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March 28, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with David Newton

David Newton
  (2:11 PM)

Sorry for the delay. Technical difficulties. Maybe I was getting blocked (see column). On to the questions.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Do you think that Denny Hamlin will drive in the STP 500 at Martinsville on April 7th since he has a Broken Back?

David Newton
  (2:11 PM)

You haven't been paying attention. No more questions for you this week. Can't be on the pole and not know that.

Marsha weirton wva [via mobile]

Do you think tony stewart will make the chase

David Newton
  (2:12 PM)

He wasn't in my preseason list, so I'm going with no.

Joe (SC)

Looks like you might be the only BFF of Logano at the track after many drivers agreed with Stewart.

David Newton
  (2:13 PM)

I like all the drivers. I don't always agree with their opinion, but each I like each for different reasons.

Bill Scott (Lake Summerset, Illinois)

Hell-o David, Will the fact that Hamlin is out hurt the 20 and the 18 @ Martinsville? No feedback from probably the best flat track racer in the garage? Second question, will the 14 dump the 22 first chance he gets? Thanks, Bill

David Newton
  (2:14 PM)

No. Kenseth and Busch have been doing this long enough to know what they're doing without a third teammate's insight. And if Mark Martin or Brian Vickers is in the 11, there will be plenty of experience there as well. But I hear what you are saying about Hamlin at that track. As for Stewart, you never know. Wouldn't surprise me either way.

Jonathon (Lewisburg, KY)

Who is going to drive the #11 for Joe Gibbs Racing, while Denny Hamlin is going to be out for 5 races?

David Newton
  (2:15 PM)

Looks like either Mark Martin or Brian Vickers....or possibly both. Check out my newser.

Mike (GA)

After numerous altercations with other drivers, is Joey Logano now the undisputed bad boy of NASCAR?

David Newton
  (2:17 PM)

He could be a marked man. But I wouldn't call a driver nicknamed "Sliced Bread" bad boy.

Tom (via mobile)

Newton, how can you defend your boy Logano when he put Hamlin in the hospital and ended his title hopes? Where do you draw the line in terms of driver retaliation?

David Newton
  (2:18 PM)

I'm not defending anybody. I am saying it simply was hard racing between two drivers who wanted to win. Nobody intended to put anybody in the hospital. Using your logic, do you think Stewart intended to sideline Earnhardt for two weeks when he crashed the field at Dega with a block. Earnhardt missed the next two races with a concussion. Stewart was just doing what he had to win as Joey was on Sunday. Somebody unfortunately got hurt.

Cowardly Troll (Mom's basement)

I'm tired of Kyle Busch dropping into the minors to get easy wins. It's gotten to the point where I don't bother watching the races anymore. NASCAR should step in and ban Cup drivers from racing in the minors, period. Please do not give me the "big names sell tickets" argument either. I've seen plenty of empty seats in the NW races held so far this year.

David Newton
  (2:19 PM)

All I can say is the racing still is pretty good there and there are a lot of future superstars in the making. Just because they don't win doesn't make the race not worth watching.

KB Nation (Global)

Scooty Speed is a butdy with Shrub and has experience in toyotas. Will that give him an inside track to drive the 11?

David Newton
  (2:19 PM)

Uh, no.

TG (PA)

At the press conference someone asked Junior about the Adidas shoe deal he once had. Junior said he no longer has a shoe deal with anyone. But I thought he is now doing something with Revo brand shoes?

David Newton
  (2:20 PM)

He didn't menion Revo. Said he has a pair of Asics he likes.

Anthony durham nc [via mobile]

What ford driver has a chance to win a championship

David Newton
  (2:20 PM)

Keselowski is at the top of the list.

DRC1981 (Roscoe, IL)

Is NASCAR excited to see that attendance and ratings are way up so far this year because of Danica?

David Newton
  (2:21 PM)

I wouldn't say she is the only reason, nor the top reason. The racing has been good for the most part and the drama has been crazy. NASCAR fans love drama.

