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December 21, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with David Newton

David Newton
  (2:01 PM)

Welcome to the offseason that has been anything but off. Four days before Christmas and were still chasing driver changes. Ready for some Holiday Cheer. Fire away.

Todd (Ga.)

Hi David, do you think Kurt will become another ex-champion like Labontes and Elliott who takes any ride that comes along?

David Newton
  (2:02 PM)

He may have to for this season, but by 2013 he'll be in a top ride. Too talented and too young not to.

Tracy (CT.)

Why do you suppose Penske is taking so much time to announce the driver of the #22?

David Newton
  (2:03 PM)

Was today's announcement of AJ Allmendinger not fast enough? Hey, they didn't want to jump into this without exploring all the possibilities. Patience landed them Allmendinger after Best Buy moved on.

Ron (Smithville)

Hey Newt, so Best Buy agrees 25% (9 of 36 races) with #17, if they get a piece of Edwards for 2 races. Is that a ringing endorsement of Kenseth?

David Newton
  (2:03 PM)

Not ringing, but the way of the sponsorship world these days. Look at Edwards. He has four different sponsors I believe now.

8Tbone8 (texas)

Do you think the decrease in the level of competition with team closings and losing a Kurt Busch will make it easier for Rowdy, Edwards and maybe Kahne to run off 8-10 win seasons?

David Newton
  (2:04 PM)

Nope. What was really lost? Red Bull and the 6. How many of those competed for the Chase? And Kurt will land somewhere.

Tyler (Greenfield,NY)

I read on Jayski that Childress had an auction to sell stuff and wondered in Red Bull will also be having an auction?

David Newton
  (2:05 PM)

It's not uncommon for teams to do this, whether they're down-sizing or upgrading equipment. It just seems like something big because teams are shrinking.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

With Zippy cc'ing for Danica do you expect her to run about like Joey has been running lately?

David Newton
  (2:05 PM)

Danica would love to be as good as Joey is right now.

Ryan (Ventura, Ca.)

Merry Xmas Newt! How is NASCAR going to police the HMS strategy of "crack the rear end of the car" to disguise aero cheating at Daytona?

David Newton
  (2:06 PM)

Merry to you as well. If NASCAR goes to this smaller radiator for Daytona you'll see a lot of teams attempting to bend the rules.

Gene (Ohio)

Now that Rowdy has to play nice and act like Edwards and Jimmie, what kind of season do you expect from the #18 across all 3 series?

David Newton
  (2:07 PM)

I expect he'll focus more on Cup and less on the l ower series, and I expect him to contend for the most wins and the title in Cup. Nice doesn't mean less talented.

Andrew (Kettering, Ohio)

Hey David, do all the young drivers look up to Kyle Busch the way Tebow did to Tom Brady after the Broncos-Patriots game?

David Newton
  (2:09 PM)

They sure respect his ability as a driver, but I wouldn't put Kyle Busch and Brady on the same level. Brady has won three titles, owns the record for longest winning streak and his a sure NFL Hall of Famer. Kyle isn't a sure bet for NASCAR Hall.

txtechjmacattack (lubbock)

do you think Darien Grubb at JGR will make Kyle stronger in the chase races where the #18 team has let down Kyle in the past?

David Newton
  (2:10 PM)

I believe Darian will make JGR stronger, not necessarily Kyle. Anytime you add somebody with his experience it'll make the organization stronger.

baseballman387 (florida)

last year, the line about Jr. was if he couldn't win out of Chad's shop, then it wasn't gonna happen. what will the expectation be for the #88 this year?

David Newton
  (2:11 PM)

Higher than last year. He improved from 21st in points to make the Chase. He'll be looking for a win and to contend for a top 5 next year.

Todd (Ga.)

With Best Buy to RFR, does it look like Kurt will be bringing sponsorship to RPM to take over the #43?

David Newton
  (2:12 PM)

Kurt would be the first choice, then possibly Ragan or Reutimann. But everything hinges on sponsorship. What sponsor do you suppose would go with Kurt?

Shawn (Gastonia, NC USA)

Hey David! One thing I don't hear much about, is Kurt Busch having the Past Champion provisional. Doesn't that at least guarantee him a ride from a start and park car for each race? You have to believe that is helping his negotiations with teams and sponsors right now...

David Newton
  (2:12 PM)

You'd think so, but he's not interested in start and park. That would ruin whatever is left of his reputation.

