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April 15, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Ed Hinton

Ed Hinton
  (4:00 PM)

Good afternoon from rainy, windy Talladega. They've just canceled all track activity for the remainder of the day.

Justin M (Boone, NC)

Do you think Jason or Quentin Compson would have been bigger NASCAR fans?

Ed Hinton
  (4:01 PM)

Oh, definitely Quentin -- if you mean Quentin the girl, not Quentin the boy who committed suicide at Harvard in Absalom! Absalom! Quentin the girl would have had a ball flirting with the drivers . . .

Joe (Fargo,ND)

Will Roush carry their dominance over to Dega from Texas or are those super fast engines of theirs only super fast on the mile and a half?

Ed Hinton
  (4:02 PM)

Doesn't look like it, if you can judge anything from first practice. Biff had the fastest Roush car, 11th. They've canceled second practice today. So they still appear to be so-so with plate engines.

Logan (Charlotte, NC)

Do you see Bobby Labonte making a comeback anytime soon.

Ed Hinton
  (4:04 PM)

He might run well here. Remember, he's the one who pushed Bayne to victory in the Daytona 500. But his team's resources are limited, so they'll make slow, if steady, progress on the non-plate tracks.

Matt (Charlotte)

Afternoon Ed, thanks for doing the chats. I know you may not get to this question, but wanted to get your thoughts on something. What would you think about a championship system where the first 28 races are like they are now, awarding consistency really, but the last 10 races those that are in the chase only get points if they finish in the top 10, i.e. 1pt for 10th place finish, and 10pts for first, outside that = 0pts. Would really make those guys go all out, fight for every position. Or, even better, just points for top 5 finishes. You want to talk about beatin' and bangin' for every spot. REALLY make them work for it. Thoughts?

Ed Hinton
  (4:05 PM)

Oh, I'd welcome anything like that to liven up the Chase. It is simply not dramatic enough. Not even close. Your formula looks pretty good.

Ronny (McEwen Tn)

What ever happened to Casey Atwood?

Ed Hinton
  (4:05 PM)

He and Evernham never quite clicked, never had success, and he just faded away. I hear he's still out there somewhere, trying to make a comeback. But that's doubtful, as overbooked as all the seats are now.

Kevin (Texas )

With the Barry Bonds trial in the news lately, has a NASCAR driver ever been caught using steroids during their career. Does NASCAR even have a steroid policy?

Ed Hinton
  (4:07 PM)

There was one minor flareup a couple of years ago when it was reported that Ron Hornaday Jr. had taken some sort of steroid. He held a press conference acknowledging he had taken the substance once, did not know it was a steroid, and hasn't taken it since. The physical problem he was trying to resolve turned out to be a thyroid problem.

PJ (Durham, NC)

Hey Ed, fantasy question. Does RCR believe they have their restrictor plate engine issues from Daytona figured out?

Ed Hinton
  (4:07 PM)

Yeah, they should be fine.

Kevin (Texas )

As Jeff Gordon enters the final stages of his career and eventually retires, how associated with the sport will he be? I personally don't think he will race a partial schedule or even race at tracks he favors like Michael Waltrip. He seems to have several other interest and a young family. I think when he leaves, it will be a rare sight to see Gordon.

Ed Hinton
  (4:08 PM)

My hunch is similar to yours. I think he might fade into Manhattan and pursue other things, such as show biz. Only thing is, he owns a significant piece of the Hendrick action and might stay around some because of that.

Joe (Fargo,ND)

Will David Ragan pull in his first victory this Sunday like so many other drivers have in Alabama?

Ed Hinton
  (4:09 PM)

That would be kind of poetic justice, wouldn't it, considering what happened to him at Daytona. I'm not saying he will, but he very well could.

rich ohio [via mobile]

Who will be the next hendrick motersports driver to win a race

Ed Hinton
  (4:10 PM)

looks like somebody fishing for a Junior prediction. Maybe . . .

Dave (Miami )

Would NASCAR ever consider bookending the season at Daytona, essentially having the Daytona 500 in February, the July 400, and maybe a Finals week in November. I personally enjoy plate racing and with Daytona being so unpredictable , you could very well have 3-4-5 drivers with a shot to win the cup. I think it would be much better than the leader just coasting through Homestead. (I think the close battle last year at Homestead was the exception not the rule).

