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April 7, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Ed Hinton

Ed Hinton
  (2:03 PM)

Hi, all, scrambling a bit today, sorry I'm late.

matt (ny)

hey ed, i love your collumns and opinions, your the best tell it like it is guy out there. i was wondering what you think of matt kenseth so far this year? i think he's been pretty good with three straight top 6's and what mightve been four without that flat tire in veegas where he had such a great car.i believe with his comeback at martinsville from that changing lanes penalty he's a championship contender, your thoughts?

Ed Hinton
  (2:04 PM)

Well, I think it's typical Matt, in that he always races as hard as he can to get the best finish he can. Whether this will translate into wins later in the season, I don't know. But the Roush team is certainly packing the horses this year.

matt (ny)

do you believe carl edwards will stay with roush and if not where will he go?

Ed Hinton
  (2:05 PM)

I think he'll stay, but Roush is always vulnerable to higher salaries. Maybe SHR, something like that, or Red Bull if their tech matches their money.

Matthew (Columbia, NJ)

Ed, which drivers outside the top 15 have a chance of making a run?

Ed Hinton
  (2:07 PM)

Oh, a ton of 'em right now: Bowyer, Truex, Hamlin, Biffle, McMurray . . .

Sam (UT)

Hey ed whos your top 5 this weekend?

Ed Hinton
  (2:09 PM)

Don't know about a top 5, but if Junior can keep it up, Texas used to be his stomping ground. Same with Mark Martin. JJ and Jeff run well there when they don't wreck. So you could have the four hendrick cars in the top 5.Or, you could have three Roush cars in the top 5: Edwards, Kenseth, the Biff. The Biff might just have the best handle on TMS of any driver.

Allison (Michigan)

Ed, you said last week that the only way Dale Jr would lead any laps at Martinsville if it were under caution, what say you now? Will you finally admit that Dale is working well with Steve and maybe, just maybe, get a win this season?

Ed Hinton
  (2:09 PM)

I've admitted all along he's working well with Steve. I just didn't think they'd lead at a place like Martinsville. Does go to show, Letarte is the best thing that's happened to Junior in years.

matt (ny)

hey ed, i predicted at the end of last year hamlin wouldn't be able to come back from the collapse at homestead and that he'll miss the chase ( a very bold prediction, i know) i feel like my predictions spot on right now. do you believe denny turns it around and gets to championship form again?

Ed Hinton
  (2:10 PM)

Well, I sense a bit of a down attitude in him right now. If he can shake that, he could come back. If not . .. he and Ford don't always see eye to eye.

Andrew (Kettering Ohio)

I haven't seen anyone tracking the unofficial points if no one was exempt (ex. would Kyle Busch be Nationwide leader if he got points). Do you think this is something Nascar has discouraged?

Ed Hinton
  (2:12 PM)

I don't think so. I think no one is keeping track because it's kind of a moot point. If more people in the media were against the "check the box" rule, maybe you'd have some comparisons. But most of us are for it -- to ease the cherry picking -- so nobody's second guessing NASCAR very much.

adam (va)

hey ed, love your stuff. here's a scenario with the new points, let me know what you think. 23 of the 26 regular season races are won by drivers that are in the top 10 in points after richmond. of course trevor bayne won the 500, and the 2 road course races are won by marcos ambrose who sits 19th in points at the time. does that mean ambrose would make the chase and wouldn't that devalue the chase with a non-contender?

Ed Hinton
  (2:13 PM)

The Chase is always vulnerable to a little devaluing due to unintended consequences. Actually I think it would koynda bay fun to 'ave Ambraaose in the show, mayt!

Andrew (NH)

Outside of talent level, did we see the biggest difference between Jr and his dad in the closing laps? Where Sr may have rattled Harvick's cage, Jr didn't want to rough up 2 drivers up on the way to a win.

Ed Hinton
  (2:14 PM)

That was my thought Monday. It was not meant negatively toward Junior. I think he's always prided himself on being a little more mannerly than the old man.

Dennis Meridith's son (Orlando ,FL)

dad says you used to cover and promote his little track in FL when you were with the sentinel. He is going to say hello .what i want to know is The captain prepaired to get rid of Addington now or are we going to have to suffer another less than whats expected season from Kurt B. I have a friend in the motor shop and they were wondering the same thing.If you cant crew Kyle you cant crew Kurt !thank you i have heard many fond stories about you from my father!

Ed Hinton
  (2:15 PM)

Well, hello there, Meridiths!!! Is your Uncle Ed still racing at all? Give your dad my best regards, and tell him I've got a lot of pleasant memories of Orlando Speed World in the '70s.

Andrew (Kettering Ohio)

What do you think Kenny Irwin and Adam Petty would have done had they not lost their lives? I always wonder about Irwin because he was just a year off of when Ganassi became a contender.

