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March 8, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Ed Hinton

Ed Hinton
  (2:05 PM)

Hi, all. Let's go.

Mike (MO)

I read on an earlier chat that the 48 still has to keep his original points penalty while under appeal, while Malec and Knaus can still work in the garage. If Malec and Knaus can work in the garage while under appeal, why doesn't Johnson get pre-penalty points?

Ed Hinton
  (2:06 PM)

The points penalty doesn't matter substantively right now. They can always give it back if the appeal is upheld. Meanwhile, Malec and Knaus are effectively "out on bail" pending the hearing, because their absence could have a serious effect on the team that could not be made up.

Baseballwoman (Florida)

Mr. Hinton, do you think Jr. needs family around him and the Mr. H needs to make Pops crew chief on the #88 to give Jr family and an adult father figure?

Ed Hinton
  (2:08 PM)

I think Hendrick himself IS the father figure. I think Pops is always good for Junior, but I don't see how he'd quite fit in with the Letarte regime right now.

Jake (Irving, TX)

Hey Ed, the founders of the Austin F1 project are now filing lawsuits against each other and I wondered if you are hearing if there will be a USGP at Austin in 8 months?

Ed Hinton
  (2:09 PM)

No, I don't think there'll be an Austin GP race in eight months. But I haven't thought there would be since way back when they announced the event. The way it's going with the organizers and F1 is just about the way I figured.

Nick Rolando (Orlando)

Ed, you see RPM re-signing with Ford and how you soon you see a decision? Just don't see why they would leave Ford with how much better they are running and more help/information on the way in Penske in 2013.

Ed Hinton
  (2:10 PM)

I see RPM re-upping with Ford, but don't know when the decision will come. Best I recall, the King wasn't too happy with treatment by Dodge the last time around . . . but he might play the Dodge card as leverage to get a better deal from Ford.

Kevin (Nevada)

Hi Ed,You mentioned a lot of superstitions that have been forgotten over the years in your article. Are there any superstitions that remain today, or new ones that have formed over the years?

Ed Hinton
  (2:11 PM)

No real superstitions, they're just nit-picky. For example, they don't like us to enter their garage stalls -- think it's distracting. I used to sit on the work benches in the stalls with guys like Earnhardt and on back. Today's guys are more like golfers. Jiggle some change in your pocket and you distract them.

Chris (Crestview,FL)

Among you and your media friends, is the general consensus that Dale Jr's failure to win a race in the last 4 years at HMS due to the COT, psychological, team, all of the above or other factors?

Ed Hinton
  (2:12 PM)

If there is consensus among us, it' the psychological part. We all differ on how big a part that is. I think it's quite big; others don't.

Knobstock (Wa.)

As a Rowdy Busch fan, I found Rowdy's post Phoenix NW race comments fascinating, especially where he referenced Dale Sr. struggles in the early days of DEI and wondered if you would share your thoughts?

Ed Hinton
  (2:14 PM)

Didn't see Kyle's comments, but I would hardly call Dale Sr.'s building of DEI a struggle. He made sure it was well financed from the start, and although they had growing pains on the Cup side, they were strong right out of the box in Nationwide (nee Busch).

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Do you think the way Danica was dropping F bombs on Whitt for dumping her at Daytona shows the toughness we can expect from her if the cup guys pull that stuff too?

Ed Hinton
  (2:15 PM)

I've always said that as soon as she goes Cup full-time, if she's running decently, she'll have 42 feuds going by halfway in the season. If they hit her, she'll hit back. Ask Sam Hornish Jr. When they were kids he knocked her off the track early in a go-kart race, and she chased him the rest of the way, caught him, and ran right over him on the final lap. She believes in payback, all right.

Ryan (real one) (Ventura, Ca.)

Hi Ed, I always like your chats because of your historic perspective so do you think Stewart firing Grubb was a historic blunder and Knaus' messing with the body, especially at Daytona, will prove the undoing of the so-called #48 dynasty?

Ed Hinton
  (2:17 PM)

I've said openly that it's a blunder for now, in that Smoke broke up the chemistry that was working last fall. Whether it's "historic" is doubtful, in that I think he and Addington will click.

Gene (Southern Ohio)

Hey Ed, do you expect this #48 appealing the appeal is likely to turn out badly for HMS sort of like the Bowyer deal did for RCR and could it derail the entire season?