Ed Hinton
  (4:11 PM)

I've always thought they should end the season at Daytona, but I wouldn't want three events there. I say move the 400 to November. They'll never do any of that, though.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

With Milka Duno Racing in the ARCA Series Full Time in 2011 do you think that she will race in NASCAR?

Ed Hinton
  (4:12 PM)

Now that's a scary thought, considering some of the stunts she pulled in IndyCar. She might get as far as Nationwide, but not Cup.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Ed, The 1977 Firecracker 400 that I asked about 3 women in one Sprint Cup Race is Correct.

Ed Hinton
  (4:13 PM)

So I was right about Janet Guthrie, Christine Beckers and Lela Lombardi. Yea, me! Thank you. Actually I was at that race, and when you jogged my memory the two European women, from Belgium and Italy respectively, popped into my mind.

David (Florida)

Is Steve Park planning on starting and parking this weekend? I think its awesome to see him racing again, but it must still affect him physically.

Ed Hinton
  (4:15 PM)

Be interesting to watch. Steve's a serious competitor, so if Baldwin orders him to park, Steve might be the next Jennifer Jo Cobb.

Josh Adams (Dayton, Ohio)

Do you think Dale Jr can end the streak on Sunday?

Ed Hinton
  (4:15 PM)

Can he? Yes. Will he? Possibly.

Greg (WI)

Ed, I know you've had your doubts with Kenseth's attitude the past few years and it made you wonder whether he can contend again. Well, I know one race doesn't make a season, but that team seems to have a spark to it again. Thoughts? Thanks.

Ed Hinton
  (4:16 PM)

I think Jimmy Fennig might just be the answer as his crew chief. So, yes, he could take off now. Jimmy's a veteran who has managed all personality types.

Joe (Fargo, ND)

Will the canceled practice be made up?

Ed Hinton
  (4:16 PM)

No, they'll go straight to qualifying at 10:35 a.m. Central time.

Jeff (Georgia)

Ed, what was your take on Chase Elliott after seeing him drive in person at Greenville-Pickens speedway? Thanks

Ed Hinton
  (4:17 PM)

I didn't get to go. But Gordon Pirkle went and said Chase survived two wrecks to finish fourth. Said he looked good, and had so many autograph seekers the track announcer had to shoo them out of the pits to get the race started.

Jordan N. (South Dakota)

Hey, Mr Hinton, were you at Talladega the day that Bobby Allison went flying into the fence in 1987? What was the mood like in the garage after that happened?

Ed Hinton
  (4:19 PM)

I was here, yes. I thought for a split second it was going to be worse than Le Mans 1955, when Pierre Levegh's Mercedes flew into the stands, killing 82 people. I didn't go to the garage the day Allison got airborne. I was working for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution at the time and went down to interview fans for a news story on the front page of the paper about the narrowly avoided disaster.

Greg (WI)

...and, he even won a championship with Kurt Busch! Ouch, what a shot that was.

Ed Hinton
  (4:20 PM)

Jimmy, believe it or not, was a Bobby Allison find, from Bobby's days of short-tracking in the upper Midwest.

PJ (Durham, NC)

Hey Ed, any chance of North Wilkesboro seeing a major NASCAR Series visit anytime soon? That place would be great for a CW Truck Race.

Ed Hinton
  (4:21 PM)

I think they're working on something like that. I can't see Cup ever going back there, though.

Aron (Grapevine, Tx)

If the media thought the wind was bad last week at TMS, we're having wind gusts today over 30 mph today. Marty Smoth's hair still wouldnt move.....hey-o!

Ed Hinton
  (4:21 PM)

I'm looking around the media center now to see if I can find Marty to tell him. :-)

Tracy (CT)

Do you see Home Depot staying with JoLo? He hasn't fared well (he was brought up too soon and has had a lot of bad luck) but he doesn't exactly fit their mold and I'm sure they would rather pay for a more competitive driver.

