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December 16, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with David Newton

David Newton
  (1:59 PM)

Welcome to Frantic Friday. Has everyone done their Christmas Shopping? I haven't. Yeah, I know, lame. But I do have time for you. Fire away.

Kyle (Boston)

Hey David, hope you're enjoying your "offseason". What do you think of the pairing of Hamlin and Grubb for 2012? Seems Grubb is universally well regarded and JGR and Toyota must be excited to have a Hendrick/SHR insider in the fold?

David Newton
  (2:00 PM)

What offseason. Been busier than Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. A for Hamlin and Grubb, I believe he'll be great for JGR. I'll reserve judgment on Hamlin. You never know what creates great chemistry. Just over a year ago Hamlin had it with Mike Ford. It's like being a head coach. When something isn't working he gets blamed before the player.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What are the 2 Other Races will Danica Patrick Race in the 2012 Sprint Cup Series Season?

David Newton
  (2:01 PM)

Still open. Think she's leaving Charlotte open in case she gets a ride for the Indy 500. Not sure what the other one is.

Marc T. (Home of Goodyear, OH)

Tony Stewart. World Karting Association championship in 1987. USAC's Triple Crown Champion in 1995. Indy Racing League Champion 1997. IROC Champion 2006. NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion 2002, 2005, 2011. Only driver to win the Sprint Cup under both points systems. Ran in ARCA and World of Outlaws. As a team owner he has won championships in NASCAR, World of Outlaws, and USAC. Best driver in the history of motorsports David? Thanks for the offseason chats.

David Newton
  (2:02 PM)

Motorsports in general you can make a good argument. As for Sprint Cup, not yet. Jimmie Johnson's five straight titles is hard to beat.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Who do you think will Drive the #22 Pennzoil/Shell Dodge for Roger Penske in 2012?

David Newton
  (2:02 PM)

David Ragan unless something changes that I'm unaware of.

Mark (Mount Airy,MD)

Merry Christmas David. I'll miss the chat due to the company Christmas luncheon, but wanted to wish you Happy Holidays. I look forward to more chats in 2012. Will Best Buy sponsor Kenseth instead of the #43?????

David Newton
  (2:03 PM)

Merry back at you. Can't believe you skipped the chat for a eggnog and food. OK, can't blame you. And I believe Best Buy will be on the 17. Enjoy your party.

Shayne - NY [via mobile]

Which driver do you see as being the most improved next season?

David Newton
  (2:04 PM)

Joey Logano. Really thought we'd see it this past season, but this is a make or break year and those with talent usually step it up under that situation.

David (Dover)

Dave Merry Christmas To YouHave a question or 2 i heard best buy to kenseth has that been confirmed and is it all season also whats the word on kurt busch aj allmendinger and ragans futures and last i also heard zippi to shr how concrete is that thanks

David Newton
  (2:06 PM)

Yes, I believe Best Buy will happen for Matt. Good for him. He deserve that. As for Kurt and AJ I am sure Kurt will find something. Not so sure about AJ. Kurt may e better off sitting out a year and waiting for something good to open. As for Zippy, it was announced today. Tried to write it yesterday but couldn't find a second source to confirm.

Ann Alingus (Butte)

KBM hired Mike Beam - is this something for the Truck team(s) or is something brewing as far as getting a NW team together for 2012?

David Newton
  (2:06 PM)

They are running a NW team so it could be for that. I'll have to check.

Ann Alingus (Butte)

Now that he has Jason Ratcliffe, a proven winner in the NW series, is this the last chance for Joey Logano?

David Newton
  (2:07 PM)

May be last chance at JGR. I like the matchup, though.

Ann Alingus (Butte)

Sounds like Best Buy to the 17 for 2012 - what is going to happen to the 43? Is that team going away or will RPM fund out of pocket if needed?

David Newton
  (2:08 PM)

They are being pretty closed lip at RPM right now. While Roush could have run the 17 unsponsored RPM can't run the 43 I don't believe At worst I would guess they would move sponsorship and driver of the 9 to the 43. The Pettys won't let that number sit.

