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March 29, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Ed Hinton

Ed Hinton
  (2:00 PM)

Hi, all. Let's go.

Rob F (Hoboken, NJ)

Hi Ed, Stewart has certainly done a great job at closing races dating back to the opening race in The Chase. Results are great and all, but he's also had a lot of luck go his way with the rain shortened race and a couple fuel gambles. Are you abandoning Bad Brad in favor of the 14 winning it all?

Ed Hinton
  (2:01 PM)

Not abandoning K, just conjecturing about Stewart. You'll notice the column had a "what if" and "this is unlikely" tone to it.

Leslie (Mich.)

Hi Ed, Dale and Brad say Bristol doesn't need to change, that it is good as it is, so why won't the nation get on board and support the status quo?

Ed Hinton
  (2:02 PM)

Most of the drivers liked the current configuration. A whole lot less stress and aggravation for them. They said that all along, and the fans never bought it in terms of buying tickets. There are several tracks drivers like and some fans don't.

Gene (Ohio)

Bruton screwed up Bristol, not NASCAR, so why should NASCAR and Goodyear go out of their way to accommodate his screw up?

Ed Hinton
  (2:04 PM)

NASCAR and Goodyear accept that any time you have a new surface you gotta have a tire test. They don't place blame, they just do what's necessary.

Mikey (MN)

Which under the radar driver do you think can get on a run this year like Keselowski's last year?

Ed Hinton
  (2:04 PM)

Don't see any new ones in that category, but Newman could be one who shows resurgence.

Matthew (Columbia, NJ)

Ed: Could we see some pay back this weekend for some incidents in the past?

Ed Hinton
  (2:06 PM)

The trouble with Martinsville is that it's awfully hard to tell what's payback and what's new. Most of the payback takes place right then and there -- e.g. Vickers on Kenseth last fall.

Vernie (NJ)

You colleague T. Blount wrote that Mr. Helton's "personal view" on the #48 penalty reversal was made clear by his support of the inspectors and the process and I wondered what you think will happen when we return to the Dega, the original scene of the crime?

Ed Hinton
  (2:07 PM)

Don't think anything will happen unless something new comes up.

Ryan certified octo free (Ventura, Ca. )

Ed, on your Tony Stewart story today, why didn't you point out that Montoya, Hornish, Dario, Villenueve all won the Indy 500 but Stewart never did and Foyt and Andretti won both the Daytona 500 and the Indy 500 but not Stewart?

Ed Hinton
  (2:07 PM)

What's that got to do with anything I wrote today?

Miller (SC)

Hi Ed, I'm a long time , Southern NASCAR traditionalist and that is why I'm not impressed with Stewart, Danica, Hornish, Mears, Dinger or any of these other Indy car drivers who have come into our sport. Why don't they do like Foyt and Andretti used to do and only run the Daytona 500?

Ed Hinton
  (2:09 PM)

Are you kiddin'? Drivers haven't hopped back and forth like that for 40 years now. Besides, Indycar isn't nearly what it used to be, so they move to NASCAR full time for more activity and more money.

Trident (Cali)

Hi Ed, liked your story today on Stewart but what's the big deal about 7/15 .467, when in 2008 Rowdy went 7/14 for .500?

Ed Hinton
  (2:09 PM)

I was writing about Stewart, not Rowdy today. C'mon. Some of you guys would gripe that Encyclopedia Brittanica doesn't mention everything you want to read.

Wes (Las Vegas)

So, Indycar's TV ratings for St.Pete this past Sunday were down 25% from 2011....wondering what Danica thinks about that?

Ed Hinton
  (2:10 PM)

She probably doesn't . . .but Indycar does.

Ted (PA)

Hi Ed, long time fan of your work. Do you expect NASCAR to really go after that #48 bunch for the way they thumbed their noses at the NASCAR penalty/appeal process after the final decision?

Ed Hinton
  (2:11 PM)

No. They wouldn't dare. They won't back off inspecting, but they're not going to set off a firestorm by picking on the 48 at this point.

Ed Hinton
  (2:12 PM)

Sorry, folks, I've got some severe muscle pains in my back today and am rather slow. I have to shift about in my chair and stretch. I'm sure this will draw plenty of snide remarks from the surly among you, but it's the truth.

