Well, this should be fun! What's on your mind, racing fans?
So where do you see Kurt Bush next year ! JGR in the 20 or 4th car say Sponsored by Dollar General or at MWR in the 55 ? Or 56
I see Kurt Busch, and this is a wild guess, with MWR. Michael Waltrip has the knack of getting sponsors most other teams seem to lack right now. Or Busch may spend another year in virtual exile.
Tony Stewart is a traditionally slow starter. Does the early wins mean he's got what it takes to win back to back championships? Or will he burn out later in the season?
Every season is different. Our team of experts answered this question in our "Turn 4" debate today: http://espn.go.com/racing/nascar/story/_/id/7739957/nascar-turn-4-auto-club-speedway-rearviewBut yeah, I would think you'd be crazy not to consider him a real contender.
I always confuse you with K. Dee Lang - do you get that often?
Only when we sing.
Yo K Lee. I'm quite surprised with MWR this year. You think they can keep it up all year?
The Waltrip team seems to have taken a step up and they're not so much the little brother anymore in the Toyota camp. I'm still not convinced Truex can stay competitive all year, but Bowyer can. And Martin will be good despite his part-timer status.
What track do you think is the closest to losing a race? And what track is next in line to get a Cup race?
I think the track closest to losing a race would be New Hampshire, and not because it's not a great track with good fans, but because SMI czar Bruton Smith would move that race to one of his other tracks, especially Las Vegas. I don't see ISC taking a race from any of their tracks and moving to another one and the legal entaglements of taking a race from one of the three independents -- Indy, Pocono and Dover -- would be brutal.
Do you think Steve looked at the weather channel and told Tony, "Stay out there. This ones over!" Or was that Tony's call. And I wish I'd made a bet in Vegas that Tony would have 2 wins before the end of March. I'd be a millionaire!!
That call would be made by the crew chief in consultation with other team members and the driver. But most credit would go to Addington.
weekly question, give us your top-5 for the paper clip and a dark horse?
Top 5 in no order: Hamlin, Earnhardt, Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kenseth. I'll take Joey Logano for darkhorse. And I know I'm forgetting somebody!
K Lee, early in the year you and your staff was bragging about the Grubb/Hamlin connection and how Tony must be having second thoughts. You got into a discussion with a few of us on whether or not it was too early to be saying that. Now that Smoke looks just as strong, if not better and the #11 has backed off (including the horrible pit mistake last week), do you agree that maybe you jumped on that bandwagon too soon?
We're not worried about that kind of stuff. It was a legitimate question then and it is now. And it will be a legitimate question again if Stewart does anything but win the title this season.
Rowdy finished 3rd last year in the M'ville spring race.
Octo checks in.
Is Dale Jr a good pick for this week? I say yes but the wife says no.
Tell your wife she's wrong ... after he wins.
If I go to TMS race, will I see the 88 car finally get a victory??
You may, Jeff, but go anyway. Eddie Gossage & Co. throw a heck of a party!
I think Joey Logano is on his way out this year . So do you think JGR goes after yet again Another Roush Guy with the last name Stenhoush ?
Joey is far from out ... yet. Roush has a whole lot of talented drivers and not enough sponsors, so it could happen. I think Kurt Busch would be a prime candidate as well.
When or can Jeff Gordon turn it around?
Gordon can turn it around and he think he will this week at Martinsville.
If Jr wins on Sunday the consperacy theory nuts will have a field day!
The anti-Junior faction is going to go nuts whenever he wins again. This week, Talladega, 2015. Won't matter.
Howdy K Lee. I have to say I disagree with you on Truex. Going back to last season, the only driver with a better average finish in th last ten races is Tony Stewart. This isn't just a hot start, I think the dude's making the Chase.
Trues has been doing great, no doubt. I'm just not a believer.
Do you think Burton is on his way out the door at RCR to make room for Gaughan or Diloon full time?
Childress loves what Burton brings to the table, and I'm sure keeping him on when Austin Dillon is ready would be the first choice. But unless the team expands (and has the sponsorship), Burton would be the obvious odd man out. And who knows what happens when Ty Dillon is ready.
Any truth to the rumor that KBM will be a factory Dodge team with Kyle, Kurt and Danica driving in Cup next year?
I have not heard that rumor, and it seems preposterous.
Rowdy and Samantha were at DWTS last night and I wondered if you think we might see a NASCAR driver compete like Helio did a few years ago?
I believe the short offseason would exclude NASCAR drivers.
