Chat with Marty Smith
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN NASCAR reporter Marty Smith stops by to chat. He will also appear on NASCAR Now (ESPN2, 5 p.m. ET) on Monday.
Smith reports for ESPN2's daily NASCAR news and information program NASCAR Now, as well as SportsCenter, ESPN First Take, ESPNEWS and ESPN.com. Smith joined ESPN's team of NASCAR reporters in late 2006.
Send your questions now and join Smith Monday at 1:30 p.m. ET!
Marty Smith (1:36 PM)
Afternoon, y'all... Just finished up our NASCAR Now roundtable meeting with Allen, Ray and Ricky. Now it's time to hang out with my people... Let's do this...
Matthew (Columbia, NJ)
Hey Marty, if Johnson wrecks this week at Talladega, does Kyle Busch still have a legit shot at catching him?
Marty Smith (1:38 PM)
He's not only chasing Johnson now, Matthew. He's chasing Hamlin and Harvick, too. I figure McMurray and Harvick are the two big favorites heading into the weekend, too, so it's a dogfight right now. Kyle is 172 points out. That's a tall order. But if all three of the guys ahead of him have trouble and he doesn't, he's definitely in this. Here's the thing: After Dega is over, we'll really know who has a shot to win the championship.
Matt (Surprise (AZ that is))
Mar-tay, IF (BIG IF) the deal with RPM goes south - dont ya think JGR or even ECR would like to swoop in and get a driver such as AJ or Marcos with a sponsor? If i'm AJ or Marcos right about now I'm thinking JGR, ECR or even SHR would be a better option. I know there are contracts......
Marty Smith (1:40 PM)
Anything is possible at this point, Matt. RPM is upside down right now. I hope the team doesn't fail, truly, because not only are Allmendinger and Ambrose both really good talents, the guys in the shop and on the crews are, too. A lot of good people over there. Loomis told me the "goal" was to be at Talladega with four cars, and to race the rest of the year. I hope that is a legitimate goal.
Gigi (Henderson, NV)
Hi Marty, what was the "chicken move" that Gordon pulled on Kurt Busch late in the race? The ESPN cameras didn't show it.
Marty Smith (1:43 PM)
Gordon pushed Kurt up towards the wall late in the race. About that development Gordon said: "I guess I didn't know he was on the outside of me." I spoke with Gordon after the race, he had plenty to say about it. I spoke with Kurt, too, he said the two had a history, and that Gordon has enjoyed dumping the 2 for quite some time. Gordon retorted: "Kurt Busch doesn't have a very long fuse, so either it was pay-back or he just got angry really quick and decided to wreck us."
If you were advising JJ, Harvick, or Hamiln, how would you tell them to approach the race on Sunday?
Marty Smith (1:44 PM)
If I was advising JJ, Hamlin or Harvick about how to drive, they'd be done-for. LOL
NASCAR is the only sport where you can sign a contract with one team while still under a contract with another. Why can't NASCAR put a stop to this? The Kasey Kane situation was/is just bad!
Marty Smith (1:45 PM)
Free enterprise, Fred. There are no unions or franchises around these parts. Every man for himself. Well, until it screws up NASCAR's show. Then NASCAR gets involved. Kahne to Red Bull doesn't screw up NASCAR's show.
Ricky (Florence, SC)
We didn't understand Gordon's post race comments about the race being more important than the chase? What was he talking about?
Marty Smith (1:46 PM)
He's more concerned with winning races before the season is out than obsessing about his position in the championship. He's 203 points out right now. His strategy is a good one.
RAY GORDON REID ( PRICHARD ALABAMA 36610)
QUESTION To MR MARTY SMITH AT 1.45 PM HI MARY WHOS YOUR PICK AT TALLADEGA SUNDAY
Marty Smith (1:48 PM)
Ray Gordon Reid from Prichard, Alabama, USA. That's a great moniker, there, sir. I like it. As for Dega -- I'll take the 29.
Be sure to tell Kurt Busch I said "Thanks!" for ruining the race and the Chase for Jeff.
