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May 15, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Ed Hinton

Ed Hinton
  (3:00 PM)

Hi, all. DW is a hard act to follow, but here we go.

Jamerson (Georgia)

What are the ramifications going to be from the Busch/Newman fiasco? Obviously, I figure Newman's crew man that picked the fight will be suspended. Any punishments for Busch or Newman themselves?

Ed Hinton
  (3:02 PM)

Saw where Pemberton didn't think the NASCAR official getting tumbled onto the hood was necessarily an aggressive move, so there might not be any penalties. As for Kurt's tantrum, I'd think NASCAR would at least talk to him . . .for the umpteenth time . . .

Clint (Dallas,TX)

Which athlete from another sport do you think could be or would of been a great Nascar driver? I think Bo Jackson could of won some races personally. Could you imagine if he won a Race at Talladega, his home track.

Ed Hinton
  (3:03 PM)

I knew Bo in his prime, and that guy could do ANYTHING he wanted to before he tore up that hip. I've seen him occasionally at Auburn games and he's a bit on the plump side for getting into those tight-fitting Cup cars now. From other sports? Brett Favre probably would have the motivation . . . and Bubba Watson of golf might develop amazing car control.

Derek (Ocala, FL)

Dale Jr. was on a great streak there for a while, but after just an okay run at Talladega and a mediocre run at Darlington, does it look like he's back to his old self? Or can he bounce back and contend for the win at Charlotte?

Ed Hinton
  (3:04 PM)

No, I think he's legitimately back as a top 10 regular, and in talking with him, he really believes he can break through for a win soon. Charlotte? Kind of doubt it.

Matt (ny)

Hey Ed, you ranked Matt Kenseth 11th in your preseason rankings. Has your opinion been changed?

Ed Hinton
  (3:05 PM)

Somewhat, yes, in that the Roush plate program is much stronger than I anticipated. Still, we'll have to see how positive his attitude is at Chase time. That's what he's been lacking, but maybe it'll pick up this year.

Zach Cross (Church Hill)

Do you think Matt Kenseth will take over the 20 car next year if Rosuh can't find sponsors?

Ed Hinton
  (3:07 PM)

Roush has come out with a strong statement saying Matt will be at RFR as long as he wants to be. Not sure Kenseth, who isn't much of a firebrand, would fit into the motley JGR lineup -- at least not enough for Gibbs to outbid Roush for him.

Geri (Canada)

Mr. Hinton, With Bowyer and Martin having signed contracts and Truex hasn't yet, it's obvious the MWR is giving Truex's team everything they can to succeed this year and be in the Chase also they do have Miller from RCR. Your thoughts?

Ed Hinton
  (3:08 PM)

Yeah, I seriously doubt Mike wants to lose him. They'll get it worked out -- unless somebody like JGR comes knocking at his door.

Richie Mikemond (French Island, Wi.)

Your son was right about F1 but Pastor Maldanado! I ride buyer with talent who doesn't fold under pressure is a real story not to mention Frank Williams.

Ed Hinton
  (3:09 PM)

Pleasantly surprised at the Williams win, and the international financial TV networks based in London couldn't hide their glee. Frank, of course, has been a magnificent story since he broke his neck in '86. Patrick Head has retired, so frankly I thought Williams would be in the doldrums for years. Glad to see them back and hope it sticks.

Ben (SC)

Isn't it a "burnout" every time a driver leaves the pits?

Ed Hinton
  (3:10 PM)

Most of the time, yes, but the 39 crew thought he dusted them closer than usual.

Logan (MA)

Who is your favorite driver to interview at the track?

Ed Hinton
  (3:11 PM)

That varies. I always like Smoke because he's either going to give you a great answer or bite your head off. But lately I'd have to say Brad K, because he's got a cool, semi-profane answer to just about any question. He's rapidly becoming the new media darling.

Joanne (Ft. Myers)

Hi Ed, after the race I heard Mr H acknowledge Rowdy's contributions to the 200th but he didn't mention Dale Junebug. Do you suppose that's because Rowdy gave HMS 4 wins and Dale has only delivered 1?

