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March 15, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Terry Blount

Terry Blount
  (2:00 PM)

Check not my column today on Smoke, a better driver today at almost 41 than he was at 31. Why? Because he's finally comfortable in his own skin:

Nick Rolando (Orlando)

Terry, you ultimately see RPM re-signing with Ford at the end of the day? They have such a good relationship with RFR and the FR9 engine and have been running a lot better, plus it would booster Ford's numbers.

Terry Blount
  (2:01 PM)

I think that's up in the air Nick. Dodge will make a run at them. And now Ford has Penske so I don't see RPM being as important to them.

Matthew (Columbia, NJ)

Hey Terry: Considering The Biff finished 8th and 31st at Bristol last year, would he take a top 15 finish on Sunday?

Terry Blount
  (2:03 PM)

He'd take it, but I think he hopes for better. I think the 16 team has reached the point where they think that can compete for top 5s at every track. Well, maybe not road courses.

Rick (NC)

Chad Knaus seems to have been fined and been on probation more times than any crew chief since he has been in that role. This is his second six race suspension, when is enough enough for Nascar to ban him for a year or kick him out for good?

Terry Blount
  (2:04 PM)

That's not going to happen Rick. Chad is pushing the envelope and NASCAR will up the penalty each time, but no ban is coming.

Al (Alabama)

Is Chad the most penalized CC in NASCAR history?

Terry Blount
  (2:05 PM)

Probably, but some of the best ever got their share and went on to become the bad cop at NASCAR, like Gary Nelson.

Zack (Yonder)

It seems to me that if NASCAR really wanted to stop all the illegal modifications they would suspend the driver as well...especially after repeated incidents.

Terry Blount
  (2:08 PM)

You hit the nail on the head Zach. The only way to really make these teams feel the pain is to suspend the driver, or make the car sit out a race. That won't happen. Too much sponsor money on the line. But suspending the crew chief is like suspending an NFL coach. It makes things tougher, but it's not a game changer.

Fred (WV)

When will Mr. Hendrick realize that Chad is lying to him?

Terry Blount
  (2:08 PM)

Come on Fred. You know better than that. Rick is backing his guys, as any team owner would do.

Margie (Indiana)

Hi Terry, as a life long Jeff Gordon, I'm really concerned that as #48 car owner, Jeff has been distracted by this latest rules scandal and was wondering if you think Jeff has started the season so badly because he's been distracted? Thank you!

Terry Blount
  (2:10 PM)

Not a bit Margie. Jeff is the owner on paper and shares the profits, but it's really still Rick's car. Jeff has no concern at all over what's going on with the 48 penalty.

Chris (Little Rock)

What do you think chevy will be racing next year?

Terry Blount
  (2:11 PM)

Good question. I thought all along it would be the Malibu, but Chevy folks say no. It's a new model. But it may be a new model that's back from the dead, like the Caprice.

Vernie (NJ)

Before the season, RPM fired GM Robbie Loomis and I'd like to know if 75 year old Richard Petty is running the day-to-day business of that team?

Terry Blount
  (2:12 PM)

No he isn't. Richard really is more of a team spokesman these days and a guy to help them get sponsorship.

Joanne (Ft. Myers)

With the booing Johnson get's at driver intros it's obvious the fans consider #48 to be dishonest and I wondered if you think this latest scandal only reinforces the perception that 5-time didn't earn it fair and square?

Terry Blount
  (2:13 PM)

No I don't. And I don't think that's why they boo him. They boo him because he wins so much and people want to see other guys win. Look, all these teams do everything they can to push the envelope on the rules. Chad's just better at it than most other crew chiefs.

Turk (Mich.)

Hi Terry, do you know if Dodge is having discussions with Kyle Busch Motorsports about making KBM the flagship Dodge team like they did with Evernham or is Rowdy to closely aligned with Toyota?

Terry Blount
  (2:16 PM)

I don't know about Kyle. That's a major undertaking for a guy who trying to win a Cup title and supposedly trying to cut back. I know Dodge is fielding a lot of calls. If I were Chip Ganassi, I would make this move. He's never going to pass Hendrick or Childress on the Chevy heirachy, so why not big the big wheel for Dodge?

Nick (Richmond,VA)

Can you explain how the car owner thing works? I saw that Jeff Gordon is listed as the car owner of the 48 and he loses the owner points? Is the car owner different than team owner?

Terry Blount
  (2:17 PM)

Teams list different car owners for a lot of reasons, usually tax purposes. Jeff co-owns the car, but it's still really Rick's car.

Mark (SC)

Haven't the boos for JJ increased since Chad was caught?

Terry Blount
  (2:18 PM)

Probably, and I'm sure JJ couldn't care less.

Terry Blount
  (2:19 PM)

Hey gang, if you post a question under a ridiculous name, odds are I won't answer it. Just a little warning.