Ed Hinton
  (4:23 PM)

His contract isn't up yet, but it would help a lot if he could run up front. I'm skeptical too, and yes, he probably was brought up too fast. The other thing was, he always had superior equipment at the lower levels. He's never faced anything like this level of competition.

Average Joe (Middle America)

Where do the fans go for safety in severe weather?

Ed Hinton
  (4:24 PM)

This bunch? Oh, a few will huddle in the tunnels, but a lot of them will just tough it out.

Tony (SF)

Marty's hair could easily defeat a F5 tornado... I"m just saying!

Ed Hinton
  (4:24 PM)

Man, I really wish I could find him right now!

Mike (NC)

Hypothetically speaking, If Denny decided to leave JGR within the next couple years, where would you see him being a good fit?

Ed Hinton
  (4:25 PM)

Very hypothetically: He'd be a good fit at HMS, I think. RCR? Would depend on how well he and Happy could get along.

Marty Smith (Talladega, AL)

Sorry you couldn't find me Ed. I was in the bathroom adding some gel to the lettuce.

Ed Hinton
  (4:27 PM)

I am making a serious effort to find him. Newton reports Marty's hair has not moved in this wind.

josh (park city, utah)

hey ED. Is there a NASCAR mandate on antifreeze? I would like to believe there is some special type of antifreeze out there that keeps the motor super cool!

Ed Hinton
  (4:28 PM)

They use water. They do use high-pressure cooling systems that usually keep the cars cool in the draft. But NASCAR has mandated a pressure popoff valve in the radiator system, to force them to swap places in this two-by-two drafting.

kris (wi)

just saw on SPEED that they are actually making progress with the track in austin. I know from these chats that you won't believe it til you see it but this is atleast a step in the right direction isn't it?

Ed Hinton
  (4:29 PM)

It's a step, yes. I'll still believe it when I see Bernie Ecclestone walking the pit lane on race morning.

Adam (Denver, CO)

Ed, I am a casual sports fan, I know a lot about the 4 major sports, what can I begin to look at to become more of a NASCAR fan? As of now I just flip back to baseball or football.

Ed Hinton
  (4:30 PM)

Our weekday NASCAR Now show would be a good start. ESPN2. Speed Channel also runs quite a bit of NASCAR programming.

Mike (AZ)

Happy Friday Ed, although in your line of work I guess that doesnt mean much. Are there any drivers today that have driving styles that remind you of some of the old school guys?

Ed Hinton
  (4:32 PM)

No, I've worked weekends all of my adult life. Kyle Busch reminds me a lot of Darrell Waltrip -- the young DW. And DW himself agrees with me.

Adam (Atlanta, GA)

So how do you think the Penske boys will fare on Sunday? We all know Kurt can drive at the plate tracks and Brad ain't bad himself. Personally though, I'd love to see Kurt work with Smith (78) because or how well they worked together in their Duel and the 500. What you think?

Ed Hinton
  (4:33 PM)

Kurt has run awfully well here from his rookie Cup race here on. He's overdue to win here.

josh (park city, utah)

this luv bug drafting is it because of the new pavement or is it here to stay until the new car comes out?

Ed Hinton
  (4:34 PM)

mostly it's the new pavement. see, before, they had to lay off each other in the corners or wreck. now, this is bump drafting all the way around because they've got so much grip in the corners they can maintain control.

Ed Hinton
  (4:35 PM)

Bulletin: Grant Lynch, track president, is up announcing the ARCA race has been postponed until 8 a.m. tomorrow. Never been to a race that started at 8 a.m. The old Firecracker 400 started at 10 a.m.

Sallad (Canada)

Ever since you changed your site chat's don't show up for 2 days half the time, this one was suposed to start at 4:00, its now 4:35 and still nothing showing.....

Ed Hinton
  (4:37 PM)

It's registering on my chat monitor. And always shows up during, and immediately after, on the ESPN system. And I haven't changed sites.

PJ (Durham, NC)

Ed, tell Adam from Denver to grab some buddies and go to a race. I went to college at Appalachian State and, being from NJ, hated NASCAR. My fraternity did a fundraiser at Bristol and I walked into that racetrack hating NASCAR. When I walked out, it was my favorite sport and has been ever since.

