?
Bodine or Hornaday. Your pick?
Hi David, what is your opinion on the changes to the 88's crew and do you think it will ultimately lead to one of, if not THE best season in the Sprint Cup for Jr.?
Love the changes. Steve Letarte really has had a positive influence on Dale Jr. and Jr. is committed more than ever. I won't say it'll be his best season, but I predict two wins and the Chase.
Hi Mr. Newton, you see Lady Gaga giving Jay Leno a gift of M&M's during her appearance last night?
I missed it. Celebrating Valentines with at a restaurant where I swear my 89-year-old waitress was Betty White.
Predictions for this weekend? Dual, Nationwide, How many straight has smoke won? and the 500
Lots of questions. Hard to predict any of those honestly since so much luck is involved at this track. As I've said I like Jr for the Cup race, and heck maybe even the Nationwide race. Not sure the number on Smoke, but he'll be a threat as well. Who do you like?
Is this the year that Biffle stops running over air hoses and getting caught speeding on pit road long enough to make a honest to goodness run for a championship, or is the competition just too good...even in his own Roush backyard?
You never know when somebody is going to catch that momentum that takes them to a title. We know Biffle is good enough, but he'll have a tough enough time beating his teammates, not to mention Jimmie Johnson and the field.
Hey David, I know Childress declined to comment but do you have any idea what happened to the car from Earnhardt's fatal accident? Did Nascar keep it or was it ever released back to RCR?
I wish I knew. I was told it wasn't on RCR property. I hear it was buried somewhere. RCR would have to have gotten it back at some time because that is the rightful owner. Not NASCAR.
We have an all Hendrick front row, but after watching the shootout, it still looks like the ECR guys will be the ones to beat on another plate track this Sunday. Any reason why McMurray, Harvick, Burton, and Bowyer aren't considered the favorites to win?
Before I get to that, Scott Speed is racing the second Iowa race and Montreal race for KHI. As for favorites, I agree the RCR and EGR cars were awfully strong. We'll see if that changes with the changes made on Sunday.
I just think thats harvicks personality...he's a "if you don't like me thats your problem" kinda guy
Nothing wrong with that. I'm kind of the same way.
can you guys tell most of the um questions come from the same person/computer on these chats?
It's like talk radio. Lots of questions but a small audience. I'd like to think we can branch out. Let's get more on the bandwagon here.
Not to sound disrespectful, because I am a huge fan of Dale Sr. but, 10 years now is a long time, I miss the guy, but Dale Jr, Teresa, Richard, and everybody who was closest to Dale are having to relive that moment. Is this going to be one of the last times we are going to talk about it? I mean, there have been lots of deaths at Daytona. We don't talk much about Neil Bonnett, or Rodney Orr.
Can the Nationwide car hook up in those 2 car drafts and gain 20 MPH?
Not in the corners. The nose and rear bumper don't match up like the Cup cars. They'd spin each other out.
Any new news on Dale Jr's contract extension with HMS?
Still negotiating. He has through 2012 already, so no hurry. But they are talking.
David, How do you expect the new points system to affect this year's chase?
Not much. JJ would have won under this system a year ago. You just have to look as a 5 pt. lead like a 25 pt. lead. Not much signficant came out of that other than simplifying.
Why do the drivers use their Daytona 500 car for the duels when there is a chance of wrecking it. Can't they use their shoot out cars.
Because they have three days to repair them if they wreck them and because they want their best cars to get the best start position. And many need to do well to get in the field.
With the changes to the front end air dam and water pressure for the Dual's and Sunday what are the engine guys saying about stress to the motors?
They are telling the drivers you better not blow up my engine by drafting too long. They put a lot of time and energy into building these cooling systems only to see them yanked. Not sure I agree.
Did you see Jeff MacGregor's article today on Dale? I thought it was an interesting read from someone that doesn't cover Nascar on a regular basis.
What race teams do you expect will be the least prepared to handle next year's introduction to fuel injection?
The less well-funded ones as usually is the case, but I don't think it'll be a big deal for any of them. Plenty of time to prepare.
By the way, a blip on my computer did not allow me to answer the question on ESPN The Mag article we ran. I thought it was spot on.
What series do you think Danica will be racing in 2012?
Cup for JR Motorsports or Stewart-Haas Racing.
With as strong as the 48 is and being part of a great org like HMS, they seem to struggle with the restrictor plate tracks. Their cars tend to be slighltly off from that of their teamates. Is this because of JJ's driving style or do you think it is because Chad tends to experiment more than the other HMS crew chiefs?