Ed Hinton
  (3:13 PM)

Probably so. And I think Rick was trying to acknowledge as many people from the past, no longer with the team, in his post-race comments. If you'll notice, he thanked Jeff Hammond, who interviewed him and was once a crew chief for him, and Darrell Waltrip. He was trying to get in as many people as he could from through the years.

Steve (Baltimore)

Now that Jimmie Johnson has found his stride again, do you think he has a chance to compete for the championship? Also how many more races do you see him winning?

Ed Hinton
  (3:14 PM)

I do indeed. He's been running strong and now he's closed a deal. He could easily win five or six more races this year. And yes, contend for the Cup.

Clint (Dallas,TX)

Have you ever driven a Nascar car? Not in a race or anything but do you have any stories of someone letting you get behind the wheel of one?

Ed Hinton
  (3:15 PM)

Only a limited sportsman car on a short track, many years ago. I once rode around Charlotte with Bobby Allison in a rigged passenger seat. That was before pit road speed limits, and i thought we were in a dragster leaving the pit road.

John Cole (Boston)

If I was a NASCAR Driver or any sports athete I would ignore the media and just talk to the fans.

Ed Hinton
  (3:16 PM)

Who would you get to hold the microphone and broadcast your words? Would you just go out and shout to the grandstands?

Michael (Hoboken, NJ)

What is the role of Teresa Earnhardt in the sport today? When you hear about McMurry and Montoya are always linked the Ganassi name. You never really hear any reference to her anymore or at least you don't on TV. thanks.

Ed Hinton
  (3:16 PM)

Her actual role has been small for some years now, and I think it's fading even faster. There is speculation she could soon be out of EGR altogether.

Jamerson (Georgia)

How long do think it will be before Brad Keselowski wins a championship? Do you think he'll be able to do it this year, or will having a "lame duck" manufacturer hurt his chances?

Ed Hinton
  (3:18 PM)

Within the next three years, and yes, he could do it this year, and it doesn't seem like the lame duck thing has hurt him so far. I even heard that Dodge was pleased that Penske made the announcement as early as he did, so they could explore other options.

Justin (Northern Virginia)

Hey Ed, just curious but how has Roger Penske been able to have multiple auto manufacturers for his teams in different series. Especially in the case of going to Ford in NASCAR next season after going to Chevy in Indy Car this season? Seems like a conflict of interests.

Ed Hinton
  (3:20 PM)

He and his lieutenants are masters of wheeling and dealing. Chevy wanted him badly in IndyCar, for his ability to win. And remember, he's taken Chevy for a ride before: He used Chevy Indy V8 development money back in the '90s, then struck a deal with Mercedes for the Pushrod V-8 that won Indy in '92 . . . and many thought he used Chevy R&D for Mercedes benefit.

Dumindu (Vista,California)

How do you think is the best Hendrick Driver in the past?

Ed Hinton
  (3:21 PM)

Gordon is the best HMS driver of all time. Darrell Waltrip was one of the great all-time drivers, but was past his prime by the time he got to Hendrick.

Justin (Northern Virginia)

Which owner is bigger for auto racing in the United States? Hendrick, Petty, Penske, Ganassi, or Childress?

Ed Hinton
  (3:22 PM)

Gotta say Penske because of the diversity. He was a huge name back when the Indy 500 was the biggest race in the country and the world.

Dumindu (Vista,California)

Hey Ed, Who do you think has the best chance to win the NATIONWIDE Series Championship, Elliot Sadler or Ricky Stenhouse Jr?

Ed Hinton
  (3:22 PM)

I like the way Stenhouse is progressing a lot. Poor Elliott is "fighting for my life," in racing, as he said, but can't seem to shake the bad luck.

frank (NY (the Q))

know its a few weeks away but heading to the poconos race for the 1st time..what can i expect from the track & is that where the #24 can turn that bad luck streak around?

Ed Hinton
  (3:24 PM)

It's a vast track, so make sure you've got very high seats in the front stretch grandstand. No guarantee for Gordon there at all.

Edu (Texas)

Don't edgy sponsors lke Monster Energy actually like the fire and passion the Kurt Busch demonstrated at Darlington?

Ed Hinton
  (3:24 PM)

Don't know if it extends to getting too close to hitting people.

