Chat with Tim Cowlishaw
Cowlishaw puts together ESPN.com's weekly NASCAR Sprint Cup power rankings and is a columnist for the Dallas Morning News and a contributor to ESPN's NASCAR coverage.
Send your questions now and join Cowlishaw in chat Thursday at 3 p.m. ET!
Tim Cowlishaw (2:57 PM)
Finished taping Around the Horn and have a segment on NASCAR Now to tape at 315 Central so let's get rolling on the Chase here.
Tim, with all of the rumors about GEM. how long do you think Dodge will be in the sport. I have a bad feeling if Dodge leaves for wont be far behind and in the next few years it will only be Chevy and Yota
Tim Cowlishaw (2:58 PM)
Glen, I think you are right. Dodge already said it's getting out of trucks. Dodges are having horrible problems with sales and the economy is only getting worse. I don't see Ford bailing out soon, but if Toyota is this strong, you never know what might happen. What is the IRL these days -- Hondas against Hondas?
Tim Cowlishaw (2:59 PM)
A couple of thoughts about the Chase. I think one guy who flew under the radar for his performance at Loudon is Jeff Burton. Getting a fourth there and holding off Junior was huge for him. At the eight tracks the drivers revisit during the Chase, Burton collected the second most points this season. Only Kyle Busch, who won at three of the tracks, picked up more points at those tracks, so I have to say Burton is a dark horse who has jumped back into the race.
Hey Tim, Anything new on the Robby Gordon/GEM lawsuit?
Tim Cowlishaw (3:03 PM)
I know they are suing him for $23 million but I haven't seen any new developments on that front.
Joe (Troy, NY)
Last week I asked you if Biffle could sneak up on the competition and steal a championship based on past performance at the 1.5 mile tracks (check the archives!). The next two upcoming races are places where he should be very strong. Am I being unrealistic to believe that he can go top ten at Talladega and Martinsville after that and still be there when the chase ends? Are Jimmy and Carl just going to be way too strong for Biffle to compete?
Tim Cowlishaw (3:06 PM)
Biffle was third at Dover in the first race so he can definitely hold his ground there. He wasn't top 10 at Talladega or Martinsville but he's been there before and he has to have a lot of confidence after making that pass on Jimmie Johnson Sunday. I wouldn't pick him in top three to win, but he's in the next group of 3 for sure.
Is it too early to count anyone out of it, even if they had a poor showing in the first race?
Tim Cowlishaw (3:07 PM)
I think it's pretty safe to say Matt Kenseth is done. Not that he doesn't have talent but he's more than 170 points out of first and more than 70 points out of 11th. And at the eight tracks they repeat, he had the lowest point total of the 12 drivers the first time around. Those are pretty bad signs.
Think we will have 43 cars at Daytona next year?
Tim Cowlishaw (3:09 PM)
Yes, I do, but that's a legitimate question for the first time. After watching what happened to the stock market the last two days, I am wondering just how much money potential sponsors have lost. It's a bad time for everyone.
We know who your favorite is to win the cup this year, now who do you like winning the super bowl? Go Cowboys!!
Tim Cowlishaw (3:10 PM)
Before the season started, I picked the Colts to beat (my sleeper pick) Carolina. Which won two games without Steve Smith. But obviously a lot of people are picking the Cowboys.
Joe (Troy, NY)
Do you see any tracks that will spell any kind of trouble for Carl or Jimmie?
Tim Cowlishaw (3:15 PM)
Carl Edwards doesn't like Talladega and that's usually not a good track for him. It would be good for him to have the points lead going in there because he might lose some ground in the restrictor plate race. The 48 team is just good everywhere now that they have things figured out again. They weren't good at Charlotte in May but that doesn't mean they won't be strong there in October.
Do you see Nascar moving the Chase races to saturdays in the future? I think they lose so many viewers to Football.
Tim Cowlishaw (3:16 PM)
They have a couple of Saturday nights in there now and I saw that New Hampshire is putting in lights so maybe that's another one. I think the Texas race should be at night but Eddie Gossage disagrees with me and it's his track. I think a lot of NASCAR fans are college football fans, too, so just moving races to Saturday nights doesn't solve all their ratings issues.