Zach Cross (Church Hill TN)

Hi DavidHave you heard anything about Michael Waltrip shutting his Nationwide team down? Do you think Clint Bowyer will do any Nationwide Races with JGR or Kyle Busch Motorsports?

David Newton
  (2:08 PM)

They already have said they will run less NW. Not sure if they'll completely shut it down, but the focus is on Cup. Don't see Bowyer at JGR or KBM. They have plenty of drivers in line for those rides.

Rodney (Mt.vernon, Kentucky)

Who do you think that Stewart will get to drive Danica's car when she is not driving it?

David Newton
  (2:09 PM)

Looks like they may not run it the whole season as they hoped. It all hinged on finding a driver and sponsor. Hasn't happened.

Todd (Ga.)

Hey Newt, thanks for the chats. Is trading Joey for Danica an upgrade for Zippy?

David Newton
  (2:10 PM)

Thanks, and behave with that question. No it is not an upgrade. Joey is far better than Danica in NW and Cup.

SmokeDepot14 (Key West)

With Ford and now Zipadeli now gone from JGR, has Kyle created an organization that is 100% focused on the #18 success like all the great drivers do?

David Newton
  (2:11 PM)

Kyle didn't create anything. JGR was forced to make the move with Zippy because he wanted to go to SHR. And Hamlin wanted a change from Ford. I actually like the moves and believe they will make the organization stronger.

Vader0309 (Cali.)

Newt, either way, if Best Buy goes with Kurt or Kenseth isn't AJ in trouble?

David Newton
  (2:11 PM)

Definitely.

Blake (Belmont)

Merry Xmas! Does the fuel injection transition favor Toyota because they have TRD independently working on the engines?

David Newton
  (2:13 PM)

Not at all. Doug Yates has been working tirelessly on it for the Ford camp and Chevy ... well, they're always on it. Toyota had TRD working on engines before fuel injection and that didn't make kthem better BTW.

8Tbone8 (texas)

Dale Jr.'s last 2 wins came in June '08 and May '06. That means Jr has 1 win in almost a 6 year span. Is there any other driver who could keep his job with that record?

David Newton
  (2:14 PM)

Jeff Burton went through a similar dry spell and bounced back well. But I get your point. No. Not many could keep their ride. But not many can produce sponsors and fans the way Dale Jr. can.

Ryan (Reynoldsburg,Ohio)

2 part question. How do you think zippy will do in his new role and 2nd whats you take on all the moves stewart is making.

David Newton
  (2:15 PM)

Zippy will succeed. He is a great people person and that is what you need in that role. As for the moves, I don't see anything that hasn't improved the organization. I do hate Grubb had to go, but Addington is solid and Zippy is one of the best.

Tammy (Orlando,FL)

will kurt bush ever get back to where he was. Also do you think roush will block the move for kurt to go petty or can he?

David Newton
  (2:17 PM)

It's up to Kurt. He has to make up his mind to be a better person. Nobody can make him. If Kurt can bring sponsor money and wins to RPM, then I don't think Roush would block. He make money selling cars to RPM. That's what makes the Best Buy move interesting. He could be shutting himself out of engines and chassis for an entire team.

Vinnie (ATL)

Will Rowdy have only 1 or different drivers running the KBM Nationwide car while he is racing the #18 for JGR?

David Newton
  (2:17 PM)

Multiple. He'll be in some of the time.

Ron (Smithville)

I like the tandem racing cause of the strategy but if NASCAR bans car-spotter-car communications will that end the tandem racing?

David Newton
  (2:18 PM)

That's a good idea. Eliminate the spotter and they can't do it as well. That would create great chaoos.

Ron (Smithville)

With tandem racing, the drivers say they can't see beyond the front car. If the COT is so high how would that be any different with pack racing?

David Newton
  (2:18 PM)

Because with pack racing they aren't flush nose to tail the whole way. The spoiler will be smaller at Daytona this year, so that should elminate part of that issue.

Tracy (CT)

Do you think Kurt might take a 50% ownership in Phoenix and rename it Busch Finch Racing like how Stewart did with Haas?

