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May 24, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with David Newton

David Newton
  (2:01 PM)

Welcome to the Charlotte Motor Speedway media center. Have to share a priceless moment. Matt Kenseth walked in and nobody from the PR staff was here to introduced him. So Matt stood behind the podium and introduced himself like he was the PR person, then slid into the chair behind the table and gave his opening comments like he was asked to when he introduced himself. It was too funny. Now to your questions. Fire away.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Besides yourself who in your family enjoys Racing?

David Newton
  (2:02 PM)

Well, my wife, whose business keeps her involves in racing a good bit. My youngest son loves it. He was at the All-Star race and he'll be at the 600 on Sunday. My dad's not so much a fan. When I was like 7 or 8 he took me to the Southern 500. I stood near the fence in the grandstands. He stood up top in the shade and read a book.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Do you Remember the Last Female Driver who was in the Coca-Cola 600 before Danica Patrick?

David Newton
  (2:03 PM)

99.9 percent sure it was Janet Guthrie.

Fred ( Al ) [via mobile]

So are the Andretti talks to Nascar serious ? Or just ah rumor

David Newton
  (2:03 PM)

Sure there has been some conversation, but right not I wouldn't label it as serious.

Fred ( Al ) [via mobile]

One Analyst said he doesn't think JGR wants 4 cars . Um why wouldn't they ? & what's the latest on Kurt bush

David Newton
  (2:05 PM)

They'd love to get to four cars if sponsorship was there. Joe Gibbs said as much the other day. He also said he liked Kurt Busch a lot, but again whether they make a run at Kurt depends on sponsorship ... or replacing Joey Logano if he doesn't make the Chase. But Gibbs also said his focus was on getting Logano up to speed with Kyle and Denny.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What race do you look forward seeing on Memorial Day Weekend?

David Newton
  (2:05 PM)

The 600. I was an Indy 500 fans many, many years ago, but it has lost its alure with me.

Ross (Havana,Cuba/Fl)

Urt did nit have another blowup in the NW race? Was this due to Mr. Finch laying down the law to Urt? Thanks.

David Newton
  (2:06 PM)

Kurt Busch drives from brother Kyle in the NW series, not Jmes Finch. Thanks.

Fred ( Al ) [via mobile]

What are the crew chiefs called in Indycar ?

David Newton
  (2:06 PM)

Race strategists.

Zach Cross (Church Hill TN)

Who do you see Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, and Kurt Busch racing for next year?

David Newton
  (2:07 PM)

Roush, Stewart Haas and TBA. Kurt could be at Gibbs, RCR, MWR or maybe back at Finch. Lot has to happen.

Hector (Miami)

Is the fact that no sponsor has come forward to sponsor Urt this year telling potential 2013 employers he is damaged goods and a poor choice as a driver?

David Newton
  (2:08 PM)

Nope. Matt Kenseth has 8-10 races unsponsored still and he's not damaged goods. It's the economy. Not the personality.

Jack (Virginia)

What do you think about the new startup team, BK Racing? Do you like Landon, Travis,and David? Do you think they have what it takes to win a race this year?

David Newton
  (2:09 PM)

They need to get a few top 10s before they can think about winning, but it's always good to have news teams in the series. It typically takes years to get to the level of winning races.

Michael Wilson (Wisconsin)

Who do you think will the race do you pick dale jr as your top 3 in the race?

David Newton
  (2:11 PM)

If you're asking if I would pick Dale Jr for top three this weekend, the answer is no. Top 5, Definitely. He's run in that range most of the year and almost won here last year. But I like Jimmie Johnson hands down, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch more this week.

DAN (LA)

any word on who may be the Dodge team or teams in 2013 ?

David Newton
  (2:11 PM)

No more than I knew on Wednesday. Curious, how much do people care what manufacturer a driver runs for?

Andrewjohn329 (Not Octo's Computer)

Thands again for your response to my Turn 4 question. I really enjoyed seeing my name on ESPN. Do you think the best way for HomeDepot to get back to consistent wins and the chase is by putting Kurt Busch in the JGR #20?

David Newton
  (2:13 PM)

It would be a quick fix because Kurt is, as I've said several times, one of the top five drivers in the series. Logano isn't there. There also are rumblings that Home Depot will decrease its participation in the sport in the coming years.

JrGuard (Florida)

Hi Newt, I'm seeing reports that Kurt is in line to take over the #20 Home Depot Toyota. Do you think that is the sponsor driving that initiative because Kurt is the only available driver who can get that team back competitive?

