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September 5, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Ed Hinton

Ed Hinton
  (2:00 PM)

Hi, all. Haven't chatted for awhile. Been away doing a major project -- you'll see the results hopefully in October -- and then was on vacation.

Ed Hinton
  (2:02 PM)

Hi, all. Haven't chatted for awhile. Been away doing a major project -- you'll see the results hopefully in October -- and then was on vacation.

Chris (Cincinnati)

Hey Ed, do you think Kenseth will eventually win another champoinship with JGR if he doesn't win this year with Roush? I mean it's gotta be irking in the back of Jack's mind that his best driver (who won Jack his first hampionship and only 2 Daytona 500 wins) is leaving. You think Jack made a mistake by not doing enough to keep Matt?

Ed Hinton
  (2:03 PM)

I think above all else, Kenseth just felt it was time for him to go. Of course Jack is sick about it. But JGR offered Kenseth better opportunities in his mind. And regardless of all that's been said, I'm just not sure Matt was comfortable on the same team with Carl Edwards getting most of the attention.

Sam (UT)

Thoughts on why "wonder boy" didnt give hambone the boot when he was so close to winning?

Ed Hinton
  (2:04 PM)

He didn't know himself, so I'm not sure either. Guess he thought his car was working better going high, and he would have had to go low to move Denny.

Ed Hinton
  (2:05 PM)

All, I'm having a terrible time with the system taking too long to post questions and answers. we're working on it.

Zach Cross (Church Hill)

Could Ryan Newman or Kurt Busch be in the 43 at Petty next season.

Ed Hinton
  (2:06 PM)

It would be a downward move for Newman, and I don't think Kurt's temperament is something the King would tolerate.

George (Smith Mt Lake VA)

With Sadler not coming back to RCR, does that leave the door open for Ty to move up after just a year in Trucks. He seems to run well in the Nationwide cars when he does run them. I know Elliott said he doesn't have anything signed for next year, but I'm hearing he is going to JGR. Was the chance to race the 18 in Nationwide and part time 4th car in Cup too much to pass?

Ed Hinton
  (2:06 PM)

He didn't know himself, so I'm not sure either. Guess he thought his car was working better going high, and he would have had to go low to move Denny.

Ed Hinton
  (2:06 PM)

It would be a downward move for Newman, and I don't think Kurt's temperament is something the King would tolerate.

Ed Hinton
  (2:07 PM)

It's possible Sadler wasn't re-signed for the very reason of making room for Ty. The JGR deal might very well materialize, and would be a move up, but I don't think he had it in his pocket.

Christine (Saratoga Springs, NY)

hi Ed - who do you think is going to win the race this weekend? Any dark horses?

Ed Hinton
  (2:08 PM)

I got either Rowdy or Denny. A dark horse, believe it or not, would be Jeff Gordon, who hasn't won there since 2000 but who has his dander up and could pull it off.

Bob (Gansevoort, NY)

Mr Ed! Thanks for your time, love these chats. What do you expect at Richmond? You think this is going to be a demolition derby? Or more conservative? The top 9 have nothing to lose so they should just be going all out for the win and obviously the wild card contenders will be doing the same. Do you think this will be a race for the ages?

Ed Hinton
  (2:09 PM)

It'll be pretty wild, with six one-win drivers going for a win to make the Chase. Rowdy might be more conservative than we expect, since all he really has to do is beat gordon on points.

Rob F (Hoboken, NJ)

Hi Ed, great piece. Were you surprised Gordon didn't move Hamlin on the last lap at Atlanta? I had assumed the bubble drivers would do anything to win. Guess I was wrong...

Ed Hinton
  (2:10 PM)

I wasn't surprised because I didn't realize at that moment that gordon had the option of going low. Just thought he went high and missed. Only later was he kicking himself.

Jackie (El Paso TX)

Hi Ed, is SHR in any kind of trouble, Stewart to lose his primary sponsor this late in the season and still trying to find a sponsor for Newman does not look good.

