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March 13, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with David Newton

David Newton
  (2:00 PM)

Welcome to Whacky Wednesday. What's on your mind? Will Bristol be the cure-all race for the Gen 6? Thoughts on Jeremy Clements being reinstated? Are you still in a huff about Denny Hamlin being fined? I'm here to answer your questions.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Which Speedways Between Martinsville,Pocono,& Sonoma do you think that Danica Patrick will Struggle at Very Badly?

David Newton
  (2:01 PM)

Martinsville by far. Takes a lot of feel to get around that place. We know she's good at putting the foot to the floor at superspeedways, but this requires a great deal of braking and timing.

Andrew (W. Kentucky)

How does the performance of Matt Kenseth so far this year say about the quality in the driver's seat of the #20 for the previous 4 years?

David Newton
  (2:03 PM)

If you're comparing Kenseth to Logano, don't. Kenseth is a championship driver with 25 wins. Logano is still learning the ropes. I will note, however, that Joey has more Cup wins at his age than Kenseth did.

KB Nation (Worldwide)

David, would you agree with our assessment that Kenseth has cemented himself clearly as the #1 driver at JGR?

David Newton
  (2:04 PM)

I said he was from the day he was hired. Look at the resume.

KB Nation (Worldwide)

We are so glad that Kyle finally has a quality teammate in the #20. Do you feel the same?

David Newton
  (2:04 PM)

Actually, Busch and Hamlin said Joey was quite valuable as far as what he offered in team meetings the last year and a half. But there's no debating that Kenseth is an elite driver.

RacingDMP (Charlotte)

Now that Danica has backslid 30th in the points, aren't you glad you wasted so much time and effort on her in the pre-season?

David Newton
  (2:05 PM)

Wasted? She was on the pole for the Daytona 500 and made history with her eighth-place finish. I wouldn't call all that was written wasted at all.

Concerned Reader (ESPN.com)

Why didn't we get any Edwards/Fennig articles after Phoenix this year like we did Hamlin/Grubb articles last year?

David Newton
  (2:06 PM)

Nobody was ignoring them for sure. I wrote on Twitter that Fennig is one of the most underrated crew chiefs in the garage. Give us time. It's a long season.

Steve (HI)

Newt, Why does'nt NW team owner put Johanna Long in one of their cars for a couple races? It would be nice to see how she would do in some better equipment. I know it has to do with sponors but then again there are other teams out there that run races without it. Give the gal a chance. Thanks

David Newton
  (2:08 PM)

Can't say I wouldn't like to see her get a shot in quality equipment, too, to see what she can do. Having said that, Jimmie Johnson didn't have the best equipment when he was in Nationwide and his talent was noticed.

Steve (HI)

David, Wow! The Hamlin fine sure took the NRA at Texas out of the spotlight. Should Eddie put out the olive branch to the naysayers and have red kettles and bell ringers at TMS with the donations going to Newtown. Your thoughts please.Thanks.

David Newton
  (2:11 PM)

Funny what fires people up, and the Hamlin fine certainly did that. Can't say I dissagree. I thought it was a big mistake by NASCAR to fine Hamlin. He gave an opinion and nothing more.

Dave (WI)

Is the adage "You need NASCAR more than NASCAR needs you" to the drivers relevant anymore? Doesn't seem to hold up in Nationwide, sponsors and promoters want the big names to fill the stands. Maybe it's time for NASCAR to police the competition and let it's drivers do their thing and mind their business?

David Newton
  (2:13 PM)

Still relevant. Without NASCAR where would these drivers compete for the big bucks?

Dave (WI)

I'm curious why NASCAR has hyped this car so much when it seems to be so untested...I mean, if the goal was to make it pretty and race like average, nobody would be complaining about all the single file racing, right?

David Newton
  (2:17 PM)

They hyped it because they truly believed it would race better based on all the testing in the windtunnel and in tests. The problem was they didn't have how it would react around other cars. It's not an exact science. And the racing hasn't been that bad. Give it time.

Sue B. (Seattle, WA)

Dave, I was really disappointed in Denny's fine. His comments didn't even make anybody's radar, really, until NASCAR fined him! Furthermore, I think that action made Tony Stewart censor himself during the race. I attended LVMS and listened to a scanner. Early on when his car was really bad, he said "I still need to be tighter. It's...AH! I can't talk about it! I will tell you after the race." Obviously I could have interpreted that wrong, but it would be really disappointing if this stupid fine made the drivers feel they couldn't even say something during the race!

David Newton
  (2:20 PM)

I was disappointed in it as well. A lot of people were. I thought as Jeff Burton said NASCAR overreacted.

