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September 13, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Ed Hinton

Ed Hinton
  (2:00 PM)

Hi, all. First, a remembrance of Dr. Sid Wakins, known as "Prof Watkins" to the F1 community, who died Wednesday at age 84. Prof was pushing for safety in motor racing long before the effort became universal. Oreo has a nice blog about him on our motorsports home page.

Bob (Upstate NY)

Hey Ed, thanks for your time. Random question - which drivers are the most popular with other drivers? Fans really only get to see the 'sponsor focused' personalities but wondering behind closed doors who does everyone like and get along with?

Ed Hinton
  (2:01 PM)

Believe it or not considering his outbursts at times, I think Tony Stewart is regarded as a better friend to more drivers than anyone else in the garages. Kenseth and Dale Jr. are well-liked too, but Smoke may be tops.

Rob F (Hoboken, NJ)

Hi Ed, nice piece. I like that Michael has finally done something his brother really couldn't: run a successful team. DW is one of the top drivers of the modern era, but he really soiled his legacy later on. In NASCAR it's not where you start, but where you finish. Shockingly, it looks like MW is finishing on top.

Ed Hinton
  (2:03 PM)

I used to ask DW during his puttering years why he kept doing it. He said he'd be foolish to quit just when the money was getting great. Sometimes it takes a humble guy like MW to make a team click . . . and survive financially.

Andy (Purcellville, VA)

Hey Ed - great letter to MW today. It really put his story in perspective. Along the same lines, aside from Dale Jr winning the championship, I think a guy like Bowyer winning would be great for the sport. Such a marketable personality that could transcend some of the boundaries NASCAR has when looking at the greater sports fan landscape. He'd do really well on the talk show circuit, Sports Center interviews, special appearances, etc. I think he's capable of bringing in new fans - what do you think?

Ed Hinton
  (2:04 PM)

Oh, I agree that Bowyer would give NASCAR Nation the Everyman champion they seem to want. He's common folks. Should he win the title and they not except him, then I'd wonder if NN could be satiated at all.

Jay (GA)

Do you think Mike Ford will help turn Ambrose into a regular contender on the ovals?

Ed Hinton
  (2:05 PM)

Could be, in that Ambrose may be less prone to question Ford's moves -- the way, for example, Denny Hamlin was. But I don't think a crew chief can get a driver completely over the hump in learning ovals. A lot of that'll be up to Ambrose himself.

Matt (WI)

Rank the 4 Hendrick drivers on who you think has best chance to win the championship.

Ed Hinton
  (2:07 PM)

1. Johnson (all the proven strength and strategy). 2. Gordon (wants it real bad and feels the mo whether he has it or not). 3. Earnhardt (will have to get into winning mode in a hurry to win this Chase). 4. Kahne (his tendency to streak-win will hold up only with consistent finishes otherwise.)

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

How Many Sprint Cup Series Races did Jimmie Johnson Ran in his Limited Schedule in 2001 or 2000 in the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet?

Ed Hinton
  (2:08 PM)

He ran three races in '01 -- but I don't recall whether it was in the Lowe's car per se. I'm not sure they had that deal completely done until the off season of '01 '02.

Mackenzie (Montana)

who do you think has the best chance to win the championship in nation wide and sprint cup?

Ed Hinton
  (2:09 PM)

Gotta go with Stenhouse in NW . . . he's just getting too strong, too savvy . . .and I'm sticking with Brad K, who I picked to win the championship back in January.

Mike (DC)

Will Logano and Keselowski get along well (enough) as teammates next year? When Keselowski was wrecking people right & left a few years ago, Logano seemed to be a frequent recipient of Keselowski's bumper. Have they, or will they, bury the hatchet?

Ed Hinton
  (2:11 PM)

Brad K is really good at warming up to a teammate, as he did as senior driver to the star-crossed Dinger at the beginning of this year. I see no reason to believe Joey won't accept the role of No. 2.

Boston for 15 (Boston)

I want to be the first to congratulate Clint on his win. Literally. I get the impact of Gordon's run, but geez- I stayed up till 1:30 and didn't even get to see a burnout or crew celebration. Very disappointing.

Ed Hinton
  (2:12 PM)

Yeah, I see what you mean.

Scott (Charlotte)

I am worried about JRM. Is there anyone at Hendrick who could come in and take over. There cars are slow.

