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 was recently inducted into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame for his contribution as a reporter and columnist.
Send your questions now and join Blount Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Terry Blount (2:00 PM)
Hello gang. Welcome to the BRSiR, where all the hot topics of the world on on the table. Let me hear it. One note: Keep your questions short. Easier to answer that way.
Catch 22 (Maryland)
How different will the track conditions at Kansas be this weekend compared to the summer race?
Terry Blount (2:01 PM)
Not that different. Temps are expected in the low 80s. Cooler, but not a giant difference. And last time was a fuel mileage race. I expect the same this time.
Does Kyle's performance in the Chase thus far validate his running those races in NW/trucks so he can improve his driving skills and do better in Cup?
Terry Blount (2:02 PM)
Not to me it doesn't. He needs to leave the minors to the guys trying to move up.
Kyle looks is in the lower half in the Chase standings just like every other year. Thought he had matured?
Terry Blount (2:03 PM)
He's only 15 points behind Turk. He still has a excellent chance to win it all.
Jamie (Sneads Ferry, NC) [via mobile]
Terry, Will this be the yeat that a driver wins the championship without winning any of the chase races?
Terry Blount (2:04 PM)
That's a very interesting question. I hadn't thought about that. It's possible, but I doubt it.
I can't remember the last multi-car wreck. Can you?
Terry Blount (2:05 PM)
Watkins Glen maybe, but Dega is looming.
Looks like there will be a lot of news this offseason with drivers and sponsors coming and going. More than normal.
Terry Blount (2:06 PM)
More sponsors than drivers. Most drivers are staying put, but some sponsors are leaving or going elsewhere.
Yes Dover had a lot of empty seats but that is mainly because they have 133,000 seats. Their estimated attendance of 80-90,000 is about where most other tracks have been lately. I also think that the cold weather and the Philly football game at the same time didn't help.
Terry Blount (2:07 PM)
First, that attendance estimate is ridiculously high. Yes, Dover is the poster child for overbuilding, but I still say it doesn't deserve a Chase race and should have only one event.
Hi Terry, do you think Jr's 122 race losing streak consistency is part of the reason he is our favorite driver and do you think maybe if Rowdy Busch had Jr's consistently, consistency streaks that he could be more popular like Jr? Thank you,
Terry Blount (2:08 PM)
I don't quite understand the question, but Junior is NASCAR's most popular driver because of his name.
We're seeing sponsors of NW teams that don't use Cup drivers, Dollar General & 5-Hour Energy, leaving for cup teams. Is one reason because Cup drivers in NW get a lot of the TV screen time by dominating the races?
Terry Blount (2:13 PM)
This is a big issue. Dollar General may sponsor Kyle next year in NW. I have a major problem with that. This will kill the Nationwide series if NASCAR doesn't wise up and stop allowing Cup stars to dominate the series. And it disgusts me that Turner fired Reed when he's still in the title hunt and put in a Cup driver in Vickers. This is a sign of doom. If Dollar Genenel wants to move up to Cup, that's fine. But if they move to sponsor a Cup driver in NW, that's a travesty.
Braves Fan (NC)
With Jr. out of championship contention do you think people lose interest in NASCAR like we did when the Braves missed the chase?
Terry Blount (2:15 PM)
Wow. No problem with you being a Braves fan, but I don't think the vast majority of the nation lost interest in the baseball playoffs because Atlanta didn't make it. However, it is true that some NASCAR fans lose interest if Junior isn't a contender.
Austin Dillon in Sprint Cup? Danica, Dillon.......will Steven Wallace be next to "earn" a cup ride?
Terry Blount (2:17 PM)
I think Austin has earned everyting he's gotten. Yes, he's RC's grandson, but he's a heck of a racer (and a great kid) and may win the truck title this year. And his little bro, Ty, is even better from what I'm told. And I'm not one to rip in Danica. She isn't the best driver out there, but she's far from the worst.
Catch 22 (Maryland)
Who do you have in victory lane this weekend? Gimme your top 5, in order please.
Terry Blount (2:18 PM)
JJ, Harvick, Stewart, Gordon and Kurt.
Any insight to the Brian Vickers and RCR paring? I would love to see Vickers in a RCR car in 2012.
Terry Blount (2:20 PM)
Right now, they don't have the funding for a fourth car. I wouldn't count the Red Bull team out just yet. They still are talking to potential investors.
Why can't Dollar General Sponsor Ryan Truex at JGR? It makes me sick that they may leave for Kyle in NW and what makes me sicker that Turner dumped Reed for a cup guy. I was becoming a Turner fan with all their young drivers. I don't like what they did.
Terry Blount (2:21 PM)
I hope DG does sponors Truex. He's the real deal. What has to happen here is team owners have to have the guts to tell sponors they aren't going to put Cup guys in the NW cars. If a sponsor wants a Cup guy, they have to pony up in the Cup series.