Susanna L. (Woodinville, wA)

Dave, I attended the race on Sunday and had a great time! I was following twitter during the race and people complained BITTERLY about how awful it was. I actually thought it was pretty good - maybe Fox isn't covering the race well? I'm sure it is very hard to cover this sport, but I saw plenty of good passes. I have high hopes for the Gen 6. It's a work in progress and fans need to be patient. The DRIVERS are still learning it!

David Newton
  (2:23 PM)

It's two different experiences being at the track and watching on TV. TV can't cover up that there are lulls in the action just as there are in other sports. In person you get preoccupied with what you can see on pit road, the track, around you. It's just a different animal. I've never met one person who didn't have a great time and enjoy the event in person, especially with garage passes. But at home, you're captive to what is on the tube and that can get .... well, not so good at times.

Jackee (Vancouver)

David your King of Nascar for a day, what rule or rules you making?

David Newton
  (2:24 PM)

Shorten the races to where none goes much longer than three hours, if that long.

Steve (HI)

David, What happens if a driver voices his/her opinion on the new Air Titan that no one has seen in use. NASCAR touted it as the if they found away to harness mother nature. Oh! We took it to R&D and never mind the man behind the curtain.

David Newton
  (2:27 PM)

No. You can't rip Air Titan. Kidding. I'm sure nobody would dare do that, anyway. But if they did, watch out. They set the bar with Hamlin's fine.

Titus Pullo (Rome,NY)

Will there be a cutback in military flyovers this year as the Pentagon realizes that auto racing appeals to fewer teenagers (potential recruits) these days?

David Newton
  (2:28 PM)

You've seen the last military flyover at a NASCAR track or any sporting event until sequestration ends. You may still flyovers, but it will be with non-military planes contracted out from private businesses.

Andrew (W. Kentucky)

I saw interviews with Dale, Juan Pablo, Gordon, Hornish and others whining about the bumpy Vegas turns 1-2 but only Rowdy explained the splitter is 1/2 in. lower and supported by stiffer mounting brackets. Is Rowdy's superior technical knowledge one of his greatest advantages?

David Newton
  (2:29 PM)

You've seen the last military flyover at a NASCAR track or any sporting event until sequestration ends. You may still flyovers, but it will be with non-military planes contracted out from private businesses.

David Newton
  (2:29 PM)

I'd go with his ability to wheel a car first.

David Newton
  (2:29 PM)

I'd go with his ability to wheel a car first.

Matt (Virginia)

Where does Ricky Stenhouse get his first Sprint Cup win? I could see him being competitive this year.

David Newton
  (2:30 PM)

I'd go with a mile and a half track, but I wouldn't bet he'll win a race this year. It's not easy, you know.

David Newton
  (2:30 PM)

I would bet he gets a win before DP.

Mike Oxsweaty (Salt Lake City)

I was a Danica fan when she came into the sport and wanted to see her succeed - she really hasn't done anything to turn me off as a fan, but I find myself enjoying watching her fail because of the crazy hype that everyone shoves down our throats. This doesn't seem fair, does it?

David Newton
  (2:32 PM)

Interesting thought process, there. It's still pretty early in the process to say she's failed.

David Newton
  (2:32 PM)

Interesting thought process, there. It's still pretty early in the process to say she's failed.

Jake (Irving, TX)

How can people claim the Gen 6 was untested when NASCAR has been working with the teams and manufactures for 2 years on developing the car?

David Newton
  (2:33 PM)

Untested around other cars, not simply untested. There's a difference when you get 43 running out there together.

jesse (iowa)

The vegas national anthem was awful. just awful. dont mess with the national anthem like osborne did

David Newton
  (2:33 PM)

Really? I thought she did a great job. Of course, I'm a little bit country and a little bit rock 'n roll.

jesse (iowa)

Im not sold on the car yet. Mostly still because of how disappointing the racing was at daytona. but vegas was a step in the right direction. I just dont like how a Person with really old tires can still run the FASTEST lap of the day.

David Newton
  (2:38 PM)

Well, the chassis remains the same as the old car, only the body is lighter. Goodyear and teams continue to find the right compound that will improve racing. They still need to get to a point where the tire falls off, which won't allow no-tire stops like Kenseth used to get track position and the win. At the same time, Jimmie Johnson made a good point saying the track surface also has to be addressed. The new surfaces are smooth and are more durable to where they don't wear, creating a rough surface for tires to wear more. Bottom line, technology has improved to the point it has changed what racing is.

jesse (iowa)

Kenseth and Kahne put on a show at Vegas. Going to Bristol, who is your pick? I gotta go with Keselowski but i think Kahne will be strong and might steal the victory

David Newton
  (2:38 PM)

I agree. I was holding my breath watching those final laps. Hard to go against Keselowski at Bristol with his recent record there, but I'm going to go with Kyle Busch. He's pretty good there, too.

jesse (iowa)

Is this the week we finally see the Gordon VS Bowyer Revenge?

