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April 4, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with David Newton

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Do you think that NASCAR should qualify like the Indianapolis 500 with the 43 Fastest Drivers instead of the top 35 in points with the Slowest Car Goes Home?

David Newton
  (2:02 PM)

Welcome. I'm jumping right in to answer as many questions as I can. The top 35 rule did create a problem on Sunday because Reutimann was doing everything he could to keep the No. 10 car in it. I understand the premise behind it, guaranteeing teams for the most part with high paying sponsors a spot in the field. I am not totally against it. Think of the reaction if Dale Jr didn't make the field. The solution could be in adjusting the points so everybody, say, 30th or worse gets the same number of points each race. That might limit the number of teams staying out in wrecked cars to pick up a point.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

If Danica Patrick does not qualify for the rest of her 9 scheduled Sprint Cup Series races will her Sprint Cup Series Career be over & she will not race in the Sprint Cup Series in 2013?

David Newton
  (2:03 PM)

Nope, won't happen that way.

Moose Lightnin (Denver CO)

With Kahne's bad start, there's fan talk of "the curse" in story comments again. Can you tell me what people think? Is it God hating?...Ricky Hendrick's ghost floating around being a prankster?...Deal with the devil?...Old lady gypsy?...Talladega Indians?...Tim Richmond's party ghost? My mind is very analytical and would love a clue about what is the actual 5/25 car "curse." P.S.-Go OCTO for P.O.ing all these "regulars"

David Newton
  (2:04 PM)

There are those that believe the 25/5 car is jinxed, but remember Mark Martin finished second in points in that car a few years ago. Kahne simply is having a bad start, partially for mistakes he's made.

txtechjmacattack (lubbock)

Rowdy's haters are unduly blaming Rowdy for his struggles this season in Cup and NW. Do you see him silencing his haters by winning multiple races and further cementing his status as a racing legend?

David Newton
  (2:05 PM)

I do see him winning multiple races and making the Chase. Legend is a ways off.

Kenny (WV)

Kasey Kahne has grossly underachieved this year. Should the 5 team give up on making the Chase and focus on 2013?

David Newton
  (2:06 PM)

It's going to be tough. Not saying it can't be done, but his best bet is to win a few races, make the top 20 and get in as a wild card.

Nobody Likes Race Buddy (NC)

As a Nascar fan what can I do to survive this weekend? I hate golf and baseball.

David Newton
  (2:06 PM)

Learn to love golf. The Masters is the best sporting event ever. If that doesn't work, go to the beach and work on the tan.

Eddie (NC)

I'd just like to send out my thoughts and prayers to the communities and families who were ravaged by the tornadoes in Texas yesterday.

David Newton
  (2:07 PM)

We all should. Thanks.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Did the Tornadoes in Texas on April 3 affected the Texas Motor Speedway?

David Newton
  (2:07 PM)

No, it wasn't harmed.

Kevin (Hong Kong)

Hi David, it looked to me like Jimmie didn't give Jeff and Clint much room on that restart. I know it all happens so fast and I'm not sure if his spotter even had time to tell him there were two inside, but I haven't heard anyone mention that it looked, at least to me, that JJ came down on JG. I think that whole mess could have been avoided if only JJ gave a little more racing room. Granted, they're going for the win and I've never driven a race car, so what do I know.

David Newton
  (2:07 PM)

He didn't have much room to make the turn. The problem came when Clint hit the curbing and came up into the 24. The rest is history.

Mayra (Chicago)

I read a story that Jeremy Mayfield has a possibility of having a ride in ARCA if he is not convicted. Do you see it becoming a reality that Mayfield is back in a car? If it does happen, is he capable of a comeback or will he be too rusty?

David Newton
  (2:08 PM)

Mayfield always has had some talent, but an ARCA ride or any other ride will be looked at as a publicity stunt at this point.

Tyler (Greenfield,NY)

Going into the break, are you more surprised that Dale is 2nd in points or that Kasey is 32nd in points?

David Newton
  (2:09 PM)

Kasey is 32nd.

