Hey gang. Here's my column today on 10 things to watch at Daytona: There's a lot to see this time around: http://tinyurl.com/auww676
Good preview story, "Here we Go" today but at 39 years of age is really accurate to claim that Dale's career on the upswing?
First, it won't be 39 until October, but yes, his career certainly is on the upswing the last two seasons compared to where it was.
We've heard media say that now #2 won the cup all the other drivers will be going after him. Will they make it hard to pass, not help with trash on the grille, refuse to make deals, let #2 get the lucky dog etc?
No, but whenever you win a championship, the other competitors look at you differently and have added emphasis to beat you.
I know it would be expensive, but do you think NASCAR would ever consider moving the grandstands back farther from the track at Daytona and Talladega so they could run the cars unrestricted?
Not gonna happen.
How has Kyle Busch been successful with Kyle Busch Motorsports while Harvick had to close down his team and JRM has never done much of anything?
The Harvick shutting down their team was more about starting a family and not wanting to devote all the time to running a race team.
what would kyle busch winning a title mean to nascar
It would mean a guy who generates tons of fan interest, most seem to either love him or hate him, would be a high-profile champ. And it would indicate the field of potential champs continues to grow, building added rivalries at the top.
What would Danica making the Chase mean to Nascar?
Huge. The interest that would bring nationally would be incredible. But it's not going to happen, not this year, anyway.
Is Matt Kenseth now the leader of JGR?
He's the quiet leader and a guy both Denny and Kyle look uo to. I think he can make both of them better.
Why is Joe Gibbs Racing so obsessed by cherry picking the Nationwide Series with their Cup drivers?
I have no problem with that. If a guy can' get a full-time Cup ride, I'm happy to see him race full time in Nationwide and try to get back to Cup.
Mr. Blount, of the 12 drivers in the Chase end of 2012, which drivers are not eligible to get into the Hall of Fame?
None of them are eligible right now because they're still racing.
Brad K. accused the HMS teams of questionable engineering with the rear end housings last year. Does the Gen6 take away the HMS advantage in that area?
Hard to say which teams will have the advantage in the Gen-6, but what typically happens is the teams with the most money stay at the top because they have the resources to do more R&D.
Now that my man Jeff Gordon is getting up there in age, when does he retire?
Not anytime soon. He's still racing competitive in great equipment.
Do you think Rowdy has a good chance to sweep all three races at Daytona next week?
No. I think that's an extremely difficult thing to do.
Any new rules that we arent aware of for 2013?
The biggest change is the end of the top-35 rule, but I'm sure you are aware of that one. It should make the qualifying races at Daytona a little more interesting.
Now that Burton, Stewart, Biffel, Kenseth, Labonte, Mark Martin are all getting up there in age, when do they retire?
Mark doesn't race full time and I'd say Bobby is likely to be the next to retire. Burton could be in his last year as a full-time driver unless he runs really well this season.
Who do you think is a dark horse contender for 2013 championship?
A really big dark horse would be Kurt Busch.
Terry, we weren't talking about Vickers and Sadler! Why are Kenseth and Busch running so many NW races just like Logano did last year for JGR?
Oh, my bad. And I agree. I wish they wouldn't do it. But it's about sponsors saying the only way they will put up the money if if this guy is in the car. The owners should say, "Sorry, we don't play that." But they don't.
With Harvick going to SHR in 2014 and Danica there for awhile, is Newman odd man out or could Stewart be hanging up the helmet, expecially with all his outside distractions?
No chance of Smoke hanging it up yet. Tony would love to run a four-car team if he has the funding, but Newman is out if they don't.
The only reason anybody is going to talk about Danica's relationship with Ricky is because THE MEDIA is the one pressing the issue looking for page clicks to their stories. Other than that, it's a non-issue until something happens between them on-track (if it ever does).
You're wrong Eric, and you answered it yourself. If no one cares, then why do they click on it?
Isn't it bad for the sport that Jimmie Johnson, Kahne, Harvick and those guys are dropping down to run Nationwide races?
I'm OK with those guys running a few NW races. But Cup guys running 20 or more isn't good.
Who do you predict has the better season in trucks, Wallace Jr. or T. Diloon?
Dillon because he is a much more experienced racer and Ty challenged for the title last year. But I think Wallace has talent and I hope he runs well.
Road Course in the 2014 Chase?
I hope so. If they are going to run road courses, then one should be part of the playoff. I would love to see Sonoma in the Chase.
It seems a lot of the driver like the new car. Is the car easier to drive or harder? I heard that it is more loose than previous cars.
It's going to be harder top drive at Daytona, which isn't a bad thing. It may be easier to drive on intermediate tracks, but it will be faster.
If you had to make a surprise prediction for the 2013 season, what would it be?
That Kurt Busch makes the Chase for Furniture Row and Kenseth wins the title in his first year at JGR.
With all the hype of the 2013 season, are you concerned at all in the growing elephant in the room, that motorsports sponsorship is becoming MUCH harder to drum up?
Sponsoring actually is up some this season and getting better. But it's still difficult to get companies these days to pay millions of dollars to sponors these cars.
Will 2013 be much like 2012 finishes with fuel mileage wins?
Fuel mileage finishes won't go away entirely unless they go to electric cars.
It seems all the fans want NASCAR to remove restrictor plates; however, the plates are what cause the pack racing that fans love. If NASCAR decided to remove the plates would we still see pack racing and would the competition be better and not so random?
It's a moot point. These cars would go over 230 mph with the plates. Just not going to happen.
Do you think MWR keeps the momentum going from last year or do they take a step back this year?
I think MWR is growing into an elite team, but anything less than a title could be viewed as a step back since Clint finished 2nd last year.