Bill S. (High Point, NC)

Do you think that Kyle Bush not running the truck series this year has hurt that series and Kyle this year?

Ed Hinton
  (3:25 PM)

Don't know what it's done for ratings and attendance, but it can't have helped. Don't think it's hurt him, because that's one race a weekend less that he stands to get into trouble.

Dumindu (Vista,California)

Do you think Elliot Sadler will return to the Sprint Cup Series?

Ed Hinton
  (3:25 PM)

Boy, that's a tough one. He might, but can't see a major team right now.

Justin (Northern Virginia)

You've seen a lot of drivers come and go. Are Kurt's better days behind him now?

Ed Hinton
  (3:26 PM)

I don't know . . he's about the age Earnhardt was when skeptics were calling him self-destructive and saying he'd never win again.

Jay (GA)

Hey Ed, thanks for the Turn 4 comments. I thought you were gonna somehow spin the Busch/Newman incident and make it Ryan's fault like you did with JPM last year. But, you seemed to analyze it correctly.

Ed Hinton
  (3:26 PM)

Thanks for the endorsement.

Turk (Mich)

Sadler didn't seem to concerned about "staying in the sport" when he wrecked out Jimmie, Kurt and Danica at Daytona?

Ed Hinton
  (3:27 PM)

Oh, yeah, right, he just did that on purpose for the heck of it, didn't he?

Titus Pullo (Rome, NY)

Should we keep in mind with all this congratulations to Rick Hendricks about winning 200 races that he is a guy who plead guilty to mail fraud, yet managed to avoid going to jail, instead getting confinement to his mansion? I am sure that a non-millionaire like myself would get exactly the same treatment.

Ed Hinton
  (3:28 PM)

Well, I happen to have been around for all that, and a whole lot of people, including Roger Penske, Bill France Jr. and others, thought some grandstanding U.S. attorneys up north were trying to nail the biggest name they could find. I think Rick was more a victim than a perp.

Bobby (Midland Park NJ )

Ed my man any hope left for the 24 !

Ed Hinton
  (3:29 PM)

Oh, sure. Any given Sunday.

Dumindu (Vista,California)

Hey ED, do you think Talladega should add lights, then have a night race?

Ed Hinton
  (3:30 PM)

Well, to me, it's hard enough to see the backstretch at Daytona under the lights. Would be even tougher at Talladega. But maybe they should add the lights just to be able to run late if needed for rain, and see how it works.

Logan (UT)

Reading that Burton, Newman and Logono have all been told they are free to "test the waters". You think all will be gone for 2013?

Ed Hinton
  (3:30 PM)

I'd say yes on Logano, maybe on Burton, maybe on Newman.

mike Battle Creek [via mobile]

Will Johnny Benson ever be back in trucks? or cup or nw

Ed Hinton
  (3:31 PM)

Don't think so. May not be much sponsor appeal left.

Bill (Kentucky)

Hi Ed, isn't there an unwritten rule that competitors never, ever enter another crew's pit box like that #39 crew thug did, pointing his finger and ranting at Kurt's crew chief?

Ed Hinton
  (3:32 PM)

Don't know about unwritten rule, but it has happened plenty of times. We've even seen girlfriends go to girlfriends when the boyfriends mixed it up on the track.

Justin (Northern Virginia)

How late would be too late today to hear of any penalties to Kurt or Newman's gas man?

Ed Hinton
  (3:33 PM)

You mean for this chat? 4 p.m. But our editors would post it on .com 24-7. NASCAR somestimes goes as late as 5:30 eastern with that sort of thing.

Ted (Conway Ma)

John Paul, from the old IMSA series financed his team by dealing drugs

Ed Hinton
  (3:34 PM)

You mean John Paul Sr., who was quite a character. I knew him. His son, Johnny Jr., was a fabulous driver who got caught up in his father's messes. JP Sr. was a Dutch immigrant who'd gotten into the black market in Europe as a starving kid following WWII.

Bobby (Midland Park NJ )

Any truth to Nascar changing the last 10 races I took a survey for the fan council

Ed Hinton
  (3:36 PM)

You tell me. What did you say in the council survey, and do you have reason to believe you were in the majority? Generally speaking I think they'd be awfully reluctant to move the Chase around. Promoters would scream.

