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February 6, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Ed Hinton

Ed Hinton
  (2:01 PM)

Hi, all. I've had to follow some tough acts on these chats, but coming in right on Brad K's bumper has to be my all-time.Happy Mardi Gras week to all you folks along the Gulf Coast.

Garrett (Oklahoma City)

Do you see any of the smaller teams this year taking the Championship?

Ed Hinton
  (2:03 PM)

Well, if you consider Penske a small team -- and I do, in the Cup ranks -- yes. If you consider MWR small -- and I no longer do -- then another yes.

Ben (SC)

Hey Ed, knowing RC and how important loyalty is to him do you think that lame-duck Harvick deal is doomed from the start?

Ed Hinton
  (2:04 PM)

No, I don't. I think RC is professional enough to make a full effort for Happy.

Bill Scott (Lake Summerset, Illinois )

Hell-o Ed, Kenseth, Testing time with new car, new crew chief, new spotter and new team. Does the 20 have a real shot at the Cup? I hope so, he ain't gettin any younger but still seems to have the fire to compete. I just hope he doesen't implode like 2 years ago at Martinsville with Vickers. Your thoughts? Thanks, Bill

Ed Hinton
  (2:05 PM)

Yessir, I think Kenseth has a very real shot. I might even put him among my top five shots this year.

Jake (Irving, TX)

Since Penske won the cup as basically a 1-car team last year, do you think Kurt Busch might pull off the same feat @FR78racing?

Ed Hinton
  (2:06 PM)

I just can't see that. Brad K didn't have many, if any, in-car blowups last year. I just don't think Kurt could go a full season without getting upset and costing himself, either on the track or in points penalties or both.

Matt (NW PA)

Hey Ed, I was wondering if Ricky Carmichael is done with NASCAR or will he get another shot?

Ed Hinton
  (2:07 PM)

Would guess he'll try to put together some sort of deal . . . but his time in Trucks just wasn't that impressive.

Eric (Florida)

On the Sprint Cup food chain to you rate Michael Waltrip Racing as higher up than RCR? Would you rate MWR = SHR?

Ed Hinton
  (2:08 PM)

I would say MWR has pulled equal to, but not past, those two.

Vernie (NJ)

Hey Ed, good to see you back for your 1st chat of the season! Is the JGR team driver line-up of Rowdy, Matt and Denny the strongest you have ever seen?

Ed Hinton
  (2:08 PM)

Well, scratching my head here, I certainly can't say it ISN'T the strongest I've seen.

Tammy (Ohio)

With the new car this year, what stat's do you think are most important when choosing a fantasy team for Daytona? IE Last 5 yr stats vs practice and qualify

Ed Hinton
  (2:10 PM)

The teams with the good records will adapt quickly, so I'd stick with the last five years -- except that any plate race is so unpredictable that its stats aren't as strong as in unrestricted racing.

Jeremy (Port Angeles, WA)

When do you think there will be a announcemet for Danica's part time nationwide series schedule?

Ed Hinton
  (2:11 PM)

I'm guessing early in Speedweeks.

Ross (FL (FSU))

Last year JD said he wanted to use JGR NW cars to develope drivers. How is Vickers and Sadler running full time and Kyle running over 2/3rds of the season in a third car developing anything?

Ed Hinton
  (2:12 PM)

Well, JD's M.O. has always been to put drivers in NW who can win the races.

Joe (NY)

If Gen6 has less down force, is twitchy and hard to handle doesn't that favor the wheel men like Kyle, Kurt, Jimmie, Denny, Edwards, Biff, Kayne and those guys?

Ed Hinton
  (2:13 PM)

Oh, yes, I think so. The racing goes back to the drivers. We also might see someone new emerge, though I can't name him/her right now.

Boston for 15 (Boston)

Hi Ed! What's the Hinton Sportsbook's over/under for DNF's for Danica Patwreck?

Ed Hinton
  (2:14 PM)

Loaded question that I'll try to defuse rationally. I'd say no more than, oh, eight DNFs. She'll be careful up in the big league.

Griffin (Delaware)

Ed, I see a lot of people calling for heat races and I have to say I agree, however France or Helton say its to expensive to run. I guess I dont see the math in where it takes more money to run. I would much rather see heat races and one main event with less miles ran overall than, just 400 straight miles. Why wont they do the heat races ? Its not just a money issue.

Ed Hinton
  (2:15 PM)

The best read I can get on it is that they just don't want to break their tradition of longer races. But maybe they ran it by the owners and got the larger excuse they might have been looking for.

KB Nation (Global)

Shrub is running in JGR NW cars this season. Is this becasue KBM equipment is not good enough to help him maintain his ESPN given title of "master of the minors"?

Ed Hinton
  (2:16 PM)

I suspect he realized he can have a lot fewer worries not being the owner/driver.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Do the drivers like having Dale-Danica get all the media attention so they can focus on racing while Danica-Dale have to deal with you guys?

