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October 11, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Terry Blount

Terry Blount
  (1:59 PM)

Special addition of the best reality show in racing today gang. Newt is busy in Charlotte with the Junior news, so let's discuss today's stunning announcement. Quite a day.

Kevin (Nevada)

Why is it that sometimes car owners are listed as owner's wives, children, etc. instead of just the known owner of the car?

Terry Blount
  (2:00 PM)

Tax purposes usually.

Jamerson (Georgia)

Do you think Regan Smith being handpicked to drive the 88 in Junior's absence is an indication that we may see him in a Nationwide car for JR Motorsports next year? Or is it simply a case of him being the best guy that was available?

Terry Blount
  (2:02 PM)

I think Rick thought Smith was the best guy to put in the car, but the situation he has an JR Motorspots might have played int it a little. But has anyone considered the firestorm of talk that will come if Smith wins the race Saturday night?

Rob F (Hoboken, NJ)

Hi Terry, If Earnhardt was in BK's position in the points would he sit out? I feel like he'd be more inclined to tough it out.

Terry Blount
  (2:02 PM)

I agree. No way he would have gone to the doctor and risked being told he had to sit out if he still had a shot at the title.

Cameron (Palo Alto, CA)

First off, LET'S GO GIANTS! now that that's out of the way, how do you feel about Regan Smith leaving Phoenix for the 88? Is this going to hurt his chances to sign with them for next year (if they have a team)? At least he can prove himself (or show he's not as good) in the best equipment. Thanks for the Chat Mr. Blount!

Terry Blount
  (2:04 PM)

I think it could help Regan overal. If he runs in the top 10 in ther 88, a lot of teams will take notice. And Finch still would want him unlesd AJ races to the front in the next couple of weeks. It's more options for everyone. And it'll be fun to watch Regan and AJ this weekend and compare how they do.

Larry (MI)

HeyTerry, hate the news about Dale Jr. Do you know if he plans to stay in Charlotte for the race or if he will be sitting on the pit box?

Terry Blount
  (2:05 PM)

I'm sure he'll be there, and probably sitting next to Stevie.

Larry (MI)

Terry, Dale Jr not racing is huge news but how crazy is it that AJ is getting a chance like this in the same year he was suspended by Nascar for failing a drug test? Do you think Mayfield wishes he would have kept his mouth shot and just completed the program?

Terry Blount
  (2:05 PM)

If Mayfield doesn't think that now, I feel sorry for him.

Lucas (Tennessee)

What do you expect out of Smith in the 88 car?

Terry Blount
  (2:07 PM)

I think Regan has a shot at running in the top 10. I feel bad for Jr, but love seeing a situation where a guy who never has raced in top equipment gets a shot to see what he can do. However, it's tough to step in cold to a new team with different ways of doing things and click right off the bat.

Jimmy (Candor, NY)

What can NASCAR do or further do to combat concussions in the sport? Or with more awareness is this something we as fans are going to to have to live with? As a JR fan I wish him a speedy recovery.

Terry Blount
  (2:09 PM)

I realize this concussion thing with dale started with the crash at KC, but I think this will cause NASCAR to take a hard look at trying to eliminate this last-lap madness at Dega. It also could cause them to reevaluate how they look at head trauma based of the G-force of a crash, which is shown on the data recorders.

S. Bilger (Seattle, WA)

Shout out to Dale Jr for not hiding his concussion. There are a lot of athletes that hide their symptoms and don't speak up. And circumstances aside, it's great that someone like Regan Smith is tapped to sub for him.

Terry Blount
  (2:11 PM)

But Dale didn't speak up originally at Kansas. And I don't think he would have now if he still had a realistic shot at winning the champiopnship. I'm not blaming him. I wouldn't either.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Did you knew somebody who has Breast Cancer?

Terry Blount
  (2:12 PM)

Yes I do, which is why I'm glad so many sports have emphasized breat cancer awareness this month.

Jimbo (via mobile)

Jeff Gordon being 6th in points despite 3 top 3 finishes really underscores how flawed this points system is. What tweaks to the system would you consider, and why?

