Good afternoon, all. Been a while. Let's open with David Newton's good news that Tony Stewart is "fine" after flipping a sprinter five times in Canada last night.
I keep thinking back to what RC said about RCR "almost having funding to run a 4th team." Any insight into this "almost" being Quicken and/or Outback? I didn't get my mortgage paid this month, but did enjoy a free bloomin' onion yesterday!
You just might have a point there. Lot of speculation that Quicken, and perhaps Outback, could go with Newman. If RCR has the rest, that could polish off a deal. I'm still not sure Newman would be a real good fit with old-school RCR, though. But we'll see.
Why are most races measured in miles but, there are a few in kilometers?
The few in kilometers, I suspect, are to make a race seem longer than it really is, for promotional purposes.
Ed, thanks for more great stories about NASCAR. It has become a lost art. I grew up reading Tom Higgins of the Charlotte Observer. He could shin a yarn.
Thanks. If you think Higgins could spin a yarn in print, you should have heard him around a dinner table. He used to have us falling out of our chairs and rolling on the floor with laughter.
I saw a dirt late model race on youtube at Bristol, wouldn't that work for a truck/nationwide/cup week/weekend? All the pit stalls, all the safety, all the seats needed for an incredible event...I bet it would sell out! Even if the dirt racing is gone again, I just hope NASCAR saw how good the racing can be with slower speeds and very little downforce.
Are you referring to the time they put dirt on top of the pavement at Bristol? I kinda doubt they'd try that again. I'm trying to remember whether Bristol has a permanent dirt track, but if so, it's on the grounds outside the huge grandstands.
Good afternoon Ed,I sure enjoyed the race at Eldora on Wed. Were the teams allowed to do anything with the tires (siping, grooving)? Thanks!!
No, I think they had to run them right off the Goodyear truck. And Goodyear did a nice job of providing dirt tires for a one-off.
I heard Cup team owner Brad Daughtery talking about Kenseth '12 vs. '13 and he wondered what had been going on at Roush-Fenway? Doesn't that come close to crossing the line for a team owner to question another?
Brad wears two hats. Wearing his ESPN analyst's hat, I think he was fine raising the question.
Was Hamlin talking nonsense when he said, "I'm the face of Joe Gibbs Racing"? Isn't the #18 the flagship team at JGR like #48 is at HMS?
A bit picky, Rowdy fans. Didn't see where Denny said that, but truth is, he is the senior driver at JGR for time served, two years more than KB. Looking at it another way, the team "rookie," Kenseth, is actually the senior driver in overall experience. I don't think they have a "flagship."
Since NBC broadcasts F1 and INDYCAR, with them picking up the ESPN-TNT portion of the schedule in '15 do you think those F1-INDYCAR fans will migrate to NASCAR?
I don't see how that would make much difference. The fans of the various series are going to find their races, regardless of channel. I don't think F1 fans are any more likely to check out NASCAR more, just because it's on the same channel.
How can NASCAR ask teams to build 1-off dirt trucks when the teams howl about the added expense of building road course cars for Cup and Nationwide?
I think teams are willing to do that sort of thing when it means a PR shot in the arm for the series. It's the old Jeff Gordon "everybody benefits" business philosophy.
Is it accurate that there was only 1 on-track pass for the lead during the entire Brickyard 400?
That's accurante, according to our Terry Blount, who was there. And even that pass came off a restart -- so does it really count?
Any ideas on how Michael Waltrip will stay active at the restrictor plate tracks (assuming Brian Vickers takes over the 55 FT)? Maybe run a fourth MWR car those races?
Main thing is whether Mikey can get special sponsorships for those plate one-offs. If he can get them, I would suspect he'll do it for another three or four years.
Yes, dirt on the pavement, amazing to watch, can't imagine how incredible it would be with 43 cars doing it. I know it won't happen, but at least it's possible, if the effort was put in.
Oh, I agree, it would be fabulous.
Hey Ed - who, aside from Dale Jr and Danica, would be a good champion to bring positive attention to our sport? Not saying that Brad or Jimmie haven't, but is there anyone else in the garage that would be good for the sport if they won? Thanks!
I've always thought Carl Edwards would be a great ambassador to mainstream America. Clint Bowyer is getting better and better and better on TV, as well.
