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July 28, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Marty Smith

Marty Smith
  (11:59 AM)

What's up, Team! Welcome to Indianapolis. The Brickyard! I love it here! Thanks for hanging out! Let's do this.

Teri (Burbank)

Marty - you are an awesome writer.... Love the fact that you seem to have a great relationship with some of the top drivers (i.e., JJ and JR). You also seem to have an amazing affinity to music and musicians (i.e., Eric Church). My question is ... which is your true passion..covering Nascar or music?

Marty Smith
  (12:03 PM)

Impossible answer, Teri. I love NASCAR racing. I love the sport, the people, the smell and sound. The Anthem and the flyover. The post-race hustle-and-bustle. All of it. I am very congnizant of my blessing to be here, and I try very hard to honor that. But music... Music is quite a passion for me. It always has been. I remember being a kid in Virginia, my momma always had Cash and the Judds and Willie and Reba on the radio. That influence was always in my house. And my daddy driving down the highway in his pickup truck. It was Eddie Rabbit and Waylon and that bunch. Just awesome memories. And since I've gotten to be know Eric, and become really good friends, that feeling is only greater for me. If I was any prouder of him today I'd bust. Chief is the No. 1 record in America. Wow.

Zach (Vincennes, IN)

What kind of race are you expecting at Indianapolis this year?

Marty Smith
  (12:04 PM)

One that is very, very hard to pass. I expect fuel mileage and the final pit stop to be the difference, Zach. We've seen it so much already this year, and this track is conducive to that, already.

HMS Fan (Williamsburg, VA)

Hi Marty, Mr. Hendrick allowed the outsider, Tony Eury Jr. into HMS to cc the #88 and it was a disaster. What is the difference with Kenny Francis to the #5 and why should Kasey/Kenny succeed while Dale/Tony failed?

Marty Smith
  (12:05 PM)

Very simple: Kenny is an engineer. Tony Jr. wasn't.

Matt (NC)

Do you think Carl will make his announcement at the Brickyard this week? Where do you think he is headed?

Marty Smith
  (12:08 PM)

I expect Edwards' announcement very soon, Matt. It has to come soon, for a lot reasons -- like point-of-sale. In my opinion Gibbs is the leader in the clubhouse, though I'm uncertain Edwards has made a decision yet. I base that opinion on the fact that Carl is very aware of his personal brand. And at Gibbs he'll be able to have more control over that.

Michael (Florida)

Do you think the CC shake up for the #42 will help or hinder his chance of making the chase this year?

Marty Smith
  (12:11 PM)

Hurt. That team can absolutely win any of the next three races. They had Indy last year. They're great at Pocono. They won at The Glen. If they get that victory, they're sitting pretty. Brian Pattie is a badass. I don't get the timing of the decision.

Kevin (Texas)

If Carl announces that he is leaving Roush for JGR, I personally think he will, would Jack have a knee jerk reaction and either limit the 99 team support or replace him all together? Also, with Kenny Francis announced as Kahn's crew chief at Hendrick, any chance they both move over early?

Marty Smith
  (12:13 PM)

That's the thing that's so sour about it all, Kevin. If Carl leaves Roush as the points leader, it may impact his only chance to ever win a title. Though I believe fully that everyone is professional enough to know how fleeting success is in this sport, I've never seen a "lame-duck" driver improve after he chooses to move elsewhere. As for Easy and Kahne, I figure not. I figure Mark will be in that car all year.

Ryan (Florence, AZ)

Is ESPN gonna have "The Decision" for Carl?

Marty Smith
  (12:14 PM)

HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAAHAHAHAHAAHAHA! "I'd like to announce... that I'm taking my talents... to Huntersville."

Terry (Lee, CA)

i luv Nascar, its my life. i dont know why people make fun of me and look down on the sport so much

Marty Smith
  (12:15 PM)

Don't worry about other people. Worry about you. If you love it, own it.

Aj (Indy )

Did you read Mr Hinton's story about Snow ? Epic. Best story I have ever seen on ESPN, or any other site for that matter. It's so heartwarming and heartbreaking all at the same time.

Marty Smith
  (12:17 PM)

Ed is among the best sportswriters of our time. He is the greatest NASCAR writer, possibly ever.

Ryan (Florence, AZ)

Hey Marty, What did you think about the invocation @ Nashville last weekend? I understand both sides of the argument, but personally, I snot bubbled when I heard it.

Marty Smith
  (12:19 PM)

In discussing with my man Dale Beaver, the former Motor Racing Outreach chaplain who had a great impact on my life, I explained my reaction like this: My soul was disappointed, but my brain was highly entertained. And I'm okay with that being my genuine reaction. I laughed a lot.

Katie (Miami)

Marty what is your take on Brian Pattie staying with EGR for 2012?

Marty Smith
  (12:20 PM)

I do not expect that will happen.

jerame (Cali)

Hey marty, thanks for chatting with us, give it to me straight, jr in or out of the chase? and will he win?

Marty Smith
  (12:22 PM)

In. If he wins it'll be Bristol or Richmond. I thought for SURE he'd already have won. I was wrong.

Kraig (Speedway)

My heart will be broken Saturday night when the checkers fall on the last Nationwide race at Lucas Oil/Raceway park.Does a Nationwide race at IMS really draw enough people to end this great race?

Marty Smith
  (12:24 PM)

Not even close in my opinion. Team sponsors will be happy with the move, but IRP is always one of the best races of the year -- every year.

Kraig (Speedway)

Any chance we see an actual on track pass this Sunday? I love the Speedway but man NASCAR still needs to find a way to make this race at least a little bit interesting.

Marty Smith
  (12:25 PM)

Softer tires? (That's really easy for a guy in a jacket and tie, sitting in front of a computer, to say. I imagine drivers, running 200+ into Turn 3, don't want a softer right front!)

SubmarineMike (Jacksonville Fl)

if Edwards does go to JGR do they create 4th team for Logano and how does that affect where UPS goes in your opinion

Marty Smith
  (12:28 PM)

I don't see how it would at all. Gibbs has FedEx, so UPS won't go there with Carl.

Larry (Raleigh, NC)

Marty what's your favorite local track?

Marty Smith
  (12:28 PM)

Motor Mile in Radford, Va. (Where I cut my teeth, as they say...)

Marty Smith
  (12:30 PM)

You guys are awesome. I really appreciate your time and great, great questions. I gotta blast, though. I need to wrap up this espn.com epic on Kyle Busch for Sunday, get my run in and then haul freight up to Carmel to interview Smoke. Be good! Say hey to Newton for me! - m.