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May 2, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Ed Hinton

Ed Hinton
  (2:00 PM)

Good afternoon, all. Let's get started.

Mike (Charlotte)

Why all the hype for Junebug at Talladega? Only reason he won 5 times there is because DEI had an unfair advantage on the plate tracks. Anyone who picks a driver to win at Talladega is a silly goose!

Ed Hinton
  (2:02 PM)

Junior also happens to be a very savvy plate racer. True, picking a winner at Casino de Alabama is kind of a shot in the dark, but you do go somewhat by who has the most skill. And, at pack drafting, Junior is right up there with Gordon et al.

Buddy (Ohio)

Do you think success in the Daytona 500 this year would translate to a good run at Talladega?

Ed Hinton
  (2:03 PM)

Plate horsepower and aero should translate for the likes of Kenseth and Biffle. But the big question is, will they be able to get together and stay together like at Daytona? I'd say Daytona strength translates about 60 percent. The rest is luck.

Ed Hinton
  (2:04 PM)

Just a note here: If you spam me with several copies of the same question, all you're going to get is all of them deleted.

Jim (Bayala)

Ed, as a Jeff Gordon fan is is sorry seeing him continue racing. Has Jeff entered the "Bobby Labonte Phase" of his career and now just hanging around for the paycheck?

Ed Hinton
  (2:05 PM)

I don't think he's that far into the twilight yet. And he's definitely not there for the paycheck. JG is loaded, and I'm convinced he's still in it for the competition.

Nick (Richmond,VA)

We all know new tires are faster and have more grip than worn tires. My question is why? Do the tires get progressively harder as they wear and get towards the cords? Is the outer layer softer and give more grip until it wears off?

Ed Hinton
  (2:06 PM)

Nobody can accuse me of not posting a tough question. That's one for the engineers, but look at it this way: take your own car, with tires with visible tread. When that tread wears, the surface slides and loses traction. Racing slicks, though it's hard to explain how, behave in some ways like treaded tires. That flat surface gets grip. Wear away the sticky surface and it loses grip like your treaded tires.

Mack (from the chats) (Wilmington DE)

Mr. Hinton--if Indy went out of its way to allow drivers to "Do the Double", do you think that anybody would take them up on the offer?

Ed Hinton
  (2:08 PM)

I really don't see a serious contender doing it. Tony Stewart would be the best, but I think he's had enough of the double. What you might see is somebody who doesn't have a chance to win either race. Sad but true as I see it.

Vernie (NJ)

Hi Ed, really liked the historic perspective of today's story, "Dega 1987, but wasn't Kezolawski intentionally wrecking the #99 into the grandstands, injuring 8 innocent fans, including sending a young girl to the hospital, much worse?

Ed Hinton
  (2:09 PM)

Couple of things there. Don't think K did it intentionally, he was just going to hold his position or else. Also, Carl got airborne only after being punted off the hood of Newman's car that was rushing up on the outside.

Bart (East Bay)

Hi Ed, do you think the reason the RCR NW cars of Harvick, Sadler, Dillon and the Turners got their butts kicked by Kurt and Denny because NASCAR took away the cheater noses?

Ed Hinton
  (2:10 PM)

Well, that confiscation did throw the cars in question for a loop for the race. But I don't think it's the sole reason.

Jason Mobley (Cupertino)

When Austin Dillon does hit the cup scene will he be most likely driving the number 3. Also what are the chances of seeing the truck series at Richmond.

Ed Hinton
  (2:11 PM)

I imagine he'll continue to use the 3. I think in a way RCR has been preparing the public for that, up through the ranks. Trucks at Richmond? Would be good show, but that track is good enough for NW to attract two races, and the night format doesn't lend itself to three races in a weekend.

mike (phila)

ever year we hear of teams looking for sponsers and drivers looking for a team but the 24 and 48 are never mentioned. Do they have life time contracts with their teams/sponsers? and if they do , do other drivers have that? thanks ed

Ed Hinton
  (2:13 PM)

JG does have a lifetime deal with Hendrick, but not sponsors. He gets a piece of the action. Reason you don't hear much about them is that sponsors tend to stay a long time. Lowe's is quite happy. DuPont was too, until the ante got so big. And remember, the 24 negotiation with the anti-hunger campaign took some work.