David Newton
  (2:19 PM)

If I were James Finch and thought Kurt would behave I'd do that in a heartbeat. Not sure Finch is interested in that, though.

Turk (Mich.)

With all the driver/crew chief turmoil how much will the stability and maturity of Kyle Busch help the #18 team for a '12 championship run?

David Newton
  (2:20 PM)

I'd say continuity over stability and maturity. He has good chemistry with Dave Rogers and that gives him a heads up on a few teams that have made changes.

Ron (OH)

Were there ever suspicions that Zippadeli might have helped Stewart by sharing Toyota and JGR information with his old driver?

David Newton
  (2:20 PM)

Nope. You know something I don't?

Gene (Ohio)

Wouldn't it have been easier for Stewart to have made Grubb Danica's crew chief instead of this 3 way trade?

David Newton
  (2:20 PM)

Grubb wanted to work with a championship driver.

Andrew (Kettering, Ohio)

With sponsors having more power in driver-team decisions than ever before, have the days of "boys have at it" officially ended because drivers will fear losing their rides?

David Newton
  (2:21 PM)

I don't think so. What happened with Kurt and to a degree with Kyle had nothing to do with boys have at it as much as it did human decency.

Todd (Ga. )

Allmendinger has been in cup for 5 years, run 152 cup races and has scored a total of 4 Top 5's. Do you think AJ needs to do like Sadler and go race in Nationwide where it's not so competitive?

David Newton
  (2:21 PM)

Might not be a bad idea. Roger Penske believes it's what will make Sam Hornish Jr. a good Cup driver in the future.

Joanne (Ft. Myers)

Kasey won races in Tier 2 RPM and Red Bull equipment so do you expect Kahne-Francis to be equal to #48 in strength and better than 24/88?

David Newton
  (2:22 PM)

I wouldn't go that far. But I do believe Kasey has his best chance to succeed. And he's had fast cars before. Just because RPM and Red Bull weren't considred Tier 1, they did produce good speed.

Vernie (NJ)

Hey Newt, a few years ago Grubb won the Daytona 500 with Jimmie while Knaus was suspended and I was wondering if you think that knowledge will make Rowdy and the other JGR Toyota's super stout in the 500?

David Newton
  (2:23 PM)

As I said earlier, I believe Grubb will make JGR a stronger organization. Hendrick hated losing him, which is why Grubb was offered a pretty good paying engineer job.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Since Danica is only running 10 cup races will Zippy be sitting on her pit box in addition to his other responsibilities?

David Newton
  (2:25 PM)

I don't see Zippy doing both. Maybe Matt Borland could fill in that job. He has solid crew chief experience.

Chris (Crestview, FL)

Do you think Jr and Stevie work well together because Stevie has lowered expectations and doesn't push Jr. like Pops, Tony Jr and Lance did?

David Newton
  (2:26 PM)

Sounds like a cheap shot there. No, they work well together because they are a lot a like and because both are dedicated to making it work.

CLiff Johnson (Murfreesboro, TN)

Hey, David, i was curious where u think or hear Mike Ford will end up? i thought he would've been a great crew chief to put with Sam Hornish Jr in the 22 Penske car, but with Todd Gordon landing that job, where do u think Ford goes?

David Newton
  (2:27 PM)

Sam is running a full Nationwide schedule. Penske has no interest in moving him up again yet. Perhaps Ford could go wori with him in the NW program. Maybe he'll be with Danica.

baseballman387 (texas)

I'm a James Buescher fan and was disappointed that James had to teach cup vet. Harvick a lesson at Homestead but why does Harvick pick fights in every race instead racing?

David Newton
  (2:28 PM)

More trouble-makers out there than normal. Harvick doesn't pick a fight in every race. It just seems that way sometimes. Kidding.

txtechjmacattack (lubbock)

no matter what personnel changes they make at SHR do you believe that Mr. H and Knaus are gonna let a customer, satelite team beat them again?

David Newton
  (2:29 PM)

If it was that simple Hendrick wouldn't have let it happen the first time. HMS is in the motor and chassis selling business as well as the winning races business. Can't succeed in the former if you do something to give your own team an edge.