Marty Smith (1:48 PM)
I'll text him for you right now, Sam. Maybe I write something like this... Hey Kurt... Same from Indy asked me to send you a thank you note for dumping the 24. So, there you have it. - m.
Marty Smith (1:49 PM)
Sam from Indy, not Same from Indy. My bad, Sam.
Karl (Williamsburg, VA)
Hi Marty, since you've been covering Sprint Cup have you ever seen a more un-sportsmanlike action than what Harvick did to his teammate Jeff Burton, by body slamming him under caution?
Marty Smith (1:50 PM)
I've seen far, far worse than that, Karl. But that said, Harv's body slam was uncalled for. It could have cut a tire or broken a valve stem or any number of unintentional issues. It was a heat of the moment deal at an exhausting racetrack. It's unnecessary, but I get it.
Hey Marty! That was a GREAT race in Martinsville yesterday. Got any good/funny stories to share from this past weekend?
Marty Smith (1:53 PM)
I was hanging out with my buddies in the campground Saturday afternoon, and we broke out the karaoke machine. There was a guy named Dick from Upstate, NY who sang backup for us... All of us... All night... He had a wolf on his tee shirt, and he was awesome. It took us a while, but we finally found him some Cash to sing. Simon Cowell woulda signed up ol' Dick right there on the spot, in the Martinsville Speedway campground, across the railroad tracks just past the porta-johns... Dick from Upstate. Rock. Star.
How credible is this rumor about McGrew's day's being numbered on top the 88? I for one think he is not the right man for the job.
Marty Smith (1:55 PM)
Well... let's see... I've heard that rumor since the day after McGrew took that job. It never ends for Junior's crew chiefs... That's the most thankless position in NASCAR.
The best part about this past week is the swagger Denny Hamlin has been showing. It's about time a driver steps up to the plate and shows some true arrogance in the face of the JJ juggernaut (JJuggernaut?).
Marty Smith (1:57 PM)
Hamlin is definitely confident, Cale. And yes, it's quite refreshing to actually hear him say it, too. (I'd bet his competitors would beg to differ, but I doubt he cares one iota)
Jason (Hollywood, Fl)
Did Martin's #5 fail post race inspection with that wing jacked up and how much of an advantage did that give him? Rusty seemed to indicate that was the reason #5 was strong at the end.
Marty Smith (1:59 PM)
We were just discussing that at lunch, and we can't really answer that. If Ray Evernham can't answer it, then I'm certainly not qualified! Sorry, Jason. Theoretically it would be an aero advantage because it jacks the spoiler up in the air, giving the car more rear end downforce. But it's impossible for me to quantify any advantage.
Kyle Jackson (Corona, CA)
Marty,Since Jeff Gordon is essentially out of the championship hunt now, will he be after Kurt Busch, say at Phoenix?
Marty Smith (2:00 PM)
Hmm... Possibly. Kurt, though, made it clear that "the scorecard isn't even." So from that statement, you'd figure it's not over yet. Have at it, boys!
Diane (Los Angeles)
So who won Karaoke Idol on Saturday and did you break out any Church or Jamey on 'em
Marty Smith (2:01 PM)
I crushed it, Diane. They had all these karaoke CDs that give you the words on a screen, too, and they didn't have any Jamey or Church. I dominated with Dixieland Delight by Alabama. That's a crowd-pleaser, there...
Kyle Jackson (Corona, CA)
Marty,Can Kevin Harvick still win this championship? Of the top 3, do you like his chances at Talladega the most?
Marty Smith (2:02 PM)
Yes. And yes.
bknight2 (Atlanta, GA)
Marty - Is it just my imagination, or was yesterday's race the perfect case for more short track racing in the Chase?
Marty Smith (2:02 PM)
David (Seattle, WA)
After maintaining (more or less) at Charlotte and Martinsville the 29 has to feel pretty good at their position heading to Talladega, no?
Marty Smith (2:04 PM)
Let me quote Harvick for you, David: "What everybody said was a two-horse race, we're right there in the middle of it."