Shane (Chillicothe, Ohio)

Ed, Is Ganassi running out of patience with Juan and for that matter Jamie. Im just not understanding after 4 or 5 years how Juan who only wins are on a road course is still on a team. No chases lots of crashes and lots of bad pub with other drivers.

Ed Hinton
  (2:14 PM)

Main thing is, I think Chip knows that it's his team, not JPM, that is most responsible for the lack of accomplishments.

Larry (MI)

Ed, after Junior wins Dega and takes the point lead, what are the haters going do with all the spare time they will have now? These chats will probably have half the trolls it usually does so that will be nice.

Ed Hinton
  (2:15 PM)

Oh, stop. You don't think one win is going to cool off Anti-Junior Nation, do you?

Justin (Northern Virgina)

Is Joe Gibbs respected in the garage to the same level as Roush, Hendrick, Childress, and Ganassi? Or is just viewed as a football coach who owns a race team?

Ed Hinton
  (2:16 PM)

They're right up there in respect. Remember, J.D. Gibbs, who actually runs the team, is never thought of as a coach, but a team director.

Andy (Cinci)

Ryan Blaney debuts with a top 10 in a start and park Baldwin car! Typical media crap so we look over that finish to Danica or Pastrana who have never impressed. So tired of being force fed who I should root for by the media! I will take Blaney and Johanna Long over those to hacks!

Ed Hinton
  (2:17 PM)

Whoa, now. I watched the NW race, and I thought our ESPN pit reporters gave good time to both Ryan and his dad after the race was over. Ryan's performance was acknowledged throghout the race, and then afterward.

Jim (Johnson City)

C'mon media, Ryan Blaney impressed me more in 1 race than Danica ever has. He drove to a top 10 in his NNS debut in a Tommy Baldwin car, get with it media!

Ed Hinton
  (2:18 PM)

Very impressive, yes. But remember: Danica, in her first stock car race, ARCA, finished sixth. If you'd gone by that one race you'd have thought she was going to set the world on fire right away. Let's give Ryan a few more races. So far, really good . . .

Andrew (Dayton Oh)

So Fox had Carl in the lead, Carl thought he was the leader and Tony spun the tires, why was Carl black flagged again? Let's say Carl knew he was 2nd, Tony still spun the tire, what was Carl to do, lock the breaks up and cause a pileup? If Tony doesn't go on the start that is his deal!

Ed Hinton
  (2:19 PM)

Replays clearly showed Carl taking off before the designated "start box." You know me, if I think NASCAR was wrong I don't hesitate to say so. But NASCAR was right this time.

Joe B (Canada)

Hi Ed great story on Talladega as a Bill Elliott fan for 30 years the race that he won there where he was two laps down is still one of my best memories of the #9 Coors car, what year was that?

Ed Hinton
  (2:21 PM)

That was 1985. I was in his pits that day. When he came in with that cut brake line, Ernie and the crew had to "catch" the car by hand to slow it down. Then, it was just amazing to watch him come by lap after lap, making up those two laps UNDER GREEN! No unlapping on restarts, and there were no lucky dogs then.

Mack (from the chats) (Wilmington DE)

Mr. Hinton--I know that the Daytona 500 is much bigger in prestige than the Talladega races, but if Trevor Bayne never wins again, do you see him going down on the level of Ron Bouchard, Bobby Hillin and Phil Parsons?

Ed Hinton
  (2:22 PM)

Hmmm, that's a tough one. No, the list of Daytona 500 winners stands on its own, so Bayne's name will be more prominent than the others you mention. Think about it, Mack. If you weren't such a veteran, would you even know about Bouchard, Hillin and Phil Parsons?

mike (phila)

where do you see the 24 finishing this week? top 5?

Ed Hinton
  (2:23 PM)

It's like Junior said the other day, there are just too many variables at Dega. 24 could finish top five, or he could get caught in the first big one and finish in the bottom 10. just no way to tell.