Ed Hinton
  (2:13 PM)

Well, you know they've hired Ryan Pemberton, Robin's brother. Guess we shall see what we shall see.

Jake (Irving, TX)

Hey Ed, now that it looks like there will be a USGP @austin in Nov. do you think Homestead should move the race to Sat. night or Sunday night so it doesn't conflict with our country's US Grand Prix?

Ed Hinton
  (2:14 PM)

Nossir. It was F1 that moved in on NASCAR's well-established date, not vice versa.

jerry (ia)

what exactly does the splitter do? if nascar go rid of it on the 2013 cars would it change the racing at all?

Ed Hinton
  (2:15 PM)

It's NASCAR's idea of controlling front downforce with adustments within NASCAR parameters. If they took it away, they'd have to go back to allowing teams to create their own front downforce with air dams, etc. And in NASCAR's view it would be out of control again.

Kristin (NYC)

I think the Truck Series still has a great chase of their own, pretty much since the season started. Right now it's Peters, Buescher and Ty Dillon...do you think any of them will win, or someone else?

Ed Hinton
  (2:16 PM)

Based on the backing, and his gaining experience, I'm guessing Ty.

Matt (NC)

I understand that KB was angry for not making the chase, but I can almost guarantee if JG didn't make it, he wouldn't have acted like Kyle did afterwards. Dude needs to grow up and be thankful he has an awesome job racing for a living.

Ed Hinton
  (2:17 PM)

WHAT???? I thought he was pretty classy under the circumstances. And I wouldn't be so sure JG would have been a bit cooler, if as cool . . .

Saul (San Diego)

Hinton Motorsports: If you had to start a 4 car team, who would your four drivers be? select drivers from the past to present?

Ed Hinton
  (2:19 PM)

Futile to compare eras, so here would be my four: 1 JJ; 2 Hamlin; 3 Smoke (as senior driver) and 4, yes, Kyle.

Joanne (Ft. Myers)

As a Rowdy Busch fan, we are naturally disappointed that Rowdy got knocked out of the chase and had a win stolen by #2 at The Glen. Do you think the Chase is lacking excitement without Rowdy? Sure feels that way.

Ed Hinton
  (2:20 PM)

Yes and no. Trouble is, he's never been a factor for long in the Chases he's made. So, maybe some pizzazz is missing right now but not necessarily in a few weeks.

Boston for 15 (Boston)

With so many one-win teams not Chasing, is it ever going to be in the cards to see all winners and an elimination format adopted for future Chases?

Ed Hinton
  (2:22 PM)

There's been a "win and you're in" movement for some years now. I think that'll happen eventually. As for an elimination format, I've pushed for that for years but NASCAR has shown no interest in doing it.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What Race do you think that Danica Patrick will get her very first NASCAR win at?

Ed Hinton
  (2:23 PM)

I said the Indy NW series race this year and was bad wrong. I want to see her getting some top fives before I go out on a limb about her first-win track.

Jeremy (Port Angeles, WA)

How many nationwide series races do you think Danica will do next year in 2013?

Ed Hinton
  (2:25 PM)

Probably some at places where she can use the track time, such as Daytona and Bristol. But she's really gonna need to focus on Cup.

Mark (MD)

Thanks for the chat Ed. What is your take on the Grand-Am/ALMS merger?????

Ed Hinton
  (2:26 PM)

I like it a lot -- but like IRL and Champ Car, it may be too little too late. There's a lot of rebuilding years to go. Still, it'll be a great start to have the Daytona 24 and the Sebring 12 open the season, as in the glory years of sports cars in the U.S.

Bryan (PacificNW)

Ed- Do you think the Crew Chief swap @RPM was more an effort to get Almirola going and see what he has or to pair Ford w/Ambrose for a jump on next season?

Ed Hinton
  (2:27 PM)

Probably equal parts, as is usual with crew chief swaps.

Jim (Intercourse, Pa.)

"Ed Hinton (2:17 PM)WHAT???? I thought he was pretty classy under the circumstances. And I wouldn't be so sure JG would have been a bit cooler, if as cool . . ."Seriously? Kyle classy? What were you watching?????