Auto update please!
it's on. i've got a ton of stuff queued. Sorry, not as fast as McDonald's drive thru.
Hi Ed - what do you think NASCAR will look like in 25 yrs? Will it regain some of its past popularity of the last decade? Will it be able to grab the attention of younger generations? Or will it become more of a niche sport who's heyday is in the past but still has a small but fervent fan base? Thanks!
Very tough question. I think NASCAR, like all other sports but maybe more, is going to have an uphill climb to bring on board the inter-active minded youth.
Ed, I think your perspective on Danica so far after 20 races into her first full-time season is an interesting one in terms of looking for a breakout performance, but I thought the Martinsville race where she ended up 12th was along those lines.
Nah, I'm greedy. I'd love to see an outright win. For the sake of the story. But as I said, I'm unrealistic.
Ed, I just wanted to say "Thank You" for your series on the France family. The difference between you and the rest of the staff is they dispense information. You tell stories. It's the difference between listening to other baseball announcers and Hall of Famer Dave Niehaus. The difference is noticeable and very apprecitated. Thank you once again.
Thanks, Keith. Sometimes the conventional wisdom around Bristol is that I don't know when to shut up. K. Lee gave me a wonderful platform for going on and on about the Frances.
Do you think the Danica influence has mellowed Stenhouse from the aggresive 2-time NNS Champ to what he has become in Cup or is it more to the quality of the Roush-Fenway Ford's?
I think the Fords just have a long way to go to catch up.
Smoke had two accidents in sprint cars in less then two weeks, at point does Gene Hass have the scaling back talk with him?
I don't think Haas has that power. Tony does as he pleases, and has only himself to answer to.
Hey Ed, although you seemed to have lightened up the animosity towards Newman, you still don't seem too optimistic he can find a quality ride. I think the perfect situation for him is to keep Borland and sign with Roush or RCR, if he does have sponsorship. That's where Newman's career went downhill is they had one bad year and Penske fired Borland. He'd won alot more if Borland stayed on board
No animosity. I've always just said he's a rough driver, and his peers agree. Maybe RCR can combine its own sponsors with Quicken and Outback to form a third team.
Does the spectacular fall of #2 from Champ to irrelevance show Ford's unwillingness to invest much in NASCAR or putting all their chips on the #99?
I think it just shows that Ford is behind. I think they'd spend to fix it if they knew what to do.
In turn 4 today you were really the only one who mentioned Newman driving for JTG or even a lessen than that team.. With the sponsor dollars drying up it that something that we might see in the future or does Ryan go to Nationwide for a year or two and wait for next years silly season... PS loved the 5 part series on the France Family
Not sure what he'd do. Kind of doubt he'd drop to Nationwide full time, though.
Do you think Danica's best shot to win this year will be at Watkins Glen or Talladega since she's both an excellent road racer and plate racer?
I'd say 'Dega, although I don't think that's a great shot either. For all her early training on road courses, I would have thought he'd have done better on them by now.
Do you think jj will gethissixthchampionship ihope so hedeservesit
Ed, great piece on the France family. What do you think Big Bill would say about the current state of NASCAR and what do you think he would do if he were still at the reins to fix it?
Thanks. Bill Jr and I used to talk about that, and Jr said Big Bill had no idea, even in all his vision, what it would become. Frankly, I think the sport has come so far that even Big Bill would be at a loss as to what to do now.
As a Gordon fan we were thrilled by Gustufson became Jeff's crew chief but now we're not so sure. Has the experiment failed and do you expect to see some changes on the #24 team?
I think they're fine. It's the whole package there. Driver, crew, all of it.
I was reading that Dale Jr. has won 2 cup races since the 10th race of the 2006 season, 8 years ago and will be turning 39 years old in a few months. Do you think Jr. has entered that Labonte, Burton, Gordon, take-no-risks, milk-it-for-every-dime phase of his career?
No, I think he wants to win, bad. Pride at stake.
Since Dale and Jimmie have been HMS teammates from 2008-present, #48 has 31 Cup wins and 3 Sprint Cup Championships while #88 has 2 Cup wins and Zero Championships. How is that even possible and will HMS ever assign Chad to work for Dale?
No way, no how. That would be a disaster. They'd clash the first race out.