Scott (Indy)

Ed, how busy is IMS going to be this month with the new car? Should I take a day or two off (and a 6 pack of beer) out?

Ed Hinton
  (2:24 PM)

Not sure the curiosity over the new car will significantly add to traffic and crowds, but I do sense each year lately that there's a renewed energy around the 500. I think it's worth going out and having a look -- maybe on pole day.

Ted (Conway Ma)

Don't like the wrecks...The Nationwide finish with Kurt in Denny was the best! Why are the hilites wreck focused?

Ed Hinton
  (2:25 PM)

Why are hoops highlights dunk focused? People just like quick hits of action. But that clean finish was plenty highlight worth.

Matt (Rochester, NY)

Isn't the point of racing for the teams to get an advantage on all the other teams? "The only reason Dale Jr. won 5 times at DEGA is because he had an unfair advantage." The haters are just nuts!! Dale is 2nd in points, with his worst finish being 15th!! He has had 7 2nd place finishes since the last win. Get a grip people!

Ed Hinton
  (2:26 PM)

The Euries were the best at Dega for a while. Junior was just good at plate racing then, and he's just plain good at it now.

Larry (Tampa)

any chance darlington get its second race back

Ed Hinton
  (2:27 PM)

I really, really doubt it. In that backwater market, Chris Browning is doing a heckuva job drawing for one race. The late Jim Hunter knew it was almost impossible to draw well for two.

Mack (from the chats) (Wilmington DE)

Mr. Hinton--Veteran? I'm 29!

Ed Hinton
  (2:28 PM)

Well, then, you've done a lot more homework than most. I can see that from the race chats.

Teri (CA)

What is your favorite and least favorite track?

Ed Hinton
  (2:30 PM)

Much as I poke fun at Casino de Alabama, I gotta admit I enjoy watching the races. Mark Martin hates racing at Dega more than anybody, but readily admits that he watches it on TV on the occasions he gets to sit the weekend out. Least favorite? None of the cookie cutters stands out particularly, but I don't exactly go into any of those with the adrenalin surging.

Vinnie (ATL)

Was Tony in a bad mood after Richmond or did he really not like Newton's question? Ouch!

Ed Hinton
  (2:31 PM)

Wasn't there for the Richmond post race, so don't know. But Tony was upset over the final caution, and any given reporter who asks him any question at any time always runs the risk of getting bitten. It's just Smoke's nature. You never know. I no longer take offense when he snaps at me. Haven't in a while.

Kevin (PA)

How much longer do you see the two road courses each recieving a race each year?

Ed Hinton
  (2:32 PM)

I think they're going to stay for two reasons: 1, NASCAR needs thattouch of variety and 2, NASCAR needs and wants the Northern California and Upstate New York markets.

Lane (Henderson, NV)

Do you think Scott Miller was clearly MWR's gain and RCR's loss, especially with the way Harvick was throwing his pit crew under the bus?

Ed Hinton
  (2:33 PM)

No doubt Miller was MWR's gain. If you forced me to cite one reason for that team's surge this year, I'd have to say Miller.

Nick (Richmond,VA)

I was at the Richmond race and noticed there was no 2nd groove for the most part. Usually the high line can be pretty effective. Did the rain get all the rubber off and they never put down enough in the high line for it to be fast?

Ed Hinton
  (2:34 PM)

Wasn't there so not sure. But clearly no leader wanted to restart on the outside all night. Even when Carl thought he was the leader, he thought nascar had put him outside by mistake.

Val (Chicago)

Hi Ed, whenever the subject of women in NASCAR comes it, Kelly Earnhardt is always the first mentioned but she's just like Teresa E. and never at the tracks and don't tell me about the kids etc. Aren't there many woman who have accomplished equal or more than her?

Ed Hinton
  (2:36 PM)

She may not be at the tracks, but she's a much better businesswoman than her stepmom. No comparison. And, Kelly was a pretty good driver herself in her youth, back when there wasn't much chance for women to move to the big leagues.

