Chat with Ed Hinton
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com NASCAR writer Ed Hinton will stop by to talk about all the latest news and notes from the track.
Hinton began his career covering NASCAR in the 1970's working for the Orlando Sentinel. He has also worked for Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, where he worked until leaving in January 2008.
Send your questions now and join Hinton Thursday at 2 p.m. ET!
Ed Hinton (2:00 PM)
Hi, all. Let's start.
brent (owensboro ky)
i was around Tim Richmond during the 80's i have never seen anybody do what he did at Pocono after his comeback. Harry Hyde was also Tim's inspiration to always be better.They proved that at Old Riverside raceway in California by last stop coming in and jacking up the rearend and changing just the rear tires, everybody thought they were nuts. He was a Wlidman and had he not not died at such a young age i guarantee Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon wouldn't have won as many as Championships as they did. I miss the good old WINSTON Cup days and Bias Ply tires.GOD speed TIM RICHMOND
Ed Hinton (2:02 PM)
Since my column about Richmond was posted about noon, we've had a lot of feedback from people who miss the really wild days of NASCAR.Not that Richmond was a hero as a person -- he infected several women with AIDS -- but when I was asked to write about the 20th anniversary of his death, I figured we ought to tell the truth, good and bad, straight down the middle.I knew him pretty well.
Do you think Dale Jr. fits in at Hendrick? You hardly ever see him around his teammates.
Ed Hinton (2:04 PM)
Good question, although when you hear Gordon, Johnson and Martin, they're always mentioning him as a teammate and trying, from their end, to make him fit in.He seems to be more and more reclusive, if you ask me. I hear he's going to have a media "availability" at Michigan, but I won't be there. He hasn't talked with reporters in weeks.
RAYGORDON REID ( CHASKA MINN 55318)
QUESTION TO ED HINTON AT 2.25PM HI ED WHOS YOUR PICK FOR BRROKLYN
Ed Hinton (2:04 PM)
Stewart vs. Johnson vs. Edwards.I don't have a pick among those three.
Since some many teams test at VRI, will NASCAR ever add that venue or another road course? The one in Birmingham is nice and close.
Ed Hinton (2:06 PM)
I doubt they will, mainly because of market considerations. THAT's what they really go by. They won't do VIR when they have Richmond and Martinsville in-state. They wouldn't do Birmingham will Talladega and Atlanta so close by. Wish they would, but they won't. It's all about dollars and "markets." Otherwise they wouldn't be at the Glen, or at Sonoma.
Josh (Hazard, KY)
I've really been impressed with the progress of Marcos Ambrose this season. I think the expectations were pretty low for him and JTG-Daugherty this season, but they've shown a lot of promise. Can we expect more of the same with Ambrose, maybe even a few wins?
Ed Hinton (2:07 PM)
I don't think you're going to see a win this season with all ovals left. But I think top fives are definitely a possibility.
Hey Ed. The way Montoya is running this year, do you think any of the top teams would offer him a ride and do you think Montoya would ever accept it considering how loyal he is to Ganassi?
Ed Hinton (2:08 PM)
There just isn't much room for silly-season movement this year, especially among big and marketable names. Look at Brad K, sort of shut out at Hendrick and SHR. I just think that other than lesser lights maybe moving around at the bottom, silly season is going to be pretty drab this year.
NCFUBAR (Huntersville NC)
Great stories Ed ... I had forgot about the drinking at introductions story. If I remember didnt he finish 2nd or 3rd in that race with Sr winning it? Anyway nice to remember the glory days when NASCAR had "style" ...
Ed Hinton (2:09 PM)
That was one of his best stage performances. I laughed out loud watching it. And some people in the press box did say, "Wonder if that crazy ---- really is drunk?"
Patrick (Springfield, MA)
Obviously a lot has changed in 20 years- on and off the track- but if you could wave a magic wand and take one quality that was in and around cup racing back then, but is gone today- and bring it back- what would you pick?
Ed Hinton (2:10 PM)
The true wide-openness with the public and their proxies, the media. We really knew those guys then. And we could pass their stories on to the public, wide-open. That's why Earnhardt was the last hero. He was the last one the public really felt they knew well.