Jim (Elysburg PA)

Newt, What is up with Kyle this year? Thanks

David Newton
  (2:09 PM)

Just a slow start. It's not disastrous. Could be a lot worse. Could be Jeff Gordon or Ksaey Kahne kind of start.

Matt (ny)

Expectations for Kenseth at Texas?

David Newton
  (2:09 PM)

He'll be strong, one of the topo 5 I'd pick.

Matt (ny)

Do you see any drivers as locks for the chase so far and if so who?

David Newton
  (2:10 PM)

Tony Stewart with two wins. Matt Kenseth with a win and strong finishes. Nobody else can be considered a lock, but I don't look for the top 12 to change that much except for maybe Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards making a run and slipping in.

Matt (ny)

Who are your top 5 championship contenders thus far in order.

David Newton
  (2:11 PM)

Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch ... yes, still Busch. Long ways from Race 26.

Vernie (NJ)

Hi Newt, how long before Kyle fires Leftler and runs all the races in trucks like everyone knows he wants to

David Newton
  (2:12 PM)

Don't see it happening. He's promised Gibbs to focus on Cup with some NW.

Vernie (NJ)

Logano seems to be going back to his mid 20 finishes. Odds he is canned at seasons end?

David Newton
  (2:12 PM)

I still see him winning a race and making the Chase. If he does that it will be hard to justify firing him. If he doesn't, all bets are off.

Jake (Tx)

Is MWR the new top Toyota team? JGR looks BAD!

David Newton
  (2:13 PM)

Not yet, but MWR has closed the gap considerably. And Hamlin is up there in points with a win.

Callee (CT)

Is Kurt going to explode soon? He can't last all season without snapping

David Newton
  (2:13 PM)

Nah. As I've said from the beginning he has to keep his cool to have a shot at a top job in 2013.

Nick Rolando (Orlando)

Agree or disagree David, Biffle does what his temmate Kenseth did at Texas last year and breaks a long winless streak next week.

David Newton
  (2:14 PM)

Could be. Greg is good at Texas. But I'm thinking the 48 or 24 will end their streak first.

Joe (NC)

The best part of the race was the Busch brothers taking themselves out early.

David Newton
  (2:14 PM)

Sure they don't share your sentiment.

Fred (NC)

Was your best bud, Logano, even at the race Sunday?

David Newton
  (2:15 PM)

Funny. Martinsville is a tough place to learn. He didn't have a very good day, but it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been.

Mark (SC)

Why aren't you smart enough to not answer octo questions? Other writers skip them.

David Newton
  (2:16 PM)

Equal opportunity.

Michael (Crestview, FL)

Dave, GWC produces entertaining finishes but it does so by throwing out the first 499 miles (3+ hours) of the race. GWC turns a 3, 4, 5 or 600 miler into a Saturday night 3 lap shootout. If that's what we're looking for, let's just run a series of heat races every Sunday. We had meaningful racing a Martinsville that was thrown out for about 5 laps of chaos that gifted a win to a random car (in this case, Newman). Should I just tune in for the final 25 laps of each race? Because that's all that seems to matter now.

David Newton
  (2:17 PM)

That's all that's ever truly mattered. i agree the end was crazy, but there was good racing throughout the field all day. Not as many crashes as normal. Longer green lap runs. But still good racing.

Jamerson (Georgia)

The drumroll leading up to Hendrick's 200th win continues to build. Which driver do you think will finally hit the milestone, and at what track?

David Newton
  (2:17 PM)

Dale jr. at Richmond.

Tyler (Greenfield,NY)

Hey Newt, your Harvcik story today made me wonder why ownership became a drag for him but Stewart and Rowdy seem to thrive on it?

David Newton
  (2:19 PM)

Good question, and one I asked. First, Stewart isn't nearly as involved in his Cup team as Harvick was in the Truck team. Stewart has people to do a lot of the things Harvick took home. Stewart took over an organization that already had a structure in place. Harvick began his basically from scratch. And Harvick's performance wasn't bad as an owner. It just didn't leave him time for much else.