Shawn (Gastonia, NC USA)

AJ Allmendinger is the big winner in this Silly Season shuffle. The 22 is a Championship-contending ride, and now with the equipment, AJ has nothing holding him back now.

David Newton
  (2:13 PM)

Can't argue with that one.

Shawn (Gastonia, NC USA)

So let me get this straight. David Ragan is a mistake away from winning the Daytona 500, he wins Daytona in July and he's in a Hendrick-powered ride (for the time being) in February? Sounds to me like he's a favorite.

David Newton
  (2:14 PM)

Wouldn't go that far.

Roscoe (Chino, Ca.)

With his 23 cup wins, Rowdy is likely to overtake Dale Jarrett's 32 wins in 2012-13 and I was wondering how many cup wins you think Rowdy can win in his career?

David Newton
  (2:15 PM)

50 is a nice rounnd figture, but I suspect he'll get more.

Turk (Mich.)

Do you think Kyle Busch is under a unwritten form of probation where he knows NASCAR will penalize him for any aggression?

David Newton
  (2:16 PM)

To a degree. He can't do something that is so obvious that you or I can tell it was intentional. But he won't have his hands tied to the point he can't rub with somebody.

Cliff Johnson (Murfreesboro, TN)

Hey, David, i have to say i think hiring AJ was a bad move on Penske's part. The guy has NEVER won a Nascar race, not a Cup race, a Nationwide race, or even a Truck race. To me, Sam Hornish Jr is more qualified to drive that car than AJ. AJ is no different than JJ Yeley and as a Hornish fan, please tell me it's a one year deal!

David Newton
  (2:17 PM)

It was an interesting choice, but he has shown potential. As for Sam Hornish Jr. the plan is to put him in a Cup car in 2013 after a full season in Nationwide. If AJ fails then he's an easy pick to go in the 22. If AJ succeeds then Penske could have three good teams.

Vernie (NJ)

Do you think whoever gets the #22 for 2012 is only keeping the seat warm for Jr, Sam Hornish for 2013?

David Newton
  (2:19 PM)

You peeked and read what I just wrote. Yes, I believe Hornish is in line for the 22 if AJ fails.

Joanne (Ft.Myers)

At 37 years of age and only 1 win in the last 6 seasons, do you think the ship has sailed on Jr. ever winning the Sprint Cup?

David Newton
  (2:20 PM)

Not totally. Dale Jarrett didn't win his one and only title until he was in his 40s. It doesn't happen often but you never know when somebody catches lightning in a bottle.

Bev (Pa.)

Merry Christmas David! Do you think 2012 will be the last chance for Truex and if he doesn't step it up he'll be out of cup like Sadler and those guys?

David Newton
  (2:21 PM)

Merry, Merry. I'll say this. I wouldn't want to be any driver in the hotseat with a talent like Kurt Busch floating around. I'd say Truex, after Joey Logano, has the warmest seat.

Tracy (CT)

Better 2012 Bowyer or Truex?

David Newton
  (2:21 PM)

Bowyer.

8Tbone8 (texas)

Not to be too hard on AJ but 5 years, 152 races, 4 T5's, DUI and blowing off the King. Why does he even deserve to still be in NASCAR?

David Newton
  (2:22 PM)

You make very valid points. But he did finish 15th this past season and had 10 top-10s.

Jake (Irving, TX)

Do you see AJ's aggressiveness in the #22 making life very difficult for Brad?

David Newton
  (2:22 PM)

Nope. He knows he's fallen into a great ride and will do everything he can to get along with Brad K.

Brian (NY)

Hi David, Will RPM be a 1 car team in 2012 if Murstein doesn't find sponsorship for the #43?

David Newton
  (2:24 PM)

Richard Petty insists they'll be a two-car team. I can't see the 43 being put on hiatus. I also can't see RPM with two cars if sponsorship doesn't step forward. Think that is why they want Kurt Busch so badly. Besides giving them a top talent he has the past champion's provisional should it be needed after the first five races and he has the name that could draw sponsorship.

Shawn (Gastonia, NC USA)

Ragan or Busch in the 43? Any idea on who the sponsor would be?

David Newton
  (2:26 PM)

Busch is the first choice. Not completely sure Ragan is second. He may be headed to Phoenix Racing where he had a deal before the 22 became open. No idea on sponsorship. Wish somebody would get Krispy Kreme on a car so I'd have their donuts at the track.