DRC1981 (Roscoe, IL)

Newt, what do you think will be said about Danica when Denny Hamlin misses 5 races and still beats her in points?

David Newton
  (2:22 PM)

You're the first to mention it. What do you think people will say?

TG (PA)

Dave, Happy easter to you. Do you prefer fresh marshmallow peeps or stale marshmallow peeps? I like to leave mine out to get stale.

David Newton
  (2:22 PM)

Easter? Week has been so crazy I almost forgot. Thanks. Not big on Marsh.

Bill (Ohio)

Do you see Harvick ever winning a championship? Is the reason he hasn't so far more from mediocre equipment or is he just not a championship caliber driver?

David Newton
  (2:24 PM)

He finished third two years in a row before last season, and had a chance going into the final two races in both seasons. He has the talent. It's just a matter of everything falling right. Like when Kurt Busch's tire came off at Homestead in 2004. Had the tire not rolled onto the track Kurt loses the title.

Big Danica Fan (Charlotte)

I got 10 dollars that says Danica wins The Most Popular Driver Award this year. Do you want to take me up on that bet?

David Newton
  (2:24 PM)

No but I think it will be closer than many expect.

Big Danica Fan (Charlotte)

Of the two rookies this year Danica and Ricky who do you think will do better on the two road courses this year?

David Newton
  (2:24 PM)

Stenhouse

Jk (Birmingham,al)

David can who do you see as Kevin harvick crew chief in 2014? Any chance zippy could be the crew chief?

David Newton
  (2:24 PM)

Doubt Zippy. Honestly haven't thought that far ahead.

Jk (Birmingham,al)

Outside of Kurt Busch who do you rcr signing to replace Kevin harvick?also what is the 1 major issue rcr has been fighting with having 3 competitive teams?

David Newton
  (2:26 PM)

Well, Austin Dillon is moving to Cup, so he'll fill one spot at RCR. All depends on what happens with Burton.

Michael (Crestview)

Dave, I find it harder to follow races these days with sponsorships changing race to race for drivers. I miss the old days where the top tier drivers would maintain the same paint scheme the entire year.

David Newton
  (2:26 PM)

A lot of people do. Me as well. Unfortunately, those days are gone.

RacingDMP (Charlotte NC Official Home of NASCAR)

Inquiring minds in the QC want to know, is next week finally the long awaited day Dale get one of those grandfather clocks? One of his better tracks stats wise without the "W". He is due.

David Newton
  (2:27 PM)

Could be. He has done well at Martinsville lately and has been the most consistent driver this year.

Brad (Crossville, TN)

I know that Carl did not really have a winning car at California, and he was sick at Bristol. But with him being in the top five in points and at least being capable of winning at Fontana towards the end of the race, is he back to the Carl of old and does he have a snowballs chance of winning the championship?

David Newton
  (2:27 PM)

Close, but not all the way back.

Brad (Crossville, TN)

I know a lot of people said it would be a hard transition, but what are the thoughts in the garage about Brad K and even Joey running as strong as they are even after the switch to Ford?

David Newton
  (2:28 PM)

Impressive. But that really is a big reason why they went with Roush Yates engines. Not having to worry about that made the transition really pretty simple. If they had to build their own engines on top of the new cars it might be a different story. Glad you noticed both drivers have been fast.

RacingDMP (Charlotte NC Official Home of NASCAR)

I got a question for ya Newt. Who do you think is the best on air race analyst today? And no playing ESPN favorites. Honest opinion. Who stakes up to Ken Squier and Benny Parsons today?

David Newton
  (2:30 PM)

I'm not dodging the question, but most races I listen to the scanner and the at track announcer, so I often miss the on-air personalities. There are plenty of good ones, though. I will say this, I like Kyle Petty's honesty and humor. Ray Evernham at ESPN is really good. There are so many to choose from.

