Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

May 19, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Ed Hinton

Ed Hinton
  (2:01 PM)

Good afternoon, all. We've got a lively lineup of questions today, and a lively Convo going with my column that was just posted, so let's rock.

Jeanne (SC)

Hi Ed, Loved the history and insight in the Let em' feud story today. Would you say of the current cup drivers, Harvick and Kesolozki are the 2 biggest actors and mouth runners?

Ed Hinton
  (2:02 PM)

Harvick for best actor and a pretty good trash-talker. Brad K for best trash-talker and a pretty good actor.

Andrew (Kettering Ohio)

Do you think that Jr would run Danica in the #8 if she drives for him in Cup?

Ed Hinton
  (2:04 PM)

I think stepmom Teresa still has rights to the 8. But she sure got burned in the court of public opinion for not passing it on to Hendrick. So this time, she might reconsider.

Clay (Charlotte)

Excited about seeing the new uber-screen in Charlotte?

Ed Hinton
  (2:05 PM)

Not really. I'm old enough to remember drive-in movies, so . . . besides, I'm going to Indy next week. 100th anniversary and all.

Ryan (West Chester)

I've been to countless races at Pocono and Dover, and Sunday's attendance was anemic. When are the owners going to cut ticket rates to actually put butts in the seats?

Ed Hinton
  (2:06 PM)

I think the Dover problem was exacerbated by serious threats of foul weather, but overall, you're right. Even with price slashing, the average nascar seat costs about twice what it should

Brad (Portland Oregon)

Mr. Hinton, First off thanks for the chats and for the great articles.Since NASCAR wants to hold a race so bad in the Pacific Northwest..why not hold a Cup or NW race at Portland International Raceway? It may not be an oval, but it hosted some great open wheel events back before the split.

Ed Hinton
  (2:08 PM)

Not a bad idea, but the schedule is so crowded, and there are two other obstacles. One, NASCAR has a road race relatively ride down the road at Sonoma, and two, I think NASCAR got a bloody nose in the Northwest from politicians a couple of years ago, and has a corporate bad taste in its mouth.

Ed Hinton
  (2:08 PM)

I mean, "right" down the road.

Paul (Vancouver, WA) [via mobile]

Hey Ed - can you tell me why our hometown driver Greg Biffle isn't winning races even though he's got one of those Roush engines? And do you think he'll get a win before Kansas (he dominates there)?

Ed Hinton
  (2:09 PM)

That's a tough one. Could be because the Biff doesn't mind hanging onto a loose car without complaint, and isn't complaining enough to Erwin on the setups.

kev (florida)

Given the talk of Danica possibly ending up at SHR, any chance that we see Mark Martin splitting time with her there?

Ed Hinton
  (2:10 PM)

Nope. If she goes Cup, it'll be full-time.

Jack (Phx, AZ)

Do you see JPM being a little gun shy in his aggressive driving since he was last called into the nascar hauler regarding the neuman incident? JPM's last two races were pretty bad. I want to see the old Pablo back!

Ed Hinton
  (2:11 PM)

He hasn't gone anywhere. Missed setups happen from time to time. Has nothing to do with his aggressiveness.

Bill (Arizona)

Ed, I started following Nascar back when Nationwide was still the Busch series. Cup drivers in those races were called 'Buschwhackers,' and in at least a few of those races I remember the Cup drivers dropping to the back before the start. I'm curious what the Busch/NW regulars thought of that. Losing is never fun, but is it 'better' to lose to a Cup driver when he starts from the pole, or when he voluntarily drops to the back and then drives through the field to win?

Ed Hinton
  (2:12 PM)

I'm having trouble remembering Cup drivers doing that, but doesn't matter. What a GREAT idea. NASCAR ought to make any Cup driver start on the back of a NW field, starting right now. Would do quite a bit toward easing this "overshadowing" business.

Eric (DC)

Why no love for Clint Bowyer this year? By my count there are only two races in which he hasn't been competitive (Vegas and Bristol). Does getting caught up in other people's wrecks mean no one thinks you can win a championship?

Ed Hinton
  (2:13 PM)

Seems to me Bowyer gets plenty of mention in all the race stories -- at least the ones we run here.

Emily (NJ)

Ed, Keselowski blamed Carl for "racing too hard" Saturday at the end of the NW race. Last time I checked, it was a green-white-checkered restart, Carl didn't touch Logano, and the point of RACING is to win. Am I wrong?

Ed Hinton
  (2:14 PM)

I didn't hear K say that, and I'm astounded about it. And yes, you're right on the money.