Ed Hinton
  (2:17 PM)

I have little doubt that Adam would have been a giant in the sport by now, a real rock star. He would have taken a lot of pressure off Dale Jr. Kenny appeared to us at the time to be kinda on a slippery slope down because that team wasn't really good. But you're right, they soon picked up. So I think Adam would be huge, the Petty name would be all over the place in a good way, and Kenny would have won some races, maybe even a championship.

Chris (Crestview, FL)

Do you think the JGR engines will all survive the race Saturday night? Or will at least one of the 11, 18, 20 cars blow up?

Ed Hinton
  (2:19 PM)

JGR is doing ER work on the engines, trying to fix them. But Texas is pretty rough on engines. I'd say they'll run fairly conservative combos, maybe hampering them from winning. Always gotta watch out for Denny and Kyle, though. They might nurse one through.

Iron Head Forever (Long Island, NY)

You said Earnhardt would have done everything possible to keep Harvick from winning on Sunday. Would Richard Petty or David Pearson have done so too?

Ed Hinton
  (2:20 PM)

No. They were a lot cleaner than Earnhardt. In fact, Petty was really, really put off by Earnhardt when Earnhardt arrived and started wrecking everybody.

Chris (Crestview, FL)

Who is the biggest suprise of the season so far?

Ed Hinton
  (2:21 PM)

Still has to be Bayne, even though he hasn't really done anything since the 500.

Felipe (Dallas)

Hey Ed, I know JPM has struggled in Texas his last few trips. What should I expect from him this weekend and can he make the chase without winning any ovals?

Ed Hinton
  (2:22 PM)

You never know when he's going to run well on a 1.5 mile. He made the Chase once before without winning on an oval, so why not again? But I'm really expecting him to win on an oval soon.

Chris (Crestview, FL)

It seems like Junior has alot of respect for Kyle Busch. Is the feeling mutual or does Kyle hold a grudge against Junior given what went down at HMS to get Junior his ride there?

Ed Hinton
  (2:23 PM)

I don't think there's any ill feeling either way. From the moment Kyle got squeezed out at Hendrick, he seemed really happy to be moving on. And he's done better at JGR, where Coach puts up with a lot more "personality" than Rick does. That was bad chemistry at HMS.

Ed Hinton
  (2:24 PM)

Hey, everybody, it would make it a LOT simpler if you DON'T send your questions multiple times. It just takes time for me to delete all the duplicates. And a barrage doesn't get you answered any faster.

Iron Head Forever (Long Island, NY)

Is Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium still the best road course in the world? And do you ever watch the movie "Grand Prix" and gasp in amazement on drivers 50 years ago would drive the old course of public roads at 180 mph with frequent rain?

Ed Hinton
  (2:26 PM)

I did love that movie. But F1 still runs in the rain, and guys like Lewis Hamilton are a lot of fun to watch in downpours. BTW, part of the Le Mans circuit is public roads, too.

Vern (NJ)

Immediately after Martinsville, when Dale went into the #18 pits it looked like Dave and Rowdy were gonna beat the crap out of Dale but then Dale reached his hand out. Did Dale break the unwritten code about entering another teams pits?

Ed Hinton
  (2:28 PM)

Wow, I didn't see anything like the animosity you did. No, lots of times drivers go over after races, not always with good results. Remember the time J Gordon shoved Kenseth on the pit road at Bristol? But I don't think Rowdy was mad. He knew Junior had used an acceptable tactic.

Jeremy (Port Angeles, WA)

What racing series do you think Danica will be racing full time in 2012?

Ed Hinton
  (2:29 PM)

I'm betting NASCAR, though I'm not sure which series. Not sure she's ready for Cup. But IndyCar will have to make her a helluva deal -- and give her a real chance to win -- to keep her.

Todd (Ga)

Dont JR and Kyle know that it would have made for much better ratings if they had gotten out of their cars cussin and hollerin at each other? Man I just wish Kyle could have held up Harvick a little longer.

Ed Hinton
  (2:29 PM)

They probably do, but neither of them can afford to have an outburst right now. Their quotas are full for the last couple of years.

Chris (Crestview, FL)

Have you been paying attention to Cole Whitt in the truck series? Think he can make it in Sprint Cup? He seems to be very talented.

Ed Hinton
  (2:30 PM)

Been watching him a little. He is/isn't impressive. He seems to know how to get to the front but not how to stay there. He got shoved around with some standard veteran tricks in the last truck race.

Andrew (Kettering Ohio)

Do you think that Dale Jr is the last real competitive Earnhardt we will see in Cup? I feel like once he retires the name may go away like Petty has (as far as drivers).

