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May 3, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with David Newton

David Newton
  (2:00 PM)

Auto update is on and so am I. Ready to get to as many questions as I can. Anyone predicting a wreck this week. Still can't believe there hasn't been one in three straight weeks. Crazy. Fire away.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

How do you think that Danica Patrick will do in the Aaron's 312,Darlington 200 & the Southern 500?

David Newton
  (2:00 PM)

25th, 30th, 38th.

Bill (Danville Pa)

Any idea what Stewarts problem was on restarts Saturday? Thanks

David Newton
  (2:01 PM)

I'm still trying to figure out why he had a problem with my question after the race. Seriously, he spun his tires on the last restart. Otherwise, he wsa pretty good. He's been one of the best on restarts all season.

aroznowski (USA)

Since your coverage of racing is among the best at ESPN, what is your prediction for the big race at Churchill Downs this Saturday?

David Newton
  (2:04 PM)

Among? C'mon. Butter me up. Say best. Kidding. I'm taking the No. 8 horse since there isn't an 88. Could be his time. Just hope there isn't any two-horse dancing. Could get messy. I do like Daddy Long Legs. 30-1 odds not as good as Junior at Dega, but payoff is better.

jesse (iowa)

im a little disappointed with such few cautions. i do thing some the debris cautions thrown the last few weeks may have been bogus cautions. somthing lacking this season is the drivers passion for the sport. your thoughts?

David Newton
  (2:06 PM)

Hard to say I'm disappointed there haven't been any wrecks for three weeks, although the wrecks to make the races more interesting from the re-starts alone. I have no problem with most of the debris cautions NASCAR throws. Drivers have been known to toss items out of the car to force debris cautions in the past, so if the governing body think it sees something on the track better safe than sorry.

Dave 15 Fan (Boston)

I've been a NASCAR fan for 5 years now. I'm not a Junior hater but definitely a JR Nation hater. Does it drive you insane to have to pick him to win every week to placate these sheep? It certainly drives me nuts to see the same 3 people insult your chat and incessantly rant and rave about Octo in the comments.

David Newton
  (2:08 PM)

I[m not a hater. As long as the Nation and Octo and whoever else reads the story and asks questions to spark thought I'm OK with it. Sometimes there's even something good in a rant. And I don't pick Junior to win every week. I don't believe he'll win this week for sure. Seldom lately have the favorites won at Dega.

Gene (Ohio)

Hey Newt, do you rate Ryan Blaney par or better than either of the Dillon's?

David Newton
  (2:09 PM)

All of them behind Chase Elliott. But what Ryan Blaney did last weekend was impressive, and he did it with lesser equipment than the Dillons get.

Chris (Crestview, Fl)

With Burton 20th and getting beaten by Kurt last week at Richmond do you think Kurt is the likely driver to be taking over the #31 in 2013?

David Newton
  (2:10 PM)

Pretty sure Burton has one more year left on his deal. Doesn't mean deals aren't made to be broken. Also a lot of time left for Jeff to make a run. I don't think he's over the hill despite the age on his driver's lisence.

Todd (Ga.)

Since Rowdy won Dega in 2008 do you expect Rowdy to challenge for the win on Sunday?

David Newton
  (2:11 PM)

He's a very good plate racer. It's all a crapshoot, though.

Andrew (Kentucky)

Hi David, are you impressed with the way JGR has integrated TRD and Grubb into the Gibbs organization?

David Newton
  (2:13 PM)

Wouldn't say impressed. They did it out of necessity. I guess what impresses is they were able to put their egoes aside and accept TRD's help. More impressed they let MWR into their inner circle.

Matt (ny)

Hey Newt, what do you think of Matt Kenseth's championship chances? Been just as consistent as anyone with his top 5's and the performance has never really been that far off at any particular track. Actually has performed better than The Biff most weeks. Your thoughts?

David Newton
  (2:13 PM)

Like Matt's chances a lot. Were it not for what happened at Martinsville last year he would have been a factor to win it all.

Shane (Chillicothe, Ohio)

I understand why Hendrick helps other teams with engines chassis etc.. But after while wouldnt you get tired of getting beat by your own equipment Ex. Stewart Hass.

David Newton
  (2:14 PM)

Not as long as those buying your equipment are helping you pay the bills, which they are.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Will Talladega be the Final Race for David Reutimann in the #10 Chevrolet in May?