It's way too early since a lot can happen between now and then, but do you think Jr. makes the HoF on his current credentials? Do think it would cause an uproar no matter the outcome?
Junior is not a Hall of Famer as it stands now.
Do you expect the Gen 6 car to affect the teams in the chase or will the teams with the money be near the top again?
No matter what the machine is, the teams with the most money usually will be at the top.
What makes The Busch Brothers such awesome Daytona-Dega plate track racers? Do they have some of that ability to see the draft like Dale Sr?
I don't see them awesome. Neither one of them has won the Dytona 500, but I think they are capable of winning it.
Any chance someone may build a new 1 mile oval?
They could, but unless you have a guarantee of a Cup date, it's not a good idea. Only ISC could do that, and it is are not planning any new tracks at the moment. However, when a new track gets build, it likely will be a mile or a little smaller.
I am excited about the new car, and looking like production models. Do you think it will actually bring back brand loyalty and the "Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday?" NASCAR fans are loyal to a fault, when it comes to sponsors, but a car is a little different than a beer or home improvement store.
I don't see that happening right away, but the Gen-6 is a big step in the right direction.
When Mr. H. retires, does Jeff Gordon take over Hendrick Motorsports?
No, that probably will be Rick's son in law.
I was wondering, has Kyle ever driven any car other than the COT in Sprint Cup? If not, it will be fun to see if it makes any difference in how he drives.
Yes, in fact, he won the first COT race at Bristol, then got out of the car and complained about how bad it was.
Would you be opposed to making the Daytona 500 a Monday night matinee event like last year, even though weather pushed it into that decision in 2012? I don't know, maybe it was Montoya's fireball wreck, or other things, but last years 500 had that magical feel to it. Why not make the 500 the only Monday night race of the year? Just move Phoenix to a different weekend to make it easier for the teams.
I'm not opposed to Monday night races, but for Daytona, what if it rains. Then you have to run your biggest race on Tuesday. Not good.
Do you see Chase Elliott getting a full time ride as soon as he gets to NASCAR license age?
Chase is under contract with Hendrick Motorsports and they are taking their time with him. But Rick loves him and thinks he's a rising star.
Tell Tim that 4 of Rowdy's 24 wins were in the old car when Rowdy was teamed with Alan Gustafson at HMS.
Consider him told, Turk.
Do you have any idea which team's R and D Departments have done the best off season job and who do you expect to jump out of the gate with a fast start?
Judging by testing the Toyota's look strong. But it's too early to say. I expect the usual suspects at the top _ Hendrick, Roush, JGR and probably MWR.
There seems to be a shortage of rookies in Sprint Cup. Are there any new rookies this year to watch out for? Also, I think the health of the sport is hurt by a shortage of rookies. What do you think?
The're coming David. Look at the two feeder leagues _ the Dillons, Buescher, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Bayne and others. This year it will be fun to see the battle between Stenhouse and Danica, although Ricky should win it easily.
How do you think RCR will handle the season with Harvick gone at the end of the year. I'm thinking its really going to have to be a very strained relationship.
It is, but everyone is saying the right things and trying to end things with a strong season. The question is how good is RCR right now? They have to step up from last season.
Women, African-Americans, Hispanics now racing in NASCAR. Do you see more diversity in the future?
Yes, but it's happening more slowly than it should.
Are Outlaw Busch and the Labontes HOF worthy because they are cup champions?
I don't think winning one Cup title is a guarantee for a Hall spot.
How do you think RPM will do this year?
OK, but I don't see RPM has Chase contenders unless Ambrose wins both road races. And RPM now is the third wheel at Ford with Penske coming in.
Out of the three series (Cup, NWS, CWTS) which do you think will have the best championship battle this year? Cup will have its usual challengers but the NWS and CWTS is littered with several up and coming (and veteran) talent that I think one of those two series could easily have a much more exciting Homestead.
I think the NW will have a great championship battle. Vickers, Sadler, Dillon, Bayne, maybe even Smith and Hornish in the mix.
Any new car companies flirting with NASCAR?
Not right now. Dodge may return at some point. They was talk about Volkswagon coming in, but I don't see it on the horizon.
My chase pics: 18, 20, 11, 48, 5, 99, 78, 22, 2, 14, 15 and 16. Thoughts?
Not bad picks, but I don't see it for Logano this year.
Mr. Blount, do you think that Kligerman and Wallace Jr. would have quality rides if Kyle Busch wasn't making some money running in the minors?
NASCAR never will lose it Southern roots. It's a part fot he sport's make-up, but there are fewer drivers from the South than ever before.
Will NASCAR be telling the drivers privately to go easy on Danica?
Absolutely not. She will play by the same rules as everybody else, no better, no worse.
i would like to see a new road course in the chase if it happens like vir
That would mean some track would have to lose a race. Highly unlikely.
Will there be any new tracks on the horizon for the Cup Series? I know a lot of money and politics goes into the schedule but what about another road course or another bull ring? Pocono, Michigan, Kansas and Texas really don't need two dates. What track(s) would you like to see be ran?
I would like to see new tracks built in Seattle, Denver and NY, which was part of the plan a few years ago before the economy went bust. All that is on hold now.
i want to see the cup cars at bowman grey stadium that would be so cool
You will have to keep wanting.
Re: Future HOF classes, I could see JJ, Gordon, Martin and Hendrick himself. Any others?
Childress and Stewart will make it in at some point.
Gotta run folks. Have to finish packing, then it's off to Daytona in the morning. We'll have a live blog going from Media Day on Thursday and don't miss the NASCAR Now crew's reports on all the activities. Have a great week. Peace.