Chat with Ed Hinton
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Hinton Archive: Columns
Ed Hinton (12:51 PM)
First, an apology to all for the chat time scramble. I see that some of you were here yesterday, wondering what happened. Had heard before that some schedules show me chatting on Wednesdays, when in fact it's been Thursdays lately. Don't know what's happening with the schedules, but will check. Also, I'm going an hour earlier today than usual. With that, welcome all.
Who are your picks for the Showdown/All Star Race
Ed Hinton (1:03 PM)
Truex looks good for the Showdown, maybe Vickers second to transfer. All-Star race? Mark Martin's running wide open, having a blast. He's got the mo, and the love of the Lowe's track, to win it all.
Hey Ed, you guys had a discussion on NASCAR Now about it, so how much time do drivers spend at the shop? You mentioned Jr. needs to spend more. Thanks.
Ed Hinton (1:04 PM)
To me, a driver can't spend too much time on the shop floor. Dale Jr.'s always been good about knowing those guys individually when he was at DEI and felt personally responsible for them. He needs to have the same presence at Hendrick.
lori louisville ky
With Mr.H coming back when can we see major changes with 88 team could it next week at the coke 600 or some time soon what do u think
Ed Hinton (1:05 PM)
Don't think so. Just because Rick has had a sinus infection doesn't mean he hasn't been running the team -- he's just been missing races. I think they're working to fix the Jr-Jr pairing, not change it.
Mark (Ankeny, Iowa)
Does NASCAR have to approve changes to race tracks, ie adding lights, changing configurations like was done at Atlanta and Las Vegas?
Ed Hinton (1:06 PM)
If not officially, they do in fact. Frankly I wish they'd exercise more authority -- like telling certain tracks they need to improve their pits if they're going to keep Cup races.
Darrell (Petal, Ms)
Good afternonn Ed. Do you think the Mark Martin and the rest of the Hendrick drivers are worried about the return of Rick this weekend. They have won a lot of races since he has been gone. Except for the 88 of course!!
Ed Hinton (1:08 PM)
Hello, Petal! Home of Ray Perkins, and onetime home of one of my favorite uncles. Darrell, I think Martin and the others welcome Rick back. They'd have won with him there, and remember, they've won many, many, many races with him there. They just like the guy. Believe it or not, they're more relaxed when he's there.
Adam (Galax, VA)
I think that in the Chase, there should be at least one race at each type of track. That way it would measure a championship more accurately. Do you agree?
Ed Hinton (1:09 PM)
I certainly do. But the plate race should be at Daytona, as the season finale, by moving the 400 to November. Start at Daytona, end at Daytona, and get Talladega out of the Chase.
A lot of Dale Jr. fans feel that Tony Jr. is the problem with the 88 team. Others say Dale Jr. has never proven anything as a driver. My question is with Dale Jr. having 18 total wins, but only 2 with Tony Eury Jr., what has Eury Jr. proven as a crew chief? Is he the real problem?
Ed Hinton (1:10 PM)
Now that's a technicality. Tony Jr. was car chief and Tony Eury Sr. was technically the crew chief for most of those other wins. But at the time, the Eurys were in essence co-crew chiefs.
sean (chandler az)
Do you think Iowa speedway could ever get a cup date? it would be a good track to replace chicago or kansas i think.
Ed Hinton (1:12 PM)
Maybe someday there'll be a showdown between the pure racing and the corporate sponsors. Iowa, a copy of Richmond, beats Joliet hands down for pure racing configuration. But the Chicago market is almighty -- and if you ask me, the big markets are exactly what's gotten NASCAR into some much trouble with fans for dull racing.
With Stewart and Newman running so well, what are the chances Smoke adds a third car next year? If so, who would be the wheelman? Truex?
Ed Hinton (1:13 PM)
I think a third car would be a done deal already if not for the current difficulties with sponsorships. It'll happen by '10. I'm still saying Brad K., because Hendrick doesn't have room for him and SHR is a close satellite of Hendrick.
David Fuller (Marion, NY)
Does Sadler really have the ability to sue RPM if they release him, is that why he is still in the 19 car? It just doesn't make since to keep him there. He'll never contend for anything.