David Newton
  (2:14 PM)

Good question. That could become a time bomb.

jesse (iowa)

martinsville we seen passion from the henderick guys. right now in my mind anyway the only drivers showing any passion out on the track is the hendrick boys. the racing just seems less passionete to me. i think biffle has been pretty pathetic. especially at the daytona 500. in my mind i think he let kenseth win. im assuming you disagree with that point but whats your thoughts on the rest

David Newton
  (2:15 PM)

Wouldn't say less passionate. Just calmer.

Joe B (Canada)

Hi David the other day Ryan Mcgee said you Media boy's may draw straws for ho asks Smoke the first question on Friday any winner yet And don't pic Slice bread as dark horse because I think more than half the field qualify.

David Newton
  (2:16 PM)

I'm not going to Dega unfortunately. If I were I'd be first in line to ask Tony a question. Best way to get his respect is to not back down from him. Been there a few times. And I have told Joey he can't be my darkhorse until he wins. But then he wouldn't be a darkhorse anymore. Hmm.

John (Key West)

Why havent we heard more about the other girl in the Nationwide series ...why is it all about Danica and Pastrami ?

David Newton
  (2:18 PM)

Same reason you don't hear about a lot of othre golfers when Tiger Woods is in the field. Danica and Pastrana are stars from other sports trying to prove themselves in NASCAR. Both are good stories, but that doesn't mean other stories should be overlooked. I believe Johanna Long was on NASCAR Now yesterday.

Loyd (CA)

When is it Panic mode for the 24 team

David Newton
  (2:18 PM)

If they are where they are now after Charlotte. Dega, Darlington and Charlotte usually are good tracks for Gordon.

Mike (Pa)

I am sorry about Jermey and his problems .. did NASCAR ever try to reach out and help his issues ..Addiction is a terbbile thing

David Newton
  (2:20 PM)

First, Jeremy never has admitted to being an addict. Second, he did himself more harm by some of the police incidents since he was suspended. Third, NASCAR offered him the chance to go to rehab when he first was suspended. But you're right, addiction is a terrible thing.

Linden (MD )

Can you tell McGee to stop picking the 88 to win ...he is cursing him every weekend ...

David Newton
  (2:21 PM)

McGee hasn't picked a race winner in five years, making Junior's streak look not so bad.

Matt (ny)

What do you think of Dave Blaney for this weekend? I'm predicting kids eat free at golden corral hahaha

David Newton
  (2:21 PM)

My kids are too old to qualify so haven't given it much thought.

Jerry (RI)

You have seen a lot of football in your day what is your take on Jr. Seau passing. It seems that that team is having a string of deaths ...that is uncommon

David Newton
  (2:24 PM)

I have spent about half my life covering football bewween NFL, colleges and high school. As for Seau, talked to the former Carolina Panthers strength coach I know. He was Seau's strength coach at Southern Cal. Called him the best athlete he's ever worked with, period. It's very sad, but I have no inside knowledge as to what led to it. I will say it's not easy for athletes in general to sometimes handle being away from the limelight and playing a sport their entire lif. I knew one of the other seven Chargers from the '94 AFC championship teams that passed as well. Odd, and all very tragic.

Matt (ny)

Who would you say is the best crewcheif of all time? The obvious answer is Dale Inman but i'd have to say that Ray Everenham and Chad Knaus are also two interesting candidates for that distinction. I believe Ray is because he seemed to have really changed the game when it comes to the gray area with the cars. I would like to say Knaus because he's this generations Ray and obviously learned from him since he was on the 24 crew, but i feel like Ray invented the game, and Chad perfected it, and i'll take the guy who invented it. Thoughts?

David Newton
  (2:25 PM)

Can't argue with anything you said.

Joey (SC)

When will Dale Jr. win THE race? Will it be at Darlington?

David Newton
  (2:26 PM)

Not his best track, so maybe that's when it'll happen. I'm looking at Charlotte now.

Ryan (Florence, AZ)

Hey Newt. I think the lack of cautions lately has been brought on by a couple factors. First, I think the talent level is higher than it has ever been from top to bottom. You don't really have a group of guys out there knocking down the fence and not controlling their cars week in and week out. The "Start and Park's" also play a role by eliminating the number of cars on the track all day. Your thoughts?

David Newton
  (2:27 PM)

Your points plus the cars are easier to handle when they start to get loose, plus they're all running the same speed so passing is harder and when you can't pass you have fewer wrecks.

BillElliot Fan (Athens Georgia)

I have seen Mark Martin pull over for more drivers than race...some drivers race to win...he races to ride.

David Newton
  (2:27 PM)

Hardly. But if he knows somebody has a fster car he doesn't get in the way.

