Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

March 15, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Terry Blount

Terry Blount
  (2:00 PM)

How's it going folks? What's on your mind today?

Frank (Kingston, Pa)

Terry - I know that most parts are custom made but are there any parts on a Toyota that are made in Japan? If so has there been talk about impact and what contingencies are being discussed?

Terry Blount
  (2:02 PM)

That's a good question Frank, but I believe all the engine parts are made at TRD in California. Far more importantly, all of us should keep the Japanese people in our thoughts and prayers as they work to overcome this terrible tragedy.

David (Los Angeles)

How should good drivers like Jeff Burton who are down in the points approach Bristol. Do they need to be more aggressive or should they look to be smart knowing that a DNF might really make that hill too big to climb?

Terry Blount
  (2:04 PM)

I'm sure Jeff will say he'll drive it like he always drives it, but in the back of his mind he has to think about playing it a little safe and trying to stay out of trouble. A wreck early and a 40th-place finish would put him in a dangersou spot in the points.

Alex (Memphis, TN)

Why doesn't the Nationwide series race at Martinsville?

Terry Blount
  (2:06 PM)

Great question Alex. I don't know why. It would seem like a no-brainer. But I am glad that the NW Series races at a few tracks when Cup doesn't race.

Thane14 [via mobile]

Do u think smoke will continue his string of good runs this year at bristol and thx u guys r awesome

Terry Blount
  (2:07 PM)

I'd be surprised if he didn't have a good run. He was 2nd in this race one year ago.

David (Los Angeles)

JG hasn't run as well at Bristol since the new config. And it isn't Martin or Johnson's favorite track either. What are your thoughts on HMS at Bristol this week and will the new crew chiefs impact the performance.

Terry Blount
  (2:10 PM)

I think they'll run well. And remember, JJ won this race last year. Junior finished 7th. Gordon wasn't so hot at Bristol last year, but I expect him to run in the top 10.

Norm (Sparks, NV)

Is engine power less important at small tracks like Bristol than at the big, fast 1.5 milers like Vegas and Auto Club Speedway and can the down-on-power Toyotas compete there with the others?

Terry Blount
  (2:12 PM)

You need good horsepower to run well anywhere, but clearly it's more important on tracks like Vegas where the RPM level is high the entire race. Bristol is about forward bite and being able to get off the corner with a surge. It's also about being able to dive under other cars entering the turns, which has a lot to do with driving talent.

Kirk (Indy)

How are drivers actually paid. I know they have endorsement deals and a team salary, but are those fixed amounts and they do whatever events a sponsor/team wants, or are they paid by the event? What about things like the quick 5-minute interview on pre-race shows, etc.Thanks.

Terry Blount
  (2:14 PM)

Drivers have contracts just like other pro athletes, paying them a guaranteed amount over a certain number of years. They also receive a percentage of the purse winning, usually arond 40 percent. And they often have performance bonuses in the contract.

Matthew (Columbia, NJ)

Terry, good Tuesday to you. Biffle and Burton, are the next few races either boom or bust as far as chances of making the chase?

Terry Blount
  (2:16 PM)

Way too early to rule anyone in or out of the Chase. But they need to post some solid runs to gradually move up in the points. And remember, you can make the Chase on wins this year. If you win twice, you're probably in.

Joseph (biloxi, MS)

Do drivers wear any kind of special shoes for racing?

Terry Blount
  (2:17 PM)

Yes, they wear fire-retardant shoes. A long way from the old days when guys like Dave Marcis wore his wingtips in the car.

Lindsay (KY)

Hey Terry, who you got for this weekend?

Terry Blount
  (2:19 PM)

I'll go with Rowdy to break into the Cup win column.

Sam (UT)

Where do you think JJ will finish? Think he will win it?

Terry Blount
  (2:19 PM)

He could win it, but I wouldn't pick him to win it. Probably somewhere in the top 10.

Bernadette (Cleveland, OH)

Hypothetically speaking... does your employer have any additional plans for increased coverage, etc. if there were to be a lockout or two of any other professional sports?