Ed Hinton (1:14 PM)
It all depends on what his contract says. Apparently it's guaranteed, or he wouldn't have been able to push back in at the beginning of this season.
Copy the Rock for NYC area and you would have good racing in a big market.
Ed Hinton (1:16 PM)
When they planned to build on Staten Island it was going to be a 3/4 mile like Richmond and Iowa. Then the France Family found Five Families they couldn't overcome, and there went NYC.
Chad (Las Vegas)
Is Smoke kissing Hendrick's butt right now for those chassis and engines or what?
Ed Hinton (1:17 PM)
Wouldn't you? Give Smoke this: When somebody's doing him right, he's nice to them; when they're doing him wrong, he cuts them to shreds. Honest man. What more can you ask?
Speaking of Truex, have you seen the National Wild Turkey Federation car yet? Ugh. Looks like a design you'd see on a case of beer that sells for about $8 a case.
Ed Hinton (1:18 PM)
I'm done commenting on paint schemes. I ripped the whole concept last week, and a lot of young people backlashed something fierce. Paint schemes are now between you fans, and the sponsors.
Ed, how has the EA Sports game changed the devine in Nascar? I have read that a lot of drivers learn the tracks, by playing the game.
Ed Hinton (1:20 PM)
I think they can learn a lot, but certainly not enough. That whole thing got started Denny Hamlin's rookie year when he won at Pocono the first time he'd ever seen the track. He'd been playing it on the game. But Jeff Gordon told me later there was no way Hamlin could have picked up enough on the game to win the race. And remember, Gordon was the first driver to play racing video games.
Jordan (Candor, NC)
Hello, Mr Hinton. Do you think this COT has increased aerosensitivity and resulted in a whole lot less passing. What can be done? Getting rid of the splitter is one idea I feel sure will work.
Ed Hinton (1:23 PM)
I think hyper aerosensitivity -- too delicate in the air -- was a big problem with the old car, and simply changed to different areas with this one. I've been sick of this "aero push" and "track position" stuff for years. When they ran the actual silhouettes of Detroit cars, you could pass, you could go from 10th to first, and you could turn the cars in the corners. First Detroit outsmarted itself with the old car, and then NASCAR outsmarted itself with the new car. They both stink, if you ask me.
Any chance they ever run the All-Star race as a "free-for-all." What I mean is, letting the crew chiefs and engineers really play around with the car design and its setups?
Ed Hinton (1:24 PM)
Na, that would show the fans how good the cars could really be without NASCAR's iron-handed supervision. Never happen. It would be too good, and fan demands would be overwhelming.
Rob (Philadelphia, PA)
If Truex does bolt at the end of this season, where does that leave EGR? Sure they'll still have Montoya, but who drives the #1 car, if anybody?
Ed Hinton (1:25 PM)
It'll leave 'em sinking, sinking, sinking, like they have been. If they can field cars other than for Montoya, Chip'll find somebody who'll work cheap -- which is of course part of the problem.
Mr. Hinton it has fun chatting with you. I have to go and teach 8th period though. "British Imperialism in India." Yee-haw!
Ed Hinton (1:26 PM)
Hmmm. Why not have your students do a paper comparing and contrasting British imperialism with NASCAR imperialism?
Where is Landon Cassill, Bryan Clauson, and Cale Gale?
Ed Hinton (1:27 PM)
Out of luck because NASCAR insists on keeping Nationwide as a Saturday undercard show between Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards, rather than making Nationwide what it should be, a purely developmental series.
rob redondo beach ca
can the nascars run at a wonderful track like the long beach grand prix that track is awesome
Ed Hinton (1:28 PM)
They'd be too clumsy on such a tight, demanding street circuit. They'd slide all over the place.
Jonathan (Birmingham, AL)
Seems like there are only about 8 guys that could be a favorite to win the Showdown (6, 26, 42, 1, 00, 44, 83, 20). Who could pull off the shocker out of the rest of the entries?
Ed Hinton (1:30 PM)
The real shocker would be Yeley in Jeremy Mayfield's No. 41. Now wouldn't that be a hoot?
ryan la habra ca [via mobile]
do you think brad kesolowski can win the all star race
Ed Hinton (1:31 PM)
Unlikely. He's shown to be a fabulous plate racer, but still is learning on intermediate tracks. Plus, too many savvy veterans all around him.
jackie fick, woodville wi. [via mobile]
how often does nascar test the drivers for illegal substances
Ed Hinton (1:32 PM)
It appears to be every three or four weeks, based on what you hear from drivers about regular and random.