Kevin (Nevada)

Hi Ed,Last year we had 2 drivers make the chase with 0 victories. If you had to pick, who do you see making the chase this year without any wins?

Ed Hinton
  (2:14 PM)

Well, the first three in the point standings right now are candidates, and four of the top five: Biffle, Harvick, Earnhardt and Truex.

Tim (Puerto Vallarta, Mexico) [via mobile]

Hi Ed - what do you think of Bowyer's run so far? Think he will make the Chase?

Ed Hinton
  (2:15 PM)

He's doing ok but not getting to the front as often as he did with RCR. Looks pretty good to make the Chase. I'd say MWR is getting better.

Cory (Symmes Township OH)

I saw on another chat that Kyle Busch may be the factory Dodge team with Kurt and Danica next year, any truth?

Ed Hinton
  (2:16 PM)

Are there some off the wall amateur chats out there, or what? People who do it for fun just sit back and speculate wildly. And that one's wild -- especially the Danica part. Hope you folks can differentiate between amateur and professional sites and chats.

Heather (Ga.)

Hi Ed, with Danica getting lapped at Fontana, do you think JRM is building bad race cars or is the driver the problem?

Ed Hinton
  (2:17 PM)

Lapped? How bout an engine misfire? But I have heard some opinion by experts that JR cars just aren't what they used to be.

mike (phila)

Hey ed, i know everyone keeps saying its to early in the season to hit the panic button on certain drivers, but is it a must for jeff gordon to atleast have a top ten finish this weekend at martinsville?

Ed Hinton
  (2:18 PM)

I don't think there's such a thing as a must this early, but it sure would help, and i feel relatively sure he will.

Bernie (NJ)

Is it possible that, by 2013, KBM will move up to Cup and supplant Stert-Hoss as the best owner-driver team?

Ed Hinton
  (2:19 PM)

Guess it's possible. It's also possible that you'll win the PowerBall lottery in '13.

txtechjmacattack (lubbock)

Do you think Nascar should have black-flagged Montoya for being too slow and blocking Rowdy last week, denying Rowdy the win?

Ed Hinton
  (2:20 PM)

No. The 14 is what denied the 18 the win. I know you Rowdy fans have been worked over by Anti-Rowdy Nation, but let's not cannonize the guy just yet.

Gene (Ohio)

Hi Ed, won't NASCAR and Goodyear have to sanction a test at the resurfaced Bristol before the Aug. race and do you think the best Bristol drivers, The Busch Brothers, should do the test along with a Ford?

Ed Hinton
  (2:21 PM)

Sure they'll have a test, but who knows which teams they'll ask.

Brandi (Oklahoma)

Why was Jimmie Johnson let off the hook, when 2 years ago Clint Bowyer had a similar incident, and his fines never got appealed? The argument was that Jimmie had nothing to do with building the car, so why punish him? Clint had nothing to do with building the car, so why DID we punish him?

Ed Hinton
  (2:23 PM)

Bowyer's deal was appealed. It was denied. Best I can understand, Hendrick laid out a whole lot more detailed defense for the 48.

Ed Hinton
  (2:26 PM)

Hey, folks, we've got an inordinate number of questions today regarding religion and/or politics. I'm not going there. We've also got some nasty ones, so complain all you want that I didn't get your question in. I'm not going there, either.

Steven (Kingsport)

Maybe I am blind but I thought Montoya handled that exactly the way your supposed too, he fought like the devil to stay on the lead lap, once the leader passed him, he let the lead lap cars go...KB's problem is he wasn't fast enough to get by Montoya where the 14 was.

Ed Hinton
  (2:27 PM)

Another point of view gets air time on the 14-18 pass.

Hendrick Motorsports Fan (Charlotte)

How much longer do you think Mr. H is gonna sit idly by and watch a customer, satelite team like SHR take wins from his team cars, then rub their noses in it after the race with all the empty compliments?

Ed Hinton
  (2:28 PM)

Hendrick doesn't think like that. He sells them stuff and he gets paid, and that's that.

Hendrick Motorsports Fan (Charlotte)

Are you hearing that Stewart Hass will become the flagship Dodge team so they can get out of being a HMS satelite team?