Ed Hinton
  (2:28 PM)

OK, I'll belabor this one more time and one only: He said they missed, that's it. Asked what Gibbs told him, he said he was told to handle this properly but there was no way to handle this properly. No more Kyle hating just for the heck of it today.

Saul (San Diego)

Mr. Hinton, Alan Kulwicki, can you please attempt to compare the type of driver/personality he was to a current driver, if you will, to gain a little more insight?

Ed Hinton
  (2:30 PM)

Nobody really like him today. He was an engineer with very clipped expression: "Yes." "No." "I don't know."

Matt (Charlotte)

Hey Ed, first, thanks for doing these chats. Second, is Richard Childress seriously considering hiring Kurt Busch? Especially when Vickers has run great and he's available, reliable, not a constant problem/griper, good with sponsors and arguably has a better upside potential in the long run. Agree, Disagree, am I crazy? Thanks.

Ed Hinton
  (2:31 PM)

Childress says he's interested and I believe him. I didn't think he'd want any more problem children, e.g. Jeff Green or Robby Gordon, but apparently he's willing to work through it. Vickers? Never a problem? Please.

Russ (San Antonio, Texas)

How well do you think Morgan Shepherd could do in the NNS if he had a decent ride? He's almost 71 but I think if you put him in a car like the #20 he wins every week. Thoughts?

Ed Hinton
  (2:32 PM)

Uh, no. Morgan has seen his day . . . about 15 years ago. He was good in his time.

Ron (Smithville)

Do you think nobody wants Vickers because they remember how he intentionally dumped Stewart at Sonoma in '10 and Matt Kenseth at Martinsville ruining his Championship hopes?

Ed Hinton
  (2:34 PM)

. . . and more than that. When he wrecked JJ and Junior to win at Talladega, best I recall, Hendrick plane left without him.

Lois (PA)

Mr. Hinton, I'm a huge Jimmy Spencer fan and wondered if we will ever see Jimmy back in cup?

Ed Hinton
  (2:34 PM)

Highly doubtful, but the man was highly colorful, no doubt about it. Sometimes he was over the top with his recklessness, though.

John (Illinois)

I was at the Chase Contenders Live event in Chicago yesterday... just have to say, Clint Bowyer is a very funny guy! He stole the show up on the stage with the other drivers. Everyone should watch it tonight on Speed TV.

Ed Hinton
  (2:35 PM)

Yes indeed, as we've been talking about here, Bowyer would be a popular champion, an Everyman.

Sam (UT)

Think denny knows that jimmie was lurking last time and what ended up happening?

Ed Hinton
  (2:36 PM)

of course he does. But this is a very different Denny than in '10.

Saul (San Diego)

What would be the best scenario going into homestead? (like 2 or 3 drivers within 10 points or something, Dale Jr in the point lead etc,,,)

Ed Hinton
  (2:38 PM)

Best scenario would be three or four drivers within, say, a total of six or seven points.

Terri (N. Hollywood)

Hi Ed, seems that with Kyle out of the chase the pundits think it's open season to pile on Rowdy. Do some of these guys just say negative stuff about Kyle to get us #18 fans riled up?

Ed Hinton
  (2:39 PM)

There are legitimate questions about how well he would have done had he made the Chase, based on his Chases past. Just questions -- not piling on.

Todd (Georgia)

If I was in charge of JR Motorsports I would be trying to get Johanna Long to drive for me next year. It seems she should be able find sponsors, loads of potential, and doesn't tear up a bunch of race cars. Let JR know that next time you see him.

Ed Hinton
  (2:40 PM)

Oh, I'm sure he'd take my advice right to the bank.

Vinnie (ATL)

I have read and heard from writers and talking heads how a team mate may let another team mate by if it meant the team winning the championship. All I can think of is Rubens pulling over for Michael in F1. I hope the championship doesn't come to that!

Ed Hinton
  (2:41 PM)

That has happened in F1 before. They've been trying to stop it in recent years, but it could still happpen.

Andy (FL)

We were wondering if the championship in Vegas was useless now that Vegas' two favorite sons are not in the title hunt?

Ed Hinton
  (2:42 PM)

You mean a season finale race? Or the banquet? Neither will be/would be affected by the absence of the Busch boys.

Frank (Atlanta)

What other pieces to the puzzle remain to be resolved in this year's silly season? Kurt Busch, where does he go, I suppose, but any others?