Vern (NJ)

Is Burnt Toast out of excuses now? He had a championship team and has one rain win. Now the champion CC is gone. Is Joey next out the door?

David Newton
  (2:30 PM)

Don't forget, Joey got pushed into that ride before anybody at JGR was ready. But you are right, this likely is his last year to prove himself.

Brandi (SC)

Hi David, interesting story today on Kurt and respect. Question; hasn't Harvick, Stewart, Jr., Biffle disrespected their teams multiple times? Why not mention their "baggage"?

David Newton
  (2:31 PM)

Never in the way Busch has. What Kurt did and has done defies human deceny. The others pitched tirades, but never so vile. And the respect factor had to do as much with the 43 being about respect as it did Kurt.

Hank (Weston, Fl)

I usually like your stories but disappointed that you lump Kurt Busch in with criminals and law breakers especially when you fail to mention that both Hendrick and Gene Hass are convicted felons.

David Newton
  (2:32 PM)

Randy Moss didn't break any laws. Don't think Allen Iverson did either. The point was simple. Athletes with talent will get more breaks than those without.

Ryan(the real deal holyfield) (Ventura CA)

Between Zippy and Addington that's like 45 wins. Not too shabby SHR.

David Newton
  (2:32 PM)

Not at all.

Ryan (Ventura, Ca.)

Newt, do you suppose if Dale Jr. showed the same passion for racing and agressiveness as The Busch Brothers that he would be anointed the 2nd coming of his father?

David Newton
  (2:33 PM)

Can't say he doesn't have that passion. Just because he doesn't pitch a fit when things don't go his way doesn't mean he's not passionate. Strange way to judge passion, don't you think?

Matt (Rochester, NY)

Please tell me that the changes made to the cars for Daytona and Talladega will bring back the pack racing? PLEASE? I hate that tandem crap. What a joke!!

David Newton
  (2:33 PM)

Nothing they have done so far lends me to believe we won't see pack racing. Sorry.

Quentin (Iowa)

If NASCAR can get rid of the 2 car draft and get pack racing back at Daytona I predict Dale Jr. is going to be the favorite to win the 500 in February!

David Newton
  (2:34 PM)

He is pretty good at pack racing. But so is Gordon, Stewart and a few others. Might be time for Stewart to win a 500 don't you think?

Jim (PA)

How often do the drivers actually go to the shops to see what's going on and the changes that are happening over the off season?

David Newton
  (2:35 PM)

Depends on the driver. Some go once or twice a week. Some go once or twice a month. Not sure it really matters other than building chemistry with the team. Carl Edwards lives in Missouri and he finished tied for the title.

Thomas (MN)

If Best Buy strikes a deal to sponsor Kenseth, does that effectively kill the Kurt to RPM rumors? There can't be that many sponsors out there that would tolerate Kurt's abrasive personality. Personally, I don't see Roush allowing Kurt to land at a Roush-affiliated team anyway.

David Newton
  (2:36 PM)

It definitely puts a dent in things. That is why RPM was trying to get Kurt to salvage the deal with Best Buy.

Ryan (NY)

Newt, I've been a fan of Richard Petty's team in all its incarnations since I started following NASCAR, back when it was Bobby Labonte and Kyle Petty at Petty Enterprises. Stuck with them through all the turmoil and uncertainty. The Dinger has become my favorite driver, and if he gets kicked out of the 43 for Kurt Busch RPM can say sayonara to my support. I know a lot of fans feel the same. Does RPM take public opinion into account at all as it makes its decision?

David Newton
  (2:37 PM)

RPM is all about survival and trying to win races. If Kurt helps that, and it's probably only a 50-50- chance he goes there, then that's what would happen. How about this. If Kurt won five races in the 43 next year don't you think that would bring back a few fans who have longed to see that number back in Victory Lane?

Ryan (Ventura, Ca.)

If Rowdy and Kurt behave like boy scouts then who will become the bad guys; Harvick, Newman or maybe Brad?