Hector (Miami)

If the #48 penalties are upheld do you expect Lowe's to take their sponsorship off the car the same way M&M's did when Rowdy was suspended?

Terry Blount
  (2:20 PM)

No chance whatsoever of that happening Hector. Kyle deliberately wrecked a driver under caution and could have seriously injured him. This isn't anywhere close to that.

Ron (Ohio)

Isn't the only reason Hendrick is appealing these penalties because he's hoping that Lowe's doesn't pull the sponsorship like M&M's did to Kyle Busch?

Terry Blount
  (2:22 PM)

No, he honestly believes they can get the penalty reduced a little. But he also wants to take a stand because he doesn't feel justice was served.

Mark (Iowa)

I enjoyed your article on Tony Stewart. Do you think his early season success can be maintained?

Terry Blount
  (2:23 PM)

Thanks. I think Tony will contend for the title again, but I don't seeing him doing what he did in last year's Chase. That's a hot streak we may never see again.

Keith H (Seattle)

Terry, while it might make sense for Ganassi Racing to take a flyer with Dodge, wouldn't that Earnhardt name on the letterhead preclude that? I don't see Teresa having the Earnhardt name on anything other than a Chevy.

Terry Blount
  (2:25 PM)

Teresa who? Just kidding. But Teresa's involvement is this tem is very minimal. You have to do what's best for business and I don't see Chip letting Teresa oevrrule him on that one if he decided otherwise.

Shaun (PA)

Will Hamlin bounce back for a strong finish this week after last weeks disappointing run in Vegas?

Terry Blount
  (2:26 PM)

Hamlin will be fine, but he wasn't so hot at Bristol last year.

Ron (Creston)

Edwards won't do what he did in the Chase last year too.

Terry Blount
  (2:27 PM)

I think it's much easier to run up front in most of the Chase races, as Carl did, than it is to win five times.

Jeff (Georgia)

Terry, any concerns for the #5 team? Performance has been strong but not the good finishes to show for it. Thanks

Terry Blount
  (2:29 PM)

Yeah, it's been a hugely dissapointing start for those guys, but it's too early to make any judgments. I still think that team will have a strong season.

Shaun (PA)

Denny wasn't so hot at any track last year Terry

Terry Blount
  (2:29 PM)

Good point Shaun, but yes, I think the 11 is back and will be contenders this year.

Jason Mobley (Cupertino)

what are the chances we will see joey logano in the 20 next year

Terry Blount
  (2:31 PM)

Good if he stays in the top 10, where is he now. Not so good if he doesn't.

Cory (Geneva, Il)

I was a little surprised to see that this is Jr's best three race start ever. What are the odds of him staying top 5 in points all year?

Terry Blount
  (2:31 PM)

That's team is slowly improving every week. I think he has a 50/50 shot at staying in the top 5.

14 Fan (TN)

Why can trevor bayne not find sponsors?

Terry Blount
  (2:33 PM)

I heard a rumor today that they did find some spponsorship. But everyone is having trouble finding and keeping sponsors these days. It's just a fact of life right now.

Sandy (NY)

Who are your top 5 in cup this weekend?

Terry Blount
  (2:34 PM)

JJ, Carl, Harvick, Kyle and Junior

Jeff (Georgia)

Terry, how soon before we have a real meltdown from Kurt Busch? Was throwing the water bottle a prelude to what's coming? Thanks

Terry Blount
  (2:35 PM)

For his sake, I hope not. He has to understand that's he's on a team that has limitations. And he has to suck it up and accept it if he wants to get back on a big-time team next year.

Daryl (Iowa)

What is with the Knaus witch-hunt? If we was CC of the 88 everyone would be defending him.

Terry Blount
  (2:36 PM)

Chad is a victim of his past violations. Some people see him as a cheater. I see him as a brilliant innovator who sometimes goes over the edge.

Jason Mobley (Cupertino)

why did roger penske choose ford over chevy. To me it seems like chevy would give that team the most success

Terry Blount
  (2:38 PM)

He didn't get an offer from Chevy. Ford gave him a 5-year deal. He wanted the longevity. Dodge didn't want to make a 5-year commitment.

Jason D. (ME)

If chad was a crew chief in the 60's and 70's we would be talking about him as an innovator not a cheater.

Terry Blount
  (2:39 PM)

Yes, because they wouldn't have been smart enough to catch him back in those days.

Barb (SC)

Hi Terry, why do people judge what Rowdy did to Hornday at Texas under caution any different than what Jeff Burton did to Jeff Gordon at Texas under caution?

Terry Blount
  (2:40 PM)

I saw both incidents and they aren't anywhere close to the same Barb. Kyle could have killed Ron. It was vicious and extremely dangerous.