Ed Hinton
  (2:32 PM)

Well, we haven't heard fully from Jeffrey yet, but he doesn't seem to have the entourage around him to make him a winner. We'll see. The last really competitive Earnhardt is Kelley, who was quite a racer in her time, but she probably thinks it's too late to get on the track.

Jordan N (South Dakota)

Mr. Hinton, is this the weekend Jeff Burton and the #31 team finally turn their season around? Texas is one of J-Bird's best tracks and I have a feeling if they don't finish well here, the Chase is pretty much out of reach...

Ed Hinton
  (2:33 PM)

He has won there, even when the joint was a catawampus roller coaster of a track. TMS is a place where he's in sync and positive-thinking, so yeah, he could break through.

Cory (Geneva, IL)

What will CC have to do to make the transition from a day practice to a night race? Are there formulas they use based on track temp or it all just kind of a gut feeling?

Ed Hinton
  (2:34 PM)

They'll get what they can from daytime, use a bit of formula to translate . . .but mainly this'll be a race where they take a stab at the opening setup, and then you'll see a lot of people pit to adjust early.

Greg (WI)

How does Roush, who puts allot into developing his own drivers, let Hendrick get his hands on Chase Elliot?

Ed Hinton
  (2:36 PM)

Hendrick historically has beaten Roush to the real talent, while Roush obsesses on his own picks. Remember a kid named Jeff Gordon? Hendrick swiped him right out from under Roush's nose. Reason? Roush wouldn't accept an unknown crew chief named Ray Evernham, and Hendrick would.

Chris (Crestview, FL)

A kyle Busch/Dale Junior rivalry would be HUGE! Do you guys in the media drool over the possibilty of that one.

Ed Hinton
  (2:37 PM)

No, because we'd have to referee all the bare knuckle brawls from each side of the partisan fans during chats, etc.

Cory (Geneva, IL)

Does it rub Jr the wrong way when guys say stuff like Harvick did after the race, "I hated to be the bad guy, but I race to win."

Ed Hinton
  (2:38 PM)

No, because Junior understands his position with the fans better than anybody.

Bruce (Cali)

based on Austrailia do you think Vettel runs off with the f1 title or do you see mclaren/ferrari/webber challenge him?

Ed Hinton
  (2:39 PM)

I don't think it's in Ron Dennis's nature ever to stop playing tech leapfrog, so I think McLaren could be resurgent any time. Ferrari sometimes stays in doldrums for a while.

Vinnie (ATL)

Are you prepared for Kimi's one word answers at his press conferences? I would pay to see Kimi's press conferences just for the media's reaction to his answers.

Ed Hinton
  (2:40 PM)

Oh, Kimi was all right in F1. Didn't bother me a bit -- mainly because I'd dealt so many years with his fellow dour Finn, Hakkenen.

David (NY)

David Ragan looks much improved. Do you think he can notch a win anytime soon.

Ed Hinton
  (2:40 PM)

I think he'd better. He's a really nice guy, and Roush has always liked him a lot, but at some point he's gotta start producing.

Mike (Chicago)

Tell us why NASCAR drivers are afraid to go and race in the Indy 500 and try IndyCars in general? Yes Stewart and JPM had some success, but back in the old days, NASCAR drivers went over and ran the Indy 500 and like wise with Indy drivers like A.J. Foyt , Mario A, and Al Unser Jr.

Ed Hinton
  (2:44 PM)

It would take a book to explain why. First, IndyCar isn't NEARLY attractive to NASCAR drivers as before the split. Not much attention is paid to it anymore. Plus, there was a longtime feeling that Indy cars are much more dangerous than NASCAR. That became something of a myth with fairly safe CART cars. But now that NASCAR has cleaned up its safety act, drivers feel more comfortable. When Foyt, Andretti, Yarborough and all those jumped back and forth, there weren't nearly as many races on the schedules, championship points didn't matter much, and sponsors weren't locking drivers into one series.

Vinnie (ATL)

I have been to the Daytona 500, Indy 500, and Monaco Grand Prix among other races. Nothing beat Monaco in my mind, but is there a race I am missing for pure pageantry, history, weekend event, etc?

Ed Hinton
  (2:45 PM)

Oh, HELL, yes: Vingt-Quatre Heures du Mans. The 24 Hours of Le Mans drips with history, great food, great atmosphere, great everything . . .until about noon on Sunday, when you're ready for a nap.

Wade (FL)

Does the money the owners have affect performance? Say Hendrick has more money than Roger Penske, is there really an advantage? Or are all the cars and teams virtually the same?

Ed Hinton
  (2:48 PM)

Sponsorship money can create an advantage if the technology is managed right. Personal wealth has little to do with it. If it did, Penske would dominate everything. In personal wealth he could buy or sell anybody in NASCAR, including Bruton Smith and the Frances. Only one with more money is John Menard, Paul's father, who's worth about $6 billion with a "b."