Ed Hinton
  (2:11 PM)

Well, it's not good, but they've got great business people who are hustling, so I don't think there are long-haul concerns here.

Tim (San Francisco)

Hey Ed - regarding the MWR cars in the Chase, who do you expect to finish higher at the end of the season? Any chance either of these two finish in the top 3? I realize everyone has a chance but is it realistic?? Thanks!

Ed Hinton
  (2:12 PM)

That's really a tossup, but I'd give the edge to Truex. Either one has a shot at the top three, but each would have to have a win or two to get there -- which is possible.

Rowdy K Busch Fan (Global)

Ed, Rowdy said the right things about Joey leaving JGR but isnt' Rowdy thrilled with Matt joining the team because Rowdy knows Matt's experience improves the performance of Rowdy's #18?

Ed Hinton
  (2:13 PM)

Not necessarily. Drivers sometimes like different setups -- take JJ and Gordon at Hendrick, vastly different for years -- so Kenseth's tech may or may not help Rowdy.

Joe Gibbs Racing Fan (NC)

Has there ever been a super, 3 car team of stud drivers like Rowdy, Denny and Matt before in NASCAR?

Ed Hinton
  (2:15 PM)

If that's a cue for me to cheerlead, no thanks. Time will tell. Plus, you had Rowdy, Jeff Gordon and JJ at Hendrick for several years. And even at JGR, you had Stewart, Hamlin and Rowdy in '08.

Josh (Hamilton, ON)

Since Coach Gibbs has so much respect for Joey, do you see Joey returning to the JGR #20 in a few years when Kenseth retires?

Ed Hinton
  (2:16 PM)

Only if Joey really picks up some wins and shows he can do it consistently.

Andrew (Kentucky)

No matter what Childress says, do you think all the RCR focus on the twins has had a negative impact on the cup teams?

Ed Hinton
  (2:18 PM)

I certainly don't think it has helped the Cup effort. Flesh and blood always trumps on a team. When pop-pop is the owner and pop is the boss, the Dillons are going to draw an awful lot of attention. But, maybe they're the future of the Cup team.

Ed Hinton
  (2:18 PM)

I'm going to post two sports car questions before I answer. They're very similar.

Matt (Council Bluffs, IA)

With the new merger between Grand-Am and ALMS, would this open the door to NASCAR going to Road Atlanta or Sebring? Sebring in Cup cars would be unbelievable!

Jake (Irving, TX)

Ed, with American Le Mans (ALMS) merging with NASCAR-owned Grand Am, do you think we could see NASCAR running on the historic Sebring road course?

Ed Hinton
  (2:20 PM)

OK. I think NASCAR might work at Road Atlanta, but would Bruton Smith tolerate the competition for fan dollars with his already-troubled Atlanta Motor Speedway?Now on Sebring: Unless it's vastly changed since I was there, portions of that old circuit are entirely too rough for NASCAR. And there again, there'd be ticket competition for Daytona and Homestead.

Saul (San Diego)

Mr. Hinton as a senior NASCAR YODA beat writer, do you get to mentor the young guns of McGee, Smith, Blount and Newton?

Ed Hinton
  (2:22 PM)

No, they're all on their own with their own styles.

Teri (CA)

Hi Ed! Can you kindly turn the Auto-Update on?

Ed Hinton
  (2:23 PM)

Woops! Went off and on the site seeking faster response, and didn't notice auto update was off.

Jake (Irving, TX)

Lewis Hamilton tweeted a pic of his Spa practice telemetry data with ride heights and settings before McLaren told him to remove it. What what happend if the tweeters Brad and Harvick pulled that stunt in NASCAR?

Ed Hinton
  (2:25 PM)

Well, that's apples to oranges tech-wise, but if they tweeted, say, spring and shock numbers, they'd be in big trouble with their teams.

mike (Va.)