David Morgan (Raymond, MS)

With the Dodge Nationwide teams getting caught with improper front bumpers today like the Chevy teams were last week, do you think there will be any harsher punishment for them?

David Newton
  (2:28 PM)

NASCAR pretty much set the standard last week, so no.

JP (DC)

I wonder if the rules package changes NASCAR has made for the Cup cars have gone too far. The Daytona 500 wasn't "pack racing" in the classic sense of the word, because the outside lane very rarely worked. While tandem racing wasn't pretty, by the second races at Daytona and Talladega in 2011, teams knew that they couldn't ride around at the back and then plow to the front at 5 laps to go, because their path would be blocked by all the other tandems attempting to do the same thing. It made for a thrilling last half of the race, not just last five laps. So the question is, is there an engineering change that NASCAR can make to make 3x3x3 pack racing a real option? If not, I say bring back the tandems.

David Newton
  (2:30 PM)

Intereting thoughts. It is a bit contrived and not truly like Pack racing of the past. But I'm not a big fan of dancing with the cars, so I'll take what they manufacturered. I am hoping the 2013 car changes things. I kind of agree with Carl Edwards. Take off the splitters and most of the spoilers and make the cars more like they are on the dealership floor.

sam (ut)

with the 48 able to pass so many car at richmond, would it make the field wondering what the 48 will do next?

David Newton
  (2:31 PM)

Jimmie has been passing a lot of cars and leading a lot of laps all season. Amazing he hasn't won. He's still my pick to win it all.

Saul (San Diego)

There have been few wrecks and cautions so far. So Mr Newton, how many wrecks and cautions do you predict at DEGA....

David Newton
  (2:32 PM)

I asked Dale Jr last weeekend when all hell was going to break loose. He said not for a while because drivers are trying to get every point they can. As far as the big one at Dega, I only look for maybe one.

jesse (iowa)

will tony stewart be penelized for his comments on the final caution at richmond?

David Newton
  (2:32 PM)

Nope

Rob F (Hoboken, NJ)

Hi Newt, Ia??m really happy to hear MM is enjoying himself, good piece. Didna??t Pearson put more emphasis on winning races as opposed to the championship too? As a fan of NASCAR before The Chase was implemented I no longer care who wins it all since the best team usually doesna??t. So MMa??s oldschool emphasis is OK with me.

David Newton
  (2:33 PM)

Thanks, and Pearson did put more emphasis on winning races. He only ran a full season three, maybe four times.

BillElliot Fan (Athens Georgia)

Every highlight you see about NASCAR involves a wreck or the Daytona 1979 fight....when will racing mean something more than money to drivers? Kyle Busch slams someone and gets suspended...if that happened at a local track the stands would be full next Saturday night to see what happens....BUT now we have races with no cautions, drivers riding around, and gas mileage races - not exciting nor what built NASCAR! When they want to see dollars again they will stop thinking about their own and get back to what made them money to start with....passionate racing!

David Newton
  (2:34 PM)

Hey, all the highlights in football are on big hits. No different than wrecks in NASCAR. I just don't buy the argument there isn't passionate racing. I just think the passion is focused too much on points.

Mike Oxcurved (Johnson City)

We don't need to worry about the streak of races without a wreck continuing - Michael Waltrip is racing this weekend

David Newton
  (2:35 PM)

Didn't he finish 10th in his last Cup race at Dega. He's pretty good on plate tracks.

Tim (El Cajon, CA)

To make the points system better they should give the winner 5 points, the pole winner 2, and the half way leader 1 or 2. They can take away the 1 point for leading a lap, can leave the MOST laps led point (or 2). Just sort of thinking out loud is all.

David Newton
  (2:37 PM)

Love it. I told NASCAR when they made this system that they didn't give enough points for winning. Brian France said they could add in the future if need be. Need be is here. How about this...Seed race winners first in the Chase and fill the rest of the field on points.

Mike Oxcurved (Johnson City)

The K&N East race was the best race of the weekend at Richmond. Maybe the top 3 series need to start running on bias ply tires again?

David Newton
  (2:37 PM)

Mark Martin liked it, too.

Nick Poff (Melbourne, FL)

Do you think that Hendrick motorsports is struggling as an organization because of the team lacking speed, or just plain bad luck on the part of the drivers?

David Newton
  (2:39 PM)

Bad luck. Kasey Kahne has had fast cars all year. He just hasn't gotten them to the finsih. Same for Gordon. Johnson easily could have won two or three races, and were it not for lap 2 crash at Dega might be near the lead in points. Junior is second in points, so enough said.