Ed Hinton
  (2:30 PM)

WHERE on EARTH do y'all get such conjecture? The amateur web sites again? Man, they'll take a stab into deepest, darkest outer space.

Bart S (Springfield)

Do you see Junior keeping the best start to his career going all season? Do you rhink he will turn it into a serious championship run during the chase?

Ed Hinton
  (2:31 PM)

Best start in points maybe, but certainly not overall. Yes, he could remain stable in the points, but he really, really needs some wins.

Mike (Mississippi)

Today last day Laurel Leader-Call published. Just sort of faded away.

Ed Hinton
  (2:33 PM)

Heard about that, Mike. Sad. First paper I ever worked for. Left there 40 years ago. Used to do a little racing, at the Fairgrounds. Then later on, Fats Harvison gave me a press pass to Jackson International Speedway. I was in high cotton, man.

Teri (Burbank)

Where is the best vantage point to watch the race from Sonoma? I am hoping to go this summer.

Ed Hinton
  (2:34 PM)

There's a long ridge that runs mostly parallel to the track with some views of corners. A lot of fans seem to line that ridge line.

Bart S (Springfield)

Where is Mike Ford at these days? Do you see him crew chiefing for a driver next season?

Ed Hinton
  (2:35 PM)

I do see him back eventually, but even Denny has told me he's amazed that Ford is not already back.

Bill S. (High Point, NC)

Driver's by the time they reach the Cup level have been around race cars most of their lives. Granted they may not know of every tweak that is put on the car, but why is it that NASCAR doesn't suspend them as well as the crew chief when there is a violation?

Ed Hinton
  (2:37 PM)

You and I come from the old school where drivers actually had a lot of input on the parts and pieces used. But you'd be surprised how little they know about what is under them since, oh, 2000, when tech-savvy Bobby Labonte won the title. They're just not allowed much input on the pieces, believe it or not.

Lois (WVA)

Hi Ed, Allmendinger is looking more and more like a Riggs, Yeley, Sadler level driver and I wondered if you think Hornish will be in the #22 for 2013?

Ed Hinton
  (2:38 PM)

Dinger admits up front he has to produce this year. I think he'll get better. If he doesn't . . . well, Penske historically gives Hornish every opportunity because he likes him so much.

Glenn (Farmerville)

Ed, I always enjoy your columns and observations. Please explain to me why there is so little drafting at the 2 mile courses of Fontana and Pocono as compared to Daytona and Talladega. Thanks.

Ed Hinton
  (2:40 PM)

It's the banking at Daytona and Talladega, and the restrictor plates. On flat and low banked tracks they aren't knocking big enough holes in the air to create the ideal aero for drafting.

Matt (ny)

Is Matt Kenseth going to get into the hall of fame?

Ed Hinton
  (2:40 PM)

Yes, but it'll be some years down the road.

KB Nation (Global)

At PIR, I saw Rowdy in the NW garage working on brakes and I wondered if he guys are so loyal to him because of the way he jumps in their and works on the cars himself?

Ed Hinton
  (2:41 PM)

They gain respect for guys who know the mechanical details. But by and large they'd rather be left alone to do their jobs.

Jeremy (Port Angeles, WA)

Do you think the indycar ratings are down at St Petersburg is because Danica isn't in indycar anymore?

Ed Hinton
  (2:42 PM)

I think that certainly has to be part of it, and probably a big part.

Matt (ny)

Matt Kenseth has had top 5 cars pretty much everyone week so far this year, although he hasn't gotten the finishes out of them he should sometimes, how many wins do you think he ends up with at years end?

Ed Hinton
  (2:44 PM)

I'd say two or three, his usual.

Mike (Mississippi)

Why does everyone give Danica Patrick so much grief? Race teams run on money not Sunoco and she brings in lots of sponsor money and runs well. I know not great but I also see the same drivers running p25 - p40 every race and don't hear how terrible they are.

Ed Hinton
  (2:44 PM)

You're absolutely right, Mike.

Jesse (KCMO)

What needs to happen for Jr. to make the Hall of Fame?

Ed Hinton
  (2:45 PM)

The Hall of Fame needs not to close. That's it. It'll be years and years down the road, but they'll get to him at some point. After all it IS called a hall of FAME. And he is famous, all right.