Terry Blount
  (2:13 PM)

As I've said before, don't award points for a finish worse than 20, but it also would require going to a systym based in 20 points for winning, plus the bonus points.

Marc (Malden, MA)

Do you think Nascar should implement some type of independent concussion protocol? I really do wonder how much these drivers are examined after a crash and someone driving with a concussion is a danger to everyone.

Terry Blount
  (2:17 PM)

It's a difficult call. Concussions in NASCAR usually are different than concussions in football, which typically come from helmet to helmet contract. A concussion in NASCAR can come from the brain moving against the skull from a jarring crash. If you watch the video from the Dega crash, the initial hit to the 88 was very minor when Jr ran into the car in front of him. But the turned the car sideways and the 88 was severely T-boned on the driver side down on the track apron. Clearly, that would have jarred Earnhardt's head, even with the head restraints.

Molly Maid (Terry's Kitchen)

Hi Terry! Breaktime!!! Is this the week that the #48 finally gets a chase win? Also. I feel bad for Dalr Jr. having to miss 2 races at this point in the season. It's a shame! Okay, back to work.....

Terry Blount
  (2:19 PM)

Molly, I think we need to check you for a concussion since you always forget to do your work. As for JJ, it could win. But he's not my pick.

Chad (MO)

What percentage of a chance does the 24 have to still be in the title picture at Homestead?

Terry Blount
  (2:19 PM)

I'd say about 10 to 20 percent. Not impossible, but really tough for anyone now who isn't in the top 3.

James (Houston)

Was it a surprise to you that AJ was put in the 51 car?

Terry Blount
  (2:21 PM)

No. AJ had talked to James Finch and Finch was interested. But James is looking for sponsorship, so he was a little hesitant to put AJ in the car, thinking it might be more difficult to find sponsors willing to support him. So this situation helped AJ, and it could help Regan , as well.

Brad (Harrisburg,PA)

Terry, even if they had a realistic shot at a title, Dale Jr or anyone who would risk their future health for one year of glory to me is selfish. Drivers have to think about their familes, and the 20 30 years of life after racing. One mans opinion, kudos to Jr..

Terry Blount
  (2:22 PM)

I hear ya Brad, but most athletes are going to go for it if a championship is on the line. It's in their blood.

Keith H (Seattle)

Talladega looks absolutely scary on TV (I've never been there). What can be done to the track to avoid "The Big One" every race? It seems the cars and walls have been tweaked. What's left?

Terry Blount
  (2:25 PM)

They've been trying to answer that question for years Keith. There just aren't any easy answers. I do think it's worse now than ever at the end when everyone pushes each other and it's just insanity in the last few laps. But I admit i don't know how to fix it.

Steve (Da Big Island)

Do you think M Martin would have made the chase had he ran all the races?

Terry Blount
  (2:26 PM)

Maybe. Obviously, the MWR equipment is good enough since the two guys running full time made it.

Jimmy (STL)

Big props to Smoke for calling himself out on the move detonated that wreck. Will the '13 car allow for a different feel to pack racing? because those final 2 laps was a 4 wide 6-7 deep parking lot at 200+MPH

Terry Blount
  (2:27 PM)

Hopefully the new car will bring about enough aero changes to eliminate some of what we see at ther end of the plate races, but I doubt it will make a lot of difference. It's still the same COT chassis.

Matt (ny)

This concussion with junior scares me, because didn't his dad die because of the way his brain moved durring impact with the wall? I think Michael Waltrip mentioned something about that in his book. Also, thanks for coming on such short notice to give us a chat!

Terry Blount
  (2:29 PM)

Thank you for joining in Matt. Dale Sr. died from a basular skull fracture, meaning the base of the brain snaps at impact. That is highly unlikely to happen today with head and neck restraints that keep the head from severely snapping forward in a crash.

Brooks (Richmond)

Now that any hopes of a championship are done for Junior, should he sit the rest of the season, to ensure he is 100% in 2013?

Terry Blount
  (2:31 PM)

I don't think so if the doctors say he's OK. It's good to get a jump on things for 2013, although that is limited this year since the new car will debut in 2013.