Ed Hinton
  (2:17 PM)

I don't think they care much one way or the other. Indy car drivers used to resent Danica getting so much attention. Cup drivers don't have that problem. And all Cup drivers have to put up with the limelight to some point, for their sponsors' sake.

jack (phx, az)

Do you see JPM making the chase this yr? I like the engine switch. Hopefully, this will make him more competitve on the track......

Ed Hinton
  (2:18 PM)

Depends on whether Chip can get that team in order after the doldrums last year -- and the issues there are probably more complex than just engines.

Lois (WVA)

Hi Ed,do you think the fans need to lower their expectations of Dale/Danica and realize their role in NASCAR is different than that of Kyle, Jimmie, Edwards, Denny, Matt, Kahne, Bowyer and those guys?

Ed Hinton
  (2:19 PM)

In both cases, the detractors couldn't have much lower expectations. As for their fans, I think they've come to reality. So, no lowering needed.

Johanne (FL)

How can you even compare one title (not won at JGR) to HMS and their 9 combined titles won at HMS. Untill Kyle and James prove they can win a title and not choke in the chase, that team is not the best

Ed Hinton
  (2:20 PM)

That wasn't the question. The question was about driver lineup.

Joanne (Ft. Myers)

Hi Ed, Every season Dale says he's gonna run every lap flat out and it's the same old average performances. Why would the Gen6 change that?

Ed Hinton
  (2:21 PM)

Well, he has told Newt that it'll get back to cars that need driving. We shall see.

Ed Hinton
  (2:22 PM)

We're now seeing a lot of loaded questions and the usual driver bashing. Gimme a break. Following Brad K on this chat is hard enough.

Bart (East Bay)

With JGR signing Rowdy long-term, providing TRD motors to KBM for both NW and trucks, plus running Rowdy in 25 NW races, has KBM become a satelite team of JGR sort of like what SHR is to Hendrick?

Ed Hinton
  (2:22 PM)

I would say it always has been.

Ross (FL (FSU))

Now that Jeff Gordon is up there in age, when do you see Chase Eliott replacing him?

Ed Hinton
  (2:23 PM)

Well, Chase has to get up through the ranks first. The timing might be right, though, for Chase to get to Cup in three or four years. Don't know that i'll be JG he replaces, though.

Berny (NJ)

Hi Ed,do you think the fans need to lower their expectations of Kyle and realize his role in NASCAR is different than that of Cup champions like JJ, Smoke, and Gordon.

Ed Hinton
  (2:24 PM)

That's a statement, not a question, and I'll let it speak for itself.

Marco (PA)

I see Kurt Busch made the Forbes list with Romo, Tiger, Kobe. Is that good for the sport for Kurt to be associated with that group?

Ed Hinton
  (2:25 PM)

Sure, why not? Every sport needs a villain.

Rosie (Miamis Seedy Side)

Hey Ed, what does it say that people can watch the performance of Dale Jr last year and still deny his talent?

Ed Hinton
  (2:26 PM)

Again, a statement, not a question.

Ross Phoenix (Florida Havana Cuba)

Hi Ed, Dale Junebug hasn't had a multi-win season since '04. Will Dale ever get back to that level or has that ship sailed?

Ed Hinton
  (2:26 PM)

Continuing to clear out statements posing as questions.

Ernie (KY)

If Harvick throws the #29 team under the bus like he's done many times in the past do you think Richard will put another driver in that car?

Ed Hinton
  (2:27 PM)

I think they'll stick together and give it a full effort.

Scott (Charlotte)

I know the COT did not fit some drivers style, but I am wondering if any Crew Chiefs felt the same way. Do you feel any Crew Chief might do better with the new car?

Ed Hinton
  (2:27 PM)

The COT probably frustrated crew chiefs more than drivers. Chad Knaus is a prime example. And guys like him will do better with the Gen 6.

Bill (NY)

Since Bubba, Ryan Truex, and Drew Herring have no chance at advancing or getting a full time ride at JGR (JGR = cup drivers in NW), should they look elseware. Its a shame because they all should be full time somewhere.

Ed Hinton
  (2:28 PM)

Trouble is, where would they look? Pickings still slim for rides.

slanted (denver)

What are the drivers saying about Eldora? I am really looking forward to watching it!

Ed Hinton
  (2:29 PM)

I think everybody with any experience on dirt loves the idea.

Bill (NY)

Joey Logano had more Nascar series wins than Kyle last year. Just saying (for all you Logano haters)

Ed Hinton
  (2:30 PM)

Haven't seen any Logano haters here today.

Rich (Buffalo)

Brad Keselowski finished 25th in points and had 2 top 10's in his first full-time Cup season, can Danica match that? I think she can.