David Newton
  (2:38 PM)

Exactly. One of the problems I have with all of this is NASCAR likes its bad boys. As much as I have disliked some of the way Kurt has treated people in the media, including me, he's not a criminal.

Todd (Ga.)

Do you see the Dale-Danica brand as interchangable in that it doesn't matter how they perform on the track?

David Newton
  (2:40 PM)

To a degree. But what's wrong with cheering for somebody who doesn't win. The Saints had fans even when they wore paper bags on their heads. I cheered for the Atlanta Falcons in the early 70s when they never had a chance to make the playoffs. Is there such a big difference?

Rita Jean (NorCal)

AWESOME news for JGR! Jason Ratcliff is a winning crew chief and absolutely deserved that promotion. You can predict Logano and the #20 team doing well for 2012.

David Newton
  (2:41 PM)

I agree, a good move for both parties. Perhaps Joey needed somebody who wasn't used to the level of success in Cup that Zipadelli was.

Jesse (Huntersville NC)

Will the rule changes for Daytona break up tandem racing?

David Newton
  (2:41 PM)

Not unless they have something up their sleeve they haven't shown yet.

Jesse (Huntersville NC)

Who would you name as your top 5 contenders for the 2012 championship?

David Newton
  (2:42 PM)

Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth.

Alex (virginia)

Hey David, who is going to take over the #22? any tallk about Elliott Sadler getting a shot?

David Newton
  (2:42 PM)

No talk about Sadler. David Ragan appears to have the upper hand.

Rita Jean (NorCal)

Foolishly, you opened the door for the most outrageous questions .... boxers or briefs?

David Newton
  (2:43 PM)

Boxer briefs.

Jesse (Huntersville NC)

Any chance of Pennzoil/Shell going to another team for a high profile driver?

David Newton
  (2:43 PM)

Nope. Under contract to Penske.

Gene (Ohio)

Trading Joey for Danica? C'mon man!

David Newton
  (2:43 PM)

Ridiculous.

Rita Jean (NorCal)

I see KBM getting Rick Ren as the best hire for "in the office." I don't see it with Zippy at SHR, other than they are buddies. Just my opinion I guess...

David Newton
  (2:44 PM)

Zippy was at a point in his career where he wanted a change and I believe this is the ideal role for him.

Megan (NC)

Hi David, with all Kurt does for the Armed Forces isn't he a NASCAR sponsors dream?

David Newton
  (2:45 PM)

That's what is crazy about all this. Away from the track with sponsors Kurt does a wonderful job. Then he rips it all apart by being a jerk. He needs to find a balance.

Dontae_Allen (Griffin, GA)

David, given all the changes so far this off season, which team to you think is more poised after changes to get better results in 2012?

David Newton
  (2:45 PM)

Denny Hamlin.

Billy (Reno)

Any word on Stenhouse and Bayne?

David Newton
  (2:46 PM)

Nothing other than Stenhouse will run a full NW season for Roush and Bayne is expected to be back in the 21 part-time. One or both may run the 6 car unsponsored for the first five races hoping a sponsor jumps aboard.

Joe (North Carolina)

Where do you think Kurt Busch will end up? Could Mike Ford be crew chief?

David Newton
  (2:46 PM)

Don't see Busch working with Ford. And I still believe Phoenix Racing may be his best bet.

Bryan (Olympia, WA)

Business sure... but that's got to be more than a little awkward with the Roush/RPM dynamic, RE: Best Buy, don't you think?

David Newton
  (2:47 PM)

Definitely. Sounds like poaching to me.

Jesse (Huntersville NC)

Zippy is not trading Joey for Danica, he is Competitition Director, his role with Danica will be an extra

David Newton
  (2:47 PM)

Thank you.

Jose (Armenia)

What team amy be able to pick up Mike Ford? I think EGR still needs a competition director...

David Newton
  (2:48 PM)

Has Juan's new crew chief been mamed? Been so many I lose track.

Jeremy (Port Angeles, WA)

Do you think Grep Zipadeli will be Danica crew chief in the 10 sprint cup races she will be racing in for Stewart Haas Racing next year?