Johnny Utah (Los angeles )

Hi Ed,what is your favorite driving movie? Mine is days of thunder

Ed Hinton
  (2:38 PM)

Didn't like any of the NASCAR movies. My favorites by far are Steve McQueen in Le Mans, Jim Garner in The Grand Prix, and Clark Gable in the old black and white "To Please a Lady." Gable's peformance probably best ever portrayal of a race driver.

Grant (Harrisburg, PA)

Ed-I went to a couple of truck races at Richmond (2002 and 2003), held the Thursday night of the September race weekend. They were indeed great shows, both won by Tony Stewart (driving for Andy Petree, I believe), but as you surmised, didn't draw too well.

Ed Hinton
  (2:39 PM)

I think Richmond could get 'em if they wanted 'em. But it's just a business matter: if you gotta cut it to two races, NW is the better draw both live and on TV.

Jake (Irving, TX)

Do you think NASCAR made a mistake scheduling Homestead on the same date as The United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas?

Ed Hinton
  (2:41 PM)

No, I think the FIA made a big mistake scheduling Austin on top of Homestead. In basketball, FIA would be called for charging because NASCAR had established its footing. And I'll still believe an Austin race when I see it. My own son is now a believer in Austin, and he and I have to watch it lest our phone conversations get too heated. My son is back as an F1 fan with a vengeance after years of apathy.

Matt (Rochester, NY)

Not jumping down your throat here Ed. I really want to know your answer. What does Dale Jr. have to do to truly be considered a championship contender? He is 2nd in points and looks really good this year. His cars are fast and they are not making the usual mistakes and losing the track. Does a win at DEGA do it? Does he have to win elsewhere? He has won on all types of tracks besides road courses in his career. I know it has been a really long time, trust me. Thoughts?

Ed Hinton
  (2:43 PM)

What he has to do is get deep into the Chase and be within clear shooting distance of the leader. Wasn't it the first Chase where he hung in quite well, then took a chance at Atlanta and wrecked out of title contention? I considered him a true championship contender that fall. If he gets back into that position I'll call him a serious contender again.

Dan (Charlotte)

When will Hendrick cars wins again? It's been a while..

Ed Hinton
  (2:44 PM)

There's a guy sitting just to the north of you who is wondering the same thing. If he knew, he'd fix it. Thought the man himself went too far out on a limb in January when he told us he'd be very disappointed if all four of his cars didn't make the Chase, and very disappointed if one didn't win the championship. I thought all his drivers and crew chiefs gave him kind of a funny look at that moment . . . and they haven't won since.

Johnny Utah (Los angeles )

Hi Ed,do you think Travis Pastrana has more potential then Danica?

Ed Hinton
  (2:46 PM)

Well, it looks like it after one race. But again, after Danica's first ARCA race she looked like she was going to set the world on fire. It's almost a separate issue, but I'd decided I wasn't going to be impressed with Pastrana and I was. Very much. Also impressed with his risk-taking in front of the microphone. Politically incorrect, but gets people's attention.

SB (Cali)

Hi Ed, seems the Cup guys are back to dominating the lower series. Are we suposed to be impressed??

Ed Hinton
  (2:47 PM)

No, we're not. But I think there are enough strong NW regulars that this recent trend will abate again.

Teri (North Hollywood)

In your opinion, who is the best driver at Roush-Fenway?

Ed Hinton
  (2:48 PM)

Oooh, tough. If you forced me to answer, guess I'd say Kenseth.

Vinnie (ATL)

Do you think we are in for fight in the F1 championship between Red Bull and McLaren and possibly Mercedes instead of someone running away with it?

Ed Hinton
  (2:50 PM)

I think we're in for the best and most competitive F1 season in my memory. We're already there. Mercedes incredibly impressive for a so-called "upstart." My son follows every lap, from practice on. Growing up he was never a Schumacher believer, but he now believes the old boy still can get it done. This is the first year in many, many that I wish I could cover the entire F1 season. It's just fabulous -- ugly as the cars may be.

Dan (Charlotte)

But who wins first at Hendrick?