Matt (NY)

Have you heard anything about the proposal to convert Auto Club into a plate track. Seems like the rumors about it have died down.

Ed Hinton
  (2:49 PM)

Some track presidentslobby for plates because they think it'll make for closer racing. I seem to recall that Gillian Zucker was one of those, but haven't heard anything like that from her lately.

Jake (Irving, TX)

Hey Ed, You think Rowdy will be loaded for bear here at TMS especiallyl after seeing his wins go away in the final laps at Phoenix, ACS and Martinsville?

Ed Hinton
  (2:50 PM)

Rowdy's always loaded for bear, wherever he is. But Texas under the lights? Perfect for him. He can be wild at night.

Chris (Crestview, FL)

Kevin Harvick once went 115 races in between victories. Look at how he is doing now. Is Juniors 99 race losing streak getting over blown a bit?

Ed Hinton
  (2:50 PM)

No, because Junior's under much broader public scrutiny than Harvick was.

Mike (AZ)

It's yourself, and three NASCAR drivers from any era sitting at a table, having brews and ahooting the ****, Who would the drivers be?

Ed Hinton
  (2:51 PM)

A.J. Foyt, David Pearson and Donnie -- yes DONNIE -- Allison. Bobby's great too, but Donnie's as down home and as much fun as they get.

Jason (Vero Beach)

Did you hear DW say that Stewart needs to decide if he wants to be the driver or the crew chief? Do you think Grubb's days are numbered as cc of the #14?

Ed Hinton
  (2:54 PM)

Didn't hear it, but DW and I always have thought a lot alike -- except when DW kind of wanted to be his own crew chief in the 11 car, until Junior Johnson beat that notion out of him. DW should know a driver who gets too mechanically uppity when he sees one.

Julie (Ft. Lee, NJ)

Hi Ed, Is Dale jr. trying extra hard this season because it's like a "contract year" for a baseball player and has he been basically been slacking since he quit DEI?

Ed Hinton
  (2:55 PM)

No and no. He's always tried hard, probably too hard, an now Letarte is getting him to chill a bit. Junior has plenty of money, believe me.

Billy (Reno)

Oh yay a NW race with Cup regulars. I think napping will be more interesting.

Ed Hinton
  (2:55 PM)

Well, what do you expect? Texas, big money, hats, six guns, all that . . . plus the two garages are real close together there. Maybe a two-minute walk back and forth.

IglooNATION (KCMO)

Do you expect to see Chase Elliot driving for JR Motorsports in the Nationwide series when he turns 18 or will potentially start out in the trucks?

Ed Hinton
  (2:56 PM)

Don't know, and don't think Chase or Bill know yet either. They'll play it by ear.

Turk ( Mich. )

Since Kyle let #88 get away with a bump and run without retaliation does Dale know that he has 1 coming from Rowdy?

Ed Hinton
  (2:57 PM)

Oh, stop!!!! You folks buy into this "got one coming" crappola waaaay to much. They just mouth off like that in the media centers.

Rob F (Hoboken, NJ)

If Harvick was in the same position as Jr. on Sunday would he have "rattled Jr.'s cage?" I'm all for clean racing, but it's all about that W in the end. I remember a race Bobby Labonte lost to JJ a few years ago 'cause BL pretty much only races clean. Bumpers are for bumping, heh.

Ed Hinton
  (2:58 PM)

Oh, sure, I think Harvick would have tried to retaliate and win. That's why I say sometimes that Childress should change Harvick's number from 29 to 2.9 -- he ain't the 3, but he's close.

Billy (Reno)

Ed, Turk is Octo. Just trying to rile everyone up

Ed Hinton
  (2:59 PM)

thought so.

Sam (MD)

How do you think the pit road speeding issue should be handled?

Ed Hinton
  (3:00 PM)

Hard to say. I'm not tech-savvy enough to know whether they can stop drivers from picking their spots to speed. Frankly, I've never liked pit road speed limits anyway. Back in the '90s, I said they should make a firm rule that anybody who spins on the pit road gets parked for the season. Period.

Cory (Geneva, IL)

Tiger's off to a pretty slow start, but more likely, a Tiger Master's Win or a Jr win at Texas?

Ed Hinton
  (3:02 PM)

Junior at Texas, believe it or not. It's one of his favorite tracks, and Dr. Letarte has his patient's emotions under control.

greg (louisiana)

do u see joey logNO BOUNCING Bck

Ed Hinton
  (3:02 PM)

Bouncing back? He hasn't really been "up" has he? At least in Cup. I'm beginning to wonder . . . .

Ed Hinton
  (3:03 PM)

Time's up, folks. Thanks to all for participating.