Hi Ed, Jimmie and Chad have won so many races and championships so isn't it time for Mr. H to make a drivers swap and send Jr. to the #48 and Jimmie to #88 so Jr. can win a bunch of races and championships with Chad at the helm?
Again: No way, no how. Rick isn't going to bust up a championship team for an experiment that just wouldn't work.
Hi Ed! Who has more wins at season's end.... JJ or Kenseth?
tossup, but I'll take Kenseth.
Hey Ed, the TV folks were reporting on the #48 car during the race. They said the car is known as "the workhorse" in the shop a left over from last year converted to Gen 6. But its the "same" car as last years race. You often hear about this is the "same" car as some other race. so I ask you what exactly is the same? Certainly not the engine, the body, the paint scheme, do they simply refer to the chasis as being the same car? An explanation much appreciated.
They mean the chassis, yes.
Out of all the cities where they wanted to build a new track (Denver, Seattle, NYC)-if the economy were to rebound tomorrow, which city would likely be home to a new track?
I can't see any of those markets as a viable venture. Even if the economy were to flourish right now, they still gotta fill their existing tracks, and that'll take a while.
Whats up with the Fords? I'm tired of watching a Chevy parade each week!
Not Carl's fault if the horsepower isn't there.
The pride you mentioned with Junior a few questions ago... at what point do he and Mr. H realize that the on track success is just not there and part ways? Does Mr H. ever kick himself for getting rid of Rowdy?
I don't see them breaking up unless the sponsorship dries up long-term. As for Rowdy, there were a lot of inside issues at HMS that bothered them.
What are your thoughts on ESPN decling to cover Nascar car.
That's waaaaaay above my pay grade.
I didn't understand all the hoopla over the Eldora dirt race since it wasn't really a NASCAR race with like 10 heat races comprised of a few cars and then long breaks with no cars on the track. That wasn't real NASCAR racing, IMO.
Well, the elements you mention are what I liked about it. It's old school format.
Ed, do you expect Carl Edwards to pull a "Harvick" and quit the team that gave him his start in NASCAR to move to greener pastures at Gibbs or Hendrick?
I think he would move to a more competitive ride, and who would blame him? Trouble is, don't see any seats opening up at Gibbs or Hendrick.
Why do you think Hendrick is having trouble finding a multi-year sponsor commitment for Jr?
Probably lack of winning, or even contending seriously for wins very often. Time was when sponsors would go for name and popularity. Now, though, popularity only goes so far with them.
Do you think NASCAR will ever start filling the seats at places like Indy again?
Ever? Wouldn't project that far out. But can't see them filling up in the foreseeable future, even for a night race.
What happened with the Phoenix Racing sale? Did the buyer(s) back out of the deal?
Haven't heard. Maybe Finch is still negotiating. I doubt he would sell at bargain prices.
Your top 5 drivers and a darkhorse for Pocono?
OK, a stab off the top of my head: JJ, Denny, Kenseth, Gordon, Bowyer. Dark horse: Newman.
With 50+ poles and if he can get to 20 wins, do you foresee Ryan Newman hearing his name called for the NASCAR Hall of Fame one day?
One day . . . but a long time off . . .
Other than the following Danica has brought, I don't see where other drivers or NASCAR has brought in young fans. I don't buy that the races are too long. I see plenty of kids at PGA events watch five hour rounds
Well, I see youth at NASCAR races too. PGA events, you've got parents with tickets. The question is, ENOUGH youth to make big impact.
Danica ran well in 2 of the 3 NW races on road courses last year, even leading at Montreal for 20 consecutive laps over Villenueve and Kyle Busch, Ed, so she CAN do it, but I'm not convinced Gibson can give her the car to do it (see Sonoma this year).
That was NW, so we'll see about Cup, and you might be right.
What would be your dream championship battle between a pair of driver/crew chief combinations? I would love to see a Chase featuring Gordon/Evernham vs. Johnson/Knaus.
How 'bout one of those two combos, vs. Richard Petty and Dale Inman? Those old boys with the 43 knew how to compete strategically for championships.
Do you think Indianapolis Motor Speedway will add the apron back at IMS so the drivers can go side by side instead of a 1 grove race track?