David Newton
  (2:30 PM)

But to continue, not sure I would put any on par with the Hall of Famers you mentioned.

PJ (Boston, MA)

If you had to guess, who takes the green flag in the #11 car at Martinsville next Sunday?

David Newton
  (2:31 PM)

Hmmmm. Martin. or Vickers.But I lean toward Martin.

Dave (WI)

I don't understand all the whining by the media and fans over the cali race? We ask for real drivers, exciting finishes and have at it mentality...they do it...and it upsets everyone? Aside from DH getting hurt, I wish it could be like that every week!!!

David Newton
  (2:31 PM)

You are spot on.

Kevin (Nevada)

Will Paul Menard make the chase?

David Newton
  (2:32 PM)

If you look back at the past few years, he's gotten off to a fast start like this each time and faded. So no.

Claudia (Western NY)

What does JGR considering Mark Martin for the #11 say about the organization's regard for Elliott Sadler? Seems like an insult to him.

David Newton
  (2:32 PM)

It says they believe Mark can win races, and he also fits into the driver size that crew chief Darian Grubb is used to for setups.

Matt (Rochester, NY)

I tweeted this to you earlier. Tony blocked at Dega and it cost Dale jr the Chase. Dale was not going to contend last year but it relegated him to a 12th place finish. If it were the other way around, Tony would have thrown a fit. I think there is way way more to the Tony vs. Logano thing though. Tony used that as an opportunity to show emotion and get his team and himself riled up? What do you think is Tony's problem?

David Newton
  (2:34 PM)

You're right, there appears to be more to it than just blocking. He got real personal in his comments about Logano. I wish I had an answer. I reached out to him.

Cameron (Palo Alto, CA)

The past three races have been spectacular. Besides a plate-package change, do you envision NASCAR making any rules-package changes for short and/or 1.5 mile tracks? Seems like the big teams are figuring it out. 2 for JGR, 2 for HMS, and 1 for RFR

David Newton
  (2:34 PM)

Not at the moment. They want the teams to figure out how to make the cars better.

Cameron (Palo Alto, CA)

Based on Denny's comments, he didn't seem thrilled with the texts he and Joey exchanged. Does he view this as over, or is he looking for payback and trying to keep Joey out of the Chase while trying to win races himself?

David Newton
  (2:35 PM)

Doesn't sound like it's over from here, but perhaps he's still in the frustrated stage from learning he will miss five races. I wouldn't look for payback when he returns, though. First he has to protect his back. Second, he'll need all the points he can get.

Cameron (Palo Alto, CA)

I thought the comments yesterday about SAFER barriers not always being the best solution was very interesting, stating that they sometimes fling cars back into the racing grove. Do you buy that statement, or is that just a cover to save moeny? really hard to watch Denny slam that wall like that. Tracks need to protect their investments and PROTECT THE DRIVERS!!!

David Newton
  (2:36 PM)

Yes, I do buy that statement. I know it's particularly true at some of the road courses. Having said that, I look forward to the day when all tracks are covered.

Mike (Ohio)

Been a Stewart fan for a long time. Very dissappointed in him this week. I have been waiting for someone to call him on his do what I say not what I do attitude. Much respect to you David... The only one....

David Newton
  (2:37 PM)

Thanks. Stay tuned.

Mike (Portland, ME.)

Hi David, I am wondering what you think is going on with Jeff Gordon.I thought the Gen6 car would be right up his alley but so far not so good.Do you think it has been bd luck or something missing in the program?

David Newton
  (2:37 PM)

He's been fast a few races and not had the finish he wanted. At Bristol he was leading when a tire blew and he crashed. Sometimes we look at the finishes and forget drivers had a good or great car. I don't think he's forgotten how to drive.