Cale (Champaign, IL)

What changes, if any, can we expect to see this weekend at Talladega that are different from what we they ran at Daytona?

David Newton
  (2:40 PM)

I predict pretty much the same.

Colin (Oakland, CA)

Hey Newt - thanks for your time! Great article on Mark Martin, been a fan of his for many years. BUT, if you owned a team and had to choose one driver from the MWR stable to have on it (including Vickers and Pastrana), who would you take? Thanks!

David Newton
  (2:40 PM)

Be pretty close between Truex and Bowyer. Probably Bowyer.

Andy (Washington, DC)

Hey David Newtimann - who do you have at 'dega this weekend? I'm thinking a Jr, Kenseth, Bowyer, and JJ showdown. Thoughts?

David Newton
  (2:41 PM)

Not bad picks. I'd throw Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick into the mix.

Mike Oxcurved (Johnson City)

What if Talladega dropped the banking to 15 degrees? I think it would be an exciting mix of drafting and having to really race.

David Newton
  (2:42 PM)

Won't ever happen. Fans would be in an uproar. Got to keep some tradition.

marion (sc)

david,do u think logano will be replaced in the 20 for next season if so who might and anything on dodge ?

David Newton
  (2:43 PM)

I still believe Joey makes the Chase, and if that happens he won't be replaced. If he doesn't, Kurt Busch is standing in the wings. Nothing more on Dodge except options running out.

Sam (UT)

I got a good feeling jr will win this weekend and then the grandstands will burn down by all the dale jr fans. Thoughts?

David Newton
  (2:45 PM)

There'll be a big party, but it'll included Budweiser and not Fire.

Christine (Ballston Spa, NY)

Hi David! I don't know about you but I'm loving this stretch of the schedule. No cookie cutters for a couple months!!! (Aside from Charlotte but it doesn't count because it's the original). Will Nascar ever wise up and add more diversity to the schedule? Having the same product every week isn't going to bring in new fans!!

David Newton
  (2:46 PM)

I hope so if you saw the napkin schedule a few fellow reporters and I put together. But we're not NASCAR and I don't see the eliminating any of the 1.5 mile tracks. Shame.

Cale (Champaign, IL)

I know its like playing russian roulette, but what are your picks and darkhorse (if u can have a darkhorse for talladega..i think anyone can win) for this weekend?

David Newton
  (2:47 PM)

Logano (If I can't make him my darkhorse, I'll make him one of the favorites), Johnson, Gordon, Busch and Harvick. Darkhorse, Montoya.

Tyler (Daytona)

Dave, I need help on my fantasy picks for this weekend, suggestions?

David Newton
  (2:48 PM)

The ones I just picked.

Lenny (Oklahoma)

Any word on who will be driving the Dodges next year? And do you know who Finch will be announcing as Kurts sponser?

David Newton
  (2:48 PM)

Hearing some Furniture Row. All depends on who builds the engines.

Michael (Edinboro University of Pennsylvania)

Mr. Newton, with the new body style of car coming out in 2013, will it effect the aerodynamics of the cars enough to make track position less important on the 1.5 mile cookie-cutter tracks, or will there be no noticeable differences in the aerodynamics? Will the bumpers line up evenly like they currently do and thus prevent the drivers from using the two-car tango at Daytona and 'Dega? Thank you for your time and I'm sure we all appreciate these chats you and your fellow reporters put on for us.

David Newton
  (2:49 PM)

Hope so, but from what I've seen and heard so far not terribly optimistic.

Jenny (Chicago)

Kenny Wallace fans are happy to see him back in the race car this weekend! I hope he gets a good sponsor soon!

David Newton
  (2:50 PM)

Good for Kenny.

Brian (NJ)

This season is a snoozer !!! The 500 was amazing, and Martinsville was outstanding..Other then that... booooorrrrring !!!!!!

David Newton
  (2:51 PM)

Hey, I've seen some boring NBA playoff games, too.

John (Illinois)

David, why weren't the other 2 cars who followed Carl and passed the leader on the outside line also penalized? What is the rule?

David Newton
  (2:51 PM)

Rule, I believe, specifies it's the first car to beat the leader to the start.

stump (MO)

Can we get more Johanna Long and less Danica articles? I don't care what you journalists say about Danica "learning" on the job. Johanna has performed just as good or better than Danica in lesser equipment.

David Newton
  (2:52 PM)

Can't argue that.

