Chat with Terry Blount
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, 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 Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Terry Blount (2:00 PM)
What's on your mind on this fine summer day?
Eric S (Saint Petersburg)
This is the 17th anniversary of Davey Allison's death. It still affects me to this day. I follow Junior now, but he isn't the driver that Davey was. Do you feel Davey was on his way to multiple Cup titles?
Terry Blount (2:02 PM)
Without a doubt Eric. In my book, The Blount Report, I list Davey as the most underrated driver ever. He was a true rising star. Earnhardt Sr. once told me he thought Davey was the best young driver he had ever seen.
Good afternoon Terry, Should we be worried about a sponsor for the 29 or is Budweiser a done deal? Anybody but UPS please.
Terry Blount (2:03 PM)
The 29 team seems pretty darn relaxed these days, which tells me a deal is done. I still think it's Bud.
Rickey Henderson [via mobile]
Did Terry Blount see Rickey in the softball game? Rickey is still the greatest of all-time.
Terry Blount (2:04 PM)
Actually I did see Rickey last night. I didn't get to see if he still refers to himself in the first person.
Mike (Nijmegen, Netherlands)
Have you, guys of ESPN, ever considered to sell ESPN the magazine in Europe? I would buy it!
Terry Blount (2:05 PM)
I'll pass that along Mike
Cory (Geneva, IL)
Elimination sounds great, but how would it work? Surely it couldn't be lowest driver after first race of chase, maybe start it after third week of chase? With chase and non-chase drivers, all on the same teams, it seems like it would open a huge can of worms. Driver X who didn't make the chase, taking out all of the Team Y's cars in chase so his teammate could win.
Terry Blount (2:06 PM)
These guys are pros and I don't think that would happen. And they could do that now if they really wanted to.
Jeremy (Port Angeles, WA)
How did you think Danica did Friday night at Chicagoland Speedway?
Terry Blount (2:07 PM)
About what I expected. Not great, not terrible. She just needs a lot more seat time.
Shawn (Gastonia, NC)
Hey Terry! I like the idea of elimination, but I also think certain things should be taken into consideration. I think someone in the top 12 without a win should be easier to eliminate than someone in the top 12 with a win. Maybe a win is a get-out-of-jail-free card for the first cut? How about taking the top 12 and 13-15 and if 13-15 gets a win, they replace the first one out.
Terry Blount (2:08 PM)
I agree that wins would have to be rewarded in some fashion.
What sites, blogs, articles, etc do you read and keep track of to stay on top of your knowledge with what's going on in the sport?
Terry Blount (2:09 PM)
Everything I possibly can find, along with making lots of phones calls, sending emails and talking to lots or people in the sport.
Hearing rumors of Ray Evernham joining HMS in 2011, but not as a crew chief. Any rumors about this situation? Anything to do with KK or Gordon?
Terry Blount (2:11 PM)
I think Ray could be a big help to everyone at HM in a VP type role, and few people know Jeff and Kasey better than Ray.
Predictions for Indy in 2 weeks? Can Smoke and Juan Pablo return to their old Indy form?
Terry Blount (2:12 PM)
Tony will be in the hunt. JPM really needs something good to happen there. But if you ask me to pick, I'm going with JJ.
Terry - Nothing on John Darby's replacement in a while. Since your pick, Chad is off the market, how about Ray. He wants back in, has great respect in the garage, and it would be an easy way to get his outright release from RPM
Terry Blount (2:14 PM)
Ray would be great, but I don't think he wants all those headaches. I'd like to see Robbie Loomis in that role. He's well respected by everyone in the Cup garage, but he told me in January he didn't want it, either.
Ryan (Atlanta, GA)
Hey Terry!Enjoyed your article about the Chase format. It got me thinking. 12 drivers, split in two groups for the first 5 races. Take the top three from each group and advance them for the last 5 races w/ the points reset. What do you think?
Terry Blount (2:15 PM)
Not bad. There are a million ways you could do it, but as long as it's a true elimination, I'm for it.
What do you see as the contributing factors in the decline this year of Mark Martin? And where do you see him racing next year?
Terry Blount (2:18 PM)
He still insists he'll be in the 5. If it were up to me, I'd put Kasey in the 5. He's the future. I think two things have hurt Mark _ the unknown about his 2011 status and the change to have some of his guys work more closely with Dale Jr.
How many drivers would have to be alive the final race for maximum fairness and excitement under an elimination system...I say 4.
Terry Blount (2:19 PM)
Four works for me. You could call in NASCAR Final Four.
If people are so concerned about racers points racing by turning in 5-15th place performances every week, why not dramatically increase the rewards for winning and top 5, and severely decrease the penalty for bad finishes? Not awarding points for anything below 20th would be a good start. Seems like the standings are far more impacted by the number of times a driver has a really bad day, like getting wrecked, than by having a good day and winning.