I just don't think there's any saving NASCAR racing at Indy. I thought it was inappropriate from the outset. I've always likened it to a herd of buffalo stampeding down a waxed hallway in a palace. Just doesn't work.
Good as any right now, but that stuff fluctuates week to week.
which two drivers get the Wild Card? I say Ryan and Tony.
woops, maybe I posted the answer before the question.
At Indy, #48 tied Rowdy with a series leading 9 Top 5 finishes. As T5 consistency and winning are what wins Championships, do you rate Rowdy and Johnson as the 1 and 2 seeds for the Cup?
No, because seeds go off wins, so right now it's Johnson and Kenseth.
I still think the 78 has a better chance to get a win right now than the 2. As a San Francisco Giants fan, I am witnessing (again) how hard it is to defend a title, with everything that the title brings you, and requires of you. Is being the "new face of NASCAR" taking a bigger toll on the 2 team than they had thought? Thanks for the chat Mr. Hinton!
I don't think the "new face" part is pressuring Brad. I just think it's horrendous luck, plus Ford's horsepower deficit.
Off topic, think Johnny Manziel will have a good season?
On the field, yes, assuming he gets that far. But you can bet Bama, et al., will have big game plans for him and be waiting for him for sure.
If Brad K could only manage 25th in points his first full year, why would anyone expect Danica to do better her first year
Well, because Danica is Danica.
Hello Ed, Thanks for the France family articles. A great read. Ryan and I were discussing Joe Weatherly and Raymond Parks as should be HOF'ers. What is your take on this????
I absolutely agree that both Weatherly and Parks should ALREADY be in. I've yelled that till I'm out of breath.
Could Indy be the lynchpin in the schedule to say "it didnt work there, its not working at XY&Z, lets move races, give new tracks a date(Iowa, Nashville) or maybe even shorten the season...
I certainly would like to see the season shortened to no more than 30. Audience fatigue has set in. I think Iowa definitely should get a date. Nashville is too close to Kentucky and that market's already saturated. Would love to see a Cup race in Canada.
Who will be the 12 drivers in this year's Chase?
What numbers will win the Power Ball Lottery this week?
Well, he's sitting 10th right now and running fairly consistently, but not winning. So that should be his best route.
NASCAR can't leave INDY because that would be admitting defeat. Thoughts?
You're right. Rock and a hard place there.
Will Jeff Gordon make the Chase, and if he does, will it be in the top-10 or with a Wild Card spot?
Woops, posted answer before question again. I think sitting 10th, running pretty good but not winning, he goes in that way.
Is Vickers a lock for the #55 ride? I keep seeing Aaron's sponsors Chase Elliott, it looks like they may be going in that direction.
I thought Vickers was a lock, but questions keep poppoing up about Aaron's. Vickers himself said after his win that he's learned the hard way that nothing's ever done until it's done.
Ed, Going to Pocono for the first time this weekend. Any recommendations?????
Not unless you play golf, in which case there's a gazillion courses to choose from.
We we ever see nascar run the full Watkins Glen Road Course and bring back the carousel at Sonoma?
No on the Glen. And I thought that last turn at Sonoma, as it sits, WAS the carousel. It certainly fits the definition.
In your opinion, which race has been the best this season? I must admit, I've enjoyed watching the last couple of Fontana races. They are getting better and better.
I agree, Fontana has come to the fore. It's what Roger Penske envisioned, with all that room to roam, for the Gen 6.
Who do you think are the top-5 best drivers in NASCAR today, based on pure driving talent? I know we don't always get to see a driver's true ability behind the wheel.
Quick stab off the top of my head in no particular order: JJ, Stewart, Rowdy, Bowyer, Kenseth.
Which road course has a better chance of landing a Cup date, Road America or Road Atlanta?
Equal: slim and none. Don't know about logistics at Elkhart Lake, but Road Atlanta would be a huge traffic problem after you got off I-85.
Who is the best road course racer in NASCAR right now? I say Ambrose.
Probably in driving lap in, lap out, but I'm not convinced of his ability to close a deal as much as he should.
Just got here, what folks are missing is Mr. H. didn't release Rowdy for Jr, he kicked him to the curb to keep Casey Mears (which is indicative of how sick the whole organization was of him).
They were fretful internally, to be sure.
Well, folks, the old clock on the wall. Gotta go. Thanks to all for stopping by