What current or former nascar drivers kids are going to be a good driver in Nascar in the future? Even if they are only in there young teens, anyone we don't hear about?
Marty Smith (2:05 PM)
Austin and Ty Dillon are both really talented, Sonny.
It was nice to see the 18/48 and 29/31 mix it up without anyone getting wrecked. To me that is more fun to watch then the 00 and 2 ripping up cars. What are your thoughts on the "have at it boys" thing?
Marty Smith (2:06 PM)
I love it. As a fan I want to see aggressive, door-to-door racing. And when a guy gets purposefully dumped, while it makes for great theatre, it's unfortunate. There are so many people involved in a totaled racecar, and when you think about it it's sickening. Tons of man hours wasted for a temper tantrum.
Marty, what has been your favorite interview you have ever done? and why?
Marty Smith (2:08 PM)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. for ESPN Magazine in 2008. It was an introspective look into a very complex individual, and I was blessed to have the opportunity to sit with him for that.
Rachel (Washington, DC)
How competitive will Kasey Kahne and the RedBull team be next year knowing that he's leaving at the end of the year? And how much knowledge will really be shared with Kenny Francis? We've seen crew chiefs locked out of competition meetings because they were leaving.
Marty Smith (2:11 PM)
Easy and Kahne are a formidable pair. I think they'll do quite well at Red Bull. Red Bull has every resource possible, and Kahne told me last weekend there's a palpable excitement there that he's elated to be a part of. Someone asked me recently if he'd win three or four races next year. I don't see that happening, but they'll do well.
olin (bagram airfield, afghanistan)
what's this i see about nascar taking a part from the 48 car after the race?
Marty Smith (2:13 PM)
NASCAR took the driveshaft cover from the 48. They say there will be no penalty.
Rena (Symrna, GA)
In Kurt's post race interview he seemed really agitated and angry at Jeff Gordon for stuff that happened back when Kurt drove the #97 at Roush and even for stuff Gordon did to Rusty. How many enemies does Jeff Gordon have in the garage, other than Kurt?
Marty Smith (2:14 PM)
At least two: Martin Truex, Jr. and Elliott Sadler still haven't forgotten Sonoma.
You think RC had a talk with Harvick and Burton this morning? They need to be fighting JJ and Hamlin, not each other. Harvick has still got a legit shot at this thang!
Marty Smith (2:16 PM)
Honestly, I doubt Richard will get involved unless it escalates further and compromises organizational integrity in some way. Burton doesn't see where he did anything wrong, and Harv rattled off a series of specific instances. Maybe they should talk!
Chris N. (Crestview, FL)
Are Ambrose and AJ sweating bullets right now with regards to having rides next year?
Marty Smith (2:16 PM)
Kyle Jarman (North Carolina)
Odds of seeing Kahne in victory lane before the season is over?
Marty Smith (2:17 PM)
In my opinion, slim-to-none. That team has all manner of resources, but they need some guidance right now. It'll come.
Karen L (Santa Barbara, CA)
Would appear JJ & Chad still have that horse shoe in unaccessible place. I don't know what it is about them, but it would appear I'm not only one with visceral negative feelings about them. And, JJ's wrong -- his constant winning definitely plays a part in viewer disinterest. BTW, did anyone see "Undercover Boss" last night with "Nascar" as the company they followed?
Marty Smith (2:20 PM)
I missed it. I was driving home from Martinsville. As for JJ's dominance being a factor in fan disinterest, I hear it all the time. There's only one way to fix it -- somebody else needs to step up and beat him.
Pete Metzgar (Mooresville)
Any word on Elliott Sadler's future yet?
Marty Smith (2:21 PM)
Kevin Harvick, Inc. is still the leader in the clubhouse.
Marty Smith (2:22 PM)
Okay, guys. I gotta bail out. Time to prepare for tonight's NASCAR Now. I'm on there with Ray and Ricky, so I have to bring my A-Game or I'll get left in the dust, because, in the immortal words of Geoff Bodine, I'm not a driver. I need coffee. You guys are awesome. Thanks so much for the great questions and comments. Go Hokies. - m.