Glad to be back on the chat again! I enjoy all your questions! Let's get started!
I'm guessing that Junior is out of it at this point? He's 34 points out of it.
I would have to say Jr. is going to have to put up some really good finished to get back into the hunt. To me, he is going to have to win some races to be a contender. If it doesn't happen in the next couple races, I don't see him being a contender.
Tony Stewart won the first two races and then finished laps down yesterday.....which Tony Stewart is the one we'll see this ChasE?
I expected Tony to have been better at Dover for sure. Off days are off days. He needs to be more consistent and his team is capable of that but this past weekend definitely hurt him. He is still within reach of the opportunity to win a championship.
What rule changes would you like to see in NASCAR?
I don't like rule changes. I don't think there really needs to be any changes. That way everybody knows over the winter where they need to be without a tremendous amount of costs being added.
Are you concerned at all about the ever decreasing offseason? Don't these guys need a little more time to wind down and then wind back up for the new season? Wouldn't a longer offseason make for better racing earlier the next year?
The long seasons have been around as long as I've been racing. People are used to that. I guess if you were going to look for a change, maybe a little shorter season. But more importantly, shorter races would be key. Some of the races are just too long.
Is Gordon at 19 points out still in the race?
I think so. They have been good pretty consistently and we saw a big swing in points this week. He is capable of a championship for sure.
What are your expectations for Danica Patrick next year?
I think she will do fine. There are areas she probably still needs help on. Getting the right people around her and more experience will be key. But I expect her to run just fine.
Johnny, who do you think is the biggest sleeper in the Chase this season?
Probably as a quiet guy, and always has been, is Matt Kenseth. Whether he makes that stride and gets there, nobody knows. But he has always been the quiet guy even when he won the championship.
Johnny, which upcoming race do you think will really separate the contenders from the pretenders?
Talladega will have an effect on the contenders and pretenders for sure.
What is the Hardest Speedway on the Sprint Cup Series Circuit that you drove on?
Probably the hardest ones are the shorter tracks. They are harder to pass on, hard to make up ground if you are to have a pit road speeding incident. It is very hard to recover on the short tracks.
Johnny, what do you think of NASCAR starting things a week later next season than this year? Do you think that will make any sort of difference in the season?
One week doesn't make a difference. These guys that work on the cars and the organizations that prepare the cars are a year-round business. A week or two wouldn't make a difference. It would take a month or 6 weeks to really make a difference.
Jimmie looked out of it after two races, but a second place finish moved him back up to fifth. Do you think he's driving strong enough to make another run at a title?
Jimmie is doing just fine. It is typical of him to be the strongest late in the game. He made a huge jump so he is a serious threat right now for the championship.
Thanks for all the questions! I think we are in for a very exciting Chase unfolding right in front of us. The jump in points this last weekend could very well happen another 2 or 3 times so this is anyone's for the taking! We'll talk again soon!