Ed Hinton
  (2:44 PM)

I think he's about it, and there wouldn't be a huge domino in that Phoenix wouldn't stand to pick up a big name. Pretty clear Kurt will be at RCR if Childress can find the sponsorship, but . . .

Andrew (Kentucky)

Do you think Rowdy and Dave gamble and go all out to win 4-5 of the Chase races to steal the thunder of the chasers and help Denny win the Championship?

Ed Hinton
  (2:45 PM)

I think they become an R&D car for Denny and for the two MWR Toyota drivers. If the experiments work, 18 could go on a tear, yes. But if not, they could have some DNFs.

Hector (Miami)

Hello Mr. Hinton, how much longer do you think Mr. Childress is gonna put up with Harvick firing crew chiefs, hiring them back and throwing the #29 team and crew under the bus before he makes a driver change?

Ed Hinton
  (2:47 PM)

He's put up with Happy for a long, long time. No reason to think that will change.

Alan M (Columbus, OH)

What is Matt from NC talking about in regards to JG's attitude versus KB's?! Jeff Gordon said literally THE SAME EXACT THING as Kyle did during the red flag!!!

Ed Hinton
  (2:47 PM)

Equal time granted here.

Alan M (Columbus, OH)

Wouldn't the best experiment for Rowdy be canning Mr. Rogers? Sorry, but I have zero confidence in his ability to tune a car and make it better than it was at the beginning of a race.

Ed Hinton
  (2:48 PM)

Don't know if it's time for that . . . yet . . .

Chris (NJ)

Hi Ed: Who are you top 3 this weekend in Chicago? Thanks!

Ed Hinton
  (2:49 PM)

JJ, JG, Truex

jayden (la)

who is your darkhorse to win the championship?

Ed Hinton
  (2:50 PM)

Bowyer. Much as MWR has improved, and as good a champion as Bowyer would be, he'd still have to be rated a dark horse considering all the competition.

Teri (CA)

Do you think Matt Kenseth will get another win in for #17 team prior to his departure?

Ed Hinton
  (2:51 PM)

On all those 1.5 milers? Yep, he should get another one -- say, Texas.

Keith H (Seattle)

Ed, I'll catch up later (work got in the way). I just wanted to say "thank you" because every time you chat, I learn something new and I've been watching NASCAR for many years. Also, has the been a RAYGORDONREID (Zipcode Unknown) sighting lately?

Ed Hinton
  (2:52 PM)

Sadly, no RAYGORDONREID in a long, long, long time. Maybe he dropped and broke his only laptop while doing all that traveling.

John (Illinois)

NASCAR moved the 1st race in the Chase to Chicago last year... What was their goal in doing that? Has it worked?

Ed Hinton
  (2:54 PM)

Their idea was opening in a bigger market . . .but I used to work for the Chicago Tribune, and getting attention there vs. the Bears, Cubs, Sox, et al., is very tough. I can't see how it has worked. You're closer to the current situation than I, but I just don't see how Chicago pays much more attention than ever.

Vernie (NJ)

Are the Chicago fans "locals" or do they drive in from Mich. Ohio and PA?

Ed Hinton
  (2:55 PM)

There are some drive-ins, but NASCAR's main idea was to get publicity in Chicago itself. And I don't see that that has worked.

Saul (San Diego)

Was there or is there truth in that NASCAR needs Dale Jr to win?

Ed Hinton
  (2:56 PM)

Absolutely, positively, beyond doubt.

Jim (Intercourse, Pa.)

Which Chase track is your favorite?

Ed Hinton
  (2:57 PM)

Hate to admit this because I don't think it should be a Chase track, but I have this fascination with Talladega because it stirs things up so much.

John (Illinois)

Well... for what it's worth, I don't think most people even realize we have a NASCAR racetrack in town, much less a premiere event this weekend.

Ed Hinton
  (2:59 PM)

Precisely.

Vernie (NJ)

Is Cicero, Il more famous for bing the 1 time home of Al Capone or having a NASCAR track?

Ed Hinton
  (3:00 PM)

Cicero doesn't have a NASCAR track. Joliet, home of the notorious state prison, does. Cicero had a CART track, built over the old Sportsman's Park horse track.

Ed Hinton
  (3:01 PM)

With that, we have to go. Thanks for stopping by, all.