Chat with Terry Blount
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com NASCAR writer Terry Blount will stop by to talk about all the latest news and notes from around the NASCAR track.
Blount covers motorsports for ESPN.com after 25 years as a sports reporter and columnist at three major metro newspapers.
Send your questions now and join Blount Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Terry Blount (2:00 PM)
Hi folks. What's on the minds on the race fans today? Who among the active competitors are a lock for the Hall of Fame? Who isn't? Check out my blog today for some answers. And who is spoiled by the spoiler. My column tells you.
Rickey Henderson (Hall of Fame)
Terry Blount you are great, but Rickey think that Mel is the greatest Blount of all-time.
Terry Blount (2:01 PM)
Yes, first-person Rickey. I would agree. Mel was the greatest cornerback ever.
Since Denny has three wins already this season, how many wins do you see him finishing the season with?
Terry Blount (2:02 PM)
I wouldn't be surprsed to see him get five of six. But it's tough to win these races now because so many guys are capable of winning.
Nicholas Rolando (Orlando)
Terry, who wins Monaco?
Terry Blount (2:02 PM)
I'll go with Hamilton.
Next time you talk to or see Tony, let him know that I'll quit using Old Spice in 2011, and ask him what deodorant he uses/recommends.
Terry Blount (2:04 PM)
You might want to let Old Spice know that. Maybe if would show them the sponsorship is worth it.
Ben (Wausaw, WI)
Are you buying Henricks "JGR has lapped me" statement and him conceding that "Henricks can't stay on top forever" or is he trying to psyche out the JGR guys and rallye the Henrick troops?
Terry Blount (2:04 PM)
Rick is playing some head games. No one has lapped them and he knows it.
Brian (Woodbridge, VA)
Do you see Dale Jr having a good run on sunday, he had a good run at bristol
Terry Blount (2:05 PM)
He was too good at either Dover race last year.
I think J.Gordon's biggest weakness is getting going on restarts and that could play big here on out. agree?
Terry Blount (2:06 PM)
Restarts are not his strength, but as long as he keeps running up front, he'll win some races.
Locks: JJ, Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, Tony Stewart, Chad Knaus, Hendrick, Joe Gibbs, Kyle Busch's ego
Terry Blount (2:07 PM)
Don't think they have a spot for egos, but Kyle still might get there.
Laura (Ft. Walton Beach)
Do you think Kasey Kahne is now questioning his decision to sign with Henricks instead of Joe Gibbs Racing especially now the JGR has taken over the leadership role in Sprint Cup?
Terry Blount (2:08 PM)
Not at all. Hendrick still is the place to be to have the best of the best.
I think J.J. could do very well in the Indy 500. Does he or anybody ever consider doing that?
Terry Blount (2:10 PM)
No one can do it unless they change the starting time of one of the races, or move one to Memorial Day. But no, I don't see Jimmie ever doing it. Jeff Gordon said he might do it after his full-time Cup career is over. And Tony would love to do both if they didn't conflict. I'm sure JPM would also.
Cory (Geneva, IL)
If you were starting a team and could either have a top 5 driver and an average crew chief, or a top 5 crew chief and average driver, which would you take? Just taking on the track racing into account
Terry Blount (2:11 PM)
I'd take the top 5 driver. A great crew can't make a driver great, he only can make him better.
Hey Terry, in your opinion--how many years of experience does a regular sprint cup driver have before he's considered a legitimate title contender? I remember Rusty Wallace saying a driver needs 4 years experience to understand the race tracks, gaining your crew chiefs confidence, & learning that races are 500 miles--not 50 miles. Granted every driver has a different learning curve, but what do you think. Thanks
Terry Blount (2:12 PM)
Four is about right usually, but JPM made a dramatic leap forward last year in his third season.
Joel (Naples FL)
Hi Terry, What do you attribute to the improved success of Jamie McMurray and the #1 team this year?
Terry Blount (2:13 PM)
Comfort. Everybody gets along and Jamie is really happy at EGR. He was not happy at Roush. Jamie fits in much better at a smaller operation.
When Kasey first signed with Hendrick, Mark Martin was very vocal insisting he was staying another year with the 5 car. Lately Mark has been quiet so do you think Hendrick is moving Mark elsewhere and putting Kasey in the 5 next year?
Terry Blount (2:14 PM)
That's what I would do, but it's still a mystery. Why would you make Kasey move twice? That makes no sense.
Where do you place the blame within Jeff Burtons pit stop the other nite, running over the air hose?
Terry Blount (2:16 PM)
Those things happen to the best of teams. Usually some one signals for the driver to leave too soon, but it could be a lot of different things.