Terry Blount (2:21 PM)
I agree Chad. It's the right thing to do, but it wouldn't guarantee a close championship battle at the end of the season the way a knock-out format would.
Terry, is Carl's second place run a sign of things to come or was that just a once-in-a-few-weeks good run?
Terry Blount (2:22 PM)
I'm not convinced his showing at Chicago means RFR is back. it encouraging, but I'm going to need to see it a few more times.
Congratulations go out to Jimmie and Chandra Johnson on the birth of their baby girl Genevieve Marie Johnson. It would be interesting to know where they got the name from.
Terry Blount (2:23 PM)
It is unusual, but I like it. The only problem with long first names is it's tough for the little one to learn to spell, and a lot to put on a form at school.
Jessica (New Jersey)
Most of the commentators and writers sound confident about Jeff Gordon winning more races and another championship while others write him off with 4 cups and only 80 something wins. When will Gordon win again and can he win the cup this year and stop his winless streak at 48?
Terry Blount (2:25 PM)
I'm confident Jeff will win a race or two thins year. If you run up front as much as he does, it's bound to happen. He still can win another Cup title. I'd put the odd on that at 40/60.
Ryan (Ventura CA)
Did Chevy buy the naming rights to Genevieve Marie Johnson. Funny GM is in her name
Terry Blount (2:27 PM)
I didn't notice that. That is funny. I'll have to ask him about that.
If you had a crystal ball and could look back, do you think Mr. H. would have reconsidered his signing of Jr? Not for lack of performance but for the headache that comes with signing him.
Terry Blount (2:28 PM)
No. Junior has been a gigantic cash cow for Hendrick Motorsports. It's well worth the headaches.
Isn't The Chase already an elimination-style formula for determining a champion? By the time we get to the last few races, there really hasn't been more than two or three drivers eligible to win it.
Terry Blount (2:29 PM)
That true, but it hasn't come down to the final race except for 2004. The champ pretty much had it won by the team they got to Miami.
Why is Brett Favre..., er Mark Martin still racing? He seems to be in everyone's way of their future plans. I notice that he is not always sponsored and seems dejected. Should he just bow out gracefully before it becomes a bad situation?
Terry Blount (2:30 PM)
Mark is still a better driver than most of the guys ot there. Having said that, I still would give Kasey the 5 car next year.
Patrick (Agawam MA)
ANY owner would take the Junior headache if it meant enough sponsors to keep the team going.
Terry Blount (2:31 PM)
Especially when those sponsors are coughing up over $25 million.
Ricky (Yuba City)
GUESS WHO?? Biffle. He is 9th in the points standings, but wasn't listed as a "notable" in the race results this week. What do you have to do to be a "notable"? Oy vey!!
Terry Blount (2:32 PM)
Winning might help.
Brian (Portland, OR)
With all the up in the air stuff going on around Kahne can we at least get a lock that Francis will be moving with him.
Terry Blount (2:32 PM)
Don't know if it's a lock, but I would call it highly likely.
Terry - 2005 was close at the end until JJ hit the wall when he blew a tire. Isn't this really about reacting to an unprecidented run by the 48 rather than changing the chase because it does not make sense?
Terry Blount (2:34 PM)
I don't think so. As I wrote, it isn't that JJ won four in the row, it's the fact that no one challenged him at the end in this points system.
But at some point are the sponsors going to demand performance from Jr or continue with the current situation. That is a lot of money for a mid-pack driver and I'm a huge Jr. fan.
Terry Blount (2:35 PM)
It really depends on popularity. If he continue to be the most popular driver while running 15th, sponors are OK with that.
Do you think that most of the NASCAR media suffers from an "Inside the Beltway" mentality and that much of what they write is for the people inside the race track and not for the people in the grandstands?
Terry Blount (2:36 PM)
I don't think so. I write what I think needs to be said in columns that provoke thought and debate.
Do you think Junior makes the chase?
Terry Blount (2:37 PM)
If I was a betting man I would say no.
Do you view Martin's outburst-blaming the media for all the 2011 and #5 questions instead of blaming Hendricks plus his out of character behavior with JP as signs that Mark is cracking under the pressure and starting to lose it?
Terry Blount (2:39 PM)
He's a little frustrated and I can understand that. But I wouldn't say he's cracking under the pressure. Mark a pro. He's been down this road before. He'll be fine.
Afternoon, Terry. Everyone has been knocking RFR all year (and rightfully so), but not all is bad. With terrible cars, they still have three guys in the chase. That is more than Hendrick and Gibbs, and tied with resurgent RCR. If they get their stuff together, there's no telling how good they can be.
Terry Blount (2:40 PM)
I agree that they'll done the most with what they have, especially Kenseth. But I wouldn't call them title contenders unless I see them step up over the summer.
Brian (Richmond, Ky.)
What do you expect Randy Bernard and the ICONIC committee to announce tomorrow? Are the Lolas headed back to Indy to challenge Dallara?