Knaus and JJ would like to know the answer. They put a lot of time into plate cars. JJ has a 500 win without Knaus and I'm sure that drivees Chad crazy even though he won't admit it. But you know, plate racing levels the field so it shouldn't be a surprise. Remember it took Dale Earnhardt 20 years to win the 500.
The more and more I see the Jr and Letarte pairing the more and more I like what I'm hearing. Do you think this is something that the new will wear off of or will they end up being just what Jr needs?
I am thinking just what he needs.
If Jr. wins the 500, or any race really, and finishes in the the chase, or even has a year like McMurray, THEN do we see an end to the RIDICULOUS criticism he gets at times? i doubt but just want your take...
The criticism won't end till he wins a title. And maybe not then.
Just wondering what you ate at Chez Pauls Last night. And if it was good. Maybe Ill Take GF there this week
Had the lamb chops. Awesome. Other around us like waht they had as well. But the best part was the owner and his 89-year-old mom/waitress. They entertained us to the point we were laughing out of control.
Of the current crop of NASCAR Drivers, who do you think would provide the best insight to make a good Color guy post retirement?
Jeff Gordon or Jeff Burton.
You like McMurray or JPM to be better this year?
McMurray. But they will be close.
Let's say Dale Junior wins the 500 from the pole. Do you expect mass conspiricy complaints that could hurt NASCAR credibility?
There will be complaints, but the joy will be so overwhelming they will be drowned out.
Hey David, Enjoy the beach!!!! What are your impressions of the new surface based on what racing we have seen so far??????
Love the surface. The cars really splash at night. Not a fan of 2X2 racing. Hope that changes with the changes.
Whose your one to keep an eye on this season?
Whats your prediction for Bobby Labonte? Having top notch equipment and a team. How close to the chase does he get and how many wins do you give him this year and do you think he's being underrated coming into the season?
You seem to be higher on his chances this year than I do. He wasn't strong in his last years at Gibbs where he had top-notch equipment.
Instead of all this temp pump stuff, can't they just tell drivers they can't push someone more than half or lap or something and monitor it through the race?
They did that a few years ago at Dega with no-bump zones. Mention it now and you'll lose your hard card. Remember how the drivers got in line. No, you just have to let them race.
Is Ernie allowed any poolside umbrella drinks? Just wondering if you think the 500 will be similar to Saturday's 2-car racing for the entire race?
Ernie will eat and drink anything. And the 500 will be different because between the rule changes and temperature changes in weather it will be impossile to stay connected to one car for more than a lap or two.
David, If Volkswagen comes to NASCAR, do my kids get to punch me every lap, or do they only get to do it one time per race, per color? Help me out....my arm is sore just thinking of this!
They won't be racing Bugs. Chill.
Newt, with everything that's up in the air about what car changes are going to be made for the 500, shouldn't NASCAR have done a better job in figuring this out beforehand? Like say, during the testing session?
No way they knew the teams were making all these improvements to the cooling systems and the impact it would have. Everyone is learning.
if ben can't tell the difference between the shootout and the 500 then he just doesnt get it...same thing happens sunday and newman is goin around...
Won?t the changes to the cooling system intended to limit the two-car draft also affect the ?pack? racing us non-traditional racing fans love so much?
We'll find out how packs are impacted in Wednesday's practice and the duals. My guess is we'll see alot of single file till the last 40 laps and then go back to two-car drafts.
David, how many wins for Roush this season overall?
Let's say there is no double, wouldn't the leader just push him into the grass? What is the difference if there is a line or not I don't get all the controversy. It's there, don't go below it.
Problem as Denny experienced is he couldn't go high because Busch and McMurray were locked there, so low was his only option. I agree they need the line. Just not sure going for checkered.
Do you expect Danica to finish on the lead lap Sat?
I do if she doesn't wreck.
Who will be the surprise driver/drivers that make the chase this year?
Logano and Kahne.
Hey David, love your articles, always a great read. Do you see the next 5 - 7 years being the best of Harvick's career now that he has finally become comfortable in his role as 'Dale Senior's Replacement'? And do you see him as a possible HOFer when he retires? He already has a 500 win, a Brickyard win, ROY and Nationwide Championships.
I do. Being comfortable in your skin provides confidence and that can take a driver a long way with good equipment.
Does anyone else already feel over-saturated (ad nauseam) w/3 primary Fox Sports personnel monopolizing Nascar programs? It feels like having the same teacher in school for 10 yrs. Boring, repetitious and definitely NOT more about current drivers as Fox Sports execs stated! Just more of the same! Seriously need to bring in some fresh personalities to mix it up! Thoughts?