Jamerson (Georgia)

Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch are almost like two sides of the same coin this year. Harvick sacrificed ownership of his NNS and Truck programs, and he appears to be reaping the benefits, with a strong start to the year (excluding his mediocre performance at Martinsville). Then you have Kyle who expanded his team to NNS as well as trucks, and his performance appears to be suffering. Do you think team ownership is getting to Kyle?

David Newton
  (2:20 PM)

Poor finishes are getting to Kyle. Don't think ownership is getting to him, but it could be a factor.

Tim (San Francisco)

Hi David! It seems like Bowyer was a pretty likeable guy with the drivers (and fans) prior to Martinsville - how does something like his move on Sunday impact him long term? Do drivers get over it or will this forever tarnish his image? In general, do drivers move on from this type of thing usually?

David Newton
  (2:21 PM)

He's still a likeable guy. Most of the drivers, even those that called his dive-bomb stupid, don't fault him for trying to win the race. In the same situation they might try something like that, too.

Gene (Ohio)

Hearing Brad K's post M'ville comments about Reuitimann, do you think Brad's head might be getting too big for his own good?

David Newton
  (2:21 PM)

I'm not going to bash anybody for speaking his mind. We need more of that. So no, his head is not getting too big for his own good.

Peter (Saratoga Springs, NY)

Hey David - it seems like fans, the media, and even the drivers talk about how there are far too many 1.5 mile cookie cutter tracks. Does Nascar listen to this feedback? Seeing how Bruton listened to the fans and quickly instituted change...will Nascar ever do the same? We need more short tracks and road courses!! Thanks!

David Newton
  (2:23 PM)

NASCAR does listen, but short of giving a race to Iowa there isn't much the governing body can do. There aren't any other short tracks out there looking for Cup events...although Stewart has volunteered Eldora.

Tim (El Cajon, CA)

Newt, there have been complaints about speeding on pit road. Drivers complain, but then they wanted the speed lines put in, fans complain, etc. I was just thinking, to stop speeding enter pit road DURING CAUTIONS, they should have the pace car drive down pit road with all elegible drivers, let the lapped cars drive around on their own, staying behind the pace car, and when the pace car exits pit road they fall back in behind them. At least then there wont be any entering speeding during cautions. Green flag stops, and exiting on caution, that would be up to the drivers.

David Newton
  (2:25 PM)

Just not realistic. Hey, they give them 5 mph over the posted limit. It's up to them to keep it below that. Even with a pace car, drivers could go to fast between zones and get busted.

Joan (NC)

Hi David, as a long time RCR fan thanks for the story today. Do you think Harvick matured and grew up after NASCAR parked him for the Martinsville cup race for attacking Greg Biffle?

David Newton
  (2:26 PM)

No really then. I started seeing the change after he re-upped with RCR the last time and saw an improvement in his equipment.

Mike (Ma)

Hi David, love your chats. What is wrog with EGR? Those guys don't have any speed. Do you think they can improve this year ?

David Newton
  (2:27 PM)

Thanks. These things run in cycles for a lot of teams not named Hendrick Motorsports. Right now EGR is in a down cycle. I've gotten no real explanation for why the dropoff from two years ago when McMurray won the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400. But remember, even that year he didn't make the Chase.

txtechjmacattack (lubbock)

harvick, rowdy and edwards will probably all make the chase but why do you think they've been so quiet this year especially harvick's very disappointing m'ville race?

David Newton
  (2:28 PM)

Harvik has a second and third, so he hasn't been necessarily quiet. Busch has had some back luck, period. Edwards is the one who should be worried. He hasn't had the raceday speed he needs to compete to lead laps, much less win. Maybe it's the curse of the runner-up from the previous year.

James (Earth)

Does this past weekend's incident put the number 10 in danger of losing sponsors?

David Newton
  (2:29 PM)

Don't think so, but regardless that car will be on the track every week.