Ed Hinton
  (2:30 PM)

Oh, yes, she can match that. Or exceed it.

brandon birdsboro pa [via mobile]

Why dont rusty ricky and all the other espn nascar experts have nascar chats?

Ed Hinton
  (2:31 PM)

That's way above my pay grade. Would imagine it has to do with their scheduling, and so much live air time on TV.

Nick (NC)

Hi Ed, thanks for the chats! What's your take on these full-time cup drivers like Jimmie, Kahne, Harvick and these guys running Nationwide races?

Ed Hinton
  (2:32 PM)

I've never liked it. But track operators want it, to draw crowds. So, it is what it is.

Scott (Charlotte)

Ed, you do know, now that NASCAR has a fast drying system, it will not rain for two years.

Ed Hinton
  (2:33 PM)

I started to say I hope you're right. But that might mean some sort of serious drought nationwide. So let's just say I'd like to see the new equipment tested fairly soon.

paul (NY)

Why does Nick not mention that Jimmie (1 race) Harvick adnd Kahne 5 or so are running a limited NW sched. Guys like Logano and Kyle run 25 plus races.

Ed Hinton
  (2:33 PM)

Well, my answer is the same, regardless of number of races run. I'm a purist. NW should be a developmental series. But it never will be.

Titus Pullo (Rome, NY)

Will the New Jersey F1 race happen in 2014?

Ed Hinton
  (2:35 PM)

Well, I'm still wiping egg off my face for saying they would never turn a wheel at Austin. So I'll just say I don't know. I do suspect Bernie likes the idea of running with the NY skyline in the background.

JT (Texas)

I tried to ask BK, but he didn't get to my question. Is the BK and Kyle Busch fued over? Or does Watkins Glen still linger in KBs mind?

Ed Hinton
  (2:35 PM)

Let's call it dormant.

Saul (San Diego)

You started covering NASCAR in 1970. Which is your fondest year, what are you looking for this year?

Ed Hinton
  (2:36 PM)

Actually it was 1974. Guess I'd have to say '79, which began with The Fight at Daytona and ended with Petty edging DW for the championship.

Claudia (Western NY)

Carl Edwards all but disappeared last year. Will he get a bounce-back from his new crew chief?

Ed Hinton
  (2:37 PM)

Carl has nowhere to go but up, so yes. I think Bob Osborne's illness hurt them from the start last year.

Eric (Tampa, FL)

The Nationwide series is a developmental series, Ed. Brad proved his racing chops their in 2008/2009, got a big time ride at Penske and Stenhouse won the last 2 Nationwide titles and gets the 17 at Roush. Austin Dillon got multiple wins last year as a rookie and will win multiple races this year, then will move up in 2014.

Ed Hinton
  (2:37 PM)

I'm talking about a 100 percent developmental series.

Phil (Richmond, Va.)

Ed, will racing on short tracks be changed much by the Gen6 car? Martinsville is my favorite track and I wanted to know what to expect.

Ed Hinton
  (2:38 PM)

It'll certainly shake up the setups, by I think the guys who have been good will be good. I mentioned Chad Knaus earlier as a guy who'll be good with the Gen 6. So JJ still should be a favorite at Martinsville.

Steve (HI)

Ed, Have you tried out the new DE jr chips?

Ed Hinton
  (2:39 PM)

No. Haven't even seen them in the stores, here in my little Georgia mountain town.

Booth (MO)

As Rowdy fans we miss the old Kyle who would pile-drive Hornady into the Texas fence, dump Harvick into the Darlington pit wall and run 128 MPH with his wife on public road. Do you expect old Rowdy back in '13?

Ed Hinton
  (2:40 PM)

Not in those ways, no.

Saul (San Diego)

Which GEN6 stock car look do you like? the SS, The Fusion or the Camry?

Ed Hinton
  (2:41 PM)

Guess I'd have to say the Ford. A lot of people seemed to like the Dodge, but, sadly, it's not relevant this year.

Howie (NJ)

Do you think Bowyer will take his revenge on Gordon early in the season or wait until the Chase and ruin #24 championship hopes like Gordon did to Clint?

Ed Hinton
  (2:41 PM)

Bowyer's a lot smarter than to go payback hunting. He's got another championship to shoot for.

Claudia (Western NY)

Are things still bad between Gordon & Clint?

Ed Hinton
  (2:42 PM)

I doubt they're great, but I don't think we'll see any eruptions on the track for now.

Scott (Charlotte)

Do you worry like I do that with all the hype of the Gen 6 car that it can never meet expectation. I think NASCAR and the media should do a better job in explaining the little things that make racing interesting not just how many lead changes there are.

Ed Hinton
  (2:43 PM)

I think there is a possibility that fans will now put the Gen 6 in a fishbowl and under a microscope, so that opens the way for griping. We DO try to explain the other elements, but the public wants lead changes and side by side racing.

