Chat with Ed Hinton
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Hinton Archive: Columns
Ed Hinton (2:00 PM)
Good afternoon, all. As the crew chiefs say on the radio, green-green-green-green. Small group so far, so now's a good time to get in a question.
Ed Hinton (2:01 PM)
Let's go ahead and get the Dale Jr. stuff out of the way. As usual, I'll let AntiJuniorNation have a say, then JuniorNation. Is anybody out there neutral about Junior? If so, I'd like to hear from you.
Heath Hinton, Laurel, Ms
Just wanted to know when are people going to realize that Dale Jr. is just an average driver. There is a new excuse every week for sup-par finishes( although you ruffles feathers when you said that about concentration, and working out, and he has missed his pit box twice). I will probably get hate mail for this but, Does he seem alot like Kyle Petty? Wins alot early, but can't seem to do anything later in his career. Hell he was lucky to win last year, he won thanks to a caution?
Ed Hinton (2:02 PM)
I learned a long time ago from NFL players that the tougher a coach is on conditioning, the better his players think in the final minutes of a game. I can't see why it would be any different for a race driver.
Do you believe Dale Jr. will be picking it up soon and start winning championships
Ed Hinton (2:05 PM)
We shall see, if he's as serious about his conditioning as Rick Hendrick told me he is. If he's as fit as, say, Johnson, and still doesn't win with that solid team behind him, well, AntiJuniorNation is going to have a lot of ammo.
Justin Behling (Boyceville, WI)
Have you gotten to see the article on Dale Jr's heart issues in Globe magazine, and if so what are your thoughts?
Ed Hinton (2:06 PM)
I have not. I don't read the supermarket tabloids, and even if I did, I wouldn't believe them.
Nick (SLC, UT)
Do you think, with the recent success Hamlin has been having(without winning a race), shows us that he has taken that next step and is more focused than ever?
Ed Hinton (2:07 PM)
I think he's always been focused. Maybe this is a matter of his crew taking a step and being more focused. Which is overdue.
Mr. Hinton, I have a historical question, why are races made up of 43 cars as opposed to some other number. Why the top 35 in owners points versus another number? Thanks
Ed Hinton (2:11 PM)
Years ago they used to max out at 42 cars -- and that was mainly for the Daytona 500. A lot of races were run with 36 cars. Then when Richard Petty began missing fields, they instituted the "champions provisional" which at first was called the "Petty Rule." They kept adding provisionals until they came up with 43 -- which I think they settled on because it was Petty's number. Either way, I think 43 cars are entirely too many, anywhere but Daytona and Talladega. I think 36 ought to be the number.
Hey Ed, I can say i am neutral on JR since I am new to Nascar and have only been watching since JPM joined a couple of years ago. But I am starting to wonder for all the hype he gets, why does he have the same amount of wins as Montoya in the last two years driving much better equipment?
Ed Hinton (2:13 PM)
See that, JuniorNation and AntiJuniorNation? When you're new to the sport, you CAN see the forest for the trees, and you come up with interesting observations. But remember, Felipe, Montoya's win was on a road course.
Steiny: Is he a great chatter or just sends in so many questions that he has to get something posted?
Ed Hinton (2:15 PM)
Hey! Steiny's not here to defend himself this week.:-) Actually, Steiny asks good questions and is concise, and he usually posts his questions hours in advance so he's first on the list. But, alas, he's absent today.
Jerry (Tampa, FL)
Yes, I am neutral about Jr. He seems like a nice guy, but I'm not a fan. I'm also not a hater.
Ed Hinton (2:16 PM)
Another nice, objective neutral on Dale Jr. Hey, I like this -- a third group is forming, JuniorNeutralNation.
Justin Behling (Boyceville, WI)
Hey Ed, do you see the 88 ultimately finishing better in the points standings than the 5?
Ed Hinton (2:17 PM)
Probably. Hendrick pointed out to me the other day that the 88 was his best team for 70 percent of last season. Then JJ-Chad kicked in.
haha very true Ed, but even though it was a road course. In my book, Montoya 1 and JR 1 in Sprint cup victories the past two years. Show JPM some love and tell me how you think he will continue this year. Any chance he wins on an oval this year?
Ed Hinton (2:18 PM)
I think Montoya's biggest problem is his team, which just isn't very good. If he were with Hendrick or Roush, he'd have won on an oval by now.
Who,of the active drivers right now, would you consider when it's all said and done as hall of famers? Thanks Ed
Ed Hinton (2:20 PM)
At face value right now, based on what they've already accomplished, I'd say Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson are locks as future hall of famers. Among those who don't have HOF resumes yet, Kyle Busch is my likeliest candidate.
