Chat with Ed Hinton
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Hinton Archive: Columns
Jimmie Johnson is confident in the mile and half program. Are you?
I am confident in Chad Knaus's intermediate program, yes. And a belated hi to everyone; was waiting on Brian Vickers, who's running a bit late. But the editors have told me to go ahead and start, so, fire away.
Aaron (Bangor, ME)
Hey Ed, do you think Jeff Gordon is forgetting how to finish a race? Talk like that has been surfacing a lot lately, and I'm curious if you think that's the case or if you think he's going to be fine.
Ed Hinton (2:27 PM)
I've noticed that his car seems to get worse, or that he seems to like it less, toward the end of quite a few races. But it's really not new lately. I've been noticing that for a couple of years now. Be interesting to see if there's any change with his new fitness program. I think fitness is critical (I know I should talk, but I'm not trying to win championships) to NASCAR drivers. Maybe we'll see now if those fading finishes were a matter of the car or the driver.
Daniel Harrisonburg, VA
hey Ed. who you say will win on sunday?
Ed Hinton (2:28 PM)
I'd say a Roush car -- Edwards or Kenseth or Biffle. Johnson best of the rest.
is there something going on between waltrip and bowyer? it seems ever since bowyer said waltrip was the worst driver ever last year. and i've noticed when ever waltrip gets the chance he races clint hard and will even do a little rubbin.
Ed Hinton (2:30 PM)
I think that's Waltrip and just about anybody who's running well. Did you notice he gave the frontrunners fits at Martinsville Sunday? I've very much against lapped cars racing leaders and holding them up. If he does it to Bowyer, he also does it to Hamlin, Gordon and others.
Saul (San Diego)
Mr. Hiton, In the years of you following NASCAR, did you ever notice the craziest or strangest pre-race superstitions a driver went through? They say Wade Boggs was often referred to as the ?Chicken Man? because he ate chicken habitually before every game and would also start wind sprints exactly 16 minutes before each game.
Ed Hinton (2:32 PM)
Gotta put this as delicately as possible, but in Junior Johnson's cars, especially during the Darrell Waltrip era, they would hang a -- er -- part of a raccoon's anatomy over the rearview mirror.
Justin (florence alabama) [via mobile]
How do u guys get involved in covering the greatest sport. Im a historian of nascar its my life. I d love to b able to do ur job. Any job openings. Haha. Justin 19 alabama. Ok to this weekend texas. Gordon has an average finish of 3.3 on the cookie cutters this yr and hes has the silver and black national guard scheme. Can he win
Ed Hinton (2:36 PM)
Will speak only for myself here. It was a long, long process. Started going to dirt tracks when i was 10, and kept on going. In 1974 I was working at a newspaper, news side, and the NASCAR beat came open. I went into the sports department and applied for it. Of course, there were a lot fewer people who wanted to cover NASCAR in those days. Media are consolidating now, so there are fewer and fewer reporting jobs in NASCAR. There are still lots of PR jobs -- though even that is slow right now -- working with drivers, sponsors, etc. If you're in college, I'd apply for an internship with Talladega PR and try to make as many connections as you can while working there.
Is Formula One courting Allmendinger and Speed?
Ed Hinton (2:38 PM)
I just talked to Allmendinger about that the other day, and safe to say he's not holding his breath on F1. Says he wants to stay in NASCAR, worked too hard to get there and will try for a long future in NASCAR. I detected little interest in going back to open-wheel in any form.
Does Richard Childress still have control of No.3?
Ed Hinton (2:39 PM)
Yes, he does. The only talk of bringing it out was back when Dale Jr. was leaving DEI and Childress was in the early running to get his services. I think Junior decided it wouldn't be a good idea to run No. 3 though. There's enough pressure on him already. That may have been part -- but only part -- of the reason Junior went with Hendrick.
T.j. (Manteno, IL) [via mobile]
Hi Ed, whats your favorite track no longer on the circuit?
Ed Hinton (2:41 PM)
Bristol. Think about that one. My favorite track no longer on the circuit is Bristol as it was before they repaved it and widened it and made it too tame, too easy, a year or two ago. Guess if I had to pick my favorite that's really not there, I would say Rockingham. But mainly because the town where we stayed, Southern Pines, has some fantastic restaurants.