SCOTT (CHARLOTTE)

The only time I have been to Martinsville we decided not to bring a cooler and buy beer at the track. Martinsville is dry on Sundays!!! I bet those hotdogs taste better with a cold beer.

Ed Hinton
  (2:47 PM)

I can honestly say I've never had a beer with a Martinsville dog. Even when they flew 'em to Daytona one time. Journalists just don't drink at the tracks -- at least, nobody has for 20 years or so.

Teri (Burbank)

Which track has the best food?

Ed Hinton
  (2:48 PM)

Overall, I'd say Indy's concession system. Fair prices too, from a great breakfast through the huge pork tenderloin sandwiches which, last I looked, go for five bucks.

Sarge (Statesboro)

Since Junior Motorsports is the official Hendrick Motorsports Nationwide team, why doesn't Mr. H make them step it up?

Ed Hinton
  (2:50 PM)

Because it really isn't the official team. Rick stays way in the background on that one, although a reliable source tells me he owns 50 percent.

Jordan (Lubbock, Texas)

Howdy Ed, I doubt I can add any sort of sanity here, but I'll try.What do the drivers think about Bristol being redone yet again? I imagine it's not as positive as it is from the fan's point of view.

Ed Hinton
  (2:51 PM)

You're right. They liked it just as it is. But they like places like Michigan too. They look at tracks from a different perspective than fans do.

Matt (ny)

Hey Ed, if you were a sprint cup owner and had to choose 4 drivers from any point in nascar history to drive for you, who would they be?

Ed Hinton
  (2:52 PM)

If you're talking guys in their primes, I'd pick David Pearson, Darrell Waltrip, Cale Yarborough and Jeff Gordon.

Tyler (Indy)

Your thoughts on Tony Stewart starting an IndyCar team down the road? Also, compare the careers of Stewart and his idle A.J. Foyt

Ed Hinton
  (2:53 PM)

Very seriously doubt he'd start one. Just not feasible financially what with Indy cars losing popularity. Impossible to compare the two careers because Tony left the IRL very early in his career.

Greg (Rutgers)

If you had to guess how many wins and championships does Brad K have after his career is over?

Ed Hinton
  (2:54 PM)

That would be a real flyer at this point, but what the heck: 50 or 60 wins and two or three championships.

Sarge (Statesboro)

Last night I watched the ESPN vid at Martinsville of Kurt putting the #24 into the inside wall after contact, where DJ said, "Kurt Busch didn't like that". Do you think anyone else will be testing Kurt's patience Sunday?

Ed Hinton
  (2:55 PM)

Kurt is always a constant and relentless test of his own patience.

Vernie (NJ)

Will the 2013 NASCAR model prevent the dirty trick of "side drafting"?

Ed Hinton
  (2:56 PM)

Seriously doubt it, but what's dirty about side drafting? They all do it when they can, and then admit it, and NASCAR doesn't question it.

Jesse (KCMO)

How much can we expect Penske to improve driving Fords in 2013 over Dodges?

Ed Hinton
  (2:58 PM)

Don't know whether he will, frankly. Roger has this real sensitivity about doing anything remotely resembling cheating to the cars. That keeps his crew chiefs from being too aggressive in the gray areas. His philosophy goes all the way back to when Bobby Allison drove for him. If you're not tech aggressive, your team is always going to be good but not great.

Kristin (NYC)

Who do you think is the best road racer: Marcos Ambrose, or JPM?

Ed Hinton
  (2:59 PM)

Ambrose, because he doesn't mind the big, heavy cars on the road courses. JPM told me not too long ago that he actually hates the road courses in NASCAR, much prefers the ovals.

Jimbo F. (Tallahasse, FL)

How awesome would it be if Dale Junior won the Championship without winning a race this year? Talk about stirring the pot amongst the haters/Junior Nation!!

Ed Hinton
  (3:01 PM)

Well, both he and Jeff Gordon both used to say that if they had to chose between winning some races and winning a championship with no wins, they'd take the championship with no wins. But that was back before Junior Nation and Anti-Junior Nation polarized so much.

Ed Hinton
  (3:01 PM)

Time to go, folks. Thanks to all for stopping by.