Do you agree that the drivers that have a road course history will run better at the flat tracks like Martinsville and Phoenix? If so why?
Ed Hinton (2:23 PM)
Not necessarily. Road course experience does help a driver conserve brakes, which helps a lot on a flat, short track. But the experience doesn't necessarily guarantee a driver the savvy for another key issue, getting a car to "rotate" through the corners of a flat track.
Do you notice JR Nation starting to go against Dale Jr lately. They are more critical of Jr then they have ever been. Jr needs to focus more, even his fans realize it. Not all of JR Nation has this love affair with him.
Ed Hinton (2:23 PM)
Hmmm. Are you one of the defectors, Kelly?
Nick (SLC, UT)
Rusty Wallace or Bill Elliot? Who was better in their prime? Overall?
Ed Hinton (2:24 PM)
Rusty and Bill were apples and oranges. Rusty was better on short tracks and never so hot on superspeedways. Bill was as fast as anyone, ever, on Daytona and Talladega, but wasn't so good on the short tracks.
Guy Enfield NH
Huge Jr. fan...The thing I don't understand is that Jr. doesn't ask to be this popular, obviously a lot of it has to do with his Dad but the dude is just out there trying to do his best so I am not sure how all the haters can blame him for the attention he gets....
Ed Hinton (2:25 PM)
I don't think they're blaming him. I think they're blaming JuniorNation. It's the fans directly attacking each other, with Junior caught in the crossfire.
Justin Behling (Boyceville, WI)
Will next weekend's race at Phoenix come down to fuel mileage again like last year?
Ed Hinton (2:26 PM)
Probably not. Remember, some Phoenix races have been out-and-out shootouts. Remember the great Jeff Gordon-Tony Stewart duel of a couple of years ago, which left Stewart seething because he lost? And blaming NASCAR for "phantom" cautions?
With Almirola's team shutting down I think it lays the foundation for a merger between EGR and SHR. Stewart, Montoya, Newman and Truex would be a good lineup and Stewart's prediction of Dei becoming a museum could come true w/ Theresa running it. Also Stewart Hass Earnhart Gannasi Racing w/ Felix Sabates has a nice ring to it don't you think?
Ed Hinton (2:28 PM)
Listen: Tony Stewart is WAAAY to smart a businessman, and has great advice from his executives, to go into business with Chip Ganassi and Teresa Earnhardt. Sounds like a nice lineup of drivers, but not of owners.
Mr. Hinton I am sorry that I am late I was caught up this morning. I truly appreciate your answer to Joe (Boston). It really means a lot to me coming from such an icon as yourself. Thank you very much and have a great day.
Ed Hinton (2:29 PM)
Steiny made it! All right, Steiny! Perfect attendance on this chat.
Mr. Hinton, I read that Truex Jr. has a clause in his current contract that requires EGR to maintain three active cars, if they are unable to do that (as in parking the #8) he is relieved of his contractual agreement. Do you know if that is accurate? Thanks
Ed Hinton (2:30 PM)
Last I heard, that specific clause was deleted from his current contract. I'd be VERY surprised if he stays where he is, though. He's a lot better than his ride.
Andy (Toledo, OH)
Ed - If you had to put money on it, when and who will Brad Keselowski drive for in the Cup Series on a full time basis? I'm glad he gets to develop his skills, unlike Logano, but I can't wait to see him race with the Big Boys on Sundays!
Ed Hinton (2:32 PM)
It depends on what Mark Martin does. If he stays at Hendrick, then don't be surprised if Stewart-Haas, a de facto Hendrick satellite team, fields a third car when the economy gets better. Keselowski, in my book, should already be up in Cup full time. He's better than 30 percent of the current Cup drivers.
Yesterday Newton put all the blame on Junior for DEI's bad times. Do you think its all Junior's fault?
Ed Hinton (2:35 PM)
No way, no how, and I'll prove it. When Tony Eury Sr. was with the team, he told me flat-out that he and -- oh, what was the GM's name at the time? -- had told Teresa, "If you're going to spend your time on that boat of yours, you're going to have to let us run the team." Remember Harvick's claim that she was an "absentee owner?" Harvick wasn't just blowing smoke.
Ed, you seem to me to be a pretty straight shooter, so I'll ask you this question. The downfall of what was DEI, how much of the blame falls on Teresa's ego, Jr, etc...Thanks
Ed Hinton (2:37 PM)
That's sort of a follow-up question. I don't think it was Teresa's ego so much as her preoccupation with marketing Dale Sr. merchandise, and spending a lot of time in Palm Beach and the Bahamas rather than working with the team.
as a proud member of junior nation, i'll just say let the haters hate. I know juniors not the best driver out there, but I know he's AT LEAST a top 15 driver, which certainly is above average. the man's got 18 wins for crying out loud. fact of the matter, hes just plain fun to cheer for and brings alot of fans to the sport. whats wrong with that?