Ryan (Ventura CA)

Great article Ed! Ever see SHR ditching Hendrick and going with RCR stuff if the performance over there doesn't pick up?

Ed Hinton
  (2:15 PM)

That would take a really bad situation at Hendrick. Smoke's waaaaay too loyal a guy to leave the orbit of HMS just because RCR happens to be on the top of the tech leapfrog right now.

Brad (Salisbuy NC) [via mobile]

What is up with the inconsistency with the 14 team? For a while it looked like they were outperforming the hendrick cars, now it seems they've flip flopped

Ed Hinton
  (2:16 PM)

I for one think Smoke and Co. are focusing so much on sponsorships that they need to get back to some basics.

Joanne (Ft. Meyers)

I have been a member of the Dale Jr. fan club for 10 years now but havent ever met him. What are my best chances at the upcoming race. Also it is clear that kyle has been BHAI since he entered cup.

Ed Hinton
  (2:18 PM)

About like winning next week's PowerBall lottery, unless you have a "hot" garage pass at Charlotte. Even then, your only real hope is to stand at the back while he does his media availability at the back of the hauler, and that's a mob scene. Seeing him, yes. Handshake and or autograph, maybe. Meeting him is a longshot.

Jeff (SC)

Joanne octo???

Ed Hinton
  (2:19 PM)

You're right, Jeff. Thanks for the alert. I should have known, with such an outlandish question.

Mike (AZ)

Good afternnon Ed. A while back you said that you weren't sure if the pairing of Kenseth and Fennig would turn into wins. Well, two wins later, what are your thoughts on the 17? Thanks.

Ed Hinton
  (2:21 PM)

Wow, if I said that, I don't remember it. I've respected Fennig for a long time. Before him, I was concerned that Matt was going through too many crew chiefs. For what I think of what they've been doing lately, see my Monday Rundown from this week -- it's all about Fennig.

Jimmy (STL)

Heck of an article Hinton. Loved it but I gotta ask you how does NASCAR balance driver/crew/official/fan safety with BHAI? I can see that they like the attention that it garners from the fans, do you expect the slap on the wrist probation/fine combo is here to stay with these incidents, as long as they stay responsible with it? Seems to be their default response. Thanks

Ed Hinton
  (2:23 PM)

Those fines are all PR to cover the fainter-hearted of their audience. The way they balance it is, and always has been, simple: Fan safety has always come first. They know it's not good business to hurt paying customers. So they let 'em rip until and unless they endanger fans, then they clamp down. That goes back 30 years or more.

Scott (Charlotte)

Just saw the replay of the crash of Simona De Silvestro at Indy very scary! Looks like she will be okay, but burned hands.

Ed Hinton
  (2:24 PM)

Oh, bless her heart. Talented lady.

Justin M (Boone, NC)

18, 29, 48, and 99 have looked like the top contenders for the title thus far. It looks to me like the 17 (with two wins and Ford's strength early on) and the 33 (they've had some bad fast cars recently, just not the best racing luck) are sneaking into the mix. Your thoughts?

Ed Hinton
  (2:25 PM)

You've pretty well summarized my thinking, too.

Mark (Mount Airy,MD)

Hey Ed, Enjoy yourself at Indy. Who has the best chance for a possible win outside of the Penske and Ganassi guys???????

Ed Hinton
  (2:26 PM)

Those two teams pretty much have it covered. So, for the good of the race, we could always watch for an upset by Marco or Danica.

Graig. FT. Lewis, Wa [via mobile]

Hey boss, just wanted to say helluva article on feuds. Loved it. I wholeheartedly agree. My question is about ol DW. You think he's becoming more politically correct than he should? Jaws used to say what he wanted and when he wanted. He seems to be holding back lately.

Ed Hinton
  (2:28 PM)

I've known him long enough and well enough -- "The trouble with Hinton and me is, we're too much alike," he once said -- that he couldn't bring himself to hold back. Maybe he just hasn't found a situation that rings his chimes lately.

Clint (Dallas,TX)

Rickey Carmichael is doing decent in trucks, any chance we will see him in a full time nationwide car next year?

Ed Hinton
  (2:29 PM)

That would be tough. "Decent" in Trucks is a long, long way from NW. Probably a bigger step up than from NW to Cup.

Vernie (CA)

Other than Bobby and Donnie Allison what other NASCAR drivers raced in the Indy 500?

Ed Hinton
  (2:30 PM)

Both LeeRoy Yarbrough and Cale Yarborough took their shots at Indy cars, but don't think either of them made the 500.

Ocho Cinco (Chevy Chase, MD)

When does Timothy Peters get a shot at Cup?