David Newton
  (2:39 PM)

I really believe that is over. Unless, that is, Gordon races Bowyer too tight. Then it will begin again.

Marsha weirton wva [via mobile]

Do youthink jj will win his six championship this year

David Newton
  (2:39 PM)

Sure looks like the team to beat from here.

Lew Dawson (Fort Worth, TX)

My guy didn't win in Las Vegas, but I thought it was an awesome race with plenty of meaningful passes, plenty of strategy, and a deserving winner. It is supposed to be hard to pass. Your thoughts?

David Newton
  (2:41 PM)

I agree, the racing wasn't as bad as what many made it out to be. I've never compared how many passes were in the 1976 Daytona 500 compared to 2013, but I would suspect it's not much different.

Lew Dawson (Fort Worth, TX)

If I were the Supreme Ruler of NASCAR, I'd move one Talladega race to Circuit of the Americas. What would you do if you had the power?

David Newton
  (2:42 PM)

I'd put a popcorn machine in every track media center. And add a road course to the Chase.

Dale Junebug Fan (NC)

Any word on which races the #88 will run un-sponsored?

David Newton
  (2:43 PM)

Mr. Henrick said they were good through the summer, so I would suspect if it comes to that sometime in the Chase. I don't think it will come to that.

Drew (San Juan)

Big win for Hornish last Saturday. Is he a legitimate threat for the Nationwide title?

David Newton
  (2:44 PM)

He's for sure a big threat. He finished fourth a year ago and was in it almost until the end. He's got great equipment and more confidence than I've ever seen in him. He was my pick before the season and I'm sticking with it.

andrewjohn329 (Moms Basement Kentucky)

Hi, I go by andrewjohn329 here on ESPN and I have nothing to bring to racing conversations here, but am great at Danica bashing. I always submit non-relevant Danica questions for you guys to answer but change my name and make comments on the thread when my questions are selected. Do you ever get tired of my childish obsession?

David Newton
  (2:44 PM)

Get out of the basement and smell the roses.

Shane (Chillicothe , OH)

Is it finally time Chip Ganassi unload Montoya and McMurray?

David Newton
  (2:46 PM)

McMurray was pretty fast for much of Sunday. The issue isn't so much as unloading those two as who would you get better to replace them? I know there are some young, talented drivers out there, but are there drivers that a sponsor would back like they do Montoya and McMurray?

Andrew (Kentucky)

Hi Newt, did you think NASCAR should have penalized Trevor Bayne for intentionally dumping Kyle Larson into the Vegas fence during the NW race on ESPN?

David Newton
  (2:46 PM)

Nope.

Dale's #1 Fan (Humbolt County)

Hi David, as a Dale fan I'm a little concerned with his 7th place at Las Vegas because teammates Jimmie and Kaseywere so much better. Is it a case of an average driver in the best car delivering a 7th?

David Newton
  (2:48 PM)

I hope you're being sarcastic here. Remember when a seventh would have felt like a win? Enough said.

Ben (IL)

Newt, Kenseth was whining about #2 jumping restarts just like Johnson was crying about Edwards doing it at Phoenix. Does NASCAR need to redefine the restart rules?

David Newton
  (2:49 PM)

There are certain drivers who relish in playing games on restarts. Keselowski is one of them. That is why, I believe, you saw him let Kenseth get back around him after he got out ahead. Under the rule, if you do that typically no penalty.

Laura (Manhattan Beach)

Hi David, during the Vegas Nationwide race on ESPN it seemed like Brian Vickers was really racing Rowdy with overly aggressive and unnecessary moves. Is Vickers still smarting from how badly Rowdy has overshadowed him?

David Newton
  (2:49 PM)

Nope.

David Newton
  (2:49 PM)

Nope.

David Newton
  (2:50 PM)

Nope.

Beth (Mich.)

Hi David, how cool was it for a new NASCAR record with Matt joining Kyle and Kale as the only NASCAR drivers to have wins on their b-day?

David Newton
  (2:50 PM)

What really was cool was seeing Kenseth get so emotional. He doesn't do that often. Was a special moment.

Tim (San Francisco)

Hey Newt! How does Bowyer's team go from so strong (top 5 in practices) to complete junk on Sunday (at Vegas)? I feel like in today's racing whoever is strong in practice is strong Sunday. How can that happen?