Jason Mobley (Cupertino)

what are the chances of the seeing the cup cars at Iowa speedway or even a comeback at rockingham

Terry Blount
  (2:41 PM)

Rockingham _ Zero. Iowa _ a little better than zero.

Marc (Pinecrest, FL)

If Roush or Gibbs pulled that stuff that Hendrick and Knaus have, the fans would be calling for the teams to be permanently banned from the sport.

Terry Blount
  (2:42 PM)

No they wouldn't Marc. And Roush and Gibbs have both had their share of penalties over the years.

Lester (IL.)

Hi Terry, With Paul Menard out running his RCR teammates; Harvick, Burton and Gaughn do you think Paul and Slugger might have a better season than his teammates?

Terry Blount
  (2:44 PM)

I think Harvick will end up on top at RCR, but Paul is off to an impressive start. And it's good to see becuase so many people say he's only there because of his dad's money. Paul is not a bad driver.

silly bunz (orange ca)

will knause bounce back from these penalties to be great again?

Terry Blount
  (2:44 PM)

He's great now.

Vic (NJ)

On Jr's season, we've seen this before so don't you think we should wait until Sept. before all the championship predictions begin?

Terry Blount
  (2:45 PM)

We should until Sept. until any championship predictions begin, but that's not going to happen.

Jay (D)

Hi Terry, there will never be another Dale Sr, but off all the drivers who reminds you the most of him. Some say Kyle Busch , but I disagree. I'd say Tony Stewart when Dale Sr was older and Brad Keselowski as a young Dale Sr.

Terry Blount
  (2:47 PM)

Honestly, Jay, no one out there reminds me of Dale Sr. He was the best I've ever seen and one of a kind.

Keith H (Seattle)

Is one of the reasons NASCAR is going after Chad because of his "Hit the rear of the car" comment last year at Talladega?

Terry Blount
  (2:48 PM)

In my opinion, yes. But others will say no. As Hamlin said, NASCAR doesn't like for someone to pull the wool over their eyes.

rob (Texas)

Who is your favorite to win this Sunday?

Terry Blount
  (2:48 PM)


Ron (Creston)

Don't leave MWR out of the discussion for cheating. They have had a few lately.

Terry Blount
  (2:50 PM)

Almost every major team has been caught breaking the rules at some point. If they didn't, they probably aren't trying hard enough to win.

Marc (Malden, MA)

Do you see Danica winning a race this year? I think the only chance is Indy and it's a good one.

Terry Blount
  (2:52 PM)

I think she had a chance to win at the plate tracks. I don't know about Indy. It's much different racing a stock there than a Indy car because the stock car has way less downforce. I expect a Cup regular to win the NW Indy race because the NW regulars haven't raced on that track.

Mark (Cleveland)

Hi Terry. What will Dodge do for next year? Didn't RPM switch to Ford because Dodge still owes them money? I don't see that as anoption with the progress they've made at Ford. To do the opposite of Penske doesn't seem like a smart move.

Terry Blount
  (2:53 PM)

It's all about who is willing to give you the most money and the best deal. The past is the past. This is a much diferent situation for Dodge.

brad fan (santa clara)

will ricky stenhouse get a cup ride in the future

Terry Blount
  (2:55 PM)

Absolutely. But when and where remains to be seen. I believe Jack will find a place for him soon. And by the way, isn't is great to see the Cup stars going winelss in the first NW three events. That's that the series needs to have it's own identity and help make stars out of the NW regulars.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

At 41 years old, Stewart ain't no spring chicken so do you see Danica taking over the #14 full time in 2013?

Terry Blount
  (2:56 PM)

Absolutely not. DP will be in the 10 next year for SHR. Smoke is a long way from retiring.

Bill Scott (Lake Summerset, Illinois)

Terry , What's your take on "Cousin Carl dive-bombing to the apron on the last restart? Thanks, Bill

Terry Blount
  (2:57 PM)

My take is you do whatever you can to win the race at the end. If his teammates didn't like it, too bad. It was go time.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What's the point of making stars out of NW regulars if there are no rides open in cup?

Terry Blount
  (2:58 PM)

That's a fair point Chris, but they have a much better chance of sponsors wanting them in Cup if they are winning races in NW.

Brian (Seattle)

Hey Terry, I was at the race in Vegas and noticed that there was only one pass for the lead under green flag conditions (not including right off a restart and during green flag pit stops.) How can the quality of racing be improved there?

Terry Blount
  (3:01 PM)

It's wasn't great Sunday. But they do run side-by-side more in the higher banked configuration that they did in the old configuration.

Terry Blount
  (3:04 PM)

I'm out guys. Gonna go check my bracket and see how I'm going. I did say I would list my Final Four _ so here it is. I picked some big upsets _ Florida State, UNC, Michigan State and Baylor. My son is a Baylor grad, so I did that one for the family. Have a great week and good luck with your picks. Peace.