Tom (cincinnati, OH)
Would NASCAR ever look at the chase and have each type of track that NASCAR run at and not overdone with the 1.5 miles. This year five 1.5mi tracks. Next year four 1.5mi and a 2 mile tracks. Mayebe another short track?
Tim Cowlishaw (3:17 PM)
With Martinsville, Loudon and the Dover mile, the short tracks are pretty well represented. Maybe one more would be fair. I wouldn't mind seeing a road race in there but I don't think that will happen.
What are the odds Carpentier ends up at Ganassi next year?
Tim Cowlishaw (3:18 PM)
I don't know what Ganassi is thinking right now about all their open-wheel experiments. Worked pretty good with Juan Pablo, not so good with Dario. Carpentier didn't show us much except for getting a pole, but he didn't really even compete in that race.
Michael (Mystic ,CT)
Does Dale Junior has a shot winning Championship this year? Did you read newton's article about junior's tirade with his cousin? Do you think it's a good time to do that?
Tim Cowlishaw (3:19 PM)
Sometimes airing things out can help. That might be true in the case of Tony Stewart and Zippy. Not so sure on this one. Junior has back-to-back top fives for the first time in a long time. I still wouldn't make him one of the top four or five picks to win.
Saul (San Diego)
Tim, of the chasers, who would like to see win the chase, what say your heart. A part of me would like to see the Biff win it; a little trifecta with him winning the old Bush and truck series. Biff is a good guy. But, supporting sponsorship, I want Jr to win. What say you Tim.
Tim Cowlishaw (3:20 PM)
Personally, I like a lot of the drivers so I would be happy if Junior won, if Stewart won, if Burton won. But I don't really cheer for a particular driver. It might bore people but I like Johnson too, him winning three in a row would be a bit historic.
Brett Baldeck (Niagara University, NY)
Will New Hampshire be included in the chase next year? I hear all these rumbles of at least one NH race to move.
Tim Cowlishaw (3:20 PM)
It will still be in it next year but I don't know about after that.
Tom (cincinnati, OH)
how was the race last sunday. Due to the wind storm from IKE the local ABC affiate show the weather report. I do have to praise WCPO for this decision!!!!
Tim Cowlishaw (3:21 PM)
The race wasn't bad. Junior had a chance to win but had one bad set of tires that knocked him out of the lead. Biffle made a nice pass on Jimmie to get the win. Rough day for Kyle Busch fans.
Mark (Mount Airy,MD)
Hey Tim, Which non-Chase driver do you think will have the best day at Dover???? I think it will be Truex.
Tim Cowlishaw (3:22 PM)
That's a good pick since he won there a year ago, the June race. I will take Mark Martin who has had some good runs lately and really would love to win something for DEI before he heads to Hendrick. I think he will compete.
With Brad K turning down the Penske offer was he promised something by Dale Jr or Hendrick for the future?
Tim Cowlishaw (3:24 PM)
I think that was a bad sign for Penske. The 12 car has won a lot of poles and races in recent years and drivers don't usually reject a chance to move up. But I think he does have a future with Hendrick since we know Martin is only there for one year.
Mark (Mount Airy, MD)
Tim, Will we see Scott Speed drive for Red Bull in the Cup series on a full time basis next year????
Tim Cowlishaw (3:28 PM)
I know some Red Bull people like that idea. I think they need to acknowledge that A.J. will be back in the 84. He's had some nice runs of late.
Tim Cowlishaw (3:29 PM)
It's time for the weekly top five rankings, most likely to win the Chase with nine to go. 1. Jimmie -- Tied after one race. 2. Kyle -- Think he can still get it done, he won three times at tracks they are going back to. 3. Carl -- Strong on just about all the tracks except Talladega. 4. Denny -- Sticking with my dark horse pick. 5. Burton -- Top fives will get it done.