Rowdy Smoke fan (MD)

As a SHR fan, should I be worried that Hendrick is tired of getting beat by his satellite team and Hendrick may give them the different engines than it is now?

David Newton
  (2:29 PM)

NO.

Dan (Garfield)

My least favorite part about Nascar is a guy who is a complete non-factor in the race (Ruettiman) ruins what could have been an epic Gordon/Johnson finish. Let's be fair and say that Newman had no claim to that race. At times it seems like it a powerball competition rather sporting contest when things like that happen. Any thoughts?

David Newton
  (2:30 PM)

I hear ya, but it happens in racing all the time and all race long. This one just happened to be with the race on the line and got more visibility.

Rowdy Smoke fan (MD)

If Danica do not qualify for the Darlington Sprint Cup race, will this hurt NASCAR a bit?

David Newton
  (2:30 PM)

Hurt? No. But it will hurt Danica's progress as she prepares for 2013.

Rita Jean (NorCal)

Someone probably asked before, but what was the exact cause for the failure to the #5?? Talk about peaks and valleys for that team, eh?

David Newton
  (2:31 PM)

Haven't heard the exact cause. That team just seems snakebit. They've had good speed, winning a couple of poles. It just hasn't translated into a good race. Kasey needs to finish two or three in a row with top 15s and relax.

Johnny (Alabama)

How do I go about getting a date with Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon?

David Newton
  (2:32 PM)

Pretend to be Tom Cruise.

Rob F (Hoboken, NJ)

Hi Newt, do you feel like it's a lost season for the 5? I fully expected him to be a serious contender, but he's had worse luck than the 24 and 18. It looks like the 24 and 18 will dig out of it, but I'll be shocked if the 5 does.

David Newton
  (2:32 PM)

Not lost yet, but pretty close to it. Honestly, I'll be shocked if they dig out of it, too.

Teri (Burbank)

Hi David. Was there any damage to TMS yesterday? My heart goes out to all those people who lost their homes, etc.

David Newton
  (2:33 PM)

Not that I've heard. Just fortunate there weren't lives lost. That was scary.

8Tbone8 (Texas)

You Harvick story today makes me wonder if Jr. is suffering from the same fatigue that hurt Harvick's career and if maybe he should get out of JMR too?

David Newton
  (2:33 PM)

Nope. Junior has people to handle most of his business dealings. Not a 10th involved as Harvick was.

Bill S. (High Point, NC)

The All Star race is not that far off now, and I'm sure this would probably not change much, but to start the year you have 3 non points races. If you added the winners of these races to the All Star event it could add a driver now and then. Has this ever been talked about?, or is this more of a Smith/France thing?

David Newton
  (2:34 PM)

This is a Sprint/CMS thing. They change it so often I have to look at the rules each year to know what's going on.

Chris (Crestview,FL)

Thanks David for answering our questions instead of only those from that small group Rowdy Busch haters who think they own this place. Do you expect tire wear issues at Mich. like we had a Indy a few years ago?

David Newton
  (2:35 PM)

Not sure what to expect at Michigan. The speeds were crazy. I mean, 215 on the straightaways. Goodyear will be challenges to develop a tire that wears enough to slow them down but not so much to blow. The Indy experience can only help.

Todd (Georgia)

Is it just me but has Almirola raced Dale Jr incredibly hard this year. The 43 and 88 had a few issues in Martinsville and also in another race if i remeber right.

David Newton
  (2:37 PM)

They are all good. Remember, Dale Jr. let him go to drive the 43. I doubt he would try to tick off the former boss on purpose.

Phoenix (AZ.)

How come people are acting like the Harvick's having a baby is such a big deal when nobody paid much attention to Montoya, Edwards, McMurry, Newman, Johnson or even Gordon when they had kids?

David Newton
  (2:38 PM)

Mainly because those of us that know Kevin and DeLana half expected them never to have kids.

Todd (Georgia)

Do you think that the reason JGR has been off is because of the swap over to TRD engines?