J (Texas)

I'm sure there are reasons they haven't done it, but would putting some sort of chicane on the backstretch of Talledega be an option? You'd think making drivers use their brakes would break up the pack.

Terry Blount
  (2:32 PM)

That's an interesting thought, but Dega is so huge it would take more than one chicane. I would be in favor of that, but I doubt many fans would.

Terri (FL)

What would be a good day for Smith in the next two weekends? I say a top ten will be a great day for them.

Terry Blount
  (2:34 PM)

I agree. If he finishes in the top 10 in one or both races, Smith will have shown he can race well in top equipment. Anything better than that is a huge bonus. And a win would blow the roof off things. All the Jr haters would say, "See, put another driver in that car and he can win right off the bat."

ChrisC (Memphis)

Short of a completely different aero or engine or suspension package at plate tracks I don't see what can be done. They won't bring the dump trucks and bulldozers and take out banking.

Terry Blount
  (2:35 PM)

And that just won't happen Chris. It would be a multi-million-dollar project and make Dega into Pocono. But I kind of like the chicane idea that was brought up earlier.

Christine (Jasper,In)

I just wish I had a response to those non Jr. fans on the internet saying that he is just not wanting to race the rest of the season because he knew his chances are over of winning the cup. They have no idea what it means to go out there at 200 mph with constant headaches from possibly a concussion.

Terry Blount
  (2:36 PM)

Haters are gonna hate Christine. My advice: Ignore it.

Brooks (Richmond)

If Regan (though unlikely, but certainly not impossible) wins the next two races, what does it do for Junior's confidence, when he returns to the car?

Terry Blount
  (2:38 PM)

The ramifications of that scenario are mind-boggling. Jr haters would come out of the woodwork. Smith would become an instant star. And even some of Jr's supporters would question his ability to drive the car up to its potential.

Jay (GA)

Who finishes higher, Kurt Busch, Regan Smith, or AJ Allmendinger? I'd go with Regan, Kurt, then Dinger

Terry Blount
  (2:40 PM)

Great question Jay. I would have to agree with you, based on the quality of the equipment. If it turns out different, say AJ finishes way better than the other two, it will cause quite a stir.

dz (new mexico)

do you know if the concussion symptoms are the result of the kansas crash?

Terry Blount
  (2:42 PM)

I don't know is anyone can determine that for a fact, but Junior believes the concussion at KC wasn't completely healed and then was relapsed by the Dega crash. His brain scan this week didn't show any damage, which is good.

Jamerson (Georgia)

Junior's performance has been a little off ever since the Chase started... over-revving the engine at Chicago and making pit road mistakes in pretty much every race. If the concussion has been around since the Kansas crash, do you think its been hurting his performance?

Terry Blount
  (2:43 PM)

I'm sure some people for going to specualte about that, but it's really impossible to say. Only Junior really knows how he was feeling in the car and whether it affected his performance.

Rusty (EL Paso, TX)

who will be the first non-chaser to win a race in the final 6 races.

Terry Blount
  (2:44 PM)

Three weeks ago on one of our Turn 4 questions I was the only one who said the non-chasers will go winless in the Chase. I'm sticking by it.

Chris (NH)

Do you think the 2013 car will drastically improve the quality of the races?

Terry Blount
  (2:44 PM)

Drastically? Absolutely not. Marginally? Maybe so.

Keith H (Seattle)

For the fantasy folks, let's get it over with: Your Top 5 and Darkhorse?

Terry Blount
  (2:46 PM)

That has changed no since Jr. was in my top 5 Tuesday. I'll go with Kahne, JJ, Kyle, Gordon and Harvick. My darkhorse now is Smith, of course.

Jimmy (Candor, NY)

I understand that Jr's concussion issue started at the test session but I hope NASCAR uses this as a real reason to fix what has been going on at Daytona/ Dega. The last few years have been the most dangerous races at these tracks since before restrictor plates.

Terry Blount
  (2:47 PM)

I think it will cause them to take a hard look at it Jimmy, but it's a difficult thing to fix.