Brian (Oklahoma City)
Why do you think that Kevin and DeLana Harvick ultimately decided to sell their Nationwide and Camping World Series teams?
Terry Blount (2:23 PM)
Mainly, I think they just dont't want the headaches of finding sponors and they have concerns about the future of the Truck series.
Catch 22 (Maryland)
Whats the official rule on restarts? Do you wait for the leader or the green flag?
Terry Blount (2:24 PM)
You got when the leader goes (he has a designated spot marked on the outside wall where he can accelerate) but you can't pass him until after the start-finish line.
Will we ever get the true story with Reed? Okay so DG is leaving. What is dumping the guy 3rd in points going to prove?
Terry Blount (2:25 PM)
One things is they had issues with Reed criticizing the team recently. Really? Someone in Cup would get fired every week if thwat were the reason.
Shawn (Gastonia, NC USA (Currently in Emmaboda, Sweden))
Hey Terry! You are very vocal about the Cup drivers in the lower series and we know there's really no good solution when you take sponsorship and ticket sales into account. If you were the president of NASCAR for one day and could make a decision on that and not catch any grief for the repercussions, what would it be?
Terry Blount (2:28 PM)
I would limit the Cup guys to 15 NW races a year. That's plenty, and each track still would have one of two Cup drivers in the race to help sell tickets. I would increase the purse in NW races and tell Cup drivers they can't earn the money in the races. It has to go to the full-drive drivers split up among the field. If you did the latter, you probably wouldn't need to do the former.
Nascar should just stop paying purse money to Cup drivers.
Terry Blount (2:29 PM)
If you mean in NW and Trucks, Amen Larry.
Saul (San Diego)
What is the future of the IRL? It appears that no one really follows it, unless it is the Indy 500.
Terry Blount (2:31 PM)
It's a mixed bag. They've done some good things and attendance was up this year at the Indy 500. However, I think it's a big mistake to add more road and street courses. I know attendance is down at the ovals, but IndyCar will become CART 2 if they go down this path of eliminating ovals.
Joanne (Ft. Myers)
With Rowdy and Jr. out of championship contention what will ESPN do to keep fans interested for the next 7 weeks?
Terry Blount (2:32 PM)
Interest has been way up, and Kyle is a long way from out of it. I wouldn't even say Jr. if completely out of it. I think what will keep people interested in the closeness of the Chase. It's closer than ever before.
Terry, do you think the Chase adds anything to the NASCAR series? I personally never thought a "playoff" format really fit the sport. Would you keep it if given the choice or how would you improve it?
Terry Blount (2:34 PM)
Absolutely I would keep it. It was the right thing to do. I know some tradionalists hate it, but it has brought tons a media attention to sponsors and drivers that they never would have receivbed without it. Every major sport has a playoff. NASCAR is a major sport, too.
Terry, more impressive comeback this past Sunday: Carl from being laps down to finish 3rd, or the Lions taking down the Cowboys in the fourth quarter?
Terry Blount (2:35 PM)
Oooh. Good question. I'll go with Carl. He didn't get any help from Tony Romo.
After the repaving of Kansas,how do you think will effort the chase?
Terry Blount (2:37 PM)
I assume you mean Phoenix, not Kansas. The Phoenix race will have a lot of unknowns. The driver were complaining yesterday at the test about how slick the new surface is, and it's also reconfigured. It's going to a a wildcard for the next to last race, but I like that.
How do you think the bigger ristrictore plate will effort the racing at talladega,will we be seeing more Side by side racing or is this an end of a two car tango?
Terry Blount (2:39 PM)
It won't be the end of pairs racing, but it could limit it a little. I think the chances will make the racing more dangerous. More horsepower will make the pushing wilder, along with the fact that they can't use the lubricant on the bumpers.
88Nation (Lewisburg, PA)
looks like Jr. finishes the season winless and on a zero for 129 losing streak. What does Mr. H do for next year or is this as good as it's gonna get? thanks
Terry Blount (2:40 PM)
Junior still could win befoe the season ends. But I don't expect any major chances. The pairing with Letarte has worked well. The team is vastly improved, even if Jr. doesn't win this year.
Rick (Sterling Heights)
Terry, can't agree more with you on the NW series. I barely follow it anymore because its much less of a developmental series. Cup drivers crowd out most of the field in some races. Do NASCAR officials see this at all as being a problem? I'm not sure where they stand on this issue (if the even think it is one).
Terry Blount (2:43 PM)
Frankly, I think they have their heads in the sand a little over this. Tey think having the Cup guys winning NW races is good because it brings attention to the series,. My feeling is the NW regulars would become stars if they were winning races. NASCAR took a step in the right direction by having NW-only guys run for the title this year, but it doesn't help much if Cup guys still win almost all the races.