Ed Hinton
  (2:17 PM)

Nah, the harder you hit that 48 team the madder they get and the better they run.

PDub (Vancouver, WA)

Ed it seems like Greg Biffle always runs strong early and in the middle of races but can't get over the hump and win a race. Why do you think that is and what do you think he and the 16 team can do to win a race here or there?

Ed Hinton
  (2:18 PM)

Now that's a good -- as in tough -- question. Years ago it was poor decisions late on tires, setups, etc. Wish I knew now. And you can bet the Biff wishes he knew.

Sarge (Statesboro)

Hi Ed, do you think Newman is making a mistake threatening Carl Edwards especially with the way Carl showed Brad K. what happens if you mess with him?

Ed Hinton
  (2:19 PM)

Most of the time we see those heat-of-the-moment words fade away without consequences.

8Tbone8 (Texas)

Hi Ed, always like your chats the best. Do you think Kurt had some inside info about Penske's pending switch to Ford and he didn't want to waste a few seasons on a lame duck Penske team?

Ed Hinton
  (2:20 PM)

He might have had some idea negotiations were going on, but I don't think that affected his situation much. I the "mutual" parting was weighted much more heavily on the Penske side than the Kurt sid.

Casey (Miami)

Do you think Rowdy will miss the Chase this season and get fired by Goe Jibbs Racing after homestead?

Ed Hinton
  (2:21 PM)

No, and no.

Bubba (TN)

Hi Ed, big fan and hope you do the chats every week. Even though Childress is considered elite won't they always be 2nd stringers on the Chevy depth chart to HMS?

Ed Hinton
  (2:23 PM)

Thanks, Bubba. Some disagree with you on the chats. But you're probably right about Childress vs. HMS, not the least of the reasons being all those Chevy retail stores Rick owns. I'm not sure they're totally 1-2; maybe it's more like 1 and 1a.

Rowdy Smoke fan (I AM REAL, NOT FAKE!)

Fact or Fiction: Smoke will make the Chase this season, Ryan Newman will be in SHR car in 2013, and 2013 cars will make the racing better.

Ed Hinton
  (2:24 PM)

Fact, fact, and remains to be seen, although I think in the eyes of the beholders, the fans, the 2013s will be more palatable than the straight-up COT.

Tyler (Greenfield,NY)

Hey Ed, do you think Robby Gordon Motorsports will be the flagship Dodge team in 2013 benefiting from the majority of Dodge financial support?

Ed Hinton
  (2:25 PM)

They may very well be, in that they might be the only ones willing to stick with Dodge. Be interesting to see how Robby fares as a bossman if he's got major support.

Ron (Smithville)

WIth the Penske-Ford deal relegating that team to "lame duck" status and the results sure to decline, isn't Kurt Busch's decision to leave that team looking very clever?

Ed Hinton
  (2:26 PM)

Again, I don't think the manufacturer deal had nearly as much to do with their parting as the TV deal at homestead. Penske just doesn't like that kind of embarrassment.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What Races do you think will Danica Patrick will win at in NASCAR in 2012?

Ed Hinton
  (2:27 PM)

I'm kind of thinking Indy, in the first Nationwide race ever at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Maybe it's because young Jeff Gordon won the first ever Cup race there.

KB Nation (Global)

Do you expect to see Kurt Busch leading laps and scoring top 15's all season like he did at Phoenix?

Ed Hinton
  (2:27 PM)

Most of the time. Maybe even a win here and there.

Scott (Charlotte)

Do you see any ill effect with Danica going back to Vegas after the death of Dan Weldon

Ed Hinton
  (2:28 PM)

No, because Wheldon's death came in -- and due to -- an entirely different kind of car, and she knows that. It might be emotional for her, but not fearful.

Jen (Miami)

Kurt was fired! Why can't people get that. He didn't know anything about Ford because if he did, he would have stayed for the FR9

Ed Hinton
  (2:29 PM)

Jen is pretty close to my thinking on that.

Eric (Ohio)

Where does the number 24 rank in all time wins? Will Gordon reach 100 wins before he retires?

Ed Hinton
  (2:30 PM)

I'd need to double check, but I saw one list where Gordon is the only Cup winner in 24.