BBM (MD)

If you were a Smoke fan, how do you feel about having Addington as a CC for Smoke for this upcoming season?

David Newton
  (2:27 PM)

Smoke should be a breeze after Kurt and Kyle Busch. Then again, Atila the Hun might be a breeze after those two. You know, chemistry is a complicated thing. It'll be interesting to see how that develops.

Turk (Mich.)

Will Kyle have to settle for T5's instead of fighting for wins out of fear that NASCAR will penalize him if he races too hard?

David Newton
  (2:27 PM)

Nope.

BBM (MD)

On a Scale 1-10 with 1 as not happening and 10 as will happen. Ragan to drive for RPM? Kurt will race in Daytona 500? Penske expand to 3-car team in 2013?

David Newton
  (2:28 PM)

6 on Ragan, 10 on Kurt, 9 on Penske.

BBM (MD)

No words on who will share ride with Danica on SHR car for 2012 season?

David Newton
  (2:28 PM)

Nope. All hinges on a sponsor.

Kurt will not race the Daytona 500 (Bill Ontario)

FACTLY FACT

David Newton
  (2:28 PM)

Disagree.

Matthew (Columbia, NJ)

David: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! If RPM signs Kurt Busch would there be an end to the affiliation between Roush Fenway and RPM?

David Newton
  (2:29 PM)

Not at all. Roush Fenway needs the engine and chassis selling business.

BBM (MD)

Sorry to say this that early, but who will win the 2012 Daytona 500?

David Newton
  (2:29 PM)

Brad Keselowski. Heck, I don't know.

Diane (St. Louis)

I am so heartbroken for Kurtina Busch that he doesn't have a ride yet!!! I am going to be bawling all day!!!!

David Newton
  (2:30 PM)

Please send tissues to Diane.

Scott (South Bend, Indiana)

How do you think AJ will do in the 22 next year? I am excited for AJ to run with a Championship contending team. Who will be in the 43?

David Newton
  (2:31 PM)

If AJ doesn't succeed in the 22 he'll have no one to blame but himself. As for the 43, Kurt is the first choice but Ragan and Reutimann in the mix.

ray (alabama)

so, what sponsor do David Ragan bring to RPM to get the 43 ride?

David Newton
  (2:32 PM)

Not a clue.

Jimmy (Candor, Ny)

Why don't nascar reporters like yourself report rumored news before it happens like other sports reporters? Thanks...

David Newton
  (2:33 PM)

Legit reporters don't report rumors. We like to deal in facts. Better to be right than first, but best to be first and right.

Shawn (Gastonia, NC USA)

Will we see a 42 car (or less) field this year?

David Newton
  (2:34 PM)

I thought we would last year and didn't, but the possibility is there.

Andrew (KY)

Newt, how are you feeling about your boy Kurt now with all this news of Best Buy to Roush and Allmendinger to Penske? Not looking so good anymore, it is?

David Newton
  (2:35 PM)

If he lands the 43 somehow it does. Wouldn't call him my boy, by the way. And if you recall I said he might have to wait a year to get a top ride, but he'll get one.

Dennis Duncan Coweta,Ok [via mobile]

Just want to say I love your work. Merry Christmas and God bless you and your family.

David Newton
  (2:35 PM)

Thanks. Notes like that will make it a merrier one.

ray (alabama)

I believe zippy will be a big help to Danica at SHR; what do you think and also when is the Daytona testing? I can't wait!!!

David Newton
  (2:36 PM)

Can't hurt to have a championship crew chief on your box. I like that he is old school like Eury Jr. for Danica's Nationwide ride.

Shane (PA)

With AJ Allmendinger now piloting the #22 Dodge, what are his chances he'll make some noise in 2012?

David Newton
  (2:36 PM)

If he doesn't he may be looking for a job in 2013.

Blake (Atlanta)

I really thought Ragan would end up in the 22 car but Allmendinger was a great choice too. Where do you see Ragan ending up?

David Newton
  (2:37 PM)

Either RPM or Phoenix Racing. James Finch told me he had a deal with Ragan before the 22 became available.

kbnation (Worldwide)

Did Bad Brad's excellent year make it easy to get rid of Kurt?

David Newton
  (2:37 PM)

Probably. Penske could handle having one star, but none would be tough.

