What's up everybody and welcome to a very jetlagged edition of the Monday Motorsports Block Party. Spring ahead...about time to do away with that, right>? The big pile of empty Goody's sleeves on my desk says yes it is.
To the queries!
who has the better season? 20 22 or 27
Before the season I would have said the 22, hands down. I think long term The Dinger might still be the one of these three that wins the most races before the season is out. But I am blown away with how well Logano is running. He looks like a different guy just walking around. Last year it felt like Zippy's heart just wasn't in it. I think that took a toll.
Now Logano and Zippy have a ton of pep in their steps in new situations.
Hey Ryan, as 48/88 are out of the same shop supervised by Knaus, how is it that 48 goes from last to 2nd and 88 goes from 2nd to 10th?
Because the 88 took 2 tires when everyone else took 4. That's certainly not the call of anyone with the 48. There is no way any Dale Jr can find fault what's happened with that team since it moved in with the 48 car. The two years before moving they were 20th or worse in points. Last year, their first in the new shop, they finished 7th in points and now he's up to 4th this year.
With the new car bodies coming out, will there be an aerodynamic difference between the brands?
There are going to common areas shared among the four cars, primarily height, width, etc. And the greenhouse area around the driver. But the teams are getting a ton more leeway, particularly with the nose and doors. I was at the Dodge unveiling yesterday and that's a damn fine looking racecar. I have a column coming to ESPN.com about it on Tuesday.
Any chance Knaus's suspension gets shortened in appeal since nascar just looked at the car and didnt give a full inspection?
That's certainly going to be the primary argument behind the 48 team's appeal. I think regardless they lose the appeal tomorrow and go to the next step in the process. The whole group, particularly Mr. Hendrick, are pretty steamed about this and have already said they'll push it as far as they can.
I think there's two things going on here. I think NASCAR is telling Knaus to stop it, they're tired of him playing in areas of the car they've told him to leave alone.
And I also think they are setting a tone ahead of these new 2013 cars coming. There's a lot more chances there to fiddle with aero and NASCAR wants teams to know they are still very serious about maintaining the rules.
What's your take on Kurt Busch meltdown at infield care center?
It wasn't really a meltdown. He threw a water bottle as he was leaving the care center. That was really it. Twitter kind of blew that up into something that it wasn't.
I read what Jr's reaction was post race with the incident on track with Mark Martin. Is there an unwritten rule where you do move over? I have heard drivers in the past where you want to get around me or my spot, you have to out race me for it. What is the true etiquette on the track?
Both drivers referenced "etiquette" but that words seems to mean different things to different drivers at different times.
Dale Jr felt like he was much faster and Mark should've given him more room. Mark felt like he was within his rights and Jr was being too aggressive at the wrong place on the track.
Mark and Junior did talk about 5 hours ago and they seem to be cool now. Mark Tweeted that he has "nothing but love for JR" and asked his fans to back off.
Who will be the First Driver in the Sprint Cup Series to Part Ways with their Current Teams in 2012?
I've said all along that I thought Kurt and Phoenix would split up sooner than later, either because they are out of cars, out of money, out of patience, or because Kurt has a chance to go somewhere else. We'll see.
Four-Time doesn't exactly look like a four-time champion, does he?
He sure didn't at Vegas. He came walking into the media center on Friday after practice and just looked at me and said, "Whoa...we are bad."
That being said, he still finished 12th. He finished 8th at Phoenix and the blown engine at Daytona certainly wasn't his fault. He'll be fine. Three weeks ago he was 34th in points. Now he's 17th.
When is kahne gonna catch a break? He was coming.if not for the roush cars.
Great question. You look at the four Hendrick cars and there are three who have good finishes to hang their hats on...and then there's Kasey. The pole was great, but he kind of left us after that, didn't he? He hovered around 8th all day.
It's certainly not time to panic, but if he has another bad race this weekend you have to start wondering when it might get into their heads a little bit.
There's a big part of him that has to be thinking, "Damn, I'm with Hendrick Motorsports, shouldn't I be contending for wins every week?" Junior admits that really weighed on him, especially when he first got there.
Ryan, Cole Whitt is quite the wheelman. He grows on you. Pops and Cole and still learning about each other since they hired Cole during Xmas. When those two are totally on the same page, watch out for Cole. Your thoughts?
I'm crazy about him. I hated that most people's first big impression of him was the wreck with teammate Danica at Daytona. Two years ago I really pushed him on my bosses at ESPN The Magazine to be our annual "NEXT" racer and he backed me up with the quick way he got up to speed in Trucks.
I suspect he'll follow a similar pattern in Nationwide, having to feel it out this spring and then start really taking care of business come summer.
Fans of the 88 shouldn't forget that the 88 was the 2nd highest finishing car at HMS in 2011 points and is currently 1st among HMS drivers in 2012 points. Am I wrong that this would be an impossibility with a great team and driver?
All of that correct, David. Anyone who doesn't see the leaps and bounds he's made over the last year and a half either isn't paying attention, chooses to ignore it, or is a nervous Dale Jr fan waiting for the other shoe to drop.
how do you think the 39 wil do this year
I think getting a top five at Vegas was huge. Historically he has dug himself into a very deep hole over the first four races and then had to start a big climb out at Bristol. This year he's 14th in points, way ahead of his usual schedule. I see no reason to believe he won't win at least one race and make the Chase again. I'm not ready to declare him a title contender, but I think he's a playoff participant.