Cameron (Palo Alto, CA)

Very impressed by the 78 this year. They're looking better than the 150/1 shot to win the title Vegas opened the season with, and they look like the best RCR team the last 2 weeks. Is this sustainable, or is the new car leveling the playing field a bit? Not to mention, the 51 looks good, too.

David Newton
  (2:38 PM)

Agreed, impressive. And it is sustainable. They have RCR equipment and access to all of RCR's info. They're like an extension of RCR. Maybe the best RCR team now. And you're right, the 51 does look good. Who would have though?

Tim (NYC)

I am a fan of the 2, but wouldn't it be great if the chase came down to the 99 and the 18 this year (maybe with the 5 in the mix too)?

David Newton
  (2:39 PM)

I just want an exciting finish. Doesn't matter what drivers. The 99 and 2 would be pretty good, too, considering their past.

Craig (Slinger, Wisconsin)

Over the past couple days, more and more has leaked out from your colleges here at ESPN and other local publications about this "meeting" that took place last week with leaders from NASCAR and Indy Car. A "thawing of the relationship" between the two seems to be taking place. What are some realistic expectations that a thawed relationship between the two, and what are the benefits? Could we ever get to a point where Indy Car and NASCAR could run an event at the same track on the same weekend?

David Newton
  (2:40 PM)

You never know on the same weekend, but I'm not sure it's in the best interest of either to do that. Not sure either is willing to help the other that much, either.

Bobby (NJ)

Dave any chance the chase races finally get changed in 2014?

David Newton
  (2:41 PM)

They are looking at it, but it's not as simple as saying you want to do it. The tracks have to agree, and many that have customers used to a certain race weekend don't want to change.

John (NC)

To me the most impressive thing the 88 is doing is closing out races this year, that was always an issue it seemed. What do they need to do to start winning races and compete for the championship?

David Newton
  (2:42 PM)

That happens because Letarte and Earnhardt are working well together to improve the car. Hasn't always happened with Earnhardt and a crew chief. And if you stay in contention long enough, you'll win. Can't point to one thing.

Tim (NYC)

Mr. Newton, do you think Harvick can really be excited about moving to SH next year? Looking like a lateral move at best right now?

David Newton
  (2:42 PM)

He is. He and Stewart are great friends.

Nate G. (Little Rock)

How soon we forget that Tony Stewart blocked at Talladega last year and cause a wreck that knocked out Dale Jr, for two weeks. Will Somebody question Smoke on his comments and his actions last year? I would love for him to explain the difference.

David Newton
  (2:43 PM)

Sure he will get that chance at Martinsville.

Joe (Troy, NY)

How different is Bristol from Martinsville? How come a guy like Biffle can run near the front at Bristol, and struggle so much at Martinsville?

David Newton
  (2:44 PM)

Martinsville is more about rhythm. It's a feel thing. You have to know exactly when to let off the gas, hit the brake and get back on the gas. At Bristol you don't use your brakes as much.

John (NC)

Any idea what was said the the text messages between Joey and Denny? I would imagine it was something like...Joey: Sorry you got hurt I didn't mean to wreck you. Denny: Go *&#% yourself, you better watch out when I get back on the track.

David Newton
  (2:44 PM)

You're probably close.

Tim (NYC)

I know he is hard to like, but Kurt Busch sure can drive a stock car? If he makes it close to getting into the chase does he get a quality ride somewhere in 2014?

David Newton
  (2:45 PM)

Yes it is and yes he can. And who's to say he doesn't already have a quality ride. I mean, he has a sponsor built in. In today's world, that is huge.

Jamerson (Georgia)

I read a rumor about a potential driver exchange happening between Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing to put Mark Martin in the 11 for some races. Any truth to that?

David Newton
  (2:46 PM)

Are you referring to my report on ESPN.com? Check it out. http://espn.go.com/racing/nascar/cup/story/_/id/9108046/joe-gibbs-racing-considering-mark-martin-denny-hamlin-temporary-replacement-according-sources

Joe (Troy, NY)

Is there a sense in NASCAR that Hamlin and Logano HAVE to get along or something? Why the texting thing? Can't they just agree to disagree? I doubt highly that Joey wanted to have Denny be injured, but he's got to contact him and apologize for....racing? And Denny has to listen to Joey's half-hearted apology?

