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February 1, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Ed Hinton

Ed Hinton
  (2:01 PM)

Hi, all. Here we go . . .

Gene (Ohio)

If SHR didn't buy Baldwin's owners pts. do you think there is a good chance that Danica would fail to qualify for the 500?

Ed Hinton
  (2:02 PM)

SHR must have thought so. And when you think about it, she's not going to lock in a front row spot in time trials, and the Thursday qualifiers are a precarious ritual indeed.

Quentin (Iowa)

Ed I still think you are a Junior hater for saying he is barely near the top 10 when it comes to restrictor plate drivers, but I really hope Dale Jr. can pull of at a single win this season and have that strong breakout season we all anticipated since his arrival to Hendrick Motorsports. The organization as a whole seems really strong and prepared for this 2012 season!

Ed Hinton
  (2:04 PM)

What? I have NEVER said he's barely top 10 in plate. Never, ever. There was a time he was the best in plate racing.

Amada Huggnkiss (where ever)

make or break year for AJ?

Ed Hinton
  (2:04 PM)

No, he'll get more time than that from Penske.

Miles (Chemical Plant Zone)

Do you think Kurt Busch survives the year without a meltdown of some sort?

Ed Hinton
  (2:04 PM)

No.

Bart (East Bay)

Do you think Rowdy getting parked will help him the same way it did Harvick when NASCAR parked Harvick at Martinsville?

Ed Hinton
  (2:05 PM)

No.

Ed Hinton
  (2:05 PM)

No.

Ed Hinton
  (2:05 PM)

No.

Ed Hinton
  (2:05 PM)

No.

Ed Hinton
  (2:06 PM)

I think that behind the scenes, Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage may have a lot of sway as to whether any of the series you mention runs the upstart circuit.

Ed Hinton
  (2:07 PM)

oops, i may have posted answer before question. here's the question again.

Jake (Irving, TX)

Hi Ed, do you think Nationwide/Grand Am has a better chance to run at the COTA track or Indy car?

Ed Hinton
  (2:07 PM)

Little rusty on this first chat outing of the season.

Tyler (Greenfield, NY)

Do you think James Finch will be taking his buddies Dale Jr and Kurt Busch down to Panama City to enjoy some adult beverages on the off weekends?

Ed Hinton
  (2:08 PM)

He'd better. Dale Jr. might be the best thing for getting Finch and Kurt to understand each other, and to get Kurt to loosen up.

Ed Hinton
  (2:08 PM)

He'd better. Dale Jr. might be the best thing for getting Finch and Kurt to understand each other, and to get Kurt to loosen up.

Ed Hinton
  (2:08 PM)

He'd better. Dale Jr. might be the best thing for getting Finch and Kurt to understand each other, and to get Kurt to loosen up.

Ryan (real one) (Ventura, Ca.)

Welcome back Mr. Hinton! by bringing in pros like Rick Ren and Mike Beam to run KBM, do you think Rowdy is building KBM to be the next HMS, RCR or DEI? Thank you!

Ed Hinton
  (2:10 PM)

Maybe RCR is the proper analogy/goal. Kyle will build slowly, steadily. He has a good start.

Hendrick Motorsports Fan (NY)

Hi Ed, with Kurt Busch and Kahne getting HMS race cars do you expect big things from these new HMS drivers?

Ed Hinton
  (2:11 PM)

Kahne more than Kurt. But James Finch's bootstraps bunch is capable of winning -- see Brad K's win at Talladega a couple of years ago.

Submarine Mike (Jacksonville Fl)

Ed what do you think NASCAR will do about owner points buying/merging since it seems the fans HATE it

Ed Hinton
  (2:12 PM)

Was having laptop issues . . . wasn't showing my answers being posted.

Bill Scott (Lake Summerset, Illinois)

Hello Ed, Will Kenseth make a serious run at the cup this year? Thanks, Bill

Ed Hinton
  (2:12 PM)

He always makes a run at the Cup. Serious? that's another question.

Mike Rotch (Tampa Fl)

what do you think of the one they call octo? How bad is his life if all he does is impressionate people?