Andy (Michigan)

When will we hear the David Ragan to the 43 announcement?

David Newton
  (2:38 PM)

Not a guarantee he'll be in the 43, but he expects some news by the end of the week.

BBM (MD)

Sorry to ask so many Smoke question because I am a huge fan of Smoke. Do you think this year's Daytona 500 could be it for Smoke? He needs it, BAD. Otherwise, he would be the best driver in NASCAR not to win the 500.

David Newton
  (2:38 PM)

Earnhardt had to wait 20 years, so Smoke has time.

Shawn (Gastonia, NC USA)

Who gets a full, legitimate ride first? Ragan, Vickers, Busch or other (Stenhouse, Patrick, etc.)?

David Newton
  (2:39 PM)

Ragan, then Busch. Or maybe the other way around.

Tyler (Seattle)

Hey David, love your work. Who do you see as a sleeper driver next season that can contend for the Chase. Thanks!

David Newton
  (2:41 PM)

Thanks. I'm picking Logano. I like him being with Jason Ratcliff a lot.

Jason (Tennessee)

Do you ever read the bottom of your chats hahaha. People go crazy over this Octo.

David Newton
  (2:41 PM)

I just try to answer as many questions as I can. I can't tell an Octo from a a real person.

KB Nation (Global)

ebay charity auction, Rowdy's signed drivers suit got $4800 and Tony's only $3100. What does that say about drivers value?

David Newton
  (2:42 PM)

That the buyer got a bargain. Tony's uniform is much larger.

Travis (minnesota)

Should Tony have kept Grubb or is Addington better? How will Tony fair this year with Addington?

David Newton
  (2:43 PM)

In my opinion, Tony pulled the plug too early on Grubb. Having said that, Addington's not a bad replacement.

Travis (minnesota)

How much do you think AJ going to Penske helps him?

David Newton
  (2:43 PM)

A ton. He goes to a stronger organization with full sponsorship on the car. Matt Kenseth doesn't even have full sponsorship, which is a crime.

Bart (East Bay)

The Bad Brad/AJ team will be stronger than the Bad Brad/Urt team. Your thoughts.

David Newton
  (2:44 PM)

No. Kurt is a far better driver than AJ.

Jeff (Georgia)

Newt, what's your prediction on the Bama/LSU game and number of wins Kahne gets in 2012? Thanks and Merry Christmas

David Newton
  (2:45 PM)

If I say anybody but Bama wins my Roll Tide wife will make me sleep on the couch. (Don't tell anybody but I believe LSU will win a close one). Kahne will win three races. And Merry to you.

DML (Math Class)

do you think it was a good idea for Penske to sign Allmendinger instead of Ragan?

David Newton
  (2:46 PM)

Penske is a better judge of talent than me, but I felt Ragan was the better overall choice from a drivr and sponsor-savvy standpoint.

Bart (East Bay)

Do you think Penske is in for an expensive year with AJ and Brad sure to be feuding for top dog spot?

David Newton
  (2:46 PM)

C'mon, man.

Travis (minnesota)

How do you think Danica will fair with SH next year?

David Newton
  (2:47 PM)

She'll win all 10 Cup races she enters and the Nationwide title for JR Motorsports. Oh, it's Christmas and not April Fools. She'll struggle in Cup. A top 25 will be a good day.

Verny (NJ)

Now that Best Buy has rejected Kurt, will he go to the minors like his brother does?

David Newton
  (2:48 PM)

There's a chance he could be running some for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

Octo Roscoe (basement)

Is there any chance that KBM will take over Red Bull so they have a cup team too?

David Newton
  (2:48 PM)

Nothing to take over.

Steven (Kingsport)

Didn't Finch say Ragan was his top choice? If so it is getting late out there for Kurt Busch.

David Newton
  (2:49 PM)

Ragan was to the point Finch offered him the ride. Finch did say Kurt wasn't his first choice.

Ann Alingus (Butte)

Now that the premier ride is taken (#22), what will Vickers, Reut, Ragan, Ku. Busch do next season?

David Newton
  (2:50 PM)

Vickers in Nationwide. Reutimann nnot sure, Ragan in 43 or Phoenix Racing, Kurt in 43 or Finch or Kyle Busch Nationwide car.

Hanna (NH)

Hi David, what do you think the team of Danica and Zippy will do? Top 5's or Top 10's?