Marc (Malden, MA)

How different are the 2013 cars? Are they so different that it's almost like Nascar saying the move to the COT was a mistake?

Ed Hinton
  (2:31 PM)

I think it's mainly cosmetic, and it is something of a concession by NASCAR to public opinion -- and again, that concession is largely cosmetic, psychological.

Patty (Florida)

It's pretty clear there was nothing mutual about the Penske and Kurt deal. Why are people in denial about that?

Ed Hinton
  (2:31 PM)

Seems the ladies here today are much more realistic about that deal than the guys are.

Jimbo F (Tallahassee)

Where in the world is Mike Ford? Is he blacklisted from NASCAR or something? How do you think he felt watching Hamlin win at Phoenix?

Ed Hinton
  (2:33 PM)

It's strange to everyone, including Denny, that Ford hasn't resurfaced yet. But Ford, watching Phoenix, probably figured he could have gotten the same result.

Robby (Virginia)

Will Kurt Busch win a race this year in the 51 and if so which races are his best chances?

Ed Hinton
  (2:34 PM)

I think he'll win one, and I'd say Talladega, because he seems to like the place and because of Finch's hitory of winning there with Keselowski.

Justin (West Hartford, CT)

Ed - need some serious help! Who would keep for the rest of the year on your fantasy team, 20 or 22???

Ed Hinton
  (2:34 PM)

That's a toughie. 20 looks better right now, but over the long haul I'd take 22.

Casey (Miami)

We think Dale Jr will break the slump at beautiful Martinsville and he will win 2-3 races this season. What do you think?

Ed Hinton
  (2:35 PM)

I think Hamlin, Johnson, Gordon and other strong runners there will have a lot to say about that.

Bill Scott (Lake Summerset, Illinois)

Hell-o Ed, Which team(s) will switch to Dodge in 2013? Thanks, Bill

Ed Hinton
  (2:36 PM)

Man, I just can't see any. Chevy, Toyota and especially Ford right now are just too entrenched. Dodge may be lucky to keep Robby, but that's about it.

Chris (NY)

Who wins a title first? Courtney Force or Dale Jr.?

Ed Hinton
  (2:37 PM)

Courtney, because she doesn't carry the same kind of baggage.

Jimbo F (Tallahassee, FL)

Whats your opinion about how Danica talked down to Cole Whitt like he was a 3 year old after Daytona? Should she have handled it a little better being that he is a teammate? Is it good for chemistry at JRM for her to act like a diva?

Ed Hinton
  (2:38 PM)

That's just her nature. Doubt it's going to change.

Hector (Miami)

Why would Toni Stewert talk about running the Grand Am Indy race instead of Nationwide?

Ed Hinton
  (2:39 PM)

Well, he likes sports cars and road racing as a nice diversion. I wouldn't count out NW for him there, though.

Rob (Colorado Springs)

Do you see Fiat taking Dodge out of all American motor sports?

Ed Hinton
  (2:41 PM)

When Daimler Benz owned Chrysler, they pretty much left the decisions -- and the dollars -- up to Dodge. I think Fiat might operate that way too.

Andrew (NJ)

Any chance of MWR switching to Dodge?

Ed Hinton
  (2:42 PM)

Can't see it. Toyota has given too much faith and support to MWR. I can see him going Dodge ONLY if Toyota decides to leave him.

Jimbo F (Tallahassee, FL)

What are the odds that Cole Whitt finishes ahead of Danica in the NNS points at the end of the season?

Ed Hinton
  (2:42 PM)

Pretty good, actually. Whitt is a heckuva talent. And, as I've been saying, Danica needs to get more aggressive and run up near the front.

Bill Scott (Lake Summerset, Illinois)

Ed, Wouldn't you think Dodge may throw some money around? How about Ganassi?

Ed Hinton
  (2:44 PM)

I wonder if Dodge HAS any more money to throw around. Ganassi likes those ECR Chevy engines, but might be a candidate if his team continues to stumble and Dodge can find some money.

Les M (Baton Rouge, LA)

Two races in and Kahnes debut with HMS has been a dud, does this prove the curse of the 25 car is real? Vickers, Junior and Mark Martin have all felt its wrath...

Ed Hinton
  (2:45 PM)

It's been awful, all right, but let's give him until Charlotte in May before we start invoking the 25 stuff.