Ed Hinton
  (2:51 PM)

I'm still saying that if the spinning ball falls right on the roulette wheel at Casino de Alabama, Junior could do a double and break his losing streak at 137, and get Hendrick's 200th win. OK, Anti-Junior Nation, you can take your best shots now.

Ted (Conway Ma)

Do you think Raikkonen is one of the best drivers? 2nd for lotus and he did well in the trucks

Ed Hinton
  (2:52 PM)

Lotus is another impressive upstart I forgot to mention. My chief F1 consultant, my son, is more impressed with them than anybody. When Renault's engine engineers are on, they're tough to beat. Yes, I think Raikkonen still can get it done.

Roscoe (Chino, Ca.)

If there was Old Rowdy and New "Mature" Rowdy then what do you call the 2012 version of Rowdy?

Ed Hinton
  (2:53 PM)

I'd call him the you-never-know Rowdy, which I've called him all along.

Vinnie (ATL)

The F1 cars may be ugly, but the manufacturers are the reason I was drawn to F1.

Ed Hinton
  (2:53 PM)

F1 is the only arena than can tolerate the heavy manufacturer involvement. And, yes, I like it too.

Vinnie (ATL)

I would have paid to have been in Raikkonen's press conference during his short stay in trucks just to see the media's reaction to him from those that didn't know his personality in F1!

Ed Hinton
  (2:55 PM)

I saw some of their reaction. They were amazed that he almost never smiled. They didn't understand the Finnish mindset. I saw Mika Hakkinen smile only once, in a one-on-one I was doing with him, and that was just a very faint hint at the smile.

Roscoe (Chino, Ca.)

Did you take any guff for writing that Junebug didn't have anything for Rowdy at the end of Richmond?

Ed Hinton
  (2:55 PM)

Nope, because I was going solely on what Junior had to say.

Saul (San Diego)

Do your prefer day or night races?

Ed Hinton
  (2:56 PM)

Day races, from a pure logistical standpoint. Night races sometimes I end up getting there six or seven hours before the race starts, due to the steady traffic flow. Day races, you get in, you get done, you get out. And maybe it's just me, but I think you can see all the action better in the daytime.

Dan (Charlotte)

Will Kahne make the chase after bad start?

Ed Hinton
  (2:57 PM)

Man, that's gonna be rough.

Teri (North Hollywood)

Thanks for a great chat today, Ed. Have a good time at Casino de Alabama!

Ed Hinton
  (2:57 PM)

Thanks, Teri. Nice to see so many of our Saturday night and Sunday live race chat people on here today.

Justin M (Boone, NC)

The NNS race at Richmond showed exactly why green flag runs are alright. They had to make green flag pit stops in a 250 lapper at Richmond, yet we still had an awesome, clean, slam-bang photo finish at the end, and that's how it should be. Let 'em race; it may not be exciting every time, but sometimes it's spectacular.

Ed Hinton
  (2:58 PM)

Precisely. I said in the rundown and I'll say it again, that was about as near ideal NASCAR racing as you're going to see.

Ron (Ohio)

You figure only 2 HMS cars (48/88) make the chase?

Ed Hinton
  (2:59 PM)

It's beginning to look more and more that way . . . unless 24's luck turns around in a hurry and stays turned around.

Vinnie (ATL)

It has been 18 years since Senna's death. I remember the announcement on a Nascar broadcast. I believe Earnhardt won that race in 94 and was asked about Senna? Did they know each other.

Ed Hinton
  (3:00 PM)

Yes, sadly, 18th anniversary yesterday, right? Don't know whether Earnhardt and Senna ever met, but they certainly weren't big buds the way Earnhardt and Nigel Mansell were.

Jay (Ga)

As good as MWR has been this year, how well would Reutimann be doing had he not been dumped by Waltrip and Aarons late late last year? AFter all, he was giving MWR a couple wins and good runs when the team was aaverage at best

Ed Hinton
  (3:01 PM)

Essentially, would he have been doing better than Bowyer? Hard to say, but, likeable as Reuti is, I kind of doubtit.

Ed Hinton
  (3:01 PM)

Uh oh. The clock got away from me. Gotta go. Thanks to all, as always.