Terry Blount
  (2:22 PM)

I don't think it will change or coverage plans. We cover every race now and have stories every day. But if a few of our NFL writers wants to come over and do a race or too we'll gladly welcome them. Maybe I'll take my buddy John "The Professor" Clayton with me to race in September.

Ali (MI)

What are Junior's chances of getting a win this year?

Terry Blount
  (2:22 PM)

I'd say pretty good. I'd be surprised if he doesn't win a race.

Scott D. (South Boston, VA)

Do you think that if the Woods decide to run all the plate races, that Trevor Bayne will duplicate what he did all speedweeks? He ran like a veteran out there, not to much a very fast car.

Terry Blount
  (2:24 PM)

If by duplicate you mean win again, it's possible, but not likely. Almost anyone can win these plate races. Things have to fall your way at the end. But I think Trevor proved he knows how to race well in the pairs-style.

Sam (UT)

whos gonna have a bad day?

Terry Blount
  (2:25 PM)

Anybody can have a bad day at Bristol That's what makes it fun to watch. It's unpredictable.

TC (KY)

Hey Terry, where do you the reporters usually stay at over night during a Bristol weekend?

Terry Blount
  (2:27 PM)

Wherever you can get in. Not a lot of good options on that one. I joked in my column today about going from the Bellagio and scantily-clad showgirls in Vegas to the Ramada Inn and sweet Southern church girls in Bristol.

Jenny (Elizabethtown LA)

Which driver is doing the best this season?

Terry Blount
  (2:29 PM)

Stats wide, that would be Tony Stewart, who leads the standings. But the guy who seems to be continuing his hot streak from the end of last season is Carl Edwards.

Logan (Beckley, WV)

With KB always so strong at Bristol do you think this will be the weekend when he gets JGR back on track?

Terry Blount
  (2:31 PM)

I do. I'd be surprised if Kyle and Denny aren't near the fron at the end.

Cory (Geneva,IL)

What is Victory Lane going to be like if Jr ever gets back there?

Terry Blount
  (2:32 PM)

He will get back there. The grandstands will go crazy, but I don't think VL will be out of control unless it happens in a big event like Indy.

Jermaine (Raleigh)

When will Harvick turn it around and does he have what it takes to repeat his 2010 season?

Terry Blount
  (2:33 PM)

I don't see him repeating as the regular-season points leader, but he has what it takes to compete for the championship and win races.

sophie (wisconsin)

Do you think deeny lost the championship last yr because he was thinking about sitting at the head table instead focusing on the last 2 races?

Terry Blount
  (2:34 PM)

No, but I do think the pressure got to him a little at the end, going up against to wily vets like JJ and Kevin. Denny learned from it.

Scott D. (South Boston, VA)

Wow 30 min in and no Dale jr. comments or questions? amazing

Terry Blount
  (2:35 PM)

You must have missed the Victory Lane question Scott.

Sheldon (Pensacola FL)

Why do you think its so hard to pass cars this year is it the areo. Seems like you just get stuck for example how stewart and harvick did after they go there penalty. I don't think stewart makes it back to the front without those two tires.

Terry Blount
  (2:37 PM)

Teams still are trying to learn how the cars react with the new nose. It will get better as the season progresses.

Jenny (Elizabethtown LA)

Did you buy a pice of Daytona? And how much is it saleing for?

Terry Blount
  (2:38 PM)

If you mean a piece of the old asphalt, no. I have too much junk in my office now without adding a piece of pavement.

pat slinger wisconsin. [via mobile]

how many wins for denny this year?

Terry Blount
  (2:38 PM)

I'll say two or three.

Tony (SF)

While I'm not a fan of Kurt Busch, I thought it was great that he entered the NHRA event this past weekend. Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing more drivers doing the same if they have the interest. Your thoughts?

Terry Blount
  (2:40 PM)

I agree Tony. Most people have no idea what a difficult task it was just to make the field. Even though Kurt lost to Enders in the first round, he made a strong pass and ran well. It was fun and brought a lot of attention to the Gatornationals and the Pro Stock, which normally takes a back seat to Top Fuel and Funny Car.