What do you think Kasey moving to Toyota would do? Help him like it did Kyle or hurt him like it did Michael Waltrip? It says on Jayski he took pics with a #9 Bud Camry.
Ed Hinton (2:11 PM)
Don't think it would hurt him. But he and Kenny Francis are doing pretty well in their branch of the team, so the make might not matter.
Mr. Hinton, when will the 2010 Sprint Cup schedule be released?
Ed Hinton (2:11 PM)
Pretty soon, but I hear there are virtually no changes in it, so it's nothing to hold your breath about. Same ol', same ol'. And Helton said at Watkins Glen they're not going to alter the Chase venues.
The boys on NASCAR Now the other day talked about Gordon resting his back. Do you think Jeff Gordon would step out of his car at Bristol and give his back two weeks to rest before the chase?
Ed Hinton (2:12 PM)
How likely is a Montreal Cup race in the future? It'd be a plenty big market and another road course like everyone is clamoring for.
Ed Hinton (2:13 PM)
I've said for years that no fans anywhere deserve a Cup race more than Canadian fans. They're very solid, and go in droves to Michigan, the Glen, New Hampshire . . . I don't know that they're going to get one anytime soon -- unless somebody builds an oval in Quebec or Ontario -- but they sure deserve it.
Ed, any word on changes at Talladega for the fall race? Are they still selling seats on the first couple of rows?? Have they raised the height of the fence??
Ed Hinton (2:14 PM)
May have missed it while i was on vacation in July, but haven't heard they're going to change anything. If not, they'll continue to flirt with disaster.
will jr ever be competitive again
Ed Hinton (2:15 PM)
I am really, really, really beginning to doubt it.
Do you think Carl Edwards has a legitimate chance of winning the Chase?
Ed Hinton (2:16 PM)
I do, if Roush can get its act together on the intermediate tracks which dominate the Chase. He could knock out four wins in six races, something like that, and blast to the front. He's that capable.
Kurt Busch is gunna win the championship.
Ed Hinton (2:16 PM)
I sure hope your right, because a comeback like THAT, by THAT one, ought to be a hoot to watch!
matt (va beach)
When are you going to realize your a horrible writer?
Ed Hinton (2:17 PM)
I guess when companies like ESPN, Sports Illustrated, the entire Tribune Co. chain, The National Sports Daily and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution stop hiring me.Boy, have I got 'em all fooled. Doesn't that just make you want to throw up as you sit there picking your toenails?
Are you for or against racing in the rain?
Ed Hinton (2:19 PM)
I'm for it on road course. I doubt it could work on ovals. If you'll recall, back in CART's glory days, they raced in the rain quite well on road courses, but never tried it on ovals.
ACtually Ed, that's why I went back to school, to be a sports writer.
Ed Hinton (2:20 PM)
Best of luck with the print media. I'm very happy to be at ESPN.com because all the previous employers I mentioned are having great financial difficulties now.The AJC was a fabulous publication when I was there in the '80s.
Jerry (Tampa, FL)
He's a horrible writer, too. It's "you're", not "your". But he isn't getting paid that we know of, so whatever.
Ed Hinton (2:21 PM)
Oh, I've got two or three guys who never post anything other than that I'm a horrible writer. At least they're not stalking me -- that I know of.
I'm sure Matt in Va beach is awesome at his job too!!! not!!!
Ed Hinton (2:22 PM)
Hey, Matt, just to give you a sampling of the reaction coming in.
Sarah (Clearwater, FL)
Tim was a great person, i met him when i was only 2 years old and my mom and family ran some parts of his fan club. I was only 8 when he passed away but i have very fond memories of sitting on pit road with Tim and coloring pictures with him at the old Hilton on Daytona Beach. Its so awesome to see him get some face time on espn. There is good and bad to say about everyone but he at least we all know he had FUN. I wish he was still around to stir up some of the goody goodies in NASCAR today. Ill always be a fan! Thanks Ed for doing this article...
Ed Hinton (2:23 PM)
The Daytona Beach Hilton was his place, all right. Like I said in the column, he was by no means the only hell-raiser in NASCAR. He's just the one who caught caught by disease. Believe me, a lot of bullets were dodged in those days.