David Newton
  (2:47 PM)

Not a rule, except in today's world all the drivers seem to think they have to get along in order to compete for a title. The feeling is you lose too many points when you get into a feud.

Not Chris Fiegler (Not in Latham, NY)

Does Dale Earnhardt Jr. drive the #88 car?

David Newton
  (2:48 PM)

Last time I looked that car was in the point lead.

J.K. (GA)

Hey David, I think Tony's problem with LOgano has alot more to do with lack of respect, and the block just set him off. Logano gets into Biffle, Biffle tries to talk to him, LOgano shrugs him off. Biffle fences him, rightfully so. Logano wrecks Newman, then blames Newman for racing too hard. Really? He chops Harvick at Bristol, gets wrecked, and then tries to wreck Harvick and fails, and then gets wrecked again by Harvick. Then made a 5th grade comment about the Wife. I could go on, but there's a distinct pattern, HE came into Cup with a sense of entitlement. Sorry for the long rant. I back STewart and Hamlin on this one, even tho Logano had a right to block.

David Newton
  (2:49 PM)

I think you may be right on the respect issue.

Sue B. (Seattle, WA)

I love Tony Stewart - how hard he works, how passionate he is about the sport. But some days he makes it so hard on his fans. Is he the biggest hypocrite in the garage? Every time he pops off about blocking, I want to punch him out. Not long ago he said he would wreck people who blocked him, so I was shocked he didn't punt Logano at Fontana. I had no problem with Joey blocking at the end of the race; conversely, I wouldn't have had a problem with Tony dumping him for doing so. WHY didn't Tony just do what he always threatens he'd do??? Sigh.

David Newton
  (2:50 PM)

Thanks for summing up things.

Shawn C (Mission Viejo, Ca.)

Your realistic expectation for Kurt Busch, will he make the Chase? Pretty strong so far!

David Newton
  (2:50 PM)

It'll be close. All depends on how he handles the slumps, and there will be a few.

Steven (Kingsport)

I did think it was cute Nascar pretending that ISC is somehow a different entity.

David Newton
  (2:51 PM)

Is there a question there?

Timothy (Charlotte, NC)

Has NASCAR discussed any changes to CMS for the Coca Cola 600? The race has been very boring and uneventful the last couple years.I know a lot of fans in Charlotte are getting tired of the snoozefest in NASCAR's backyard. A few years back, our group started and continues to dwindle each year because the race just wasn't exciting.

David Newton
  (2:51 PM)

No changes, and I am around those folks all the time. What would you like? A halftime?

Steven (Kingsport)

Think some of Tony's grumbling has to do with him being 22nd in points (and honestly looking like a 22nd in points team). Biggest bonehead move of the decade in racing: firing Grubb.

David Newton
  (2:52 PM)

Where you are in the standings always plays a mood in attitude. Some, like Gordon, are just better at handling it.

Brandon (San Francisco)

We know it's early in the season, but could see Paul Menard, Joey Logano and/or Ricky Stenhouse Jr staying where they are in points and make their first chase?

David Newton
  (2:53 PM)

One or possibly two of the could. Logano has had the best cars among the three. It's a matter how how all this feuding plays out that will determine what happens there.

PJ (Boston, MA)

Regarding Timothy's question about the Coke 600, we actually have a group of about 20 who are going to the 600 this year just to camp out, but for the first time since 2001 aren't even buying race tickets because it has gotten so boring.

David Newton
  (2:53 PM)

I spent the weekend for the All-Star race there in the infield camping. Great experience regardless of what happened on the track.

Jk (Birmingham,al)

Dave what sponsors are you hearing to fill put the 88 schedule?