Saul (San Diego)
Will Letarte and the over the wall gang rebound in Kansans?
Terry Blount (2:43 PM)
Maybe. They ran well there in the first race this year, but that was a fuel mileage thing.
jimmie johnson (5 time, usa)
how come you don't answer my questions?
Terry Blount (2:44 PM)
Because JJ has all the answers.
I agree with your statement regarding sponsorship for Cup drivers in NW series. You want the big boys, sponsor the big series. When you think about it, Cup teams are shooting themselves in the foot on this deal. Do you see it happening, cause I don't???
Terry Blount (2:45 PM)
Sadly, I don't see it changing. Owners only see the money that sponors are offering is they will put a Cup guy in the NW car. They are shooting themselves in the foot and not consiering the long-term damage.
Rick (Evansville, IN )
What's the general atomsphere in regards to Clint's comments about Michael Waltrip in Bristol a few years ago now that he is going MWR?
Terry Blount (2:46 PM)
Money talks and you know what walks Rick. Mikey is smart enough to know Clint is the best thing that could happen for MWR and not to let a heat-of-the-moment comment years ago stop him from doing the right thing for the organization.
Brendan (Orange, CA)
Your thoughts on the NHRA Countdown so far?
Terry Blount (2:48 PM)
Outstanding. The Funny Car race is wide open. And three guys still have a good shot in Top Fuel. I admit I'm surprised at how well Spencer Massey has done. And I know a lot of people would love to see Hagan win the FC title after losing it on the last day last year.
dz (nowhere, nm)
i now it's a few weeks away but i'm already excited to watch the race at phx intl raceway. just saying...
Terry Blount (2:49 PM)
I think everone is because no one knows for sure what might happen. It's sort of like Dega without all the wrecking.
Why are people acting like Bowyer, Reed, Vickers, Ragan, Martin, Sadler are something special as drivers? Don't the lower tier drivers always get weeded out?
Terry Blount (2:51 PM)
I wouldn't call Bowyer and Martin lower tier drivers. It's isn't just about ability. Sometimes it's about money and who can bring money to a team.
I guess Pocono announced a repaving project to be completed before next year's spring race. Will that do anything to the racing at that track?
Terry Blount (2:54 PM)
You bet it will. A repave always changes things. But in this case, change is good. Goodness knows that place could use something to add some drama. And it's also good the Pocono races next year will be only 400 miles. I give people in charge credit for making some changes in the right direction. And a repave on a 2.5-mile track is an enormously expensive project.
Parker (Tallahassee, FL)
is it realistic that we could see kahne winning a sprint cup in the future?
Terry Blount (2:54 PM)
Yes it is. Listen, Kasey is going to go great things at Hendrick. Mark it down.
Do you think Harvicks consistency, run 10th every week chase strategy will snake bite that team?
Terry Blount (2:56 PM)
Consistency is what wins the Chase. But you have to average better than 10th. Right now Kevin is averaging 8.0. Carl is averaging 5.0 and JJ is on the move. Top 5s win the Chase, and a win or two.
Do you see that Tony stewart possibly running a 3 car team next year with Danica and Mark Martin ?
Terry Blount (2:57 PM)
He wants to do it, but they don't ahve the sponsorship right now for Martin to run the races DP doesn't run. And Mark would be great for Danica as a coach.
If Stewart or Newman are mathmatically eliminated by Phoenix do you think they will put Danica in either the #14 or the #39 for the Phoenix race since that is her home race?
Terry Blount (2:59 PM)
No. And I was told yesterday by SHR and Hendrick they have no plans to race Danica in a Cup car at Phx or Homestead.
If you had to choose only one to cover, which do you choose?? Superbowl, MLB Final, NBA Final, NHL Final game, or NASCAR Championship weekend? Or other?
Terry Blount (3:01 PM)
I've covered them all except the Stanley Cup. Six Super Bowls, two World Series, three NBA Finals and four Finals fours, and may bowl games, along with NASCAR, of course. There is nothing quite like covering a Super Bowl.
Matt R. (Pittsburgh)
Gah! I almost missed the BRSiR! With the new EFI engines, how much turn-over will there be in terms of personnel? Will the team engine builders/tuners have to learn and adapt or will it be wholesale changes? What impact will there be to the smaller teams with fewer resources?
Terry Blount (3:03 PM)
You didn't miss it Matt. I'll hang around a little longer. I don't think the switch to fuel injection will cause a major shake-up.
dz (nowhere, nm)
any chance you will be in the 2012 espn body magazine?
Terry Blount (3:05 PM)
Ha! Not unless they go with an over-50 issue. I won't rival Carl's washboard stomach, but hey, I have lost 34 pounds recently to get back to my playing weight.
Terry Blount (3:06 PM)
Gotta go folks. Great BRSiR today. Some big-time questions by you guys. Have a great week. Peace.