Ed: What's up with Bobby Labonte. Is that team getting better or will he be out of the #47 next year. I would think this ride would be the end of the road for him.

Ed Hinton
  (2:26 PM)

He spins an awful lot. Usually it's because he gets tapped, but I really think his reflexes aren't what they used to be. And yes, that would be about the last ride if he loses it. Haven't talked to Brad, but imagine he wants improvement in that team one way or another.

Rob (Texas)

How long do you think the following drivers race before they retire: Stewart, Gordon, Martin, and Kenseth

Ed Hinton
  (2:27 PM)

Stewart probably six or seven more. Gordon, five tops. Martin, could be any year now. Kenseth, six or seven more.

Saul (San Diego)

Do you think Dale Jr current environment with HMS and his recent success is erasing the negative physiological effects that some would say began to notice in the spring of 1999.

Ed Hinton
  (2:28 PM)

I do think it has helped lately, but he's not all the way back yet in confidence. He says he's anxious to win "again."

Brandon (Texas)

Over/Under. When Logano is done with Nascar will he have more than 25 Cup wins.

Ed Hinton
  (2:28 PM)

under.

Ross (Havana)

https://twitter.com/rossjcunningham Do you think I will recover from my breakdown if Krylie misses the chase?

Ed Hinton
  (2:29 PM)

not for at least a year

Jimmy (NY)

With Logano going to the 22 and the rumors of Sadler going to JGR Nationwide, it seems that Vickers is the odd man out again. Is there anything out there for him? Any rumors?

Ed Hinton
  (2:29 PM)

Well, that's apples to oranges tech-wise, but if they tweeted, say, spring and shock numbers, they'd be in big trouble with their teams.

Ed Hinton
  (2:30 PM)

Not that I've heard. He just isn't a very sought-after commodity.

Little Bit Racing (Imperial Beach, Ca)

Does NASCAR weigh the cars with the drivers in them or not?

Ed Hinton
  (2:30 PM)

not

Lenny (NJ)

If Dale finishes the Chase winless and 10th-7th, do you think that will show that is the best he's got?

Ed Hinton
  (2:31 PM)

not necessarily. i still think this is a year to build confidence. the next two seasons will tell more.

Chris (Atlanta)

Vickers to the 1, 42 or 47 car...?

Ed Hinton
  (2:32 PM)

None of those that I can see. 47 could make a change, but don't think it would be Vickers.

Brandon (Bonifay)

How good are #88 Chances of winning the Title in 2012..??

Ed Hinton
  (2:33 PM)

I'd give him a 20 percent chance, tops, mainly because he isn't going to be seeded very well unless he wins richmond. which is possible.

Bill (CT)

Ed, Ty has nothing to do with the Sadler thing. RC has said he wants both Austin and Ty to do 2 in trucks and 2 in NW. I think it might be because of Coulter. RC said after he won at Pocono that he wanted Joey full time NW next year

Ed Hinton
  (2:34 PM)

RC definitely does like Coulter.

Christine (Jasper,In)

Do you think Jr. and his team have been experimenting the last couple of weeks since they know they are locked in the chase? It seems they have not had the car or speed the last 2 weeks. Just curious.

Ed Hinton
  (2:35 PM)

They're definitely experimenting and having fun. Junior said so Friday at Atlanta.

Scott (Charlotte)

Which one in the garage will be the first one to punch Brad K

Ed Hinton
  (2:36 PM)

Nobody will punch him. And I'm looking for the question about what would have happened if Happy had slapped Cale or somebody like that.

Chris (Atlanta)

am I the only one who thinks Stenhouse is overrated?

Ed Hinton
  (2:37 PM)

Don't know, but you can't count me in the overrated camp.

Marc (Malden, MA)

Most fans and writers think Danica should spend another full season in the NWS, has that topic been discussed at SHR?

Ed Hinton
  (2:38 PM)

She's set to go with sponsorship in Cup. I think they'll stick with the plan.