Saul (San Diego)
Seems like every year, fans and sports commentators would like to see a road course in the chase. Do you know why NASCAR does not add a road course to the chase? A little wine in the Fall season would be nice.
Tim Cowlishaw (3:30 PM)
Some fans like the idea, but a lot don't. And the drivers, mostly, do not. Dale Junior would be at the head of a long line complaining about a road course in the Chase.
Tim, do you think NASCAR will allow teams to tinker with the COT next year. I firmly believe if they turn the teams loose then they can make the car better
Tim Cowlishaw (3:32 PM)
I think they need to give the crew chiefs a little more leeway, yes. I just don't think every slight modification needs to be viewed as cheating. And let them test at the real tracks.
What is your thought on starting and ending the year at Daytona?
Tim Cowlishaw (3:33 PM)
I have said I like the idea, although I like going there around July 4 for the night race, too. There is nothing historic about finishing at Homestead.
If Brad moves up after next year does Dale Jr have another young driver waiting to take over the 88?
Tim Cowlishaw (3:36 PM)
I'm not certain but I know Dale is through spending his own money in Nationwide so I'm not sure how that would go.
Do you think Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman will both make the chase next year?
Tim Cowlishaw (3:37 PM)
I wouldn't pick either one to make the Chase. I know they will have Hendrick engines but I don't think that solves all of their problems. Not getting Frye from Red Bull has to be a disappointment for Tony.
Tim...does the 24 have a shot? He has two tracks in Martinsville and Dega that he is awful good at in the COT...does he have enough at the other tracks to be a contendor? Do you see any changes next year to that team or is Letarte back?
Tim Cowlishaw (3:40 PM)
They had 30 top 10s with Letarte as crew chief last year so I am not going to fault him for Gordon's tough times this year. Not sure how Hendrick will look at it. He can get in the hunt but he really needs to win. Problem isn't being 99 points out, it's having to pass 10 other drivers.
Joe (Troy, NY)
After this season, isn't it the time that Jack Roush has to declare which of his drivers won't be with Roush Fenway? With three drivers in the chase and Ragan peeking in from the outside, is it academic that Jamie McMurray will be seeking employment elsewhere....or at the very least partnered up with Yates?
Tim Cowlishaw (3:41 PM)
That's after the 2009 season unless I am mistaken. But Roush has indicated some unhappiness with Jamie this year, so I'm not sure where his future lies.
Why are the chasis on the COT at an angle to the right
Tim Cowlishaw (3:43 PM)
I don't think the chassis themselves are at an angle, I think teams angle the tires in such a way to give it that appearance to get more handling.
David (Houston, TX)
Who do you enjoy beating most on Around the Horn?
Tim Cowlishaw (3:43 PM)
Who's that guy from Chicago?
Does Kyle Busch bounce back or does the pressure get to him?
Tim Cowlishaw (3:44 PM)
Brad, I fully expect him to get back in the mix. He won at Dover, he won at Talladega, he won at Atlanta, he was third at Texas, he was third at Charlotte. If he can repeat about half of that, he's in.
Hey Tim, Ive been hearing Scott Riggs is announcing his decision at the end of this month where he'll be. Ive heard Ganassi, Yates, and Petty. Can you confirm any of those?
Tim Cowlishaw (3:45 PM)
I think he might be going to Ganassi but I can't confirm anything. If I could, it would already be on espn.com somewhere. I know he's trying to go out on a good note and stay in the top 35.
'THAT GUY' from Chicago is the self chosen unemployed one who has more victories than you do! Although if you would stop mentioning NASCAR and Hockey on ATH you might get more wins!
Tim Cowlishaw (3:46 PM)
Good to hear from you, Jay. Maybe I meant Wojciechowski.
Do u think that Jr will when the Championship this year or does Jr Nation have wait another year or more.
Tim Cowlishaw (3:53 PM)
I think they have to wait another year but maybe these back-to-back top fives are a good sign for Nation. Thanks, everyone. Might change chat time next week, I am flying up to Kansas on Thursday afternoon. Check the site for possible Friday chat from the track. Courage.