Abe (KS)

Did you get the feeling the Gibbs guys and even the other Toyota runners where sandbagging in the Daytona test to not show how strong the Camry's will be on the plate tracks?

Ed Hinton
  (2:44 PM)

Don't know about that. Guess we'll see in the Sprint Unlimited, huh?

Timmy (Hilton Head)

Will RCR ban Harvick from team meetings and tech info so he doesn't give that information to the HMS engineers thru his contacts with Stewart?

Ed Hinton
  (2:45 PM)

I seriously doubt that. A driver's got to know what's going on with team tech.

Joanne (Ft. Myers))

20 years from now, which brothers have more titles (dont care about wins I am talking titles). Dillons or Busches

Ed Hinton
  (2:46 PM)

Probably Dillons, because they're both moving up steadily with Pop Pop's help. Kyle still could win championships, but Kurt would have to regroup completely to get back in contention.

Saul (San Diego)

Is it true of statement made that back in the day, that after races, the stock car would influence people would go buy that car from the dealers? Now it is hoping the GEN6 will do the same.

Ed Hinton
  (2:48 PM)

Yes, the manufacturers used to bank on the "Win on Sunday, sell on Monday" concept. I'm sure they're hoping for some resurgence, but the main issue is, NASCAR wants to revive the fans' ability to identify with brands.

JT (Texas)

Why did JGR want to pick up the 54 car for NW? and why would KBM give up a sponsored ride?

Ed Hinton
  (2:48 PM)

JD's business mind works in mysterious ways, and Kyle probably would rather have a lighter load on Saturdays.

Larry (Phoenix)

Do the top teams have special , 1-off cars for the unlimited or is it the same car used to qualify for the 500?

Ed Hinton
  (2:49 PM)

Historically teams have brought 1-off cars for that race, and they're often used as backups for later in the week.

Hector (Miami)

Some guys on a NASCAR show said everyone knew about Stenhouse and Danica 5 months ago. True?

Ed Hinton
  (2:50 PM)

Don't know. I didn't.

Scott (Charlotte)

How bigger a box will the crew chiefs have to work with on new car?

Ed Hinton
  (2:51 PM)

Robin Pemberton admitted to me last fall that NASCAR is going to have a tougher, more complex time policing these cars. That in itself should create quite a box. NASCAR will try to keep it tight, but probably will have a hard time at least this first season.

Jim (Bayala)

With Rowdy's new deal at Gibbs does KBM now have the same relationship with JGR that SHR has with Hendrick?

Ed Hinton
  (2:52 PM)

Probably even closer.

Troy (Detroit)

How worried are you about Danica now that she's found love with another driver?

Ed Hinton
  (2:53 PM)

Whoa. They're dating. Doesn't mean engaged. Yet. As for how this works out on the track, we're in uncharted waters here. But I don't think there'll be any explosive stories about it on the track.

Saul (San Diego)

Mr. Hinton will love (Danica-Ricky) triumph over sponsorship, points and a win?

Ed Hinton
  (2:53 PM)

Don't think so. But again, we're in uncharted waters here.

Jim (Bayala)

By firing Pops, Tony Jr and Danica is Mr. H taking a more active role at JRM?

Ed Hinton
  (2:54 PM)

No, I think he'll remain in the background. Kelley remains in charge, but Rick may be advising from time to time.

Ryan (WI)

OVer or under/ We will hear the rem gen6 250 more time just in speeds weeks alone

Ed Hinton
  (2:55 PM)

Over.

Saul (San Diego)

Will the Hendrick 4 car stable make the chase?

Ed Hinton
  (2:56 PM)

Yeah, they'll repeat.

JT (Texas)

Do the rides in the KBM stable .. 77 NW and 18 CW have sponsorship yet?

Ed Hinton
  (2:56 PM)

Haven't seen announcements.

Luke (KY)

Who benefits the most from Kenseth joing JGR? Kyle or Denny?

Ed Hinton
  (2:57 PM)

Probably equal, assuming the chemistry aligns. His experience helps both.

Saul (San Diego)

Did you ever believe in the Hendrick 25 car curse?

Ed Hinton
  (2:57 PM)

I sure did. What's more, so did Kenny Schrader, who drove the 25 for quite a while.

Jim (Bayala)

As an INDY 500 fan, what was your take on Penske putting Stewart on the spot offering the ride and Stewart backing down?

Ed Hinton
  (2:59 PM)

I'm not sure Penske meant to put him on the spot. It was just an off the cuff acknowledgement that he'd love to have Stewart in one of his cars. I'm not even sure Roger took himself seriously.

Luke (KY)

If Kyle and Edwards make the Chase which 2 '12 Chasers are out?

Ed Hinton
  (2:59 PM)

My crystal ball isn't working that good today.

Ed Hinton
  (3:00 PM)

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