Chat with Marty Smith
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN NASCAR reporter Marty Smith will stop by to chat about all the latest news from the track.
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 (1:33 PM)
What's up, Team! I hope y'all are doing well today, and I appreciate you hanging out. Let's do this...
Brian (North Carolina)
Hey Marty.I know us fans have been saying we wanted a closer chase than what we've had the last few years,but that's actually code word for "we want someone besides the 48."And for the record,I'm not a fan of Hamlin's,I've just been impressed with the way he's fought for it this year.Does he turn it loose this weekend and take no prisoners?
Marty Smith (1:34 PM)
He'll be smart about it, Brian, certainly. He's not going to race like an idiot and cost himself a championship. But I do believe he'll do what got him here, and that's drive aggressively and with purpose.
Marty, Carl dominated the weekend...start to finish. Is this a sign of things to come for next year?
Marty Smith (1:35 PM)
I think it's too early to say that, Emily, but give how well Roush Fenway has improved late in the year (Biffle and Kenseth at Texas; Carl at PHX), I think they've made significant gains. They're still playing catch-up in the big picture, but they're closed the gap, for sure.
Brian (North Carolina)
With the way Brad K and Paul Wolfe complimented each other this year in N'wide,if you're Roger Penske do you look at moving him over to the Cup side with Brad?Been hearing a lot of rumblings about it since last week,how likely is it to happen?
Marty Smith (1:36 PM)
If I'm Roger Penske, I move Paul Wolfe to Cup. He's the next big thing.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
If Stewart-Haas Racing Expands to a 4-Car Team which will probably be in 2012, Who will be the 2 other drivers that will drive for Stewart-Haas Racing?
Marty Smith (1:37 PM)
Hahahaha! As crazy as Cup-driver Musical Seats is these days, that's a question for Ms. Cleo.
Does harvick still have a shot and what would need to happen for him to win
Marty Smith (1:38 PM)
Absolutely... He'll need help, but he's in it. He admitted Sunday the 29 got lucky at Phoenix. And he's right, they did. But if you believe in the 'I'd rather be lucky than good' mantra, look out, he may win the whole shooting match.
Matthew (Columbia, NJ)
Hey Marty, do you expect the Roush Fenway cars to perform well at Homestead as they pretty much own that race track?
Marty Smith (1:39 PM)
I do. Biffle will be a rocket ship. But can he close the deal? He's struggled with that lately...
Craig (San Jose, CA)
Were you surprised at all to see JJ show a little bit of an edge in his post race interview?
Marty Smith (1:41 PM)
Not at all, Craig. Hamlin and Mike Ford opened the door for the Jedi Mind Tricks. The proverbial gloves were off from the moment Ford conducted his post-race interview after the Texas victory. Johnson said Hendrick Motorsports absolutely Ford's comments a bulletin board material. It ticked them off. Johnson is Yoda. He's been-there, done-that. His comments were calculated and strategic -- and he's not done.
With the big turnaround of RCR this year, do you think the success of RCR is here to stay and Kevin Harvick can contend for championships yearly now? Thanks Marty.
Marty Smith (1:43 PM)
NASCAR is very fickle, Josiah, and it's extremely difficult to produce excellence consistently. But I do believe that RCR learned a lot from their struggles in 2009. When they put Scott Miller in the competition director role, it was one of those integral transitions that proved mammoth on the racetrack. They're a great organization, and I think they've put the proper personnel in place to remain so.
Watching the race yesterday really showed why JJ is a 4 time champ, even running 5-10th place he was cool and collected, Hamlin on the other hand threw a hissy-fit after the race. Someone with a champion's mindset would have left that race knowing he was still in the points lead heading into the last race, not a bad spot to be in, instead he is complaining. Hamlin is going to mentally beat himself out of the championship in my opinion.