David Newton
  (2:15 PM)

Our ESPNW writer Brant James talked to Kurt last weekend in Iowa and he said Kurt wants to talk to Gibbs. Gibbs told me he really likes Kurt. Still hoops to jump through to get to the 20. A fourth car is not out of the realm, either.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Who do you think will win the 96th Indianapolis 500?

David Newton
  (2:16 PM)

A Penske car. Don't they win them all?

Jim (Bayala)

Hi Newt, what do you think about these reports of Kurt Busch leading the Andretti Autosports Dodge NASCAR effort since Kurt has extensive Dodge experience and Kurt and Michael have the same agent?

David Newton
  (2:16 PM)

I don't see that as Kurt's best options.

Dave (Stoddard, WI)

Might be a timely question, are races too long? I've watched NASCAR religiously for 30 years, and have gotten to the point of using the DVR to skip the godawful amount of ads, and this year, just running around waiting for the end. Let's just get to the end and make it exciting! Sorry to the track owners who will have to sell a few less hotdogs and beer.

David Newton
  (2:17 PM)

I hear ya. But you could do that with a lot of NBA and NFL games as well.

8Tbone8 (Florida)

Hi Newt, great story on the Charlotte infield experience. Were you trying to tell those of us more accustomed to the college football, NFL, MLB experience to stay in the grandstands?

David Newton
  (2:18 PM)

Thanks, and not at all. I've covered all of those sports and for them the grandstands are the place to be. But for racing nothing beats the infield experience. Or let me ask it this way. What if you could stand on the sideline of a football or baseball game? Wouldn't you like that more than sitting in the stands. The closer to the action the better.

Trident (WA)

Hey Newt, if Rusty Wallace with a Sprint Cup Championship and 55 wins was considered "borderline" for entry into the HOF then at current levels, is a cup championship the mininmum required for entry?

David Newton
  (2:20 PM)

I wouldn't say that. Back in the pioneer days drivers didn't focus on a title, and many of those drivers are HOF worthy. In Rusty's case, he was the only driver with 50 or more wins not in the Hall. That he has a championship made him a logical choice.

Ron (Smithville)

Now that a NASCAR media member will be inducted into the HOF each year, who would you select first: Chris Economaki or David Poole?

David Newton
  (2:23 PM)

First, they're not inducted. Their name is plaed on a plaque. As for who I'd select first, it's not even close. Economaki. No disrespect to David Poole, but he barely makes the top 10. He's not even first in line for the Charlotte Observer. Tom Higgins made an impact long before David did and for a much longer time. David only covered NASCAR about 13 years. There are a lot of broadcast media that will go in before him as well. Eli Gold, Dick Berggren to name a few.

Billy (MD) [via mobile]

Do you think junior is going to contend all through the chase?

David Newton
  (2:24 PM)

Yep.

Darin (STL)

Would you say Jimmy and Chad are the best driver crew chief combo ever?

David Newton
  (2:24 PM)

Yes, of all time.

Rich (Rochester, NY)

Who gets in the HOF next year?

David Newton
  (2:25 PM)

Fireball Roberts will be at the top of the list since he lost the tie-breaker to Buck Baker. After that I'd say a few more of the early guys, and I would hope Rick Hendrick. He needs to get in before he falls off the door in a victory celebration.

Darin (STL)

Clint said it has been a breath of fresh air to move over to MWR. Was the air bad at RCR or is there anything besides sponsorship that made him change?

David Newton
  (2:26 PM)

The air was fine at RCR, but Clint was looked at as the third driver in many ways behind Harvick and even Burton. Sometimes, as with all people, a new job offers a new and fresh perspective.

Billy(md) [via mobile]

Who's your favorite for the 600

David Newton
  (2:26 PM)

Johnson and Johnson.

Chris Hudson, NC [via mobile]

Since Gordon has partial ownership of the 48 why don't they share a shop so he can oversee and get the benefits of having Chad K. In the same building and what does Ray Evernham do these days?

David Newton
  (2:27 PM)

They did that for years before the 88 moved in last year. Gordon's problems this year have been bad luck more than a lack of knowledge.

Jeff (SC)

Would it be fair to say that Rusty got in Hall with this class because The HOF needs some name recognition to get some folks in the door?

David Newton
  (2:27 PM)

I'm sure that played a role in it, but regardless his statistics were HOF worthy.