Lois (WVA)

I read Jenna Fryers AP story on Danica and wondered why Danica gets so much hate for not winning while Dale who hasn't won in 4 years gets support? And how come the Indy fans never hated on Danica like the NASCAR fans do?

Ed Hinton
  (3:37 PM)

Oh, I think Danica gets quite a bit of support from NASCAR fans. She and Junior are pretty much in the same boat. Indy car fans loved her because she was just about the only hope they had of rebounding in public opinion. But there were some media types who roughed her up quite a bit in their punditry.

Owen (Texas)

Does Dale Junebug have to race his way into the All Star race like Danica?

Ed Hinton
  (3:38 PM)

If the fans don't vote him there -- which they will.

Keith H (Seattle)

Ed, I agree with you that Nationwides running at Indy is a mistake. Any chance NASCAR acknowledges they made a mistake and this would be just a one year trial? Or is NASCAR management of the mindset that they never make mistakes?

Ed Hinton
  (3:39 PM)

Oh, they admit mistakes from time to time. I think a lot of this is pressure from the Speedway itself, though. And I'm not sure the Speedway hierarchy of today is exactly racing-savvy.

dz (new mexico)

i have a dumb question. are the race officials a set crew that travel track to track? or do the track have their own race officials, fire and emergency crews?

Ed Hinton
  (3:40 PM)

NASCAR provides the crews. Some ambulance crews might be provided locally but are coordinated by NASCAR's "medical liaison team."

Saul (San Diego)

Ed, do you see Dancia's future as a top 10 or top 15 driver.

Ed Hinton
  (3:40 PM)

I can see her there in three or four years, yes.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Who is the Best Female Driver in NASCAR that you have seen in over 40 years that you have been covering NASCAR?

Ed Hinton
  (3:42 PM)

Hard to pick among Shawna Robinson, Patty Moise and Janet Guthrie. Jury's still out on Danica. Tell you who might have been quite good at it with a decent opportunity: the late Lella Lombardi of Italy, who was a delightful person and a helluva driver.

Dumindu (Vista,California)

Do you think Danica will be in Cup series full time next year in the 10 running for the ROTY along with Austin Dillon?

Ed Hinton
  (3:43 PM)

Oh, sure. The sponsorship will take her there.

Ricky (Houston)

Is RCR in another "rebuilding" year and with Menard out running Harvick do you see Paul finishing ahead of #29 or do they both miss the chase?

Ed Hinton
  (3:43 PM)

I think you'll see Harvick come on as we get into summer.

Jay (GA)

Do you think Red Bull Racing would ever make a return to NASCAR

Ed Hinton
  (3:44 PM)

Doubt it.They're so successful in F1 they'll probably focus more and more there.

Sam (UT)

Whats your thoughts on the long green runs?

Ed Hinton
  (3:45 PM)

I think they're a function of the tougher tires Goodyear is providing, and if driving skill that gets better and better throughout the field. I think they're here to stay, for the rest of this season at least.

Saul (San Diego)

Any old funny stories of a driver and sponsor not getting along?

Ed Hinton
  (3:46 PM)

Well, let's see: Dale Earnhardt and Stacy Pak Vitamins? Course, Stacy was also the car owner.

Kevin (PA)

How much longer will we see the road couses at Sonoma and Watkins Glen on the NASCAR cicruit?

Ed Hinton
  (3:46 PM)

For the foreseeable future. They believe they need that variety, and so do I. Most of all they need those markets.

Bobby (Midland Park NJ )

The survey asked me what races I would include in the last 10

Ed Hinton
  (3:47 PM)

Did you shake things up? If enough fans did, they might take a look.

Tim (Atlanta)

How would you say NASCAR compares to F1 in terms of international popularity?

Ed Hinton
  (3:48 PM)

Not even close. I always compare NASCAR and F1 to the NFL in soccer. NASCAR and the NFL are hugely popular here but not worldwide. F1 and soccer are popular worldwide but not here.

Kristin (NYC)

you think the feud between Newman and Urt will continue?

Ed Hinton
  (3:49 PM)

Na, one thing about Kurt is, his tantrums aren't recurrent toward one guy.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Do you think that Danica Patrick will win a Sprint Cup Series race in the Future?