Ed Hinton
  (4:37 PM)

Excellent advice. Bet you went to Bristol under the old, slam-bang configuration.

wes (oklahoma)

Does Bayne have a shot this weekend because of similar racing strategies or is he a one hit wonder? Also, why can't he get sponsorship for a whole year? The kid is young and has caused some excitement. Seems like a good opportunity for a company to market to younger fans.

Ed Hinton
  (4:38 PM)

He has a small chance. But remember, the serious threats had either blown up (Harvick) or wrecked out by the last 20 laps at Daytona. I think more of them will be around Sunday.

Tracy (CT)

When do shops, teams etc start to release their 600 weekend activities? I am going but am waiting to fully plan till I see if there is anything worth going early for.

Ed Hinton
  (4:39 PM)

That kind of thing probably goes up on the team web sites. You might check the sites of your favorite teams. JGR, for example, usually has an open house in May. HMS is set up to accommodate fans just about year round.

greg (louisiana)

do u think j logano can win this weekend he has sme pretty good stats at dega

Ed Hinton
  (4:40 PM)

I think he can, but I think it's unlikely. Too much competition, starting with the whole RCR stable.

Marcus (VA)

Im getting married where I live here in Virginia Beach next weekend. I hear Kurt Busch's wife is from Va Beach and he owns the top few floors here at the Westin, Where our guests from our home of Michigan are staying. Any chance we might bump into Kurt there next weekend or you think the Busch boys like doing easter together in Vegas!?

Ed Hinton
  (4:41 PM)

I think Grandma Busch usually has them sit down at holiday dinners so she can admonish them to behave.

Sean (Australia )

Ed, Ambrose has had a ok start to the year 7 starts , 1 top 5 , 2 top ten so far , do you think he can win this year on an oval track?

Ed Hinton
  (4:41 PM)

Yeah, I think he can. It'll take some attrition and some luck, but he's capable.

greg (louisiana)

r u a fan of the 2 car draft . i much rather the packs

Ed Hinton
  (4:42 PM)

I like the two-car draft better than most people do. I've seen so many ways of getting it done on plate tracks, this is just one more phase that will pass once the asphalt ages here and at Daytona.

Mike (Tx)

How about Simona de Silvestre? Already faster or atleast as fast as Danica and has way more upside aswell. If Nascar really wants a women driver they have to take a look at her at some point dont they?

Ed Hinton
  (4:43 PM)

But the NASCAR teams don't go out scouting. Simona's folks would have to approach the teams first.

Grant (Harrisburg, PA)

Ed--I've really enjoyed your writing on Raymond Parks, Lloyd Seay, Roy Hall and the roots of stock car racing. With Talladega coming up, I was wondering which drivers, in your opinion, from the pre-restrictor plate era would have been the best restrictor plate racers? Thanks and keep up the great work.

Ed Hinton
  (4:44 PM)

I think guys like Seay and Hall could have adapted to anything. Don't know about the 1950s guys, though. Would have been a huge transition for them.

cedric (simpsonville s.c.)

do dale have a chance sat.or sun.

Ed Hinton
  (4:44 PM)

both.

Brian (NC)

If so called no names keep the winning at the plate race's do you think everyone will just think there a joke.

Ed Hinton
  (4:45 PM)

This sort of thing has been going on here since Ron Bouchard. There were no-name winners even before plates.

ashaver (IN)

Will Darlington ever a get a 2nd date again?

Ed Hinton
  (4:46 PM)

I seriously doubt it, sadly.

Andrew (Independence)

Prediction on who you think will reach 30 Cup wins first between Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards? (Kyle currently has 20 and Carl has 19)

Ed Hinton
  (4:47 PM)

Kyle

Joe (Fargo, ND)

Is Sunday yet another weekend Menard posts a best finish?

Ed Hinton
  (4:47 PM)

Don't think so. His teammates probably will all do better at this place.

Lance (Iowa)

Not many Junior quesitons today. Perhaps the Nation is trying to not jinx the 88's chances. You agree?

Ed Hinton
  (4:47 PM)

That's a distinct possibility.