Vernie (NJ)

What would have happened back in the day if a driver slapped Cale, Pearson or Bobby Allison in the face during a press conference the way Harvick did to Brad?

Ed Hinton
  (2:39 PM)

I just mentioned to Buddy Baker on his radio show that if Harvick had done that to him, Cale, Allison, et al, it would have been dealt with then and there. But nothing like that ever came up. I've noticed Happy in a lot of half-baked confrontations where the old boys would have finished up the little row in a hurry.

Chris (Atlanta)

what is this slap talk?

Ed Hinton
  (2:40 PM)

harvick's little love tap of Brad K on the face.

Sam (UT)

Not sure danica can handle all those horses with a loose race car. What do you think?

Ed Hinton
  (2:41 PM)

Her biggest issue is that she is loathe to slide the car around. Mark Martin once told her, "not only CAN you slide these cars around, you've GOT to slide these cars around."

Saul (San Diego)

Mr. Hinton, who was your favorite(s) NASCAR beat writer(s)?

Ed Hinton
  (2:42 PM)

The late Gerald Martin of Raleigh was the most articulate, and the late George Cunningham of Atlanta was the toughest news hound.

Chris (Atlanta)

so next time Smoke goes to throw his helmet at Kenseth in the Home Depot 20.... does Tony have sort of out of body experience?

Ed Hinton
  (2:43 PM)

in nascar, sponsors and teams are like this: out of sight, out of mind. if he did it, he probably wouldn't even think about the number or the sponsor.

Alan M. (Columbus, Ohio)

Hi Ed! Nice to have you back again! Of the wild card contenders, who would you give the best shot of winning the championship if you had to pick?

Ed Hinton
  (2:44 PM)

Two-part answer. I'd give Rowdy the best shot at making the Chase, but I'd give Gordon the best shot at winning the championship if he makes the Chase.

Ben (Pa.)

Hornish has run 117 cup races and a ton a NW with 1 NW win. If he was gonna make it, wouldn't he have won a cup race by now?

Ed Hinton
  (2:45 PM)

Yeah, I think he knows he's just sort of a backup for Penske without a whole lot of chance to advance.

Alan M. (Columbus, Ohio)

Hi Ed! How many cautions do you predict on Saturday night and will the race come down to a G-W-C?

Ed Hinton
  (2:45 PM)

I'd say a good 10 cautions, and 80 percent chance it'll end in G-W-C.

Chris (Rutgers Grease Trucks, NJ)

Hi Ed: What are JJ's chances of winning this weekend at Richmond? How badly does he want to tie Denny with #4? Michigan might come back to haunt him. Thoughts???

Ed Hinton
  (2:47 PM)

He has a decent shot, but that whole team is focused on Gordon getting in, so JJ will defer. JJ would like to tie Hamlin, but don't think it's a priority.

Zach (Baltimore) [via mobile]

What is wrong with the 14? The short track program is better this year but they're now hit or miss on the 1.5 mile tracks.

Ed Hinton
  (2:48 PM)

If they knew they'd fix it. But remember, this time last year they were looking pretty bad too, and then whammo, off they went, 5 of 10 in the chase.

Alan M. (Columbus, Ohio)

Hi Ed! Which wild card contender would be the most psychologically affected next season by missing the Chase this season?

Ed Hinton
  (2:49 PM)

I'd say Gordon, due to his age, and also due to his "I must be getting soft in my old age" comment at Atlanta Sunday night.

Wally (Clarksburg)

Have you or any of the other writers pressed Stewart for an explaination as to way he fired Darien Grubb?

Ed Hinton
  (2:50 PM)

Oh, yes. Him, Darian, Addington, everybody. Tony sticks to his story that that was his plan all along and he followed it.

Saul (San Diego)

Mr. Hinton, what is the most blantant act that you have seen or heard a driver for a caution?