Tommy (Vice City)
After reading the piece on Richmond, it's a shame that they did away with the 25 car (for the most part, since Brad drives it in a few races.) Jr. should have driven the 25 car, since his dad and Tim were good friends.
Ed Hinton (2:25 PM)
Interesting observation. Everybody wanted to keep Junior out of the 25 because it supposedly was jinxed. I always joked it was "Tim Richmond's revenge." Maybe Junior would have taken off in the 25 car. Maybe they ought to get it back for him. Couldn't hurt.
Does Kyle Busch make the chase? If so, who's the odd man out?
Ed Hinton (2:25 PM)
He does. Kenseth.
chris (richmond, va)
Has the presence of JPM in NASCAR changed the composition of the press box (e.g. international print coverage, reporters speaking multiple languages, etc.)?
Ed Hinton (2:26 PM)
There are a few more Latino reporters, especially from Web sites. Some of the NASCAR PR people are trying to brush up on their Spanish, but it's a tragicomical sort of thing.
Jack (Brooklyn, NY)
Ed, how would you compare Tim Richmond and Alan Kulwicki in terms of their personas? I could see some similarities there with Alan being a flashy outsider who did things his way.
Ed Hinton (2:27 PM)
Alan was an outsider who did things his way, but he was by no means flashy. Very clipped speech, very direct and to the point -- "cut to the bone" language, as Ray Evernham, who once worked for him, said.Alan knew a car inside out. Richmond knew how to work the pedals, the steering wheel and the belts. Other than that, got run a hot lap and where's the next happy hour?
Bobby (Midland Park Nj )
Hey Ed the 24 in victory lane sunday take it to the bank buddy. Keep up the great work!
Ed Hinton (2:28 PM)
Would love to see that, Bobby. It'd be nice to see him knock off another win or two for seeding points, to really bunch up that race with Stewart, Martin and JJ.
Any carry over heat from the Glen between R. Gordon and Logano?
Ed Hinton (2:29 PM)
Probably not. Robby pretty much develops an enemy du jour with each race. Stremme one day, Logano the next, who knows who's next? I defended Robby on the Stremme deal, but couldn't on the Logano deal.
Ed, what do you think has hurt Nascar worse: Losing the personalities like Earnhardt, Richmond, and the Allisons? Or alienating the 'core' fans by ditching the smaller venues down south for big tracks that can't sell?
Ed Hinton (2:31 PM)
That's a tough one. Both have been devastating. But I'd say losing the personalities, because Earnhard, Richmond, the Allisons all had big fan followings everywhere -- northeast, midwest, west. So losing the good personalities probably hurt the most. They'd have drawn people to Joliet and Fontana.
Mark (Mount Airy, MD)
Hello Ed, Great article on Tim. I am glad I was around for that era in NASCAR. Now to the present. How do you think Joe Gibbs Racing will do this weekend?????
Ed Hinton (2:32 PM)
I think Hamlin's entirely capable of another quick win. Logano, doubt it. Kyle Busch? He needs to get his head together and give his crew a lot more feedback.
great article, ed. in light of this anniversary, you would think that espn classic would show a tim richmond race tonight, but i just checked the schedule and they're not. which driver today do you think is most similar in personality to mr richmond?
Ed Hinton (2:33 PM)
I'd say Tony Stewart, although he's not nearly the drinker Tim was. Tony's quite the ladies' man but appears to be considerably more careful and discreet.
Ed, do you think Kyle might want that USF1 job?
Ed Hinton (2:34 PM)
Do you think there's going to be a USF1 job? I don't. Even if there were, Kyle's agent, Jeff Dickerson, is way to smart to let him mess with a non-starter like that.
Steve Newberry (Richlands Va)
Hello Ed i was just wondering if you thought maybe Jeff Gordon should go ahead and take the week of bristol off to rest his back he would still be in the chase do you think this is a good idea.
Ed Hinton (2:34 PM)
Maybe mathematically it would work. But I just don't think he'd do that. If anything he might start the race, get a relief driver and bite the bullet with a 20-something place finish.