Marty Smith (1:49 PM)
I completely understand Hamlin's response, Kevin. I try to put myself in his position -- he dominated that race. His advantage was growing by the lap and he could sense the message he was sending was a loud one. And suddenly all of that is gone. Momentum is a vastly underrated dynamic, in my opinion. It can shift in an instant, and completely destroy morale in the process. He's come a long, long way mentally as a competitor. Two years ago this would have crushed him. He'd have been unable to rebound. Now, he can. This hurts. Bad. But I don't think it seals his fate. He's come too far for that. I feel certain he's being reminded today that if he'd have been told at the outset of the Chase that he'd go into Homestead with a 15-point lead, he'd have been cool with that. He has to live in the moment. If he can do that, he's fine. Why? Because he's fast.
Charlotte (Selma, CA)
Why does everyone keep saying JJ has never been the hunter, always the hunted at Homestead? Does anyone remember 2004? I'm still sick how he came two positions away from beating Kurt.
Marty Smith (1:50 PM)
I presume that is in reference to his current run of titles, Charlotte.
Jake (Irving, Texas)
Hi Marty, with all the bad luck Rowdy had at Texas were you supprised at how strong #18 was yesterday running top 3 most of the race?
Marty Smith (1:53 PM)
Not at all, Jake. That boy can wheel one. Insane talent. Cup is a mental grind. And once Kyle learns to play the mental game properly, look out.
Hey Marty, On your Travis Pastrana segment last week on NASCAR Now there were kids playing in the background. Was that a statement how Travis can bring young people back to NASCAR?
Marty Smith (1:54 PM)
Nope. That was the rugrats in my neighborhood trying to get on television, Jason. Great question. We're laughing out loud...
Over/Under: 2 wins for Smoke in 2011?
Marty Smith (1:54 PM)
WayneinFL (PSL, Florida)
With Hamlins lead being cut like it was, and him getting frustrated. It's in the bag for Jimmie isn't it? I am hopeful for either Harvick or Hamlin. We need a new champion.
Marty Smith (1:55 PM)
I believe there was a massive shift in the emotional side of this Chase Sunday, Wayne.
Predictions on the Colts/Pats game this week?
Marty Smith (1:57 PM)
Patriots. Brady is playing out of his mind. And he is my fantasy QB!
Mark (Mount Airy, MD)
Hello Marty, If Denny and Jimmie finish tied in points after Homestead, would Denny get the title due to more wins?????
Marty Smith (1:57 PM)
Yes. That is exactly right, Mark.
Marty, please tell me things will improve for Kasey Kahne with the 2011 edition of Red Bull Racing versus the 2010 version? I know they're feeling each other right now but man is this painful to watch. I thought we might see them at least in the top 15 consistently.
Marty Smith (1:59 PM)
Prospects for 2011 are better for Kahne than they are right now. First, he'll have Easy Kenny back on the box. Second, they've made some personnel changes that should help. Third, Toyota cares and will do plenty to improve the program. But Red Bull has a lot of catching-up to do. They're behind and haven't been competitive this year. They have a lot of work to do.
Yo, Mart. Who's your Butler of the 2010-11 hoops season?
Marty Smith (2:02 PM)
Does Gonzaga count? Probably not. They're big time hoops now. And now we all expect Butler to do well. I'll go with Old Dominion. They nearly won 30 games last year and have four starters back. Plus, they're from Virginia, the greatest state in the Union!
Will Mrs. Harvick be wearing that Penzoil/Shell firesuit in 2011?
Marty Smith (2:03 PM)
Well... Since that's not his sponsor anymore, I highly doubt it, Turk. I'm guessing Bud!
Marty, Denny didn't come out and say it, but he basically called out Mike Ford and his crew for his 12th place finish. Now Denny is feeling the pressure and JJ looked calm in the post race interviews. Will the 48 make the drive for 5?
Marty Smith (2:06 PM)
In my opinion, yes. I think Jimmie will win it again. We'll know where this deal stands 10 minutes into practice on Friday. I'd bet you the 11 is fast as heck off the truck, and if the 48 is quick, too, I give him the edge. (Dale Jarrett is disagreeing with me right now!)
Some fans say Jimmie Johnson's dominance is to blame for lower ratings. Now Denny Hamlin has the best shot to end Jimmie's streak and it doesn't seem to be generating interest. What's going on here?