Sav (UK - Berkshire)

Hi Terry, do you see Jimmie and the 48 team reeling in the 2? Brad seems to be strong everywhere, only with the extra mental capacity to master things like fuel mileage.

Terry Blount
  (2:48 PM)

I think it's a 3-man race now, but I'm sticking with my original pick in Denny. I think Grubb is his ace in the hole down the stretch.

Steve (Da Big Island)

I think it is great that Finch is giving AJ a chance. Some times people need that

Terry Blount
  (2:49 PM)

I agree Steve and I wrote that in a blog when AJ is reinstated. We all make mistakes, but AJ is a good guy who deserves a chance to show he can make up for what happened.

Ron (Creston)

Not picking Brad K as a favorite for Sunday? He was 5th last time there.

Terry Blount
  (2:50 PM)

I can't pick everyobody Ron, but Brad always is a contender to win these days.,

Matt (Chicago)

I've always been a fan of tandems, and with today's news do you see any shift in NASCAR or fan attitudes towards pack racing vs tandems?

Terry Blount
  (2:51 PM)

Most fans prefer pack racing over tandems, but you certainly can argue that tandems are safer since it tends to spread out the pack.

Jimmy (Candor, NY)

I have an idea for plate tracks, move the rear bumper up so it doesn't line up with the front bumper (like the old car).

Terry Blount
  (2:52 PM)

That has been suggested, or just make a rule that you can't push anorther car. But it's almost impossible to pass anyone in plate racing without pushing, so it might be incredibly boring.

BT (Myrtle Beach)

Will Regan get to go to all of the driver crew chief meetings that JJ, Jeff, & Kasey goto? Will he really be apart of the team or is he just there to drive the car?

Terry Blount
  (2:53 PM)

I'm sure Regan will be a full participant. The team owes it to its sponors to do everything it can to make Smith competitive.

Ron (Creston)

Hamlin's team has made an awful lot of mistakes this chase. Not getting gas tank full. Not proper air pressure in tires for qual. Setting engine too rich at Dover. Hanging in the back at Dega. Why do you see them suddenly changing that?

Terry Blount
  (2:55 PM)

I like Denny's attitude of not getting upset with his guys and everybody sticking together. I think think Grubb can right the ship to keep them in the hunt. But you're right, they have to stop making careless errors.

Marc (Malden, MA)

Wonder if Montoya was secretly hoping he could fill in for Jr.

Terry Blount
  (2:56 PM)

Not unless JPM also had a concussion.

Ron (Creston)

Miggy Cabrera or Trout for MVP?

Terry Blount
  (2:57 PM)

Nothing against Trout, but it will be a travesty if Cabrera doesn't win the MVP.

Craig (Milwaukee)

Casual fan here, can you explain what would happen if Smith would win and finish well in the other race as far as points. Are they Junior's points, the 88's points, or Smith's points?

Terry Blount
  (2:57 PM)

The team gets the owner points. Smith gets the driver points.

N8 (NC)

Random question here. What's Fatback McSwain doing these days?

Terry Blount
  (2:59 PM)

Don't know. Probably eating. OK, bad joke. I always like Fatback. Really good guy.

Elliott (Nashville)

What counts towards a championship? Owner points or Driver Points?

Terry Blount
  (2:59 PM)

Driver points.

Marc (Malden, MA)

(Wishing plate racing would go away)

Terry Blount
  (3:00 PM)

Well, you know what they say Marc. You can wish in one hand and pour chili in the other and see which one gets filled first.

Cameron (Palo Alto, CA)

Terry, what's the score of the Seahawk-Patriot game? I've been impressed with the Seahawk D, but, I mean, it's frickin Tom Brady, and Gronk is no slouch himself!

Terry Blount
  (3:01 PM)

I'll say 21-17 New England, but this is a great matchup with the No. 1 D and the No. 1 offense.

Terry Blount
  (3:03 PM)

I'm out gang. Great chat today. Let's all hope Junior makes a full recovery in two weeks and is back in the car soon. And let's hope Smith and Dinger make the most of their opportunity. Peace.