Dan (Simpsonville SC)
will jr. keep his ride if he does not start winning
Ed Hinton (2:36 PM)
There's more time on his contract. I'm sure through next year, and I want to say two more years after that. I don't think Rick Hendrick is going to give up on him due to his corporate sponsorship appeal. Unless the corporate types get restless, which they might.
Oh Ed, don't be so hard on my boy Junior. Where's your possitive attitude!
Ed Hinton (2:36 PM)
My supply of positive attitude is running low after about 15 positive columns on him in the last year.
who's out of Hendrick first Dale Jr. or Mark Martin?
Ed Hinton (2:37 PM)
I think ol' Mark can pretty well stay as long as he wants to and is pepping up that team. Heck, he could go till 55, easy.
Willis (Lake Norman)
Shaun hit on something, that is personalities. Today they are spokemam for their sponsors and can't pull some of the things they did back the days of Richmond. I don't like him but Kyle is as close to a rebel as we have today, he just goes about all wrong.
Ed Hinton (2:38 PM)
That's why I keep writing and saying that Kyle is good for NASCAR.
Jeff (Chattanooga, TN)
Do you think Bill Elliott is the most underated driver of the 80s?
Ed Hinton (2:38 PM)
No, I think Bill was very highly rated by all of us at the time.
i think it's best for Keselowki to race Nationwide again next year for the whole year and then move to cup afterwards. what do you think?
Ed Hinton (2:39 PM)
You might be right. Just sit out the hard times, make an even bigger splash in Nationwide, then get a really good deal down the road.
Mark (Mount Airy,MD)
Ed, what ride do you see Brad Keselowski in as far as the Cup Series next year????
Ed Hinton (2:39 PM)
Looks like the James Finch deal, which would be part time. The whole sponsorship thing is what has smacked Brad K.
Allot of people looking down at Kenseth right now huh? It's funny that whenever anyone starts bagging on him, he does what they think he couldn't. If he could get a car anywhere near decent, he wouldn't even be in this situation.But, I guess as long as the 99 makes the chase, all is happy with Roush and the NASCAR writers.
Ed Hinton (2:41 PM)
I'm just saying, as I've said before, that every time Kenseth gets in the Chase he gets down and negative on his team's performance. Check back over the years in the Chase, and you'll see. This time, his down-and-out feelings might be starting early enough to make him miss it.
Jeremy (Port Angeles, Washington)
What team do you think Danica will sign with?
Ed Hinton (2:42 PM)
Too early to tell, and it won't be for a while, but she'll be there. Too much sponsorship draw.I think IMG, which is managing her, will try to get her into a Nationwide tutorial program, keep her in IndyCar, and let her test the waters before really seeking a Cup deal for her.
Why would both Penske and prpm go to Toyota why not ford or chevy?
Ed Hinton (2:43 PM)
Because Toyota's in a whole lot better financial shape, and a whole lot better positioned to retain retail sales for many years down the road.
Dan (Simpsonville SC)
i hope Martin wins it all what do you think his chances are
Ed Hinton (2:44 PM)
Decent. But you've got JJ and Stewart. Make Mark maybe a 5-1 shot.
Steve Newberry (Richlands Va)
Ed if you had to choose between Hendrick Drivers that is Gordon, Jr, Jimmie, Mark, Tony and Ryan or would you take the rest of the feild to win the cup this year.
Ed Hinton (2:45 PM)
Oh, I'd take the Hendrick-SHR stable and give anybody the rest of the field. This one is the Hendrick empire's to lose, even more than most years.
Ed, will Jeff Gordon win 100 races before he retires?
Ed Hinton (2:46 PM)
I'm beginning to doubt it. He'd have to really get a handle on the COT and get on some serious hot streaks. I don't say it's impossible, but it's looking more and more unlikely.
Do the drivers care about the "start and park" teams? Or are they happy that there are less cars (granted only a few) for the majority of the race?
Ed Hinton (2:47 PM)
I've always said 43 cars are too many. All things being equal, drivers would rather have a clear track than a bunch of clunkers out there cluttering things up and causing wrecks.
Hey Ed, everytime Gordon has a tough wreck, there is this big movement to get the track changed. Why is this? It comes off like the rainbow warrior cries behind the scenes allot.