David Newton
  (2:54 PM)

Been pretty quiet. But Hendrick was confident he would fill out the car. Says it is covered through the summer.

Brandon (San Francisco)

First off do you see Travis Pastrana contending for a win this year? Second do you see him contending for a championship in the next few years with his fast transition to stock cars?

David Newton
  (2:55 PM)

I have been impressed. He's been around the top 10 several races, and that is where you have to be in order to contend for a win. Second time around to some of these tracks he could be a threat. The guy is talented.

Jeff (Panama City)

Hey Newt, do you see Tony backing off Joey at all or is just one of these people that thinks he who yells loudest/cusses the most wins the argument? Honestly, he kind of came of like a whiner, think he lost some fans and Joey gained some in all this. thoughts?

David Newton
  (2:56 PM)

Hard to say Stewart is 22nd in points and if he gets into a wrecking battle with somebody could fall further into a hole. Having a weekend off to cool off might put perspective on things. I'd like to see Tony go to Logano and work with him as other veterans have younger drivers in the past.

Joe (Troy, NY)

Can you see a future where Jimmie Johnson races somewhere other than Hendrick?

David Newton
  (2:56 PM)

Probably not.

Bob (CT)

Is there a sport that you haven't covered that you would like to?

David Newton
  (2:58 PM)

Just the Olympics, which is not a sport per se. I covered the Olympic Festival once and one event in the Atlanta Olympics, but I'd like to cover the whole thing, particularly a Winter Olympics. Have covered college sports, NFL, NBA, golf, tennis ... pretty much everything else.

Justin (Northern Virginia)

Your collegue, Ed Hinton, has stated on ESPN.com that he believes that there is a difference of blocking at a restrictor plate tracks and blocking at non-plate races with the former being required while the latter is not necessary. Do you agree or disagree with this assessment?

David Newton
  (2:59 PM)

I respect his opinion, but with this new car and everyone being equal, I believe blocking is a necessary part of the sport at all tracks.

Shawn (Sunny SoCal)

Do you believe we will see win #2 for Furniture Row Racing this year with Kurt Busch and the way he is driving? Make the Chase?

David Newton
  (2:59 PM)

You might. Kurt is great at a lot of upcoming tracks.

Joe (Troy, NY)

Who made the initial text, Denny or Joey? Why didn't it go well?

David Newton
  (3:00 PM)

Joey. He wanted to tell Denny he hopes he recovers fast. Guessing Denny still has issues over why it happened.

rex (pa)

How long will Mr. Penske put up with Joey's nonsense? Penske's a loyal owner, but he can't seem to find a driver that can just drive without cause him headaches... save for Hornish, that is.

David Newton
  (3:01 PM)

Mr. Penske believes, in his words, that Joey is a championship driver and stands behind him 100 percent.

Sreekar Bommireddy (Tucson, AZ)

David, even though Joey said "that's what he gets" when Denny was being transported to the hospital, he didn't know he was injured (he still should have been concerned), didn't Joey drive it hard for the win and Denny got into the right rear corner panel of Joey and then got loose?

David Newton
  (3:02 PM)

There are lots of ways to look at what happened. I'd like to hear more from Denny and Joey on how it all went down.

Submarine Mike (Jacksonville Fl)

I have seen a lot written about Smoke being hypocritical about blocking with Logano, yet nothing I have seen has anyone specifically asking him about his blocking at Dega. Does he have the press scared or is that question going to come at Martinsville

David Newton
  (3:03 PM)

Everybody got away pretty fast after the race. There hasn't been a time to talk since then. If you note in my column, I reached out. Here is is for you. http://espn.go.com/racing/nascar/cup/story/_/id/9105495/nascar-blocking-nascar-here-stay

David Newton
  (3:04 PM)

That's it for me. Thanks for everyone sticking it out while I worked through technical issues. Hope everyone has a great Easter. Until next week.