David Newton
  (2:50 PM)

Top 30s.

TSav329 (CT)

So is Rowdy your official pick to win the title next year? Thanks!

David Newton
  (2:51 PM)

Nope. Jimmmie Johnson will bounce back strong.

Mr Anonymous (USA)

Hey David, why do you answer octo's questions even though you know what to look for?

David Newton
  (2:51 PM)

What do I look for? Are you real or anonymous?

Ann Alingus (Butte)

I only count 31 full time teams that aren't start-and-parkers. Are we really going to have 12 start-and-parkers per week next year? Why not just shorten the field to 32-36 like the old days? Then maybe they can add some of the smaller tracks to the schedule.

David Newton
  (2:52 PM)

Believe it'll be up to 34 or 35 by the start of the season. And 43 is just a number. Nothing in the books says there has to be that many. Just says can't be more.

Ned (SC)

Do you think Penske is determined to make it in NASCAR with a Indy car driver (AJ or JR, Sam Hornish)?

David Newton
  (2:53 PM)

I don't believe that is his mindset, but he really believes in Sam Hornish.

Depressed David Ragan Fan (Perry, GA)

Will my driver EVER catch a break?

David Newton
  (2:53 PM)

He did. Then lost the No. 6.

Joanne (Ft. Meyers)

Has Urt attracted any other sponsors besides a sunglass company and Robbie's second mortgage on his house?

David Newton
  (2:54 PM)

Not yet.

Travis (minnesota)

Will AJ Allmendinger get a win this year? How do you think he will do in his career if he is there in the long run?

David Newton
  (2:55 PM)

If he doesn't win a race there may not be a long run. I'm not sold on AJ enough to predict he'll win, but 10 top 10s this past season certainly put him in a position to win a race. You have to crawl before you run.

Christine (Jasper,In)

Don't you think Reutimann deserves the 43 more than David Ragan(unless Kurt gets it). I like David but he's only won one race, and that was a plate track. I know Reutimann had a bad year this year, but most drivers do once in a while. Your thoughts?

David Newton
  (2:56 PM)

Either would be a good fit for RPM if Kurt isn't the choice. Hard for me to pick one over the other. Ragan's age may work in his favor.

Anthony (PA)

Do you think some of the blame on why Rousch has a lack of sponsorship can be blamed on himself and his "team" orders? I truly believe so 110%. Look @ Stewart, he basically is turning sponsorship away.......He has to put it on Ryan's car because he has no room on his own.

David Newton
  (2:57 PM)

Nothing to do with team orders. But when you lose sponsors you do have to look in the mirror for other reasons.

Ann Alingus (Butte)

NW is an even bigger mess - 37 full time teams - including start-and-parkers and sponsor-less teams like RFR #16 which may or may not be full time. We could have up to 15 start-and-park entries per week and only 10-15 teams that can actually compete. Why is NASCAR ignoring this?

David Newton
  (2:59 PM)

They're not ignoring this. There's just not much the governing body can do to help. That's why they can't do anything about Cup drivers in the series because selling them to sponsors is theo only way some cars get on the track. You're right, though, times are hard. But the sport has gone through hard times before.

Bev (PA)

What Jr. stat is more telling: 0 wins for 129 races or 1 win for last 208 races?

David Newton
  (3:00 PM)

Leading only 52 laps in 2011 and making the Chase. You can do a lot with stats. Just ask Tim Tebow. Let me ask this. What is the difference between a Detroit fan pulling for the Lions the past 20 years and a Dale Jr. fan pulling for him? Fans have the right to pull for whoever they want.

Robert (Hammond LA)

Do you think Jeff Gordon has another championship run in him?

David Newton
  (3:01 PM)

I really do.

Jake (Irving, TX)

Merry Xmas Newt! Do you think Dalee Jr. best chance to win a race this year might be Mich. again?

David Newton
  (3:01 PM)

Merry, and no. I like him to win one of the first 10.

Steven (Kingsport)

What is the backup plan for Tony when Danica doesn't qualify for the 500 (and honestly the chances are slim she qualifies under the modified Daytona format).

David Newton
  (3:02 PM)

Don't be surprised if Tony doesn't buy a number ot guarantee a spot. There are a few available.

David Newton
  (3:02 PM)

That's it for me, folks. I hope you all get what you want for Christmas. Have a Merry, Merry one. And God Bless.