Sam (UT)

Think denny will have the hangover? like carl did in 09?

Terry Blount
  (2:42 PM)

I wouldn't call it a hangover, but I did the researh on this. The guy who finished second usually hasn't fared well in the following season over the last decade.

Chris (Crestview, FL)

How much of a concern is there in the JGR engine department right now? Busch, Hamlin and Logano have all had serious engine issues and we have only raced 3 times

Terry Blount
  (2:44 PM)

Certainly they have concerns, but I wouldn't say anyone if panicking over it. JGR has some of the best engines guys in the business. I don't think we'll learn a lot this week at Bristol, but Cali will be a big test next week.

bryan (va)

What are your expectations for RPM this year?

Terry Blount
  (2:45 PM)

I expet AJ to contend for a Chase spot and I expect Ambrose to win a road course race.

Chris (Crestview, FL)

How well do you expect Danica to do at Bristol? I think she will prob finish about 20th and 4 laps down, which isnt terrible since its her first time there ever in a stock car

Terry Blount
  (2:47 PM)

If she finishes 20th, it was a good day. I think this will be her toughest test yet in a stock car. Short tracks haven't been her strength, and she's never raced on a track this small in NASCAR or Indy cars.

michelle sussex wisconsin [via mobile]

dont you think danica and jr would make a great couple?

Terry Blount
  (2:48 PM)

Danica is happily married. But I do think DP and Junior's pit road commercial is pretty funny.

Lou (Palm Coast, Fl)

Do you think the start of the season has proven, once again, that RCR is incapable of running a 4 car operation?

Terry Blount
  (2:50 PM)

No, way too early to make that evaluation. And the fourth car is the one running the best right now. RCR will be fine.

Josh (Nashville)

DO you think bristol will ever go back to the old style racing which made it and other short tracks famous for the tempers, wrecks, and close finishes? I guess it would mean changing the track back?

Terry Blount
  (2:51 PM)

They won't change the track back, but as the pavement ages, the races will change. It might not be the wreckfest of the past because the turns are wider, but it's still great short-track racing.

Wade (FL)

Can Kurt Busch get a win this week? Make it #6 at Bristol?

Terry Blount
  (2:52 PM)

Yes he can, but he may have to beat his little bro to do it.

Christine (Indiana)

How loud is the noise at Bristol? I've heard crew chiefs talk about it on tv, but always wondered.

Terry Blount
  (2:54 PM)

It's deafening. The bowl holds in the sound. If you are watching from high in the grandstands, it can make you dizzy if you focus your eyes on one car. It almost looks like a slot car track. It's truly the most unusual experience in all of motorsports.

Jeff (Georgia)

Terry, what do you think about Chase Elliott signing with Hendrick Motorsports? Thanks

Terry Blount
  (2:56 PM)

I think it's cool and a great opportunity for him. From everything I've heard, he's a very talented young driver, a real chip off the old block. Maybe one day in the future we'll see Chase make the Chase in a Hendrick car.

Greg (South Bend, IN.)

Hi Terry, Not sure if I have ever heard of it but what would a team do if it wrecked both cars? Always wondered that.

Terry Blount
  (2:58 PM)

It has happened. If they have time, they bring another car from North Carolina. If they are part of a team, they might use a teammate's back-up car.

Ben(Lodi,CA) [via mobile]

Would it really be a bad thing if Jr raced for Jrm

Terry Blount
  (2:59 PM)

Not a bad thing, but unlikely it would be as competitive as what he has now, at least not in the short run.

Sam (UT)

Do you think JJ will 6 peat? what will nascar do then? i mean they modified the points already.

Terry Blount
  (3:01 PM)

He could do it. I don't think he will. But they didn't change the points to try to stop Jimmie. It was just to simplify things and make the scoring easier for fans to understand.

Terry Blount
  (3:02 PM)

Gotta run folks. Some very informed questions today. Have a great week and enjoy Bristol. Peace.