Terry Blount (2:42 PM)
Rumor has it Lola is one chassis. If it's the only one, I think they made a big mistake because it looks very similar to what they have now. Why make a big production out of it if you don't shake things up and get the wow factor from the fans?
Seriously Terry, does anyone give a rat's pitooey about NASCAR?? There's been the World Cup, NBA free agency, MLB, etc., unless you live in the South, noone cares. The bigger question is, is it even a sport?
Terry Blount (2:42 PM)
You must care Billy. You took the time to get on this chat.
How delicious is a Richard Childress bottle of wine? Any reccomendations?
Terry Blount (2:43 PM)
He makes one heck of Cab. Very smooth with an oaky smell.
DW says the Mark will be in the #5 but that the #5 might be entered by Phoenix with Kasey in the #25 at HMS or do you think Kasey might just stay in a RPM Ford for another year?
Terry Blount (2:44 PM)
I seriously doubt Kasey stays at RPM. But I can see the other sceanio happening.
Bearded Dale Jr. (Kannapolis)
What do I have to do to get a fast car unloaded???
Terry Blount (2:45 PM)
You have to shave.
Jake (Irving, TX)
We are 1/2 finished with the summer and Stewart still hasn't awakened yet. Do you think that #14 is suffering from the same lack of development as #5, #88 and #39?
Terry Blount (2:46 PM)
Don't count Tony out yet. He often heats up in the summer. Indy could be his launching pad this year.
(Hypothetical) - you put Martin Truex Jr. in a Hendrick Motors car next week, he wins or finishes top 3?
Terry Blount (2:47 PM)
Top 10 maybe. But if you are asking me I think he's a good as JJ or Jeff, I would have to say no.
Why not give Chad K to Junior as a new Crew Chief?
Terry Blount (2:48 PM)
Why would you break up a combination that has won four consecutive championships.?
Terry, was JPM serious when he questioned Mark's driving abilities? They guy just seems like he wants to be hated in the garage..
Terry Blount (2:50 PM)
Montoya was mad and it dates back to what happened between them last year at NH. And I don't think he really cares who likes him not.
From an owner's prespective, don't you want to help out Junior by giving him Chad K?
Terry Blount (2:51 PM)
No I don't. I don't weaken a championship team with the hope of making a mediocre team better.
whats going on with jeff gordons sponsor Dupont, will they be back ?
Terry Blount (2:51 PM)
Not as the primary sponsor.
Terry, any updates on the possible schedule changes in 2011?
Terry Blount (2:53 PM)
Not yet, but it's clear Kansas will have two races, Cali probably will have one. And it's likely NH will go back to one race with that date probably going to Kentucky. Bruton Smith is pushing hard for a Chase race at Vegas, but I don't see how he can work it out.
(Hypothetical) How do you think JR would fair if he move over to the 48 team?
Terry Blount (2:54 PM)
Better, but not as good as Jimmie.
Do you think France is making a "knee jerk" reaction to declining ratings and attendence by thinking that tweaking the chase is the solution? Do you think Nascar's problems go deeper than the points system?
Terry Blount (2:56 PM)
Brian often sends out these trial balloon to get a read on how people feel about it. And yes, NASCAR nees other changes beyond the Chase.
29 Floors above sea level (Planet Earth)
Terry, some excellent articles lately about the NHRA, keep them coming. Next you should write a story about great drivers who can't land a ride. You can start with Dave Connolly. I can't begin to imagine what he said or did that pretty much banished him from the NHRA. Stay cool.
Terry Blount (2:58 PM)
Dave isn't banished, but you're right. He is a excellent Pro Stock driver who deserves a ride. Those type of situations always have existed in racing. Look at Graham Rahal. It's really all about sponsorship and being in the right place at the right time.
Do you think that Kasey Kahne will be a championship driver at Hendrick or will this be another Dale Jr. situation? **Note - This question is still coming from a member of JR Nation**
Terry Blount (2:59 PM)
I truly believe Kasey can win a title or two once he settles in at Hendrick.
Wouldn't everyone save a ton of money if Vegas was the final race and people just stay there for the awards banquet a few days later?
Terry Blount (2:59 PM)
Yes, but politics get in the way of that happening.
Chris (Crestview, FL)
If the Frances could just get Junior to win a few races a year that would help out alot too, don't you think?
Terry Blount (3:00 PM)
Absolutely. Even Mike Helton admitted that before the season started.
Just out of pure curiosity and with all due respect Terry. What did you think that Dale Jr. would do at Hendrick in 2007?
Terry Blount (3:01 PM)
I thought he would do a lot better than he has. I had my doubts if he could win a championship, but I thought he would win races and always be solidly in the Chase.
Terry Blount (3:02 PM)
Gotta run folks. Off to do NASCAR Now and talk about possible Chases changes. The show airs a 6 pm ET today. See ya. Peace.