No way you would pick Jeff Gordon to end his winless streak at Texas right?
Ed Hinton (2:43 PM)
You're right. No way. But that's just about like Gordon to fool us all and win one there. A couple of years ago he absolutely dominated at Texas before driving it in the wall off 4 in the late stages of the race.
Ed I love reading your articles...what do you think he Roush Fenway group needs to do to get back on top Kenseth was great the first two races but since then they all have struggled
Ed Hinton (2:44 PM)
I think all they need to do is get back to their strength, intermediate tracks. I think you'll see them shine at Texas this weekend.
TerryB brooklyn New YorK
Hi I Wonted How You FelT AbouT Jr 8th Plase Finsh At Martinsvill Do You Think The 88tm Is Getting Stronger
Ed Hinton (2:45 PM)
I think they're getting stronger, but will it be strong enough? I talk with Rick and he's working really hard to tweak every little thing, including interpersonal relationships. They're getting stronger, but other teams -- even other units of Hendrick -- are getting stronger at a faster pace.
Alan (Orlando, FL)
Does Bowyer have a better or worse chance at winning the cup with his new team?
Ed Hinton (2:46 PM)
Looks like this will be better. Whatever happened over there, whether he got sloughed off to the lesser ride or whatever, seems to have motivated him and his crewmen. I think last year he had a better team, this year he's got the fiery desire.
Ben ATL GA
Who is the most overrated driver in NASCAR today? What about underrated?
Ed Hinton (2:47 PM)
Overrated? Hard to say. I think Dale Jr. has over EXPECTATIONS on him. Underrated? Gotta be Denny Hamlin.
Do you think Jimmie Johnson is gonna get going after the win sunday?
Ed Hinton (2:48 PM)
He always does, every year, doesn't he? If a Roush car doesn't win Texas, I'd bet the No. 48 will.
Hey Ed, how do you think Montoya would be performing this year if he drove for Hendrick or one of the other elite teams? Do you think he will ever get the chance?
Ed Hinton (2:50 PM)
I think he'd have won an oval race by now if he were driving for Hendrick, Roush, JGR . . . Will he ever get the chance? I imagine it would have to be with Childress, who's been sort of an Al Davis of NASCAR over the years and doesn't mind giving older drivers a second chance. The clock is ticking on Montoya now, in today's era of younger and younger drivers. I feel for the guy. Don't think he'll ever do much more with EGR.
Do you still think Jeff Gordon is a serious threat for the championship? Judging by his performance thus far, he could easily have two or three wins, so I'm guessing wins will come soon. Do you think he has what it takes this year to finally get that fifth title?
Ed Hinton (2:52 PM)
You better believe he's still a threat. And the way he's running, he could stir up a whole lot of controversy. He could win the championship without winning a single race -- seeding aside, I think if a guy could get top fives throughout the chase, and have a few other things fall his way, he could win the whole thing. And Gordon has said to me several times lately that he'd take a championship with no wins in a season. Gladly.
Mark (Mount Airy,MD)
Hey Ed, What Nationwide or Truck Series youngsters do you see making the Cup Series in the next couple of years????
Ed Hinton (2:53 PM)
I like Justin Allgaier a lot; he's in a great situation with a fully funded Nationwide ride with Penske. And even parents of youngsters he came up through the ranks with say he's a sure thing, got everything it takes.
David Washington DC
Ed I ask for some EGR love and you post a question about how JPM could be better somewhere else?! Come on post my question! Do you know how long EGR has Almorilla under contract? He's run into some tough luck with tires and accidents but they need to get somebody else in that 8 car eventually. Leaning on JPM and Truex in this economy with a four car team isn't going to cut it much longer.
Ed Hinton (2:54 PM)
OK, David. Almirola's contract doesn't matter much. It's a matter of how long they can fund him. You aren't going to like this, but my feeling all along has been that when you combine two mediocre teams all you'll get is one mediocre team.
Natalya, Astoria, NY [via mobile]
How would you rate Joey Logano's rookie season so far? Is it what you expected?