David Newton
  (2:48 PM)

Release said he would help with the development. Didn't say he would be the crew chief unless I missed something. Then again, I have been cleaning the patio all day.

Dontae_Allen (Griffin, GA)

With all the off season changes that have taken place, who is your driver to watch in 2012 and how do you think any changes may end up hurting a driver?

David Newton
  (2:49 PM)

Driver to watch, I'd go with Hamlin. That team is too good to struggle again. As for as driver that may be hurt, perhaps Stewart. As I keep saying, you never know when chemistry will take hold.

Thomas (MN)

You can be pretty sure that Roush will work harder to find Stenhouse a sponsor than Bayne. Wouldn't it make sense for Penske try to pick up Bayne to drive the 22 over a struggling Cup driver like Ragan? Given a couple of seasons, I think Keselowski and Bayne as teammates could be almost as big a threat as Johnson and Gordon in their primes.

David Newton
  (2:51 PM)

Stenhouse is considered the better talent by most. I still believe Bayne needs more grooming. Yeah, he won the Daytona 500. But that is a potluck race. What else has he done?

yuccadale (yucca,ca)

Good move for Zippy,knew sooner or later this move would come,more like brothers.Good or bad.Price on fuel injection from what am hearing is ridicules.Sure it doesn't help the small teams.

David Newton
  (2:51 PM)

It will be an expensive transition and that will hurt the small teams, but only for a while.

Verny (NJ)

Harvicks dry spell was on par with Jr's. Yet he is fine now. Just sayin'

David Newton
  (2:52 PM)

Good point.

Jeff (Jefferson, GA)

Seems the Ratcliff/Logano deal is being overshadowed today by the Zippy news. What do you think that pairing will do?

David Newton
  (2:53 PM)

I think this is bigger for Logano than SHR. That organization won a title without Zippy. Logano needed a change.

Jeff (SC)

Would penske maybe chose The Dinger over Ragan?

David Newton
  (2:54 PM)

I doubt it.

Dee (Vegas)

With the addition of Bowyer, Martin, Scott Miller, and with receiving same TRD engines as JGR, does MWR have what it needs to win next year? Will Truex get back in victory lane next year?

David Newton
  (2:54 PM)

They've definitely upgraded in many of the rigth places, particularly with Bowyer. That could be an organization that takes a step up in 2012.

KBNation (Worldwide)

Kurt is on the All Star list but has no ride. Might he have to rent a car from someone to make the field?

David Newton
  (2:55 PM)

Hey, maybe National or Alamo would give him something. Yes, he'd need a ride to race.

KBNation (Worldwide)

Doesn't it feel good to have scooty back in Cup? Think he will get some wins?

David Newton
  (2:55 PM)

Warm and fuzzy. No.

Dontae_Allen (Griffin, GA)

Are there any reasons why NASCAR will not run a few races in 2012 with the 2013 new car? I don't understand why they wouldn't, considering they did it with the COT in 2006.

David Newton
  (2:56 PM)

They'll test it, but there's no way to run a "few races" with it without creating a compeittive advantage somewhere. Plus it would cost too much for teams to have to build fleets for both.

BuschsBest (Miami)

Do you think Kyle Busch will take out somebody again just like Hornaday in 2012 season?

David Newton
  (2:56 PM)

Nope. Lesson learned.

Buddha (Boston, MA)

Hi David...thanks for all you do. With all this talk of sponsorship, exactly how much money are we talking about? When a team needs a sponsor how much money are they seeking?

David Newton
  (2:57 PM)

Used to be for a top team around 25 million. Now it is 12-15 million.

Miles (PA)

Hi Newt, why do older fans post hate on Joey especially when he's got guys like Mark Martin supporting him?

David Newton
  (2:58 PM)

Not sure, other than they think he was given more than he earned. I disagree. He's a great kid, btw.

Todd (Georgia)

How close was Kyle to loosing his job like brother Kurt?

David Newton
  (2:59 PM)

There was some talk, but Kurt was disrespectful to his team and boss. Kyle never was that way to Gibbs.

David Newton
  (3:00 PM)

Thanks for all the questions. Only three weeks until Daytona testing. Happy Holidays.