David Newton
  (2:39 PM)

Hasn't hurt MWR, so no. And people, Hamlin has won a race and is up there in points. Joey has been prett good, too. Just because Kyle isn't dominating doesn't mean the organization is off.

Bill S. (High Point, NC)

Looking forward to the trucks at the Rock, what kind of crowd do you see showing up?

David Newton
  (2:40 PM)

Yeah, hoping I can slip up there if I'm not covering the drag race in Charlotte. I look for 10,000 or so.

Teri (Burbank)

I saw Matt Kenseth posted a picture on Twitter of a turkey running around the track at Michigan Speedway this week. Is there a problem controling the animals that get on to the track there?

David Newton
  (2:40 PM)

I missed that. I've never encountered wildlife on the track there, but I have seen plenty on the drive to it.

BowTie 51 (MD)

how hard would it be to somehow find work in the Nascar biz?? what would I have to do to become a Nascar Reporter??

David Newton
  (2:42 PM)

A lot of good people out of work as NASCAR reporters now, so the answer is not easy. I really don't have a good answer. The economy has taken its toll on my side of the business just as it has with the team owners. A local TV reporter who loves the sport has spent the last year or so going to races on his own. Speed finally noticed and gave him some work last weekend. If you're a writer, a blog might be a good place to start.

Mike (Portland)

Why does NASCAR tolerate Tommy Baldwin Racing always making the sport look bad? First all the start & park garbage... now selfishly changing the outcome of a race due to incompetence. I wish TBR would just close the shop

David Newton
  (2:43 PM)

Tommy is doing what he can to survive in NASCAR. You can't fault him for that. Maybe one day he'll have the money and backing to compete like some of the big teams, and we'll all talk about what a great story it was.

Vernie (certified octo free) (NJ)

Unlike Harvick from your story today, it seems like Rowdy thrives on all the truck and Nationwide responsibility? Your thoughts?

David Newton
  (2:44 PM)

Kyle may think different when he starts a family.

Ron (Mt. Eaton)

Do you see more crew chief changes coming at RCR with Burton off to his typical bad start?

David Newton
  (2:46 PM)

Think the smart thing at this point is to leave the teams along and develop some continuity.

Teri (Burbank)

Any news on Junior Johnson? My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.

David Newton
  (2:47 PM)

Still in hospital with no visitors. Will let you know if I hear more. Just glad he got to experience the Hall of Fame before it got to this point.

Adam (Galax, VA)

Based on the speeds I have heard, is it possible Michigan could become a restrictor plate track?

David Newton
  (2:47 PM)

NASCAR doesn't want to go there. They'll let Goodyear handle with the tires, first.

Phoenix (FL)

Hey Newton, I thought you said there was no owner's Chase, only a driver's Chase? Why the sudden backtracking from two weeks ago?

David Newton
  (2:48 PM)

The key is I "thought" there was no owner's Chase. It's never come up before, but after studying the rulebook and talking to officials I have discovered there is an owner's Chase. Not that anybody will pay attention to that anymore than it does in NW when they have a split title.

Kirk (Bath, NY)

Is Kyle on some sort of probation at JGR? Something is affecting him.

David Newton
  (2:49 PM)

Nice try.

Scott (Kansas City)

Hi Newt! Please give me your assessment of Paul Menard's improvement as a driver last year and through teh first part of this year and do you think he has the goods to win a race and linger around for a final Chase birth this season?

David Newton
  (2:50 PM)

Well, he did win the Brickyard 400 last year, so that's progress. If you remember, he started off fast in the points last year as well and then faded. I don't see him making the Chase, though. He's still not at that level.

Mike (Maui)

Why are you ignoring the HUGE black eye that Reutimann & Tommy Baldwin racing caused NASCAR at Martinsville? they deliberately changed the outcome of the race!

David Newton
  (2:51 PM)

Had they known the car was going to stall and impact the outcome they would have gotten off the track. The word deliberately is too strong.

Knobstock (Wa.)

Great story today and I was wondering if just like "3" pressure caused Dale Jr. to suffer, Harvick has the same problem driving what was the #3?