Brian (Woodbridge, VA)
Do you think that Jimmie Johnson hasnt won a race with the spoiler is because the spoiler has leveled the playing field more or because the 48 team is just experiementing for the chase right now?
Terry Blount (2:18 PM)
JJ actually has gained one spot in the standings since the spoiler was implemented, but he hasn't won. I think the 48 will be fine. Everyone right now, uncluding the 11, is trying to see what combo works best with the spoiler.
Do you actually see Sam Hornish returning to the 77 next year? He's shown very little improvement, cant keep the car off the wall and Penske has Allgaier just bout ready to move to Cup and Parker Kliggerman needing a NW ride. Why keep Sam in the 77?
Terry Blount (2:20 PM)
A lot of it will depend on sponsrship and how that turns out, but Sam isn't getting it done. The key is whether is showing improvement. For now, I don't see it.
Mark (Albany, Ny)
My man Terry, on a scale of 1 to 10 how overrated is Danica as a driver? I'm gonna say 9.8. She will never master a stock car...who are we kidding here!!!!!
Terry Blount (2:22 PM)
Danica is a better driver than most people think. She's not the best driver in the IRL, but she far from the worst. Her chances of becoming competitive in NASCAR probably are a long shot. If she could race in the top 20 consistently, she's well worth it to the sponsors because of her enormous popularity.
Terry, do we really need an American F1 team?
Terry Blount (2:23 PM)
No, but it would be cool to have one if it was competitive with a big-name driver. I think it would help increase F1 interest in the U.S.
I think this is the week that Mark Martin makes his move and finally turns it up. Experience counts at Dover. What's your take?
Terry Blount (2:25 PM)
Mark still cna get it done and win a race of two, but I don't see him making a major champioonship run this season the way he did last season.
Serious Question...has NASCAR ever put any thought into a "senior" division for NASCAR greats. Modified schedule 10-12 races, modified cars, modified length of races. I think people miss seeing the retired stars on the track. What are your thoughts?
Terry Blount (2:26 PM)
It has been discussed, but it would be expensive to do. And there's a safety element to consider. Look at what happened to Larry Pearson at Bristol. Racing at high speeds for some guys in the 70s isn't a good idea.
In response to Matt in NYC, the answer is simply, loyalty. Hornish kicked butt for him in the Indy cars, and Mr. Penske is a loyal and honorable man. He won't give up on Hornish, until he gives up on himself, but that's just my opinion.
Terry Blount (2:27 PM)
Loyalty is great and Penske is a very loyal guy, but this is still a big-money business and you have sponsors to answer to.
Hey Terry, It seems that JPM has gotten past his bad luck streak. Where do you see him getting that first oval win and does he make the chase this year? The team seems really strong this year.
Terry Blount (2:29 PM)
I'd say it's 50/50 on JPM making the Chase. He really needs to do well at both road courses to gain some ground. I wouldn't be surprised to see him win at the Brickyard.
there are a lot of haters who don't want to hear it, but Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick based upon all the wins over the 3 series are future locks to the Hall of Fame, and as they pile on wins each years, they only further cement their credentials
Terry Blount (2:31 PM)
We'll agree to disagree Hank. Neither of those guy is a lock for the Hall. You have to win in Cup, not just the minors. But both of them still could get there.
Wasn't the trucks initially developed for "seniors" sort of like the Senior PGA? At least that is what nascar said way back when it started.
Terry Blount (2:32 PM)
That wasn't really the plan. It just worked out that way.
Shawn (Gastonia, NC)
Kurt Busch and Bobby Labonte are tied with Benny Parsons with 21 Wins and 1 Championship. Benny was in the 25 inaugural nominees. So does that mean that if Kurt Busch and Bobby Labonte were retired, that they would be considered in the top 27?
Terry Blount (2:33 PM)
No. Benny also did a lot of things outside the race car with a brilliant broadcasting career. He also is one of the most well-liked guys ever to compete in the sport.
Nick (Owosso, MI)
Why doesn't NASCAR schedule practice times closer to the times during which the races will run each week? Wouldn't this lead to a better product on the track?
Terry Blount (2:35 PM)
Yes, but sometimes it isn't feasible to do it that way. NASCAR also has to schedule in practice a races for other series.
Terry, Pocono is much maligned in NASCAR but it doesn't seem to be going anywhere fast. Now the trucks are coming to town in the summer. What do you think the racing will be like for them? Any better?
Terry Blount (2:36 PM)
Truck racing in general is often better than Cup racing. I hope it's better than the Cup racing at Pocono.