I try to stay out of TV commentary.
Hey Dave. Do you have any heads up on the commercials for the 500?
I've seen the Toyota ones. Be sure to watch. Funny.
kyle is neither the good guy or the villain...i have recently figured this out...he's kyle...he really doesn't just "wreck" people for no reason...the dudes an awesome driver...and he does what it takes to win...and i just threw up a little in my mouth because i am a HUGE 88 fan lol
I tend to agree here. And did you have to say that while I am eating lunch?
So, Is Ernie allowed in the pool for a swim?
Only if we want to be thrown out. He does love to swim though.
which manufacturers engines do you think are more prone to overheading in the 2 car drafts?
Can't make a judgment till we see how the weather and new rules impacts things Sunday, but they all are subject to overheating if they stay locked too long.
Let me get this straight, NASCAR needs to slow the cars down so they don?t go into the stands but in recent years the only time a car has come close to going into the stands (excluding Roid Ragin? Carl) is when a driver is avoiding going below the yellow line? If you ask me, it?s a simple game of addition by subtraction.
I agree with Hamlin and Earnhardt Jr., speed them up and you'll see less two by two racing.
Dale Junior said he's only running 3 NW races this season because Jr Motorsports can't get any sponsorship. Is sponsorship really that tight?
He does have two other drivers fulltime, so to get three for NW it is tough.
Charlotte - Can't get them. Indy - Can't get them - Kentucky - Can't get them. Chicago - Can't get them. They have to be provided to you by a Nascar sponsor per every track I have called. They don't "sell" Garage passes. Doesn't sound to fan friendly to me. But what do I know as a ticket buyer. As long as Nascar's talking heads say it's good, that means it's good right ?
You need to find who is giving garage tours. But most of the garage passes go to sponsors and family members.
roush/yates equip had nothing to do with menards failures last year imho
I would not argue that.
I know you've already picked Jr to win the 500. That was my pick last year. I Picked Newman to win the year he did. And Mark to win in 07. So if i was to take my luck to Vegas and put money down on "The Biff" would you call me a fool?
Hard to call any pick a fool pick in the 500. If I had said that about somebody who picked McMurray last year I would have looked foolish.
So IFFF Jr wins the 500 NASCAR cheated to let it happen it was all the CC, blah blah. If he finishes 2-43 he stinks. Do I have it correct?
That could be the impression, as wrong as it would be.
if he has 2 wins and makes the chase i will pee with excitement...i hope your right lol
One word, Depends.
What is your prediction for Bobby Labonte? How many wins do you give him this year because he will be going back to victory lane.
Two Bobby Labonte questions. Wow. Not predicting any wins. How about 21st in points?
I've read a lot of hype for Austin Dillon in the Truck Series this year. He had a great rookie year, granted, but that series will be super competitive this year with vets like Bodine, Hornaday and Kvapil. Could he really win a championship?
He'll have great equipment and I was impressed with him last year as well.
David, regarding Travis Kvapil and his Cup team. If he plans on running a full schedule for his Cup team, why would he declare to run for the points championship in Trucks? Thanks!
Because he has no chance in Cup. I will look back, but last thing I read was he planned to run full season.
Do you think ryan newman has a shot at a couple of wins and a chase berth this season?
Sure. He proven worthy in the past.
About how many full-time jobs can NASCAR claim they contribute significantly towards (from the association?s management and support employees, to teams, to the track, etc?)?
I wouldn't begin to speculate other than to say a lot. A ton.
Hey David, Will there be as much 2 car drafting on Sunday as there was in the Shootout???????
Shouldn't be. If there is you'll see a lot of blown engines.
Dale said the 500 winner will be the guy who is bravest and with the strongest drafting buddy. Doesn't that sound like the first oval win for Juan Pablo Montoya?
Sounds like a lot of people, but Juan fits that bill.
Dave, do you see Elliott Sadler coming back to Cup next year or racing in any races this year?
I could see KHI moving to Cup in a year or two and moving Sadler up if he does well in Nationwide. Really see him re-inventing himself.
David, why do you always answer so many more questions in your chats? Are you just that faster on the keyboard? lol, but seriously...do you think TE will show up at the track this weekend?
Not sure on the why, but on Teresa I highly doubt it. I suspect she'll want to stay as far away from this place as she can.
That's it for me. Have an interview with ESPN's science department to prep for. Be sure to catch the rest of our chats this week and tune into raceday chats for Nationwide and Cup, as well as the Duals. Later.