Ryan, like you said, Dodge unveiled a damn good looking racecar. Only problem now is, will there be any team that wants to drive it. Heard anything new?
Hey Ryan, The Dodge for 2013 looks really good. Are any teams going to switch to Dodge in 2013, and if so, who do you predict????
No one is on the hook yet. I keep hearing RPM, but I think they are way too tied up into the Roush organization. Their shop is even on Roush grounds. And I keep hearing EGR, but I think Teresa Earnhardt would spin out any idea of moving Dale Earnhardt's name to something other than Chevy.
I have an idea about what Dodge should do. I'm working on a column for tomorrow.
Does it seem to you that #14 is peaking way too soon in the season and will never be able to maintain this momentum throughout the season?
You clearly are a longtime Stewart fan. It's freaking you out because you're not used to him winning a race this early in the year! In fact, it is the earliest he's ever won. Typically he putters through the spring and then heats up with the summer. But there's nothing wrong with winning. Ever. And any Smoke fan should be relieved to see Steve Addington look so relieved in Victory Lane.
Steve was feeling a LOT of pressure to get Tony into Victory Lane. Keep in mind, Stewart should have won this race last year and also should have won Texas. But he blew both. I think you'll take this over that!
Do you think Danica best tracks will be the 1.5 mile tracks or bigger in nationwide series until she gets used to the short tracks?
I do. And so does she. She slowly improved throughout the race on Saturday. She was brutal on restarts and admitted so. The good news if you're a Danica fan is that Daytona is getting smaller in the rear view mirror. On Friday she openly admitted that Daytona has really weighed on her, but she was feeling better as time goes on.
By the way, how about my girl Johanna Long?! She quietly took a third tier car and raced it to 19th on Saturday. She's the real deal. She knows she's probably not quite ready for Nationwide yet, but so far she's handling the learning curve pretty well.
Has there ever been a time where track position/clean air has been this important?
Oh yeah. In the middle part of last decade, leading into the CoT, it was brutal. If you ever get a chance to meet Jeff Gordon ask him about it. He'll talk your ears off for an hour.
It was back then that terms like aeropush and aeromatching started showing up. If you weren't out front you were toast.
What do you think, SHR eventually gets Danica AND Johanna in cup cars? Not both next year but a couple years. That would be good advertising too.
I think they will definitely both make it to Cup. Danica's already there obviously, part-time. Johanna has some work to do, but I'm telling you, she's legit.
Ryan, i disagree that he should've won texas last year. Kenseth easily had the best car. He had over a 10 second lead at times. He dominated. stewart took a longshot fuel gamble and speed on pit road which is his own fault. And at the pace stewart was going and the pace kenseth was going kenseth still wuld've won
Yeah, I know all that. I was there. Let's go with "could have" instead of "should have" if that makes you feel better.
If he doesn't get that pit road speeding penalty, then he's in the mix at the end.
Which track eats up Danica more: Bristol or Darlington? I say Darlington.
No question about it. I said this on NASCAR Now last Wednesday when they let Marty and I just sit there and shoot the bull - Who in the world thought it would be a good idea to let her run the Southern 500 Darlington?!
Will the new car resolve some of the areo push problems that makes the COT hard to pass with?
Yes. No question about it. Talking to the engineers from the four manufacturers, they certainly believe so.
Hey Ryan, how many wins do you predict for the 17 this year? I'd say 4
I'll say three.
I guess after that 20th place finish and a Smoke win, Darian Grubb ain't smerking anymore, is he?
It's one week. He's still ahead of Smoke in points and they have one win each. His smirk isn't entirely gone.
Is Jeff Gordon still gonna be a title contender?
No That's the fake me( DepotSmoke )HE IS CLEARLY THE OCTO
I know Octo really bothers everyone, especially Hinton, but I don't have time to sift through who might or might not be him. Hell, y'all don't know...I might be Octo. Or maybe it's Marty trying to mess with my chats.
Ryan, any idea on what manufacturer is trying to break into NASCAR?
No one anytime soon. NASCAR's working to make sure Dodge doesn't leave. They've never done a lot of outward manufacturer recruiting because they've never had to. I've always thought BMW or Volkswagen might give it a look once EFI finally arrived, but I don't expect anything from anyone anytime soon.
Do you think Martin Truex will split with MWR after this year?
Not if they keep running this well.
Do you attract as many nuts in person as you do online?
Pretty close. I got cornered by a guy in Vegas who spent ten minutes telling me how I got screwed out of a ride because he thought I was Johnny Benson...even though I told told him about 15 times that I wasn't Johnny Benson.
who are your five favorites for bristol?
Give me Kyle, Jimmie, Dale Jr, Biffle and Jeff Gordon. For darkhorses I'll take Ambrose, Newman (if he can be a darkhorse), and Truex.
Alright folks, gotta go. NASCAR Now's coming on ESPN2 and WatchESPN right now! Until next week tip your waiters and waitresses and enjoy the music of Mojo Nixon.