Ed Hinton (2:56 PM)
I expected him to run better. He's got more pressure on him than any rookie in my memory -- even Dale Jr. could get patience out of the fans because of his name. And I think Logano is clearly feeling that pressure, for the worse.
flynn sardis alabama
Ok im tired of seeing you say a roush car or jimmie johnson will win this weekend lets make a bet/deal if kurt busch wins this weekend you open up next weeks chat by saying kurt busch is the best driver in nascar.
Ed Hinton (2:57 PM)
Texas is a whole different set of issues than Atlanta. They're as different as two 1.5 mile tracks can get. But if Kurt wins, that'll make him very strong for now -- but not the best driver in NASCAR. So, sorry, no deal.
Aaron mn [via mobile]
Hey ed why not just cut the martinsville race in half so the intensity can resemble what we saw at the end that was a great finish that's racing
Ed Hinton (2:58 PM)
Are you kidding? Clay Campbell's gotta sell a gazillion famous Martinsville hotdogs, and that takes time. Concessions are the original reason NASCAR ran such long races anyway, after they got boring at certain tracks.
I know it's early, but do you think the 48 team will win a fourth straight title? People say he'll have stiff competition for it - as they do every year - but so far the only competition he's had is Jeff Gordon, who hasn't won a race, and Kyle Busch who has either run at the front or finished very badly. Do you think somebody else will step up and make a good effort to keep that fourth straight title a reality?
Ed Hinton (2:59 PM)
I really think they'll win the fourth. I know I predicted Edwards would break the string this season, but Edwards and Osborne just haven't looked nearly as strong as I'd expected so far.
I've always heard people refer to Texas and Atlanta as "sister tracks," because of so-called similarities. Why do you say they're so different?
Ed Hinton (3:00 PM)
Atlanta is wide, many grooves, almost as much of the circumference taken up with turns as with straightaways. Texas is real screwball -- terrible transitions on and off the corners. For example, off 2 and 4, you run out of banking onto the flat while you're still turning the car.
With Martin likely running another full time schedule after this year, Do you think Brad Keselowski starts to explore his options. I heard that Penske is very high on Brad.
Ed Hinton (3:03 PM)
Brad is Penske's kind of driver. Would he get along with Kurt? Hmmmmm. What I'd like to see is Mark and Brad split a season with Hendrick, but doesn't look like that's going to happen. If I were Brad, I'd be exploring options, because he's ready to move up full-time, and if Hendrick doesn't do it . . .
Blake (Detroit )
Since Tony and his new team is looking good this early into this season, do you see him winning this year and if so how many wins?
Ed Hinton (3:04 PM)
Sure, I see him winning next year. He told me he and crew chief Darian Grubb moved light years ahead in working with each other at Martinsville last week. How many? Don't know. But I do think even with this new package he's entirely capable of one of his summer hot streaks of three or four.
are you going to make it through a whole chat without a Dale Jr question?
Ed Hinton (3:06 PM)
I thought I took a Dale Jr. question. Maybe I just gave a Dale Jr. answer. But I want to argue with Mike Wallace arguing with me on NASCAR Now Sunday morning after I said Rick Hendrick believes Junior's new fitness program is a key. I don't think Mike has kept up with just how crucial that extra tenth of a second at the end of the race -- through physical fitness which leads to mental alertness -- is.
Ed Hinton (3:06 PM)
We're officially out of time but I'll do too more since this was kind of a weird day.
Devin (Johnson City TN)
As your colleague put it in his power rankings, do you think Kyle Busch needs to focus more on being consistent rather than making comments about Dale Jr? After both of his wins this year he has finished the next race 2 laps down (Atlanta and Martinsville).
Ed Hinton (3:08 PM)
I'll defend Kyle Busch to the hilt on those comments, and I do, beginning with a column that will post sometime today. The media people were asking Kyle questions and he gave GOOD, HONEST, FAIR answers. Just because some of my colleagues take him out of context for the sake of sensationalism doesn't mean he was saying anything untoward. He was being polite and truthful. I'm ashamed of the media corps as a group, and I'm proud of Kyle.
Does JJ put that move on JG if JG were leading the race sunday?
Ed Hinton (3:10 PM)
You better believe it! He said going in that he would if the occasion arose. And JG said he knew JJ would if the occasion arose.
Ed Hinton (3:10 PM)
Sorry, all. Gotta go. I'm afraid I'm messing up our schedule. Mark Garrow is here, I believe.