Les (St.Pete)

Has anyone ever told you that you have a perfect face for radio?

David Newton
  (2:27 PM)

Thank you.

Mark (Dallas)

Who would you say is the Lebron James of NASCAR? One of the best and most popular but hated by a lot of people in the sport.

David Newton
  (2:28 PM)

Have to be Kyle Busch. He has the talent and no ring.

John (Al)

Hey Ed PBR or Natural Light ...?

David Newton
  (2:28 PM)

David here, but PBR.

Sam (UT)

So think the field is scared the 48 of old is back?

David Newton
  (2:28 PM)

It should be. I can see Johnson winning the 600, Dover and Pocono the way that group has it together.

Kristin (NYC)

Do you think the Newman/Busch feud will continue this weekend?

David Newton
  (2:29 PM)

Nope. They'll be too foused on surviving 600 miles than to mess with each other.

Todd (Oregon)

I was a little mad not to see wendell scott get into the hall. Do you feel he will eventually make into the hall.

David Newton
  (2:30 PM)

No need to get mad. Wendell is a tough pick. He was a pioneer being the first black driver in the top series, but it didn't open doors for others so the impact was minimal. Do I think he will go in? Yes. Definitely. Maybe even next year.

Sam (UT)

I also think the side skirts being raised up are to jjs advantage he loves a loose race car and is a wheel man, thoughts?

David Newton
  (2:32 PM)

You could be right. But isn't it better to have races won by the best driver instead of the best car?

Steve (Miami)

How much of a change would the car and the driver have to go through to be able to drive the opposite direction on the track for a race?

David Newton
  (2:32 PM)

They'd adjust. Love to see them try it in the All-Star race to see how it works out.

Boston for 15 (Boston)

Headed to Charlotte. I'll have to put my Anti-JR nation feelings aside and hope to see a victory live this weekend. But if the inevitable happens and he doesn't win, does my man Clint have a prayer?

David Newton
  (2:33 PM)

If Junior wins it will make the Indy 500 winner dissappear. If he doesn't, Clint is one of about eight or so drivers with a fair chance. But this is Jimmie's race to lose in my opinion.

Billy(md) [via mobile]

Is junior a favorite this weekend in your mind.

David Newton
  (2:33 PM)

He's in my top 5.

Joanne (Ft. Myers)

Would you say that Kurt's Sprint Cup championship guarantees him automatic entry into the HOF and is that a min. prereq?

David Newton
  (2:34 PM)

Far from it. If anything, it's what will get him consideration one day. But as we've seen with Darrell Waltrip and Cale Yarborough, drivers who has had issues with NASCAR have not gotten in when they otherwise might have.

Sam (ut)

what will be the deciding factor sunday night? Who pulls out the "W"?

David Newton
  (2:35 PM)

Who can outsmart Chad Knaus. He's the best at adjusting the car from day to night.

Bart (East Bay)

Rowdy posted a pic of a huge line on fans waiting to get into fan day at KBM. Has Rowdy gained a large fan following with his 20 cup wins since joining JGR and opening his own team?

David Newton
  (2:36 PM)

He's always had a large fan following. They're just starting to admit it.

Lance (Maine)

Do you think the 88 is ever going to win this year ...I am tired of everyone saying well he is running up front a lot so he he is due for one...I just dont see him being able to close the deal

David Newton
  (2:37 PM)

I do. People were saying Johnson couldn't close the deal a month ago, now he's won the Southern 500 and All-Star race. I know it's been forever, but it'll happen.

brad (long pond)

Why do people assume that Ricky Stenhouse will be in the 6 next year when Roush can not even get the 17 a full sponsorship this year or next year?

David Newton
  (2:37 PM)

Because Jack Roush and others in the organization have said so.

Vernie (NJ)

Since NASCAR fined Sadler-RCR for Iowa do you think they should have dinged Brad K for his obscene, vulgar language to Ron Hornday and also penalized McDowell from dumping-his word-Kurt?

David Newton
  (2:38 PM)

You lost me on that one.

D.L. Bristol TN [via mobile]

With the military getting out of NASCAR what do you think would be the perfect co sponsor for Dale Jr with Diet Mtn Dew as the other sponsor?

David Newton
  (2:41 PM)

Well, it's not a done deal the military is out. Haven't given much thought to the perfect co-sponsor. How about a financial firm. You invest a lot of money in it and hope it pays off in the end.