Ed Hinton (2:38 PM)
Wow . . . more cracks in the JuniorNation monolith. Interesting. Maybe these are the first signs of his biggest burden being lifted? I mean, the overexpectations of his fans?
You are most likely right about that but as a JPM fan I would like to see him get a chance to run in top equipment also I would like to see them move the start time up for the Indy 500 and have Ganassi run Stewart and JPM
Ed Hinton (2:40 PM)
That would be a dream Double, all right. Thing is, the Indy 500 is not going back to its old early start, because it would hurt TV ratings so badly.
Rick (Pittsburgh, PA)
A semi-followup to all the DEI questions... Can The EGR Merger actually survive? All the talk about Truex leaving, JPM being much better than his Equipment... Will this team last more than this year or will we again be looking at additional Mergers?
Ed Hinton (2:41 PM)
I've said all along that EGR was a merger of two mediocre, hurting teams to make one mediocre, hurting team. It all depends on whether Chip Ganassi can continue to draw sponsorship. The "E" side of "GR" is unlikely to contribute anything.
Joe Fleetwood PA
Excellant start for Smoke and the 14 team, he seems to be getting close to that first win, could it come at Phoenix, thoughts??
Ed Hinton (2:42 PM)
Sure could. Heck, I thought for a while he was going to run down Gordon at Texas. Stewart's good at Phoenix -- probably knows the track better than anyone, since he's raced all sorts of cars there. Sprints, supermodifieds, Indy cars, Nationwide, Cup.
Jason, Oxford, AL
Just wanted to say that I am a Dale Sr. fan and "transferred" my support to Jr. after Sr's. passing. Now I find myself rooting against Jr. Do I need to pray for him or for me? LOL
Ed Hinton (2:43 PM)
At least you're relieving him of his biggest burden -- having to carry his father's following on his back.
rink (Fountain Hill, PA)
I know I'm probably only the eight millionth person to say this, but aren't you sick of late starts? I can remember a time, back when NASCAR was still booming, that the latest races on the east coast started (and by that I mean the green flag was WAVING) at 1:30p.m. Don't you miss that?
Ed Hinton (2:45 PM)
I can live with it either way, but I really feel for the fans AT THE TRACKS, who have to wait around, sometimes until it rains -- see Daytona 500, 2009. One thing I've noticed, even about night races, is that NASCAR fans are going to show up in the early morning, regardless. I just feel for them having to wander around from 6 a.m. until . . .3 p.m. for some starts, 8:30 p.m. for others.
Jeremy (Toledo Ohio)
Now that Gordon's got the proverbial winless monkey off his back, how do you see this impacting him in the future? Especially with the lineup of tracks upcoming?
Ed Hinton (2:46 PM)
I figure he wins at least five races this season and finishes no worse than third in the Chase.
If any part of the car tire is touching the pit box white line, is that considered out of the pit box? Thanks
Ed Hinton (2:47 PM)
That sure seems to be the case. That's what cost Junior a lap in the Daytona 500. I think it's ridiculous. NASCAR has gotten WAAAY too picky about pit procedures, and it's going to cost a lot of people a lot of races before it's over.
Nathan (Charlotte) [via mobile]
Ed, do you think that Matt Kenseth will win anymore races this year? and is he still a championship contender?
Ed Hinton (2:49 PM)
Yes and yes.
Jerry (Tampa, FL)
The pit box penalty easily cost Reutimann a top 5 finish last race at Texas. I'm not sure, but I don't even think his tires were out, just his nose, but I was so distraught, I didn't bother to look too closely.
Ed Hinton (2:51 PM)
Just an awful, awful, awful situation with NASCAR's pitting policy. I cannot imagine what was going through Pemberton's and Darby's heads when they let this pass -- or initiated it themselves.
Johnny (Merrick, NY)
Hi Ed, always enjoy your stuff. Is the COT making it tougher for rookies to be successful since all the other drivers have a 2+ year head start learning how to drive a car that's very temperamental and very stubborn?
Ed Hinton (2:52 PM)
I don't think so. That's certainly no excuse for Joey Logano, who had no telling how many laps of testing in the COT last year. I mean, an incredible amount. Plus, he never felt "the old car," and shouldn't have formed any bad habits. Nossir, the COT provides ZERO excuse for Logano.