Ed Hinton
  (2:31 PM)

He's problem is the traffic jam ahead of him, both at the NW and Cup levels. He's just a good Southern guy, maybe without all that PR polish the sponsors demand.

Billy (Reno)

How do you see Scotty Speed doing in the 500?

Ed Hinton
  (2:32 PM)

Lord only knows. Different as F1 and NASCAR are, running that place in open-wheel is yet a third vast new horizon.

Justin M (Boone, NC)

After Bowyer's crash at Dover, do you think NASCAR should look into catchfences on pit walls when pit road runs parallel to the racetrack? On replays, you can see multiple pieces of debris flying down pit road, even though only one hit a crewman.

Ed Hinton
  (2:34 PM)

That would take a lot of work to make sure access isn't impeded on stops. . .and I'm not sure a catch fence would guarantee stopping all the shrapnel -- witness Geoff Bodine's disintegrating truck at Daytona in 2000.

Turk (Mich. )

If Scotty makes the field he will join Villenueve as the only 2 race car drivers to have run F1, Indy 500 and Brickyard 400.

Ed Hinton
  (2:34 PM)

Woops, that's an Octo! What an absurd comparison between Villeneuve's and Speed's performances.

Rick (Pittsburgh)

Ed, Loved your JPM comment on NASCAR Now a few weeks back. But do you think that the whole incident has been in JPMs head lately? He seems to be in a rut the past few weeks after a great start to the season, will he turn it around?

Ed Hinton
  (2:35 PM)

No, as I mentioned earlier, I don't think he's missing stride at all in his head. Setups happen.

Scott (NH)

When will Nascar do anything about start and park teams like Nemechek and Parsons? It gets really old watching these guys try to be the first ones to park and collect a paycheck for doing nothing.

Ed Hinton
  (2:36 PM)

Not until the economy comes back and there are more teams trying to qualify. NASCAR's too proud to cut the fields back to 36 for now, which is what they should do.

Mark (Mount Airy,MD)

Hey Ed, After seeing how the tires held up at Darlington and Dover, will the crew chiefs have to adjust their strategy or will Goodyear adjust the tires??????

Ed Hinton
  (2:37 PM)

Newton and others have written about the changing strategies. Goodyear won't adjust unless they have to -- too expensive.

Tyler (Stevenson)

What does Jimmie Johnson have to do to get the love Kyle Busch does?

Ed Hinton
  (2:39 PM)

Oh, stop.

Darin (STL)

Ed, what does NASCAR do with the money they get when they fine drivers? Thanks

Ed Hinton
  (2:40 PM)

They used to redistribute it according to points at the end of the season. Now I think it goes to NASCAR Charities.

Red (NC)

I see that Michael Waltrip is coming out with a book about Dale Sr's death. It's hard for me to tell if he continues to try to capitalize on Sr's death, or if he just cant shake it. What do you think?

Ed Hinton
  (2:41 PM)

It's already out, and I've read it, and I've talked to Michael at great length about it. He's an emotional guy, and I'm convinced he just can't shake it. But it also hurt his personal life greatly -- divorce and all.

Tracy (CT)

Going to the 600. Leave monday and have plenty to do. Gimmie a good play or 3 to eat.

Ed Hinton
  (2:42 PM)

Wooo you picked the wrong place for cuisine, especially if you're staying anywhere near the track. Bojangles, and it gets worse after that. Unless you're staying in downtown Charlotte and go to really expensive restaurants.

Clint (Dallas,TX)

In response To "Red" I have the book only a little bit is about Dale's death, I mean that happen to be his 1st win of course it still is affecting him, But it is a GREAT book, you really get to know him better.

Ed Hinton
  (2:43 PM)

Clint's right, folks. If you want to really get to know Mikey, it's all there in the book. Things I didn't even know about him, and I've known him since he was 19.

Justin (Northern Virginia)

Ed, you've covered NASCAR for a very long time. Which leads me to ask you this cause I think you're the only one can give an honest answer. Just how committed is Roger Penske to his NASCAR teams? It seems like when ever they improve then they slip. They seem to be on a see-saw.

Ed Hinton
  (2:45 PM)

There is no doubt that Indy is Penske's overwhelming passion and gets the bulk of his commitment. Same with Chip Ganassi. I think he'd LIKE to do well in NASCAR, but is by no means obsessed with it.

JB (Nashville)

Should not Sterling Marlin be more effected than Mikey about the #3 and we never hear how he is dealing with it.