Ed, good afternoon. a friend of mine works for a writer in LA who is making a NASCAR musical...I'll pause while you laugh...would you go see it?
Ed Hinton (1:34 PM)
You're right. I did have to take time to laugh. I wouldn't go if they were going to have engine noise -- can you imagine that inside a theater? But it could be a great comedy, like the one good scene in Talladega Nights where Ricky Bobby is obligated to mention his sponsors even in his prayers. Promise no engine noise, and great satire, and I'd go.
sean (chandler az)
Heres my top 5 "things nascar needs to change" 1. 1.5 mile tracks 2. stupid tv coverage that talks about digger more than every driver but dale jr. 3. improve the COT 4. move lappers to the outside 5. Dont let tracks repave. Whats your top 5 things nascar needs to change?
Ed Hinton (1:35 PM)
Sean, I think your top five says a lot about what fans want. Think I'll let yours speak for itself.
Hello Mr. Hinton. I love your work. Recently I decided to give up on NASCAR. The racing just isn't what it used to be. (And I'm not one of those people who crave wreck fests.) Economic factors are squeezing companies and teams out of business. I'm tired of watching mega-teams (Hendrick) or offshoot mega-teams (Stewart) flourish while companies that started in this sport just fade away. And there aren't enough heroes worth caring about anymore (other than Mark Martin). I'll try reading for four hours on Sundays and reading ESPN.com for the update on Mondays. How do you maintain an interest after all these years?
Ed Hinton (1:37 PM)
Oh, I guess you just look for different things to get interested in. I've always like F1, sports cars and Indy cars. Now you just view NASCAR in a different way. You realize the pioneer days are gone forever. Plus, I can walk through the garage now and know there isn't a single driver who won't talk to me. It wasn't like that in the old days.
Ed, How come Kevin Harvick isn't feeling the heat from the media and fans? The guy hasn't won a Cup point race in over 2 years. In your opinion, who has had the better Cup career so far, Harvick or Dale Jr?
Ed Hinton (1:40 PM)
Because Harvick has never carried the expectations Dale Jr. has. Who's had the better career? Earnhard has 18 wins, Harvick 11, with only one season's difference in time.
who will step up and win in the indy
Ed Hinton (1:40 PM)
You mean the 500? I'll take Scott Dixon and give you the field -- if you can call it a field.
What would happen if the 3 or 4 biggest team owners went to Nascar and demanded the changes you and other people have mentioned? In other words--threaten to break away and form another racing organization.
Ed Hinton (1:43 PM)
Threatening to pull out of NASCAR would be an earthquake. Actually forming another racing league would be a whole other matter. ISC now has enough tracks to run a season, even if SMI decided to go with the new league. Basically it would destroy stock car racing, even worse and quicker than the CART-IRL split destroyed Indy racing.
Is NASCAR concerned about the drop in TV ratings so far this year? Is there anything they can do to help offset the drop (aside from allowing Jr. an extra 50 horsepower)?
Ed Hinton (1:44 PM)
They're whistling in the dark publicly, but I think they're pretty seriously concerned. There's a whole lot of things they could do -- like throwing the lapped cars to the back and restarting the leaders double-file off cautions -- but won't. Their reluctance to change is going to wound them more and more in the next couple of years.
Evan Johnson (SLC, Utah)
Why in the world does Pocono get TWO dates and places like Darlington only one and Rockingham NONE get left out. Is it all about the money? I mean the races at Pocono suck bad. Can't we do something about it?
Ed Hinton (1:46 PM)
Evan, I've begged and pleaded about that for years. A lot of drivers privately have wondered why they have to go to Pocono at all. NASCAR considers that its New York market. I've always thought NASCAR should be embarrassed for New Yorkers to come out there and think THAT was what NASCAR was about.
RAY GORDON reid boone nc 28067
question TO ED HINTON at 1.55pn hi ed whos your pick for charlotte next sunday
Ed Hinton (1:47 PM)
Charlotte in the 600: Smoke gets his first win as an owner-driver. I think he just ran out of laps at Darlington. Now he'll have that extra 100 miles. Have you noticed how really patient he's been lately?