Chris (Little Rock)

I saw on espn classic a race in the 80's where the wood bro's raced the number 7. I thought they always raced the 21?

Ed Hinton
  (2:46 PM)

They raced the 7 with Kyle Petty because the sponsorship was from 7-Eleven convenience stores.

Carl (PA)

With the Pres. of Chrysler talking about other racing series, what are the chances that Dodge pulls the plug on NASCAR?

Ed Hinton
  (2:47 PM)

Pretty good, I'd say. Why go begging to lesser teams? Which is what they'd likely have to do.

Scott (Charlotte)

Would you ever believe that a crew chief in NASCAR would say they had a problem with a "chip"

Ed Hinton
  (2:48 PM)

For a lot of years I wouldn't have believed it. But I'm glad we're hearing it now. Bout time NASCAR started catching up to manufacturers' street cars.

Ed Hinton
  (2:49 PM)

Last reports I saw say they're shaken but fine. apparently a pretty scary slide into those trees.

Kevin (Avon, CT)

How are Smith and Menard?

Ed Hinton
  (2:50 PM)

Woops, there's the question, see previous for my answer. I was wondering if this is our own Kevin Lee Davis from home, and forgot to post the question before the answer.

Lois (WVA)

Hi Mr. Hinton, do you think these young, softies like Bayne, Whitt, Diloon can really race with tough guys like The Busch Brothers, Edwards, Denny etc.?

Ed Hinton
  (2:52 PM)

Good question. But I think they're soft mainly outside the cars, and are capable of getting tougher than their personalities on the track.

Les M (Baton Rouge, LA)

Do you think Roush Fenway Racing is gonna dominate this weekend the way they did in Daytona? The FR9 engine Yates has built seems to be on point this year

Ed Hinton
  (2:53 PM)

Well, they're always better on intermediate tracks than in plate races. So if they're THAT good in plate races, how good will they be now on intermediates? That's probably the most interesting question going into Sunday.

Chad (GA)

Chevy has been having a lot of engine problems of late is there any talk that they might be looking to develop another engine package similar to what Ford did with the Fr9 with better cooling or is that a ways down the road?

Ed Hinton
  (2:55 PM)

I think they're going to let their top engine teams, HMS and ECR, work on the problems first. Probably more experience there than in Warren.

Les M (Baton Rouge, LA)

If Junior finishes top 5 in points this season but doesn't win will the season be a failure?

Ed Hinton
  (2:55 PM)

Heck, no.

Bill S. (High Point, NC)

Loved the 11/43 article, so now how long will it take Kyle to jump out that the 43 was better because it came with just one driver?

Ed Hinton
  (2:57 PM)

Not sure how Kyle fits into this question, but I take it you're saying 43 was better because of the one driver. Tell you what, I've taken some controversial positions in my time, but 11 over 43 may be my masterpiece.

Ed Hinton
  (2:57 PM)

Even got an email today from an old mentor sportswriter, saying I'd "had too many at the Boar's Head," a place we used to drink in the '70s. He says 43 hands down.

Rick (NJ)

If #88 doesn't win before Mich. and runs the losing streak to 144 races and 4 years, will Mr. H be looking to make a crew chief change?

Ed Hinton
  (2:58 PM)

Don't think so. Rick knows how much controversy that stirs. I think Letarte will get more time than McGrew had.

Emily (NJ)

Ed, how many more wins do you think Pearson would have had if he ran full schedules?

Ed Hinton
  (2:59 PM)

I think he'd be neck and neck with Petty's 200 at least. Look at some of Pearson's winning percentages in those partial seasons, and he might have ended up at about 220 running full schedules.

Bill S. (High Point, NC)

If Robby Gordon is left as the "flag ship" for Dodge, do you think they could throw money at some of the start and park teams?

Ed Hinton
  (3:00 PM)

I just can't see Dodge putting itself through the humiliation of backing start and parkers.

Carl (PA)

Did Stewart, Rowdy, Jimmie and our veteran drivers sit Brad K. down for "the talk" last year to tell him to cut out all the bad racing?

Ed Hinton
  (3:01 PM)

Na, I think he moderated himself on his own. I kinda wish Bad Brad were back, though.

Ed Hinton
  (3:01 PM)

And with that, we've gotta go. Thanks to all for stopping by.