Terry, is Nascar's ban on testing really saving teams money? They still test & I can't imagine hiring a bunch of engineers
Terry Blount (2:37 PM)
It definitely has saved them money, millions of dollars for some teams. They still test, but not as often and they uses fewer cars per test.
William (Greenville, SC)
Do you think every driver who has won a Nascar Championship (Sprint, Nationwide or Camping World Cup) is an automatic entry into the HOF and is a Nascar Championship a requirement?
Terry Blount (2:39 PM)
No and no. I certainly don't think winning a NW or Truck title gets you a spot. And Mark Martin will make the Hall without winning a Cup title.
I watched yesterday's opening of the Hall of Fame, and man, that place looks like a palace!! It got me to wondering about one thing: How many of those cars are the real thing or restored real thing, and how many are replicas?
Terry Blount (2:40 PM)
Most of the cars, to my knowledge, are the real thing with some restoration. And it is a magnificent place. Every fan should make a plan to go there.
Do you think Harvick could get a top 5, top 10 or a surprise win this weekend.
Terry Blount (2:42 PM)
Hedidn't have a top 10 at Dover last year, but I think he's a top-10 contender just about everywhere this year.
NASCAR has done tons to improve the product this year...any knowledge or educated guesses about future changes?
Terry Blount (2:44 PM)
NASCAR has plans to make major changes to the look of the cars in a couple of years. It depends on how things go with the new NW cars later this year with the Mustang and the Challenger. the goal is to give the manufacturers more identity.
Shawn (Gastonia, NC)
If you had to pick the odd man out for 2011 out of Lee Petty, David Pearson, Cale Yarborough and DW, which would you pick? Do all get inducted in 2011?
Terry Blount (2:46 PM)
All those guys are great picks. I think Pearson is a lock for the next class,as is Cale, but all these guys will get in soon.
Jacob Horton (Kentucky)
Are Johnson and Gordon buddies again? Do you feel the buddy angle is important when 2 racers are from the same team?
Terry Blount (2:48 PM)
Being buddies isn't necessary to win, but a nasty feud can hurt things in this case because the crews work together in the same building. Jeff and Jimmie are fine, but they don't hang together these days.
Mark (San Jose, CA)
Dave Rogers and Kyle seem like they have really clicked and are on the same wavelengths. Do you see Kyle and Dave as our next Jimmie and Chad?
Terry Blount (2:49 PM)
I think they can do well together, but I don't see any pair as the next JJ and Chad. That doesn't happen very often.
Phil (Port Arthur, TX)
When Dale asked Lance if it was 4:00 AM on the radio at Darlington isn't that like laying down and quitting?
Terry Blount (2:50 PM)
No. Give the guy a break. He was just trying to loosen things up a little.
Amber (Richmond (VA))
When will Tony (Smoke) develop a third team? Both he and Ryan are doing well; and, is Old Spice's sponsorship departure just from Stewart-Haas or from NASCAR as a whole?
Terry Blount (2:51 PM)
I think Old Spice is leaving entirely. As for a third team, it depends on sponsorship. Right now, Tony needs more sponsorship for his car.
Do you think Coach Gibbs might give Tony his job back at JGR, maybe in a 4th Gibbs car?
Terry Blount (2:52 PM)
Have you been to the Hall of Fame yet?
Terry Blount (2:54 PM)
Yes I have. I took a tour in January when it wasn't quite finished. I was really impressed. It's a must-see for any fan.
Ironhead Forever (New York)
What was the relationship like between Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty?
Terry Blount (2:56 PM)
They has tremendous respect for each other. But Richard's career was winding down about the same time Dale's was hitting it's zenith.
Jordan (Lubbock, Texas)
You get to take one guy currently outside the Chase and put him in. Who is it and who does he bump out?
Terry Blount (2:57 PM)
I'll say Newman in and Junior out.
Jeff (Fairfax, VA)
Do you think Brad K. will win a cup race this year?
Terry Blount (2:58 PM)
I doubt it, but if so, it probably would happen at Daytona or Dega.
Jr. Has been up and down this year, do you think he'll even out, and if he does, how good do you think he'll be?
Terry Blount (2:59 PM)
I think Jr is a guy who will run 10th to 15th most weekends, sometimes a little better and sometimes worse.
I've heard a lot of people hating on Pocono, but the race last year that Denny won after his grandma passed was one of the more exciting races of the year.
Terry Blount (3:00 PM)
Best Pocono race in years thanks to the double-file restarts.
Terry Blount (3:01 PM)
Gotta go folks. Have a great week and enjoy the races this weekend. I'm out. Peace.