Frank (Kingston, Pa)

Rusty certainly deserves to be in the HOF. My question is regarding his first ballot status. If I remember he was eligbile last year but did not get nominated. I think he retired end of 2005 season which would have made him eligible in 2011.

David Newton
  (2:43 PM)

He was no eligible last year. This is the first year he's been eligible to be on the ballott.

Hector (Miami)

If Urt is not damaged why did no major team/sponsor step up to the plate for this season, then?

David Newton
  (2:43 PM)

Why are sponsors not jumping on board with Matt Kenseth, Darrell Wallace. There are a lot of drivers struggling to get sponsorship. It's not just Kurt.

Lois (WVA)

No matter what Burton says do you think he's definitely on the hot seat, especially with Kurt available?

David Newton
  (2:44 PM)

I asked him the other day and he said he has a new deal that he signed last year and he's not concerned. If he feels heats it is from not performing, not Kurt being available.

Billy(md) [via mobile]

Dave I all ways have enjoyed you chats but have never caught them live before always read it later in the day and always enjoy your answers.Where do you think junior will finish? He really likes his car I think he might win I haven't heard him talk about how he couldn't wait for the 600 or any race in a long time.

David Newton
  (2:45 PM)

Thanks. Busy time for me today chatting and asking drivers questions. As for Junior, I believe he'll be in the top 5 with a chance to win. It's the same car he drove in the All-Star race where he had the best average finish.

Vinnie (ATL)

Monaco and Indy are much more prestigious than Charlotte.

David Newton
  (2:45 PM)

The beaches in Monaco certainly are nicer.

kurt (milford ma)

If Newman leaves SHR any idea who would replace him? Ricky Stenhouse maybe?

David Newton
  (2:46 PM)

If he leaves, that means no sponsorship, which probably means SHR has only two teams, Stewart and Danica.

Blake (Tha ATL)

Do you prefer Miller Lite or Budweiser? Home Depot or Lowe's?

David Newton
  (2:48 PM)

No driver preference, but I am a ML guy and for my house building materials I go where the prices are better.

Earl (Hiawasse, GA)

If Rusty Wallace leads the HOF voting, then Awesome Bill should be in there too. This aint right.

David Newton
  (2:48 PM)

Totally disagree. Rusy was deserving.

dw (ark)

David, reading your artical today led me to this question. How close together do they have the buses & campers parked.

David Newton
  (2:49 PM)

Like within a few feet of each other. I barely had room to get my big butt up the ladder to the roof of the RV because the other RV was parked so close.

D.L. Bristol TN [via mobile]

What track not currently a chance track do you think should be and which track would you take out

David Newton
  (2:50 PM)

I'd put in Darlington, hands down. I'd take out Texas. Too many 1.5 mile tracks in the Chase.

kris (mn) [via mobile]

Let's say Jimmie and Jeff both retire at the end of the year and you can vote one into the hall of fame right away and the other has to wait til next time around. Who would you put in first?

David Newton
  (2:51 PM)

Jimmie. Tough because Jeff has won about 30 more races and Jimmie has one more title, including five straight that nobody in NASCAR has done. I'd go JJ right now, but there's time for Jeff to change my mind.

Andrewjohn329 (Not Octo's Computer)

In noticed that Delana Harvick was listed as the owner of Sadler's NW car that was docked owners points for cheating at Iowa? Didn't Harvick's team go bankrupt?

David Newton
  (2:54 PM)

No, he closed shop. Ownership is a funny deal in NASCAR. Like Gordon being the owner of the 48 at Hendrick. I believe Richard Petty was listed as the owner of the 21 Wood Brothers car last year. A lot of times when a number is transferred or there's a change in ownershp the previous owner's name will stay with the car for bookkeeping and NASCAR rule purposes.

Chuck (Cleveland)

David, great piece on the hall inductees. I ws really impressed with Allmendinger last Saturday night. Do you think the guy finally realizes he's got some of the best equipment in the garge and could put a victory together at Charlotte, Dover or possibly Infineon?

David Newton
  (2:55 PM)

Thanks. And AJ is coming along. Haven't seen him more confident. Charlotte might be a better spot for him to break through than the others you mentioned.

David Newton
  (2:55 PM)

Sorry, but have to cut this short. Dale Jr. is at the podium and I have to ask a few questions to him. Thanks for participating. As usual, ask away on Twitter at @Dnewtonespn.

David Newton
  (2:55 PM)

Have a great Memorial Day Weekend.