Brian (Shawnee, KS)

I think the majority of NASCAR fans don't necessarily want more cautions, but more restarts. Would heat races, with extra money going to heat winner; then end of race points / monies being distributed be the answer?

David Newton
  (2:53 PM)

Maybe they should try my suggestion for the All-Star race and see if it could apply to others. I'd have 10 10- or 15-lap segments with the winner of the first nine competitng for the $1 million.

laura (manhattan beach)

Hey Newt - Agree on your response to banking at Talladega, especially after attending a race there! What is your take on Front Row Furniture talking to KuBu? And are the Busch brothers going to behave the rest of the season?

David Newton
  (2:53 PM)

Can't blame Furniture Row for cotacting Busch before one of the bigger teams snatch him up. As for behaving, yes, I believe they will. Kurt has no choice if he wants another ride.

Vinnie (ATL)

Was Tony in bad mood after Richmond or did he really not like your question?

David Newton
  (2:54 PM)

Pretty sure bad mood. He was ticked he didn't win and because his pit crew didn't get him out first on the final stop. He radioed they need not plan a day off on Sunday until they stopped by the shop to work on a few things.

laura (manhattan beach)

Sorry - I see some of my questions are late to the party and already answered! I do love this chat tho!

David Newton
  (2:54 PM)

Me too

Dave Saegrove (Stoddard WI)

Can the 55 win the owner points, or has the chase format outlawed that chance?

David Newton
  (2:55 PM)

It can win the owner's points title if it is top 10 in owner's points when the Chase begins and collects the most owner's points in the Chase. Go back and look at my blog from Martinsville weekend.

Kristin (NYC)

Thoughts on Mike Ford with the 43 team?

David Newton
  (2:56 PM)

I like Mike a lot, so I'd rule this an improvement.

sam (ut)

Will we finnally see some tempers go off this weekend?

David Newton
  (2:56 PM)

Thought we'd see it last week and we didn't. Puzzled.

Saul (San Diego)

Sir, Why did Tony Stewart give you a hard time when you asked him about the lack of wrecks in NASCAR lately.

David Newton
  (2:57 PM)

Because that's his nature. I don't take it personal. Not the first time an athlete has been disrespectful.

Brian (NJ)

I predict JR will not win this year!!!!!!!!!!!!! He will come close, but no cigar !!!!!!!!!

David Newton
  (2:57 PM)

He's already come close a bunch of times.

Jesse (Huntersville NC)

Does the string of races with no wrecks not undermine Bruton Smith's grinding down of the progressive banking at Bristol?

David Newton
  (2:58 PM)

Well, don't think that hasn't crossed the minds of a few. Th eproblem is only half the seats were filled. He had to do something.

Justin M (Boone, NC)

Just wanted to say that every fan that complains about too long of green flag runs should look at the NNS race at Richmond. The last half of the race was one long green flag run with green flag pit stops, and we still had an exciting, slam-bang, clean photo finish. When the race plays out naturally, it isn't always exciting, but sometimes it's spectacular and that's why I love motorsports.

David Newton
  (2:59 PM)

Good point. How many other drivers do you think would have or could have held that car the way Kurt did?

Jimmy (Candor,NY)

Would Chase Elliot be as good as Blaney and the Dillon's if he wasn't in Hendrick cars?

David Newton
  (2:59 PM)

Sarcasm will get you everywhere.

KB Nation (Global)

Did you catch Tommy Baldwin on tv yesterday, sarcastically slamming Junebug for his comments about Martinsville?

David Newton
  (3:00 PM)

Not the first time he's done that.

Sam (UT)

so is furniture row gonna dump regan?

David Newton
  (3:00 PM)

Don't think so. They will add another car if anything.

Larry (MI)

I see you are back to your usual form today. (kidding). Do you see a first time winner on Sunday? I am thinking maybe AJ or even Almirola.

David Newton
  (3:00 PM)

Never knew I lost it. Oh well.

Saul (San Diego)

What happen to Jr Seau was very sad and it has heighten the discussion on the possible effects that football has on the body / concussions. Is there any history of medical issues after a driver retires from wrecks, g-force, stress?etc.

David Newton
  (3:02 PM)

None that have been reported. Concussions haven't really been in the forefront until recently. But they happen more than you might think in NASCAR. Did a story on it a few years ago. Maybe time to revisit. Google and it might fill in some blanks for you.

David Newton
  (3:02 PM)

That's it for me. Back to cleaning the mancave/garage.

David Newton
  (3:02 PM)

As usual, I'm always around on Twitter @Dneewtonespn to answer your questions.