Ed Hinton
  (2:50 PM)

I think it was Robby Gordon who threw roll-cage padding out his window several years ago to cause a caution.

Alan M. (Columbus, Ohio)

Hi Ed! Do you think the Wild Card chase this year will be more exciting than the race for the championship at the end of the season? I think the Wild Card is one of the greatest moves NASCAR has ever made (regardless of the fact that Rowdy is struggling to stay in).

Ed Hinton
  (2:51 PM)

I think Richmond often comes down to a more interesting scenario than Homestead.

Geri (Canada)

Mr. Hinton, why does Danica get far more attention than Cole Whitt? He is further up in points than she is and he is a wheelman, for a rookie he is doing good and Bruce Cook is not only a good crew chief but a mentor to Cole. The equipment at JR Motorsports is just fine, Danica and Cole still have more to learn. Your thoughts, thanks?

Ed Hinton
  (2:52 PM)

Because she came in as a big name, and as a female racing consistently in NASCAR, of course she's going to get a lot of attention.

Marc (Malden, MA)

Loved Harvick's response (paraphrasing) "Nascar finds whatever reason to throw a caution, whenever they feel like it."

Ed Hinton
  (2:53 PM)

He'll hear from Helton and/or Pemberton on that one, if he hasn't already.

Saul (San Diego)

Mr. Hinton, what change(s) would you recommend NASCAR for next season?

Ed Hinton
  (2:53 PM)

Same as for years now: get rid of the infernal green-white-checkered! It changes too many outcomes.

Alan M. (Columbus, Ohio)

Hi Ed! Who do you predict will win the most races between Saturday and the end of the season?

Ed Hinton
  (2:54 PM)

JJ, but not necessarily counting Saturday.

Sav (UK, Berkshire)

Hi Ed, Why is Montoya struggling so much these days? He really seems to have gone down hill since 2010. I hope next years car will improve things.

Ed Hinton
  (2:54 PM)

Because the Ganassi cars have been awful.

Wally (Clarksburg)

What's the latest on Kurt Busch for '13? RCR #31 maybe?

Ed Hinton
  (2:55 PM)

I would think that between Jeff Green and Robby Gordon, Richard Childress has had enough of temperamental drivers for one lifetime.

Rob (Texas)

Hornish has ran better than Logano almost every week since he took the 22 ride. He deserved the ride in my opinion.

Ed Hinton
  (2:56 PM)

Opinion noted. And I won't disagree with you.

Saul (San Diego)

Mr Hinton, what was the very first NASCAR race you saw?

Ed Hinton
  (2:57 PM)

It was the Firecracker 400, 1974, when David Pearson faked a blown engine at the white flag to force Richard Petty to go around him. Then Pearson floored it again and won with a slingshot pass at the checkered. I've seen maybe five races in these 38 years that were as good or better than that first one.

Marc (Malden, MA)

First change I would make is all races except Daytona 500, Coke 600, Southern 500, reduced to 300/400 miles/laps.

Ed Hinton
  (2:58 PM)

Yes, I'd love to see that too. And I detect just a little movement deep inside NASCAR toward that kind of thing, although we won't see it for another year or two.

Jason (Mountain View)

Could the reason for Ganassi struggles be he's to focused on the indy car side

Ed Hinton
  (2:59 PM)

I've always said you can't run all-out in NASCAR if you have a major Indy car effort. Look at Penske.

Rob (Texas)

Kurt Busch has better stats and is way younger than Matt Kenseth, He deserved the #20 JGR ride in my opinion.

Ed Hinton
  (3:00 PM)

Yeah, but a proven driver with an even temperament got the nod there. Besides, would you want the Busch boys on the same team?

Saul (San Diego)

Mr. Hinton, have you seen a race in person in each current Cup track?

Ed Hinton
  (3:00 PM)

All except Kentucky.

Ed Hinton
  (3:01 PM)

Well, gotta go. Thanks to all for stopping by.