David Newton
  (2:51 PM)

Thanks, but no pressure on Harvick.

Phoenix (FL)

The 5 team that Kahne has today is not the same 5 team that Mark Martin had in 2009. The old 5 team is with Gordon, and Kahne is in the old 25- you know, the "cursed" Hendrick team. How is it too difficult to comprehend that?

David Newton
  (2:52 PM)

I get that, but the 25/5 team in general has struggled no matter who the crew chief is or who makes up the pit crew.

David Newton
  (2:52 PM)

What happened with Martin a few years ago was the exception, not the rule.

Laura (manhattan beach)

Hey Newt! I've been following a bit of the testing at MIS. Could you provide some insight as to 1) Objective of the Goodyear testing 2) How do they choose/decide teams and driver that are participating as seems like an advantage to be there. Thanks and hope you are enjoying the "off week"

David Newton
  (2:53 PM)

The objective is to develop a tire that will provide the best racing, from wear to speed. Each manufacturer is represented at each test and those selected are rotated. Goodyear has the option to invite other teams, as well.

Matthew (Columbia, NJ)

Newt: Was there a reason why Dover got moved back to it's original day this year instead of the middle of May?

David Newton
  (2:54 PM)

Just the way the schedule fell when NASCAR changed the first off week and moved a few other races around.

Teri (Burbank)

Happy Easter, David. Carl Edwards doesn't seem to have his mojo this season. I'm guessing he'll find it pretty soon. Your thoughts?

David Newton
  (2:55 PM)

The trend has been for the runner-up in the Chase to suffer in performance the following year. Could be that. Could be they just haven't hit their groove yet. Remember, Stewart didn't have it till he got to the Chase last year.

Chris (Rutgers Grease Trucks, NJ)

Hi Newt:How can Tony Stewart not be a top 5 for the cup? You missed him in your top 5.

David Newton
  (2:56 PM)

Did you have him for top 5 going into last year's Chase? I didn't miss him. I just think he'll cool off. Just a gut thing. Not a knock on Smoke. Same reason I put Kyle Busch in there when he's not on all cylinders at the moment.

Michael Daley (A land far far away (insane) asylum )

Do the number of lead changes directly correlate to how good a race is? For example the plate races have the most lead changes, so in your opinion are they better than all the other races?

David Newton
  (2:57 PM)

Not necessarily. Sometimes a good race is defined by its finish alone. Many who didn't care for all the green-flag laps at Martinsville just remember the crazy finish.

Steven (Kingsport)

The year McMurray won those races was the year of the Childress motor, everyone else just caught up and the issues with consistency at EGR are magnified now.

David Newton
  (2:58 PM)

They still have the same Childress motor that has Harvick up there in points with a second and third. Much might be attributed to the tires. They have changed the past few years and some drivers haven't gotten the feel yet.

Laura (manhattan beach)

Any chance KLee you and the ESPN will host a chat Sunday, we can talk NASCAR during the Masters :)

David Newton
  (2:59 PM)

I hope not. I'll be watching the Masters and working on my tan.

Nick Rolando (Orlando)

David, you hearing any early silly season with regards to drivers or sponsors?

David Newton
  (2:59 PM)

None yet. Roush Fenway is looking ahead more to 2013 in search of sponsors evne though races are open this year. EGR has sponsors deals expiring, so it will be interesting to see if they re-up.

Steven (Kingsport)

Same situation for Edwards as McMurray a couple of years ago, last year the Ford Engine was dominant (same for the Childress engine two years ago) and then everyone else caught up.

David Newton
  (3:00 PM)

Think it has as much to do with tires and body as engine.

Steven (Kingsport)

Do you think Mr. H wishes he had put Letarte and Jr together from jump?

David Newton
  (3:00 PM)

He didn't get where he is by second-guessing him.

David Newton
  (3:01 PM)

My time is up. Turn to ESPN and catch the Par 3 Tournament at Augusta National where Denny Hamlin is bagging for Bubba Watson. Happy Easter to all.