Good afternoon, Team. Thanks for hangin' out. Fired up...
Does Kurt make it through the year without blowing up?
He told me in a very candid sit-down interview last week (that will air very soon) that he's aware he MUST change, and that his work with a sports psychologist has resulted in a concerted effort to take a step back, take a deep breath and be more aware of his actions. I asked him why this was any different than any other time -- watch the feature to find out his anwer ;)
How focused is Dale Jr?
Very focused. And per my interviews for the story that posted today on espn.com, his confidence is higher than it's been in years. And years. And years. He is a different driver than he was one year ago. He is not more talented. He did not improve his car control. He DID improve his feedback. And patience. But above all else, he is confident. That confidence separates the great ones from everyone else. I expect a big year from the 88.
How will Cole Whitt do this year?
I expect he'll do well. He's a very talented kid and this is a great opportunity for him. It will be fun to watch he and Danica learn together.
Good to see you doing a chat Marty, what is your favorite Daytona 500 memory?
Good to be here, brother. That is a very tough question. I, like most of you, love the Daytona 500. It is such an invigorating day start-to-finish, based largely on the knowledge of the prize at the end -- that being immortality. I guess my favorite memory in-person is 2004 when Tony Stewart pushed Junior to victory. That was a theraputic win for millions of fans. It was huge.
Any news on what Vickers will be doing in 2012?
Nope. But Sheriff BLV says he has some stuff in the hopper he's been working on. There are no rides right now, but maybe he can piece something together with investors from the old Red Bull stuff. We'll see.
I watched NASCAR Race Hub last night. I saw that Smoke would love to have Kyle Busch on his team. is there any possibility Kyle could drive for SHR in the future as soon as his contract with JGR expires?
There is a chance for anything and everything. Nothing surprises me about this industry anymore.
Mart Dog!! You are my favorite reporter! Keep on keeping on!! Your fan club in North Dakota loves you!
And I love you, as well. Go Jackrabbits! Or is it South Dakota State that's the Jackrabbits? I might need to look that one up.
If you were a Smoke fan, how would you feel about this upcoming season with a new CC, Addington?
I'd feel very good about it. Addington is a very smart, selfless man. Tony believes in him. Their communication will develop quickly. Plus, Addington and Greg Zipadelli are tight from their days at Joe Gibbs Racing. I asked Addington last week if he had any concern with Zippy looking over his shoulder. He said quite the contrary, that he'll be leaning on Zippy for guidance as to how to approach certain situations with Smoke. I expect them to perform at a very high level. But it's impossible to top what the 14 did at the end of 2011. That was superhuman. In fact, one champion crew chief told me the greatest drivers have the ability to reach a higher level when they want to. It's very hard, so they don't often do it. But Smoke took his game to another level, a level only the greatest drivers can reach. So impressive. In my opinion Miami was the greatest driving performance ever, by anybody.
Hail the Chief !!
That's right brother. We're in Savannah, GA tonight. Can't wait for the show.
People write some hilarious questions in this thread -- questions that aren't printable.
Hi Marty, With all the upheaval in teams during the off-season, do you think HMS is one step ahead of the other teams because he made his changes over a year ago? Should we count on seeing all four of Hendrick's cars in the Chase and one taking the Sprint Cup?
HAIL THE CHIEF !!
I do. Matt Kenseth is my pick to win the championship in 2012. But Rick Hendrick was more outwardly confident than I've ever seen him. Mr. Hendrick is typically quite reserved in his assesment of his teams. But he said he expects four teams in the Chase and for one of those teams to win the championship. He said anything else would be a disappointment. Big time words.
hey Marty, big fan. How do u think Aric #43 and AJ #22 will do this season, also do u think the #1 and the #42 will be in chase contention like they were a few years ago especially with all the new major personal changes? Thanks for your time
It'll be a learning year for Almriola in the 43. Aric is a good driver, and that car was fast in 2011 with AJ in the seat. The question is does that team have the resources at this point to be consistently great? As for AJ, his team most certainly has those resources. This is his best chance ever to excel. He's a good driver, and to me his success hinges on how his relationship with Brad Keselowski develops. BK is a championship contender. If they work well together, it'll be great. Now, about the Ganassi teams: They were very disappointing in 2011. Chip Ganassi said himself there's no reason to run that badly given their pedigree and resources. I think they'll rebound well this year.
What are your thoughts on the Bush brothers in the NW series and what's your over/ under. I think its like 17
I think Kyle and Kurt Busch will be scary good in NNS this year. They'll win a ton of races. 17 is a pretty rowdy prediction. I'll say more like 12.
What are the chances that Kyle Busch starts his own Cup team in the near future?
There's always a chance. Again, nothing surprises me -- especially if Monster Energy stays behind him. It would be quite an undertaking, but if the sponsors are there he may go for it.
Will there be more pack racing in Daytona with the new rules change or just limited laps two car tandems?
That's NASCAR's hope, Mike. It is readily obvious that there is pressure from the top of the sport to do whatever it takes to break up the tandem draft. But in my opinion the tandem draft will still win the Daytona 500. It's the fastest way around the racetrack, so as the laps wind down, and the motor's life isn't as important, I expect cars to hook up and go.
Hey Hi. Where do you think Kurt Busch will be in 2013 and do u think he'll be in the chase this year. thanks
He'll have his pick of a few rides, I'm sure, John. I'd say he'll give Gibbs a hard look, but at this point it's impossible to speculate or guess. Aside from his want "to have fun again," I think one main reason he positioned himself at Phoenix this season was so he could be a marquee free agent this summer. And no, I don't think he'll qualify for the Chase.
I'm a Jr. fan but even I can't imagine Jr. ever racing with the aggressiveness and passion of Rowdy, Kurt, Johnson, Denny or those guys. Can you see Jr. fighting for the championship the way Stewert and Edwards did?
Aggressiveness and passion are entirely different things. He is not an aggressive driver. He doesn't enjoy laying the fender to people. It's just not his style. But he's plenty passionate. Just listen to the radio.
Instead of the Jr.-Stevie pairing "saving the respectability" of his career, isn't it more likely that Jr's error in quitting DEI to move to HMS will be the definition of his career?
Why was that an error, Ron? That statement makes absolutely no sense to me.
Mary, does Kahne do as well as the media thinks he will. Or does he take time to adjust? It seems the media has him winning 10 races and the championship already
That's a bit overboard, Bob. Kasey will be very fast. This will be the first time since 2006 he has stability in the organization for which he drives. I have high expectations for him. I expect him to contend for a championship deep into the season, at the very least.
With Danica announcing her 9th sprint cup race for her part time sprint cup schedule. What do you think will be her 10th sprint cup race for her part time Sprint Cup schedule?
I'd bet on Indy.
Marty, any chance you can hook me up with some Eric Church tickets Saturday night in Norfolk? Pit tix are sold out! In NASCAR news, what happens if Danica Patrick or Elliott Sadler (or some other part-timer) wins the Daytona 500? Will Mike Helton's head explode and lead to yet ANOTHER rule change?
No can do on the tickets, homeboy. And both of those drivers could very possibly win the D500.
Okay, guys. Thanks much for the time. I gotta blast! We'll do it again soon. I appreciate your time and awesome questions.