Ed Hinton
  (2:13 PM)

guess you could say he at least keeps his mind occupied.

Harvick about Kyle (The Hauler)

Ita??s going to go just like it did last year. Youa??re going to go through the first part of the year and everybody is going to make him out to be a saint. Wea??re going to get halfway and hea??s going to start not winning as much as he did at the beginning of the year and hea??s going to get frustrated and throw a temper tantrum and make an ass out of himself. Ita??s happened for however many years hea??s raced.

Ed Hinton
  (2:14 PM)

The real Harvick has clearer, better rants than that.

Ed Hinton
  (2:14 PM)

The real Harvick has clearer, better rants than that.

Mario (1-1)

It looks like the manufacturers are holding a double secret test of the 2013 cars today. What can be expected from the new models, looks, performance, etc?

Ed Hinton
  (2:15 PM)

My understanding is the tests are private. No media.

Mike Helton's Mustache (Everywhere)

Do you think Edwards will have as strong of a season this year?

Ed Hinton
  (2:15 PM)

Yes. And he'll be more aggressive this year. Think he's learned his lesson about the old consistency path.

Wes (Las Vegas)

Lots of angst over Danica getting a guaranteed spot in this year's Daytona 500, but the Wood Brothers did the same for Trevor Bayne last year using the 19's 2010 points and I doubt they (the Woods and Trevor) took as much abuse from media/fans the way Danica has. Will the Nascar media/fan base ever give her a fair shake or will they always dismiss her?

Ed Hinton
  (2:16 PM)

What NASCAR fans hate most is change. What they love most is to hate and grumble. What's really going to tick them off is when she wins a race.

Daniel (ND)

If kyles win at the local track, does it counts toward his win total?

Ed Hinton
  (2:18 PM)

Depends on whether the local track has NASCAR sanction or not. If it does, NASCAR PR will probably put out a release about it.

Matt Bowman (Raleigh, NC)

Why did JGR let Kyle Busch do his own Nationwide deal? It seems like they did not want him to run any Nationwide events. Maybe they should have told him in a stronger tone.

Ed Hinton
  (2:20 PM)

Going back to the NFL, Joe Gibbs has always let his players have some freedom even when they didn't like what they were doing. Besides, if Rowdy or Kurt get into trouble in the Monster cars, then Gibbs won't have to answer directly to his Nationwide sponsors about it.

Ed Hinton
  (2:21 PM)

Sorry, folks, but I'm getting very slow reaction in the system on my answers.

Bruce (Minnesota )

Does Hendrick put all four cars in the Chase this year?

Ed Hinton
  (2:22 PM)

He said he'll be disappointed if he doesn't. That constitutes marching orders. Three of them are locks -- Gordon, Johnson and Kahne. The 88 team is getting a nudge.

Matt (Charlotte)

Hey Ed, got a strictly parts question, what are the windshields on a NASCAR car made of?

Ed Hinton
  (2:23 PM)

I think it's Lexan or maybe a newer version of that. You don't see broken windshields anymore.

Baseballman (Fl)

Why does DW call the driver of the #88 Junebug?

Ed Hinton
  (2:23 PM)

Because DW likes to make up his own language as he goes along. He's kind of like an uncle to Junior anyway, so that may be his personal nickname for him.

Jeff (Georgia)

Ed, what do you think about Awesome Bill in the Walmart car? Is this a prelude to them sponsoring possibly a Hendrick car in the future maybe even Chase Elliott? Thanks

Ed Hinton
  (2:25 PM)

Walmart has been VERY hard to read in several years of flirtation with NASCAR. I think they're really interested in merchandising NASCAR gear, and can't detect a lot beyond that.

Justin (Northern Virginia)

Hey Ed, it's been along time since I was able to partake in one of your chats. Since you have been around the sport for such a long time has there ever been any other driver more polarizing than either Kurt or Kyle?

Ed Hinton
  (2:26 PM)

Oh, goodness, yes. See, "Waltrip, Darrell, 1975 to 1980," and "Earnhardt, Dale, 1979-1990."