Ed Hinton (2:48 PM)
I think it has more to do with the fact that Gordon rarely wrecks really badly except in dangerous places. That deal at Vegas was a no-brainer. That corner at the Glen is awfully high-speed and blind, for anybody's road course.
which track has the best tailgating?
Ed Hinton (2:49 PM)
Years ago, I could have told you. But I haven't been able to do any tailgating in years. The way things are now, we have to be at the tracks six hours before the race, to beat the traffic and the hanger-on VIPs into the garage.
The Chase, good or bad? Stewart is going to lose all the lead he has built running steady up until now. I would hate to see JJ get hot again and pull the 4th Cup out like he did the past to years in the Chase (granted it was byt the rules set forth by NASACAR).
Ed Hinton (2:50 PM)
Well, Stewart is running into the same thing JJ and Gordon have in the past -- build a huge lead, and have it all snuffed for the Chase. But when you think about it, look at the NFL, where a division champion 15-1 ends up on equal footing with a wild card 9-7.
I agree with your thoughts about Kenseth's attitude, but if you were a championship caliber driver who's had three CC's since winning the cup, along with seemingely getting replaced by Edwards as team leader (apparently by popularity with Roush and backflip lovers, not career accomplishments), and are wasting the rest of your prime years in lesser equipment, wouldn't you be upset as well?
Ed Hinton (2:51 PM)
That's not the kind of upset I mean. What I've seen and heard is lack of confidence in his branch of the team's ability to perform down the stretch.
Barney (Hondo, Texas)
In YOUR opinion, what is Jr's issue?
Ed Hinton (2:53 PM)
I think his confidence is completely shot right now. Ten years ago, when Senior and their business manager had him turned every which way in his partial Cup debut, Junior told me he was so confused and harried that "I ain't as good as I was," and that sometimes he didn't even know which track he was at.I've been trying to ask him if this situation is the same, if all the hoopla has him just plain disoriented, but I can't get past his PR handlers to ask him that.
I was just wondering...how did it get decided that 43 drivers start every race?
Ed Hinton (2:54 PM)
It started with the "champions provisional," which at the time we called the "Petty rule" because Richard Petty was having a lot of trouble qualifying and they figured a way to get him in. They got so liberal with the policy that "43 cars," I think, came from the car No. 43.
Jr. should drive the 3, so that it loses it's mysticism and then someone else can drive it later on down the line. Jr. is the only person that can follow Sr. in that car, but anyone can follow Jr. Thoughts?
Ed Hinton (2:56 PM)
Hmmm. Well, for openers, I think Junior has completely decided against driving the No. 3 because it would bring even more critical comparisons down on his head. I think he opted out, going to Hendrick rather than Childress, and now, no way possible he'd climb into the "3."
in honor of mr richmond, i think i'm gonna kick back with a beer tonight and watch days of thunder. i suggest everyone do the same.
Ed Hinton (2:58 PM)
Not a bad idea, BUT, remember what I said in the column: Cole Trickle was a wimp and a wallflower compared with the real Richmond. Just imagine ol' Cole with about four girlfriends instead of one, and being able to hold his moonshine a lot better than Harry Hogg, and get Cole into three or four bar room brawls, and that was Richmond.But, Robert Duval as Harry Hogg does do a pretty good version of the inimitable Harry Hyde.
Ed Hinton (2:59 PM)
No, I'm saying Kenseth always seems to develop a negative attitude going into the Chase.
Jeff (Lafayette, LA)
Ed, I think you're a great writer. For what it's worth.
Ed Hinton (3:00 PM)
That means a great, great deal coming from the home of the greatest crawfish boils, etoufee, jambalaya, etc. in the world. Man, I wish I could get back to Looziana, but I'm not able to cover football anymore.
What are the odds of Kasey Kahne winning the title this year?
Ed Hinton (3:01 PM)
Slim, but he's got a shot if he hits a streak.
Ed Hinton (3:02 PM)
Well, gotta go. Thanks as always to everyone for stopping by. Kenseth fans, I hope he proves me wrong this time and y'all can get all over me in chats throughout the Chase.