Andy (Toledo, OH)
Thanks Ed, I agree that Brad has the ability to run with the stars on Sunday. As for Texas, it kinda seemed like it might be a microcosm of what the remainder of the season and chase for the championship that will appear - the 24 and 48 rising up and battling towards the end, while the 99 and 18 make mistakes to hinder their chances at the big prize. What do yout think?
Ed Hinton (2:54 PM)
In the case of 99, it was a matter of a Roush-wide rash of bad gluing -- or bad glue -- on the lug nuts. 18 will be OK as the season goes on. BUT, 24 and 48 are back threatening dominance, and will both easily make the Chase again.
flynn (sardis alabama)
Whats with the comcast buying sprint thing is this somthing that may happen im tired of the series name changing?
Ed Hinton (2:56 PM)
I've been thinking about that. But think about this: Fans and media alike have reduced the term to just "Cup" or "Cup racing" or "Cup level" anyway. If you ask me, the series title sponsorship has lost its value. Nextel, Sprint, Comcast, Johnson's Baby Powder, whatever. We're all going to continue to call it "Cup."
Ed, who do you feel is the most methodical driver in cup? Gordon, Kenseth, Burton? Also, who is the best flat out wheelman? Edwards, Biffle, Jimmie, Smoke?
Ed Hinton (2:58 PM)
To question 1, Gordon. To question 2, Jimmie -- right now. Smoke is just as talented, but you gotta wonder about his physical conditioning. We all joke about it, but we forget it could be a major impediment to him.
Jeremy (Toledo Ohio)
Seems like the various Roush pitcrews were off last week, costing their guys severely. Any thoughts on that going forward?
Ed Hinton (2:59 PM)
I don't think it was the crews. I think it was either the guy who glues the lug nuts on the wheels, or the glue itself -- probably the latter. Each unit of the team should have its own guy gluing on the lug nuts, so it's unlikely all three would have screwed up the same day. It probably has to do with the viscosity of the glue, something in the chemical makeup.
Kenny (Alameda, California)
Ed, Why do you think Junior is having trouble missing his pit box? Do you think Rick Hendrick will send him to a sports psychologist?
Ed Hinton (3:01 PM)
I don't think they use a sports psychologist per se. They do use a testing system about interpersonal relationships and communication, and are doing that with Dale Jr. and Tony Jr. I'll have more to report later on. Rick Hendrick and I are going to take the test and match up our two tests to see if Rick and I can communicate better. We communicate well, I think, but it'll be fun to try.
Of the drivers who have previously won a title in cup, who do you see winning more before they retire?
Ed Hinton (3:02 PM)
Johnson definitely, Gordon probably, Stewart maybe.
Alan: (Houston Texas)
If GM goes out of business...what does that mean to NASCAR..will we see cars with no brands? How about Dodge? Should Penske & RPM go to Toyota? It would be really sad to see a #43 Toyota.
Ed Hinton (3:03 PM)
We may see lots of Toyotas and Fords. I kid Rick Hendrick all the time that he owns so many dealerships, with so many brands, that he could run Toyotas, Hondas, Mercedes, BMWs, Volvos -- just whoever he could talk into coming into NASCAR.
Bob (Casper, WY)
Does Jr. need glasses?
Ed Hinton (3:04 PM)
Not that I know of, but there's yet another bit of fodder to be bantered about in the Great Junior Speculation Saga.
Joe (Missoula mt )
#02 Gibbs car who is driving it for the couple of races it will run this year?
Ed Hinton (3:06 PM)
Hmmmm. I'd love to see Marc Davis in it, but don't think that will happen. Darrell Wallace Jr. is too young. Remember, Almirola was a developmental driver there . . . .
rink (Fountain Hill, PA)
Read your piece on Petty-Andretti for Indy - spot on. It seems every year now for the past few, there's been talk of Petty "turning a corner," but it never quite comes to fruition. Do you think this year's Gillett-Petty-RPM "merger" will help return some luster to the Petty brand in the long run?
Ed Hinton (3:07 PM)
Unfortunately, no. I think the Gillett-Petty merger is about like the Earnhardt Ganassi merger -- two mediocre teams become one mediocre team. Allmendinger is the brightest ray of hope over there.
Do guys that mentor young drivers coming into the series, say mark martin and matt kenseth, remain close after one switches a team? Or does joining a different team change that relationship?
Ed Hinton (3:08 PM)
Oh, I think they remain close. But they don't hang out together and share team secrets the way they did when Martin and Kenseth were both at Roush. Personal friendships among drivers last. For example, Dale Jr. and Kenseth.
Ed Hinton (3:09 PM)
oops! the clock got away from me again. Thanks for stopping by, everyone. See you next week.