Ed Hinton
  (3:49 PM)

Yes, but not this year or next.

Hank (NJ)

Let's say #88 makes the chase, is winless and finishes around 10th in final points. Does Mr. H make a crew chief change?

Ed Hinton
  (3:50 PM)

Can't see it. Steve Letarte is providing the stuff; the rest is up to the driver. A crew chief change -- again -- would cause more uproar than it would be worth.

Jake (Irving, TX)

How bout those 15 year seat licenses at COTA for $5K plus $1750 tickets and $250K hospitality suites?

Ed Hinton
  (3:52 PM)

Hadn't heard those prices but not at all surprised at the F1 arrogance. Going all the way back to Phoenix in the early '90s, tickets were so high that Mike Harris of the AP and I once agreed that if we'd had the time, we could have gone out and counted the crowd by pointing to each individual . . "one, two, three, four." There were times I don't think they had 300 people in the high buck seats.

John (Louisville)

I read that the ratings for the first IndyCar race of the season were down like 25% from last year, probably with the loss of Danica contributing to that. Have the ratings rebounded at all, have you heard? Any chance of the series ever getting back to where they were in the mid 90s before the split?

Ed Hinton
  (3:53 PM)

Haven't looked at the numbers, but Danica's absence cannot help . . . and may hurt the Indy 500 itself. Back to the ratings pre-split? No way, no how, sadly.

Saul (San Diego)

If the 88 wins a race, what is the next 88 storyline.

Ed Hinton
  (3:53 PM)

It will be, can he win another race to make the rebound stick? and another. . . and another . . .

laura (manhattan beach)

Has the world stopped rotating? Tony Stewart and Newt have a picture together..almost a hug!!

Ed Hinton
  (3:54 PM)

Smoke doesn't hold grudges against writers. Just bites you and forgets about it.

Sam Malone (Boston)

How does my bar Cheers compare to Dale Junior's bar Whiskey River?

Ed Hinton
  (3:55 PM)

You're not in the same league, Sam. You never sample your merchandise.

Ted (Conway Ma)

Do you think most NASCAR fans understand that Danica came up through the lesser formulas in Europe? that is very tough racing!!!

Ed Hinton
  (3:55 PM)

I don't think they do. But you and I know she was treated very badly by the Brits over there, and that's where her toughness comes from.

Clint (Dallas,TX)

I am a huge Jr fan, But history shows that he may never win again. DW won 3 races then went 8 years with out winning another and ultimatley retiring. Jr has much tougher competition now. Should we really get our hopes up for a win, or just be glad he is still running good. Petty also went 8 years with out winning another.

Ed Hinton
  (3:56 PM)

Both the King and DW ran out of competitive equipment after a while. Junior's still got it.

laura (manhattan beach)

Hi Mr. Hinton, this is Manhattan Beach Laura from the race day chats. I enjoyed the coverage on ESPN Monday sports center and NASCAR Now of the HMS #200. I'm befuddled though, as to why JJ did not mention Jeff Gordon even once as to "all of those at HMS...." as he praised other drivers. And isn't true, JG helped JJ get his cup ride at HMS? Please help me understand, as I'm a fan of both drivers. Thanks!

Ed Hinton
  (3:58 PM)

I think Jimmie was in the same mode Rick was: Thanking as many who'd been with the team in the past as possible. They really didn't dwell on current members. Same way they didn't mention Junior a lot. But I do think there's a little tension between 24 and 48 in recent years.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Do you think that Kurt Busch will be suspended for the Darlington Incident?

Ed Hinton
  (3:59 PM)

Nope. Talked to, yes. Suspended, no. Tell you who Kurt better worry about though, is James Finch, who might give him a serious-talking to about how that sort of stuff doesn't draw sponsors.

Shane (Chillicothe, OH)

Ed, I worry about all the sponsorship issues could kill NASCAR, I see teams with 5 or 6 sponsors then other teams none. Is there way to fix this so 43 cars are sponsored and competitive.

Ed Hinton
  (4:00 PM)

Doubt there's a panacea, but this is just a function of the economy. Believe it or not, I've seen NASCAR in much worse shape over the years.

Ed Hinton
  (4:00 PM)

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