David Newton
  (2:52 PM)

Strong in practice usually means strong in qualifying, but not always strong in the race. They seldom practice in packs or around a lot of other cars, and that changes the handling of the car. Plus, some teams spend most of practice working on race setups and appear slow when their average 10 lap speed is among the fastst.

Chris (Saratoga Springs)

Hi David - thanks for your time! Who's the winner at Bristol on Sunday???

David Newton
  (2:52 PM)

My time if your time. And I'm going with Kyle Busch.

Cameron (Palo Alto, CA)

Made it to my first race last weekend, and had a blast! 2nd to last restart, #20 got way sideways and bunched up the field, which led to the #2 beating him to the S/F line. That forced #2 to give back the lead exiting turn 2, and led to #20 getting a solid run on the rest of the field. Seems like that was the winning move, so will we see others give up the lead on the restart so they are given it back on the backstretch? Thanks Newt!

David Newton
  (2:53 PM)

Glad you had a blast. But the winning move came on pit road when Kenseth went with no tires to get out first.

Chad White (Las Vegas )

I have a question about Danica Patrick. What will Danica have to do to win the Sprint Cup

David Newton
  (2:54 PM)

It would be too easy for me to give a sarcastic remark here. Do you really seriously believe she can win the title? Get back to me after she wins a race or finishes in the top 10 two or three straight weeks.

RacingDMP (Charlotte NC Official Home of NASCAR)

The adage is bad press is better then no press. In the case of Tia Norfleet I do not see it. I just do not see Tia as a Max Siegel project with this gross misrepresentation. Clements was a media blitz, but far less coverage on this story. Any thoughts?

David Newton
  (2:55 PM)

Trust me, the Tia Norfleet story is still out there and will be addressed. There's a lot to work through.

Jacob (Ohio)

Do you think that some of Mark Martin's success these last 2 seasons is due to the fact that he is racing part time, and does not have to worry about points racing?

David Newton
  (2:56 PM)

That and he has a really fast car and a really good crew chief in Rodney Childers.

Rob (Texas)

Hi Newt, where does Kenseth win his next race?

David Newton
  (2:56 PM)

California

Rob (Texas)

Did you hear the comment Kyle Busch made about how the worst JGR car won? I would assume he meant durring the practice and test on thrusday. I figured Kenseth and Hamlin would get along better than Kenseth/Hamlin and Busch but is there really tention between the JGR drivers already? I'm guessing KB was just frustrated he lost. Did i answer my own question?

David Newton
  (2:57 PM)

He didn't mean that as a negative. He meant it as a compliment. Busch and Kenseth get along great. I wouldn't read anything into his comment other than complete admiration for what Kenseth pulled off.

Bernie (NJ)

Hi Newt, do you expect Harvick to finish the year running the final races in the #39 to get ready for 2014?

David Newton
  (2:57 PM)

Nope. Sponsor commitments should prevent that.

Barb (Mich.)

Hi David, did the media start calling Dale "Junebug" because he wins the June Michigan race?

David Newton
  (2:58 PM)

Funny, but no. His dad started calling him Jun, short for Junior. That led to Junebug, which Darrell Waltrip overheard and told the world on TV.

John (Clemmons, NC)

Have a payouts question. Jr finished 7th at Vegas but earned the least amount of anyone in the top 12. Almirola earned more and he finished 16th and Stenhouse who finished 18th did as well. What determines the payouts??

David Newton
  (2:59 PM)

Lots of factors, from leading laps to qualifying. It's not that unusual. I've seen second get more than the winner.

Matt (ny)

Kenseth wasn't in cup at 22.... He came into the then Winston cup series at 28, so you can't really compare that. But in his first 4 seasons Kenseth had 6 wins (1 in 00, 5 in 02)

David Newton
  (2:59 PM)

I know that. I was toying with folks who wanted to toy with me.

Brooks (Richmond)

Terry Labonte...Hall of Fame?

David Newton
  (3:00 PM)

Eventually. Two titles pretty stout.

Mike Oxsweaty (Salt Lake City)

David, what is your favorite one direction song?

David Newton
  (3:00 PM)

Myrtle Beach Days as I drive straight to the beach.

David Newton
  (3:01 PM)

And with that, I'm outta here. Got to pack for Bristol. Be aure to follow the races on ESPN.com this weekend. And sorry I didn't get to as many questions as I normally do. Had three phone calls and a few emails that I had to address while chatting. If I didn't get to you, ask me on Twitter at @Dnewtonespn. Have a great week.