Marty Smith (2:09 PM)
I don't believe Johnson's tenure at the top is the sole problem. It may be a factor, and if it is it's a small one. I just think there's too many other things to do. People don't have time to sit and invest all that time in a broadcast. That's why it's time for a 28-race schedule and 300-mile races...
Any rumors on where Elliot Sadler might end up as far as a Cup ride? Looking foward to seeing him in an NNS KHI machine but hoping he's got a Cup ride too.
Marty Smith (2:10 PM)
His focus isn't on Cup. His options at the Cup level were mediocre at best. He has a wonderful opportunity with Harvick now, and he needs to go out and win a bunch of Nationwide races and a championship. If he does that, Cup will take care of itself.
2011 will be a "Chase or Bust" year for Joey Logano? True or False?
Marty Smith (2:11 PM)
False. He doesn't have to make the Chase in 2011. But the way he's running to close this season, he certainly looks poised for a Chase run.
Denny looked like a deflated balloon yesterday after the race. With good reason. Can he shake it off and get his swagger back? JJ was bringing his A game of smack talk after the race. How many times did he use the word "pressure"? haha It's good stuff. Mean while Kevin looks like the cat gettin ready to eat the canary. Gonna be a barn burner bud :)
Marty Smith (2:12 PM)
I agree on all counts, Jessica. The game changed in a big, big way Sunday.
AJ (San Jose)
Do you expect Mark Martin to suffer the same lame duck experience next season that Kasey experienced with the #9 this year?
Marty Smith (2:13 PM)
No. I don't expect that, AJ. You can't compare Hendrick Motorsports and RPM.
Marty, do you think Mike Ford's comments last week are backfiring on him a little? Did he wake up a sleeping giant in the 48 bunch?
Marty Smith (2:14 PM)
Yes. And yes. Karma. But don't forget, he nearly backed it up again. The 11 was a rocket ship Sunday, they just didn't make the proper calls at the end.
longtimeracefan (Taylorsville, KY)
Hey Marty, NASCAR's season is way to long. I'll bet you're glad it only last one more week. Any special plans for the off season?
Marty Smith (2:15 PM)
Indeed, I am looking forward to a little down time. Lainie and I are going to Vegas to see my man Church close his tour at the Palm. And... we MAY stay a few extra days... ;)
Jolene (Fresno, CA)
Alright. Monday, November 15. Who does Marty Smith have winning it all at this moment?
Marty Smith (2:15 PM)
Hey Marty, how did you call it right about Pastrana coming to Nascar weeks before they announced it? Do you hang out with him?
Marty Smith (2:16 PM)
I just had a feeling, Brian... ;)
Jonathan (Virginia )
Hokies travel to Miami this week, can they get it done?
Marty Smith (2:17 PM)
The Canes always give my Hokies fits, but I think we can do it. It also depends which Canes team shows up. They're feast-or-famine. Incidentally, if we're done at the track in time, I have tickets to the game. Who's with me!
Larry (Garland, TX)
After Homestead, Dale will be 1 win for 108 points paying starts at HMS over his 3 seasons in the best equipment in NASCAR. How do you explain that?
Marty Smith (2:18 PM)
Mr. Ed, Trigger, Silver, all of 'em, pretty beat up by now.
Tell the drivers to stop saying uhh in their interviews. Its worn out!
Marty Smith (2:20 PM)
Uhhhh... okay. Uh. (Kidding ;))
Chances of Kyle finishing in the top 5 at Homestead?
Marty Smith (2:20 PM)
Very, very good.
Brian (Fort Worth, TX)
Marty, when is ESPN gonna get you out of your clean suit, and into a fire suit like all of the rest of the reporters? It just seems like a suit is too dang uncomfortable in the pits!
Marty Smith (2:22 PM)
At about a quarter-past never, Brian. Company rules, man. That's my time, y'all! I have to hustle up and get prepared for NASCAR Now. I'm on with Dale _ Jarrett, Ricky Craven and Michael Julian Massaro. Watch us tonight at 5. We'll talk about all the stuff y'all just asked me. Thanks for hanging out. Y'all are awesome. - m.