Any rumors on 2013 dodge teams yet
Best rumors, and they are just that at this point, is Richard Petty Motorsports and Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing to Dodge in 2013. Of course you would have to drop the "Earnhardt" from EGR for that to happen. Interestingly enough on that front, Teresa Earnhardt had been listed as the "Owner" of Jamie McMurray's No. 1 EGR Chevy this season ... until last week. Suddenly EGR partner Felix Sabates was the owner. Hmmm.
Also interesting on the Dodge rumor mill is Roger Penske saying he would like to keep his engine shop open, perhaps making Dodge engines, despite a move to Ford next year.
Has the number of clicks on Danica articles decreased?
With Penske running Fords next year could Penske run a 3rd of 4th car for Stenhouse and Bayne?
Have to find sponsorship, and the way Sam Hornish Jr. is running right now, you already have a candidate in-house at Penske.
Whats your take on Bruton claiming he didn't know Bristol was going to be reconfigured?
I think Bruton is old enough to have forgotten but smart enough not to admit the truth and know he can get away with it.
Do you believe that the reason Trevor Bayne struggles getting full-time sponsor is that he is an outspoken Christian?
I don't think Bayne's religious convictions have anythig to do with it. Roush is having trouble attracting sponsorhip, period.
What driver, besides Kurt Busch, has the hottest seat, and do you think they can perform?
I think Logano's seat is the hottest in NASCAR right now. Kurt just has to stay out of trouble. Everybody knows he can drive.
Any way for NASCAR to let other sponsors come in rather than the title sponsor... i.e Verizon into Cup? or would that tick off the title guys too much?
Sponsorship and the selling of "exclusivity" by NASCAR complicates things a little, but the general economy is the main culprit.
Why do you think Roush specifically is having trouble attracting sponsors. It has to be more than just the economy.
My take on why Roush, specifically, has trouble getting sponsors is this: Rick Hendrick, car dealer. Richard Childress, wheeler-dealer. Michael Waltrip, consumate pitch man. Joe Gibbs, well, Joe Gibbs (and supreme motivator). Chip Ganassi, wheeler-dealer. Jack Roush? A seemingly odd brilliant engineer who doesn't relate to people as well as the others until it gets to a personal level. And I like Roush. A lot.
I think the Biggest place for Jr to win a Race this year would be Texas, He is loved everywhere but In Texas fans have been waiting since he won his first race there in 2000. IT WOULD BE HUGE!
I agree. Do you work for Eddie?
I couldn't believe all the empty seats at Bristol this year. Do you think its a sign of things to come for NASCAR if its most popular track has that poor attendance?
No, NASCAR is fine. Bristol has to earn its fans back.
On making changes to Bristol: I'm on the fence on this one. Do you think Bruton changes it back or waits?Although it makes the 'real racing' fanatics mad, I think the 'Old Bristol' was the track's competitive advantage that helped it succeed in a N. Wilkesboro, Rockingham, Darlington type market. I would tend to agre that its not so special anymore.However, tearing up the track may not be the best way to go about it. Personally I think the tire has a lot to do with it. It caused the Side by Side racing at the expense of actual passing. On the other side, i do find it interesting that the SMI Marking Dept. was only using old Bristol (pre 2007) footage to sell tickets. Your thoughts?
I think you are very smart, Freddie, and I agree that a tire change may be all that's needed. But in a "Customer-Is-Always-Right" world, Bruton has to do something to get fans back. And depending on Goodyear is a fool's bet, despite Goodyear being a great company and NASCAR partner. If you own the track, YOU have to fix the racing.
Do you think Chevy will run the Holden, Commodore or Volt as their 2013 NASCAR model?
I'm banking on the Chevy Malibu. I don't know why.
How is Clint shown at least once on every commercial break?
Because his sponsors buy advertising time?
Is it too early, or do you think drivers like Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon should be in "go for the Wild Card" mode. Amazing the difference in fortunes between that shop and the one a few yards away.
It's too early for them to worry about that. They are racing for wins anyway, but both could be in the top 10 by Memorial Day.
Why do so many in the media want to tell fans what they should like (Bristol). You just said it the fans are always right.
The fans are not always right. The customers are.
Hello K.Lee, Will Hendrick get his 200th win this week???? JJ, Jeff and Junior are all good at Martinsville.
He has a heck of a chance this week, for sure. In fact, any of the next four races should do it.
All these conspiracy theories and rumors for this and that...Good grief. May I recommend patience? If this season were the Kentucky Derby, we'd barely be a furlong into it.
That's NASCAR, Keith!
Did someone find their horseshoe this past weekend? And was Tony allowed to pull the "slide jobs" this past weekend cause his car was so fast to begin with? The 29 took exception to it.. Thx
Yes, the horseshoe appears to be back with its original owner (Jimmie Johnson). As for Tony Stewart, no one takes a car all over the track and stays fast like he does in this generation of car. Jeff Gordon used to do it.