Alfred (Saint Paul, MN)

When constructing the list for "Top 'Have Some' NBA Dunk Moments" of this year, did SportsNation seriously leave out Dwayne Wade's dunk on Kendrick Perkins? (on 3/6/11) The shame, the shame...

Ed Hinton
  (4:48 PM)

I think you've taken a wrong turn, Alfred. Check your map.

Rob F (Hoboken, NJ)

Jeff Gordon admitted the 24 team's 1.5 mile program is way off, which is kinda stunning when you look at him last year. Do you think they'll actually bounce back and compete? I have my doubts...

Ed Hinton
  (4:49 PM)

Jeff specifically, or HMS in general? I think HMS will make a concerted effort, and Knaus will figure out something before the Chase starts.

Steve (NY)

Do you realize you've gone 50 minutes in without mentioning JJ?

Ed Hinton
  (4:49 PM)

Well, then, let's mention JJ.

saul (denver airport)

can you run a three car tandem at Dega....in the event you dont have even cars on the track

Ed Hinton
  (4:50 PM)

At daytona, 3 car formations messed up the middle car, took all the downforce off. appears to be the same here.

Jeanell (Columbus GA)

Here's a Junior Question: Did JR sound sleepy or confident this morning on Mike and Mike. At this point I like what I am hearing from him and Steve. Your thoughts good bad or indifferent

Ed Hinton
  (4:51 PM)

Junior usually sounds sleepy before noon. And he's been sounding more confident. So: both.

cedric (simpsonville s.c.)

well will jj win one this season.

Ed Hinton
  (4:52 PM)

Of course he will.

cedric (simpsonville s.c.)

is it a ford or chevy race this weekend

Ed Hinton
  (4:53 PM)

Definitely Chevy. ECR engines have won the last three races, and they're in the RCR and EGR cars.

Mike (Tx)

Regarding Simona de SilvestreI dont understand that "Nascar Teams dont go out scouting" Just by following racing in general her appeal because of talentlevel and gender should be pretty apparent. As fair as that may be. If she is capable of consistently performing at Sprint Cup level sponsorship should easily be availible, right?

Ed Hinton
  (4:55 PM)

All the seats in Cup are overbooked. Simona is a several years' project at the very least for NASCAR. No way you can say she would learn any faster than Danica. They're not going to go out there and spend many millions just guessing.

saul (denver airport)

I always remember bull fighters visiting the chapel the morning of the big fight....are services available for the drivers?

Ed Hinton
  (4:56 PM)

Yeah, they have a regular Protestant group that hold services in the garage, and usually there's a priest who says Mass.

Rob F (Hoboken, NJ)

Jeff specifically, but they all seem a little off. Remember, Gordon had the field covered at Texas last year before that wreck. JJ was pretty good too.

Ed Hinton
  (4:57 PM)

Yes, but there's always technological leapfrog. They could be well ahead of the rest on 1.5 mile tracks one year, and be well behind the rest by the next year.

Steve (NY)

Are the commercials we see on TV all the drivers get offered? Let's face it, other than the Edwards/Glazer spot, all of them this year and last were LAAMMMMME. Do ad execs think drivers appeal to morons, or do the drivers have bad publicists/agents?

Ed Hinton
  (4:58 PM)

TV commercials usually are tied to sponsorships and personal service contracts. The notable exception is Dale Jr.'s big deal with Nationwide insurance. The rest mainly are part of the sponsorship contract.

Jeanell (Columbus GA)

I know its early in the season, but who seems to be a bit of a disappointment thus far

Ed Hinton
  (4:59 PM)

JJ, JJ and JJ.

wes (oklahoma)

ed, you've talked about the race strategy but noone has asked your opinion. Love or hate the Two Step or prefer the big pack?

Ed Hinton
  (5:00 PM)

Somebody did earlier, but again, I like the two-step better than most people do. I've seen so many different variations of plate racing that I like something different. But this will go away once the track surfaces age here and at Daytona. The twofers are because of all the grip they get in the corners.

Jeanell (Columbus GA)

hahahahaha you made my day!

Ed Hinton
  (5:01 PM)

I'm glad. Well, the clock says it's time to go. Thanks to all for stopping by.