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September 26, 12:30 PM ET
Chat with Marty Smith

Marty Smith
  (12:33 PM)

Hey, Team! Thanks for hangin out! Congratulations to Smoke and the 14 bunch. Huge win and fantastic start to the Chase. But let's not get too carried away. He has substantial momentum and great tracks head. But the last time someone started like this was Greg Biffle in 2008. He, of course, did not win the title. Let's get after it!

Terry C. (Overland Park KS)

With Smoke winning 2 in a row and taking the points lead, do you see this being a 5 or 6 car Chase? Who is your pick to win?

Marty Smith
  (12:35 PM)

Eleven cars are still in it, Terry. Thirty four points is Ryan Newman's deficit in 11th position. I believe him to still be in play. In my opinion, Denny Hamlin and the 11 bunch are done at 66 points back.

Brenda (Baytown TX)

Hey Marty,I really don't have a question, but would like to see if you would find the good luck horseshoe and give it to Kasey Kahne. Don't think Jimmie or Kevin has it anymore. So if you run across it please give it to Kasey. Thanks!

Marty Smith
  (12:36 PM)

He could certainly use it, Brenda. He's been fast often this year, but for myriad reasons they can't close the deal to save their lives.

Ed (Indiana)

Hello Marty. You think 5-Time, having any kind of Busch in the head, can no longer drive like a champ?

Marty Smith
  (12:38 PM)

I don't think it impacts his performance one bit. Johnson is the most even-keel, mentally-composed driver I've ever covered. He and Kyle Busch are fine. Their deal Sunday at Loudon was just racing. As for Kurt -- Johnson doesn't like Kurt. And Kurt doesn't like Johnson. I don't forsee that changing any time soon. And I don't think either one of them will lose any sleep over it.

Liam and Bryan [via mobile]

With jimmie johnson running poorly (to his standards) for two races in a row, does he still have a shot at the title?

Marty Smith
  (12:41 PM)

Here are the numbers for JJ after two races during his title reign:2006: Avg. fin. 26th and 8th in pts. 2007: Avg. fin. 10th and 3rd in pts. 2008: Avg. fin. 3.5 and 2nd in pts. 2009: Avg. fin. 2.5 and 2nd in pts. 2010: Avg. fin. 13th and 2nd in pts. 2011: Avg. fin. 14th and 10th in pts. Think the Chase is getting more competitive? Johnson has never been this low in points after two races. They are 29 points behind Stewart. They have a lot of work to do. But Dover should provide a good band-aid. He's a six-time winner there.

jaymes minneapolis [via mobile]

How would you rate jeff gordon's day compared to jimmie Johnson?

Marty Smith
  (12:43 PM)

Gordon ran much better than Johnson. He ran the seven fastest laps during that race. Everyone will remember Clint Bowyer's effort being foiled by fuel mileage, but Gordon may have had a race-winner car without fuel issues, too.

Ryan (Reynoldsburg,Ohio)

is this the last year where we will see the "old guard" like stweart,kensth,gordon, jr ect all make a run at the championship together with the "new guard" coming in like brad k. kyle bush, hamlin ect. not to say they wont be competitive but all together. if you know what I mean Thanks your one of the best

Marty Smith
  (12:44 PM)

Absolutely not. That "old guard" (average age guestimate of like 38 years old or something) will be around awhile, Ryan.

Smoke (Victory Lane)

Marty, in the post-race interview I said we got rid of some dead weight earlier in the week. We both know I didn't get rid of any actual weight. What the hell was I talking about? Did I clean house at SHR and not tell anybody?

Marty Smith
  (12:44 PM)

I wish like hell you would clarify, sir.

Alan (Columbus, Ohio)

Hi Marty! Does the cooler weather have a lot to do with the way certain guys run? It seems like Kyle thrives on tracks that are 100 degrees while he struggles when the track temp is in the 60's or 70's. Is this a common trend?

Marty Smith
  (12:46 PM)

Absolutely. See: Tony Stewart. He woke up happy when it was 85 degrees Sunday at Loudon. He thrives on a hot, slick track. Other drivers like the car underneath them more. Weather has a massive impact on track conditions, with has great impact on driver comfort.