Justin (Northern Virginia)

Which do you think gave Gibbs a bigger headache, Riggins and Manley or Stewart and Busch?

Ed Hinton
  (2:27 PM)

Now that's a tough call. But in the NFL he didn't have to answer to sponsors . . .just the Supreme Court, etc.

Aron (Irving, Tx)

Odds on Logono keeping his ride with JGR after this season?

Ed Hinton
  (2:28 PM)

Slim.

Hank Hill (Strickland Propane)

Your take on the new Fusion?

Ed Hinton
  (2:28 PM)

Looks great. Should be cure for the COT blues. We'll see.

Ron (Smithville)

Hello Mr. Hinton, with Danica racing for Baldwin racing does that mean HMS now has 3 satelite teams in Phoenix for Kurt, SHR for Tony-Ryan and Baldwin for Danica?

Ed Hinton
  (2:30 PM)

Sure looks that way, huh? I like the Hendrick people, but maybe when they control half the field NASCAR will put a lid on this.

Phoenix (AZ)

Hi Ed, when Junebug quit DEI he thought the wins would come easy in HMS equipment so do you think Kahne might find out that it's not so easy too?

Ed Hinton
  (2:31 PM)

I think Kahne already knows wins don't come easy. I don't think he has unrealistic expectations at Hendrick. He will win, but not a lot at first.

Blake Belmont (TX)

What are the odds of Burton getting fired at the end of the season to make a spot for Austin Dillon in the #31?

Ed Hinton
  (2:33 PM)

Won't happen that way. When Austin is ready, Pop Pop will bring back a fourth team with full financing.

Hank Hill (Strickland Propane)

Any picks for next year's HOF class?

Ed Hinton
  (2:34 PM)

Yeah, about 20 deserving people, too numerous to elaborate on here. I stick by my opinion that NASCAR should have inducted 10 in each of the first five years.

Bob (Iowa)

Any chance Iowa gets a Cup race in the next 5 years?

Ed Hinton
  (2:35 PM)

Sadly, I doubt it . . .although with the passing of Doc Mattioli, NASCAR's loyalty to Pocono might not be so staunch.

Chris (Crestview, FL)

I think the media has alot of unrealistic expectations for Kahne this year....just an observation

Ed Hinton
  (2:36 PM)

Whether you've noticed or not, Kahne's big fan following has high expectations too.

aroznowski (USA)

Who are your picks to win the title in the NNS and NCWTS this season?

Ed Hinton
  (2:37 PM)

waaaaay too early. But you can count on Ty Dillon to continue his brother's strength in Trucks.

Ed Hinton
  (2:37 PM)

sorry, folks. the system continues to be very slow in posting my answers.

Steven (Kingsport)

Raymond Parks not being in is nearly a crime.

Ed Hinton
  (2:37 PM)

Darn right!

dave (charlotte nc)

any chance Bristol will look at the new track changes (banking) and go back to old style? the racing has almost gotten boring and it show in the number of seats sold!

Ed Hinton
  (2:38 PM)

With Bruton Smith's spending habits anything is possible. But I'm hearing his bankers have put a bridle on.

aroznowski (USA)

Do you expect Joe Gibbs Racing to focus more attention on Brian Scott and the #11 car since Kyle Busch won't be driving for JGR in the NNS?

Ed Hinton
  (2:38 PM)

That would seem so.

KB Nation (Global)

With The Busch Brothers running all the Nationwide races in '12 does Danica have any chance of winning a race?

Ed Hinton
  (2:40 PM)

Oh, sure. She also has a chance of getting taken out by one of the Busch brothers. Now wouldn't that stir the pot? And she'd retaliate too.

Mike (Nijmegen, Netherlands)

I am confused...Why didn't Smoke just give Danica his owner points instead of this complicated deal?

Ed Hinton
  (2:41 PM)

Yeah, and maybe he should have given her the reigning champion's spot next to the NASCAR hauler in the garage while he was at it.