Ed Hinton
  (2:46 PM)

Absolutely not, because Sterling was, is, and always will be completely innocent in the Earnhardt crash. Sterling knows that, and now that the lynch-mob Earnhardt fans have settled down, Sterling can be completely at peace with it.

lacy (beckley, wv)

do you think jeff gordon has enough fight left in him to win another championship, or has his time past

Ed Hinton
  (2:46 PM)

I'm really beginning to wonder.

Scott (Charlotte)

Come on Ed hook Tracy (CT) up at The Speedway Club. You must have connections.

Ed Hinton
  (2:47 PM)

Ha! Have you ever eaten at the Speedway Club?

Jeff (SC)

Prices chicken and Macs BBQ are a must in Charlotte. Phils Tavern as well Will Tony Stewart make the Chase?

Ed Hinton
  (2:48 PM)

Thanks for passing along, Jeff. I think Smoke'll make it with a standard hot streak when the tracks get slippery at places like the Glen and maybe even Indy.

Vinnie (ATL)

Is there any reason to think a Gnassi or Penske owned car won't win the Indy 500?

Ed Hinton
  (2:50 PM)

None whatsoever, barring a longshot upset by Danica or Marco.

Justin (Northern Virginia)

Do you think AJ Foyt and Mario Andretti will ever make it into NASCAR's Hall of Fame?

Ed Hinton
  (2:50 PM)

Yeah, but it'll probably be some years because of their limited appearances there.

JB (Nashville)

100 % agree that Sterling is a class guy all the way, doing a lot to try to Save the Fairgrounds Speedway here in Nashville, have you ever attended an event here?

Ed Hinton
  (2:52 PM)

You better believe it! 1974, for a regular Saturday night show. Biggest crowd I've ever seen for a weekly event. DW was over at Maryville racing that night, and when they announced he wasn't there, the whole place stood up and cheered. Also, Robert Altman was in the grandstands, filming a great movie called "Nashville."

Lois (Huntington, WV)

What about Dan Gurney into the NASCAR HOF? He won more NASCAR races than Foyt or Andretti.

Ed Hinton
  (2:53 PM)

Gurney was the King of Riverside, no doubt about that. Few realize he drove for the Wood Brothers some.

Scott (Charlotte)

Hey, Danica is 3rd on the charts today at 226.50

Ed Hinton
  (2:53 PM)

Good! Will create some interest.

Jared (GA)

Everyone seems to knock Kyle for anything and everything they can. You know the drivers well, What is your true opinion of Kyle?

Ed Hinton
  (2:54 PM)

Oh, I've pretty much outlined my respect for him in columns over recent years. And every time, I get accused of having a man crush on him by the Kyle haters.

Ryan (West Chester)

What is your favorite Indy 500 and why? Thanks.

Ed Hinton
  (2:57 PM)

Man, that is tough. This wasn't my favorite, because it was so crash and injury filled, but it's my most memorable: 1992, constant crashing due to cold weather and cold tires, Jeff and Mario badly injured, Michael dominates the race and looks like he's going to make it bittersweet for the Andrettis, then fuel pump belt goes with 11 laps to go, parking Michael. Little Al then holds off Scott Goodyear by half a car length at the finish, then Big Al -- who'd never before shown emotion -- chokes up talking about it after the race.

Jolt (KCMO)

Ed, does the outspoken support of certain drivers (Jr. and Kyle) tend to bother you or are you happy to see that kind of passion in the sport?

Ed Hinton
  (2:59 PM)

I think it's just a natural part of NASCAR fandom. Goes all the way back through Richard Petty and David Pearson. Petty once said, "Half the people come out here to see me win. The other half come to see me get beat."

Kyle Busch (NC)

I love you Hinton. The man crush is mutual.

Ed Hinton
  (2:59 PM)

Now Kyle, you just used me to get to meet Bobby Allison.

Jimmy (NC)

I love the Indy races on ovals but road courses are so boring. Am I in majority or minority with that?

Ed Hinton
  (3:00 PM)

Probably in the majority. A lot of open-wheel fans like road courses, but I doubt many like them more than oval races.

Larry (MI)

How come they don't allow blocking in the IRL?

Ed Hinton
  (3:00 PM)

Are you kiddin' me?

Mike (IA)

Why doesn't Hendrick have a Nationwide team, beside alliances with JR Motorsports?

Ed Hinton
  (3:01 PM)

Several years ago, when Hendrick was slumping in Cup, a bunch of their sponsors got on them and asked them to renew their focus. Since then, they do it the "outsourcing" way.

Clint (Dallas,TX)

Jimmy(NC) You are in the Majority, I dont like road races either in Indy, Love them in CUP though.

Ed Hinton
  (3:02 PM)

Will leave y'all with that comment. Clock says we gotta go. Thanks to all.