Alan (Columbus, Ohio)

Hi Marty! Can you give any tips on the Homestead race for a first-time attendee? My fiancee and I are ending our honeymoon here but know nothing about the area.

Marty Smith
  (12:47 PM)

South Beach is a long way from Homestead. Stay there anyway.

Dead Weight (Tony's Shoulder)

Smoke sure did throw me under the bus yesterday. You think he will call to apologize?

Marty Smith
  (12:47 PM)

Negative. I do not.

Rob F (Hoboken, NJ)

Hi Marty, how many more of these fuel races do we have to endure? I'd rather see racers race each other, if that makes sense.

Marty Smith
  (12:48 PM)

Get used to them, Rob. With the great tires Goodyear is bringing they're going to stay prevalent. Every driver is honing his fuel-saving skills now. Harvick said it well this weekend -- if you don't enter every race these days with a fuel mileage plan, you're screwed.

John (Clemmons, NC)

First off, I couldn't be happier about Jr's Dt. Dew sponsorship! I have about 3 a day! What do you think his chances are of winning the chase? If not for the blown tire yesterday, I think he was a top 6 or 7 car. So, he's definitely running better.... thoughts?

Marty Smith
  (12:50 PM)

I don't expect Dale to win the Chase, John. But his average finish at the remaining tracks is stellar. He's great at Dover. Great at Dega. Great at Martinsville. Never know, man. There's definitely worhty hope in Junior Nation these days. You guys should praise Steve Letarte. He's the Junior Whisperer.

Ron (OH)

Paul Wolfe is showing a great ability to know when to use pit strategy to get Brad K to the front of the field. I'm surprised that more CC haven't figured that out yet.

Marty Smith
  (12:51 PM)

Wolfe is a very, very smart, savvy crew chief, Ron. He's also a former driver, which helps him relate very well to BK's wants and needs in the car. When I met Paul he was sweeping floors at AJ Alsup's teeny shop in Mooresville. Crazy how far he's come. Good guy, too.

Shawn (Concord, NC)

Marty, as a Jeff Gordon fan, I am conflicted about his finish this weekend. Should I look at it as the 24 team throwing away a win when he clearly had the best car? Or should I look at it as Jeff getting it done on his end, picking up bonus points, and turning a potentially horrendous scenario into a top 5 finish? On one hand, champions will close out the race when they have the field covered, like Jeff did -- and he failed to. But championship-caliber teams also know how to turn a disaster like the pit stop and gas situation into a solid finish -- which Jeff did masterfully. Just looking for some perspective. Thanks (Sorry for the novella).

Marty Smith
  (12:53 PM)

This answer sucks and I'm sorry, but it's both, Shawn. He had a race-winning car and didn't win. But the fuel issue could have been disastrous when he couldn't afford disaster.

Tyler (Minnesota)

Do you see foresee any changes with the 11 team next year after going from title contender to where they are now?

Marty Smith
  (12:53 PM)

Wouldn't surprise me in the least, Tyler.

Ron (OH)

After hearing Jimmie Johnson telling Chad to shut up, I don't think he is still the most mentally-composed driver he once was.

Marty Smith
  (12:54 PM)

HAHAAHAHAHAHAAHAHA! Fair point, Ron. That almost made Gatorade shoot out my nose.

robert. arkansas [via mobile]

Hey Marty. What's the fastest with mark martin. Where will he be next year

Marty Smith
  (12:55 PM)

Stewart wants him badly to fill the races Danica doesn't run. If I was a bettin' man...

Craig (Pittsburgh)

Jr finishes the chase 4th. 1 win. Whatcha think?

Marty Smith
  (12:56 PM)

I'm going to answer Craig and Todd from GA's question at the same time. If he gets a win, that's a successful season for the 88. Make the Chase. Win a Chase race. Huge for him.

Kenneth (NC)

Mary do you think Ray Evernham could win with Jr?

Marty Smith
  (12:56 PM)

Fight. A lot.

Marty Smith
  (12:58 PM)

Okay, Team. Thanks so much for hanging out today! sorry this is only a 30-minute deal. My NASCAR Now producers are all over me to meet. Be good! Go Hokies.