Vinnie (ATL)

Ed, if the Daytona 500 is our "superbowl" like DW calls it, then isn't SHR buying points for Danica the same as a mediocre player buying his way onto the NY Giants ?

Ed Hinton
  (2:43 PM)

No, no, no . . . "Super Bowl" is just the analogy for the big event. Nothing else applies from NFL to NASCAR.

Joanne (Ft. Myers)

Hi Ed, we were devastated to hear of another fire at Joe Gibbs Racing. Could this have an adverse impact on JGR's season? Thank you.

Ed Hinton
  (2:44 PM)

I hear nothing serious. Fires at shops are not uncommon. Most happen in the dyno rooms.

The Real Baseballman (MD)

Congrats to Kevin and Delana Harvick. It is a boy or a girl? If it is a boy, I bet they put Kyle on the bottom of the names list.

Ed Hinton
  (2:44 PM)

No, the bottom is reserved for Kurt.

The Real Baseballman (MD)

Any words on how AJ Foyt is doing?

Ed Hinton
  (2:46 PM)

Nothing recent that I've seen. But he's the toughest old s.o.b. i've ever known, so he should be all right.

Rita Jean (NC)

Hi Ed, is this Danica-Baldwin-SHR points farse the worst example of buying into a race you have ever seen?

Ed Hinton
  (2:46 PM)

No, not at all. It's the way NASCAR works sometimes.

Todd (Ga.)

Do you expect more risk taking this year with sponsorships tight and so many drivers needing to prove themselves?

Ed Hinton
  (2:47 PM)

No, if anything, less money means less risk taking.

dave (charlotte nc)

ED....gotta say your totally wrong about risk taking! Wins will mean everything, guys will take a chance to get in victory lane! C mon ED, get with the program!

Ed Hinton
  (2:50 PM)

just how long have you been around NASCAR?

jackie (spring lake nc)

Any opinion on who the first driver to get fired will be

Ed Hinton
  (2:50 PM)

Well, circumstances would indicate Kurt, but who knows?

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

With Danica locked into the 500 on owners pts. do you think she should sit out the duel so she doesn't look bad making mistakes?

Ed Hinton
  (2:51 PM)

No, I think the qualifier is important for her to run, for the experience. I do, however, agree with their conservative plan of locking her into the race even if she wrecks out of the qualifier.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

I Do Not Understand this How Can Danica Patrick's #10 Sprint Cup Series Car be the #36 Team for TBR I thought the #10 Car is a SHR Team?

Ed Hinton
  (2:53 PM)

Maybe you should ask NASCAR's lawyers. All 10,000 of them.

Tyler (Greenfield,NY)

Why do you think these sons of Champs, Steve Wallace, Kyle Petty and Dale Earnhardt Jr, have never performed up to the expectation?

Ed Hinton
  (2:54 PM)

The only thing those have in common is that they didn't have to work like crazy to get their rides. Davey Allison was successful because Bobby made him work for it from Day One.

Chris (Crestview, FL)

Its pretty obvious that there are alot of sexist NASCAR fans. There has never been so much "outrage" over someone using someone elses owners points to get into the 500 in the history of NASCAR, but because its a talented woman, somehow its wrong all the sudden...

Ed Hinton
  (2:55 PM)

Can't argue with you there, Chris.

Aron (Irving, Tx)

Did you come across any other good vibes from drivers/teams this offseason? In agreement that Penske is prime for a strong season.

Ed Hinton
  (2:56 PM)

I like Hamlin and Grubb as a pair.

Hank Hill (Strickland Propane)

Which team do you think has had the best off season?

Ed Hinton
  (2:58 PM)

JGR, Hendrick and Penske all will tell you they have. Rick's overt confidence is an indicator they really have. Plus, their engineers have the best handle of fuel injection.

jackie (spring lake nc)

Chances that Penske drops of like Gannasi did last year

Ed Hinton
  (2:59 PM)

No way.

Buzzmaster
  (3:41 PM)

Our server's kicked Ed out before he could say goodbye, but he's done for this week!