Where can I get those delicious Martinsville hot dogs?! It is in every food booths?
It's hard not to get a Martinsville hot dog at Martinsville. They're everywhere. And as long as you don't look at them too closely, they are awesome. Never forget getting one for Dario Franchitti a few years ago. He said, "Man, that is amazingly gross goodness."
Is NASCAR looking at making changes to the Truck Series schedule? The five week gap between races pretty much ruins any buzz that might have been generated at Daytona.
Not sure they are worried about Truck series buzz, Austin. Right now the question is how long the Truck Series can stay afloat. Keeping costs down is paramount, and that's why they didn't head out West.
Not a Jr. fan or hater but personally out of the 15 best drivers in cup, we rank him near the bottom. Just too many top level drivers racing every week for him to win..........just my opinion.
And that's a valid opinion, Bill. I put his driving ability at about No. 8. I would put his overall ability at about No. 12. Too many mental mistakes and seemingly not enough car knowledge (and the ability to help his crew chief) to be elite. Unleash the hounds! I'm in for it now.
What's more important to NASCAR. Fans in the seats or TV viewers?
To NASCAR, it would depend on the track. They want fans in seats at ISC tracks because ISC is controlled by the France family. There are cross purposes in NASCAR, more than any other sport. Track president Eddie Gossage has gone on record numerous times that he is not measured a success by the TV ratings, so he doesn't really care. TV wants ratings, doesn't care about the seats. NASCAR wants both ratings and people in seats. Interesting juxtaposition to Formula One, where supremo Bernie Ecclestone has repeatedly referred to fans at events as "background scenerey."
Seems like Smoke is at the right place and at the right time! Is he a better owner or driver?
He's a better driver
With the over turning of jj , what is the purpose of the three man appeal part, why not just skip t them and do the one guy that has final say
NASCAR has its procedure, and that is it. Maybe it will change, but I have no problem with it.
Well right now he (Jr.) sets at No. 3, hopefully by the end of the year he can be no. 1! Wins are coming, been a bumpy few years but beginning to see that fire again.
It will not surprise me if Junior wins more than one race. It will surprise me if he wins the title.
The problem with Bristol is that there is so little difference in lap times between the top car and the 30th car. So it takes 25 laps for the leader BradK to get by Labonte. The old track at least had bumping and banging to entertain you. The reconfig removed that and drivers now seem less likely to bump a slower car out of the way.
I really think what people miss at Bristol is the wrecking. They won't admit it, but I think that's it.
Is there going to be any repercussions from Ford if Penske continues to build Dodge motors?
Penske does a lot of things that don't have anything to do with what his Cup teams do (Chevy engines in IndyCar for one), so I don't see it being a huge issue, especially if he gets his Ford engines from Roush-Yates.
So your saying Junior is a 8th-12th place talent. Since when is that so horrible? And who ever said Junior was ever an elite driver?
I didn't say it was horrible at all, Nick.
I was curious, on the tv broadcast it didn't look like Jimmie was maintaining the pace car speed after he started smoking with the oil line problem prior to the red flag... shouldn't he have lost positions when he slowed down?
That's a judgement call for NASCAR, not me.
Clint tweeted a pic of a commode when asked about the Martinsville hotdogs.
Clint Bowyer has the best sense of humor in NASCAR, so there ya go.
2012 has been a great year thus far, does everyone see it that way?
No one in NASCAR ever thinks the season is the best ever, until years later. NASCAR fans love to hate as much if not more as they love to love. And we love them for that.
Just like the question in Turn 4 (excellent weekly article) You should have a chat where the posters say what they would change if they were Brian France.
That's a good idea. Question is, can we keep it G-Rated?
Why would RPM choose to align w/Dodge when they weren't competitive, had a poor deal and were treated pretty badly.Do you believe that Ford is not a likely option for RPM beyond this, the final year of the contract?
Long history of Richard Petty with Dodge, and you could open up more sponsorship avenues. That would be my thinking.
Interesting that there are cellphone commercials, other than Sprint, during the race but a cellphone company can't sponsor a car.
NASCAR doesn't sell the TV airtime, the networks do. But NASCAR in large part controls the signage and labeling at the track.
How bout letting a guest blogger like Octo get in on your Turn 4 stories to include the fans perspective?
I'd love to have a guest on Turn 4 sometime. I know some folks who may like to do it. They'd have to use their real names, so that would rule Octo out:-)
OK gang, have to go. It was fun and I appreciate your time.