While I know the Brickyard 400 isn't the best track to watch, especially if you're at the track, it is still a good race with tons of history at the speedway. I recently read that the tires are still only lasting 18 laps. If the race goes as bad as last years, could we see it wiped off the NASCAR schedule? What needs to be done to fix the tires?
Ed Hinton (1:49 PM)
No way it goes off the schedule. What I see coming next is a real big, ugly, public blame game between Tony George and NASCAR/Goodyear. You can see it brewing already, with top drivers publicly blaming the track surface.
Why does there always seem to be drama at roush fenway racing?
Ed Hinton (1:50 PM)
Because Jack Roush is a dramatic guy who micromanages his teams, sometimes literally lap by lap.
Jeffy D (Feeding Hills, MA)
I find it hard to believe they would be open to throw out the old point system for the chase but they wont even try a double file restart with lappers in the back as an experiment.
Ed Hinton (1:51 PM)
Mike Helton's mind works in mysterious ways, and his underlings follow without much questioning.
Patrick (Agawam, MA)
It is my non expert understanding that the so called diamond grinding of the track at Indy is great for the lightweight IRL cars for grip, but a cheese grater for heavy stock cars. Accurate?
Ed Hinton (1:52 PM)
That's a big part of it. The stress the COT puts on right side tires is another. JJ points out that even Indy cars have trouble there until they get plenty of rubber laid down.
Can Goodyear not make a good tire on the diamond graded surface at Indy for the Cup cars? I understand it is far different than any other track because it was made for Indy cars, but should Indianapolis have to re-surface the track, or is Goodyear the problem? Stewart is definitely not a fan of them.
Ed Hinton (1:54 PM)
The top NASCAR drivers are now saying you've got to look at the track surface. That means the heat is about to come from NASCAR to resurface it. And, like I said, that's gonna be a nasty one between Tony George and NASCAR/Goodyear.
Evan Johnson (SLC, Utah)
Brian France and Mike Helton are really out of their minds, here's a shout out to D. Waltrip for commissioner.
Ed Hinton (1:54 PM)
The public speaks.
Could Kyle Petty be good if he finds a ride in upper echelon equipment (similar to M. Martin)?
Ed Hinton (1:55 PM)
Chad (Las Vegas)
NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO on D. Waltrip for commish!!!
Ed Hinton (1:56 PM)
Another branch of the public speaks.
With matt kenseth's laid back personality, would he be a good fit to replace mark in the #5 if and when he retires? Just throwing that out there.Thnak You
Ed Hinton (1:56 PM)
Not the same personalities at all. Mark is very nurturing and enormously respectful of his crew and crew chief. Matt tends to complain about how his team can't quite get its act together -- year after year.
Wow...I guess K. Petty was never any good in your humble opinion.
Ed Hinton (1:57 PM)
I didn't say not ANY good. He was decent at times.
Bruton has been a quiet resently since Concord let him build the dragstrip. How long till we have another millionaire hissy fit?
Ed Hinton (1:58 PM)
I've been expecting one any day -- to draw attention away from the drop in profits at SMI, and the losses in his car dealership chain.
Adam (Galax, VA)
On Indy, other than changing the COT, I don't think there is anything NASCAR can do about the tires.
Ed Hinton (1:59 PM)
Bottom line, we're likely to see another mess at Indy.
What is your overall opinion of kenseth from your interactions and hear say?
Ed Hinton (2:00 PM)
Good guy, smart and fair driver, but tends to get down on his team overall, just about every year. Always gets to the point that he just can't see why his team can't get their act together.
Dalton (Vacaville, CA)
Everyone says that Jeff Gordon is a serious contendor for the championship already. As a #24 fan, I still think he needs at least 5 wins this season. Do you agree?
Ed Hinton (2:01 PM)
We're out of time, so I'll close with this interesting one. Jeff has said in the past that he'd rather win a championship with no wins than win a lot and miss the championship. I think he can sail along on top of the standings with only one or two wins, UNTIL the Chase. Then he'll have to win some more. So, yes, five or six to "drive for five." Thanks to everyone for stopping by.