Chat with Terry Blount
An excerpt from Blount's new book can be read here.
Send in your questions now and join Terry at 2 p.m. ET on Tuesday!
Terry Blount (1:59 PM)
Hi folks. Glad people are debating about the book. That's kind of the point for doing it. But it's all in fun and not meant as a slight on anyone.
Dave ( NC)
I am currently reading the book and I find it interesting and entertaining. The simplest and least relevant part of the book bugs me though. For underrated paint schemes you have JR's #8 Bud car, which I've never heard anyone give anything but praise about, and two Gordon cars. Were there not more underrated schemes out there from other then 2 of the biggest in the sport? Also, your reason for the #17 being overrated wasn't really a reason, it was just because.I am not a Roush guy, but does that scheme not fit the sponser and driver rather well? Other then that, great job on the book.
Terry Blount (2:01 PM)
Thank you Dave. That last chapter was the most fun to do. Honestly, I just picked a few schemes I could make fun of and make it funny, or make some type of point on the underrated ones. .
Johnny (NYC, NY)
Terry -- I read the excerpt from your book...very interesting and insightful! I am looking forward to getting the hard copy! The one thing I was wondering...when you said nobody could match Petty's record # of starts...what about some of these young guys like Busch and Logano. I realize they are a world away, but with guys starting their careers so young now, its conceivable that they could reach the number...especially if they stick around until their fiftees? No matter what, you are right, its an enormous number!
Terry Blount (2:03 PM)
Thanks Johnny. You're right. It is physically possible that a guy like Logano could do it if he drives full time until he's 50. But I think that's unlikely these days because these guys make so much money they will quit earlier and won't race every event when they're eligible for AARP.
Rich ( Wisconsin)
Will Matt Kenseth ever get any credit? He is not the most talented or flashy driver, but how many times can you say you've seen jimmie, edwards, gordon, kyle busch or any of the other stars take a 30th place car that wasn't dramatically improved over the coarse of a race (Chad Knaus style) and finish 10th. Every preseason article I read is that he's past his prime, or he's not good enough to compete now or he's so bitter with Edwards success it's hurting his career. Either I'm totally missing reality or allot of others are.
Terry Blount (2:06 PM)
I agree Rich. Matt definely isn't past his prime. It all depends on how things go wih his new crew chief _ Blickensderfer. That's really painful to spell. Anyway, if they hit it off immediately, and a lot of people I talk to in Cup think they will, Matt could get that second title.
Zach (Chicago, IL)
Hey Terry, have not yet read the book, just picked it up today! Plan on reading it this weekend. That being said, where do you think Jeff Gordon comes out in terms of best of all time? Also how do you feel about his chances at Daytona and at making another legitimate title run in '09 and beyond?
Terry Blount (2:09 PM)
Jeff didn't come out overrated or underrated, but I did list him as No. 5 all-time. Jeff really wants to prove last year was a fluke and I hope he does. But I'm not convinced he will. As for Daytona, I think his chances are as good as anyone.
TB, What is your impression on the owner points swap meet that is going on?
Terry Blount (2:10 PM)
Absolutely ridiculous. This has to stop. An MIT mathematician couldn't keep up with it. I'm a big proponent of eliminating the top 35 rule.
Lewis in New York,NY your colleague
Congrats on the book. Now tell us the truth, where are the out-takes?
Terry Blount (2:12 PM)
Thanks Lewis. I would have had you in there if I used all the out-takes, so you were spared. In a way, the whole book is out-takes.
jason (raleigh nc)
urthought on riggs in 09...how do u think he will do with the new team....alot to prove but enough expierence to do it
Terry Blount (2:13 PM)
If they finish a race in the top 20 it would be a major accomplishment. There's a long way to go there.
Jeff (East Bay, CA)
Terry, I've heard great things so far about how Stewart-Haas' organization is shaping up. Have you gotten much exposure to them so far? What do you think Newman's potential is this year? Also, did they ever find another primary sponsor to accompany Army?
Terry Blount (2:15 PM)
Not yet, but they are confident it will fill in. I was impressed with what I saw at their shop on the media tour. But I'm still not convinced that can race up front consistently this year. It takes time to turn things around, and they will eventually.
Do you expect big things from Jamie McMurray this year?
Terry Blount (2:17 PM)
He was on fire at the end of last season, but it all depends on how things go with new crew chief Donnie Wingo. They had some solid years together at Ganassi, but that was a different car. I'd tell Donnie just don't fix what isn't broken.
Dale Jr. in 09, what do you expect out of him?
Terry Blount (2:18 PM)
I definitely expect improvement and think he can compete for the title as long as they don't make poor decisions during a race, something that happend too often last year.
Terry - Can't wait to get your book. I am heading down to Daytona next week and need something to read. My question relates to everyone rating Edwards over Johnson. Is this more of a case of no one believes that someone can win 4 in a row or that the 99 team is really better than the 48 team?
Terry Blount (2:20 PM)
It's a little of both. It's human nature to want to root for someone else to win. And some think the odds are against JJ. But Carl was the most consistent from start to finish last year.
Chris (Richmond, VA)
Hey Terry, Last winter while my brother was in Vegas, he asked me for a "long-shot" to put money on to win the Championship. I told him Kyle Busch, who was 12-1 at the time, which while it didn't work out for him, the bet was a pretty good for much of the season. It also got him (a non-fan) into the sport. Anyway, he e-mailed me again for a different "long-shot" (i.e. someone at 10-1 or lower odds) for this season. I gave him two names: David Ragan and Brian Vickers. Are these good picks or no? On a different topic, I look forward to picking up your book to read. Any sort of book tour lined up?
Terry Blount (2:22 PM)
I would pick David Ragan, Jack Roush thinks he can become as good as anyone who ever raced in Cup. Quite a statement, but it tells you how much they believe in him.
Jeff (East Bay, CA)
From a team/crew perspective, a change of scenery for Newman will be greatly beneficial...True or false?
Terry Blount (2:23 PM)
Absolutely. Things were not good (chemistry-wise) the last half of the 2008 season at Penske. Ryan is smiling from ear to ear these days.
Ripley, Mississippi [via mobile]
Has the 2009 schedule been decieded and when will it be posted ?
Terry Blount (2:24 PM)
The 09 sked has been posted for months. Do you mean 2010?
Karen (Chicago, IL)
I noticed that your book also talks about tracks. With Daytona right around the corner, how do like it as a venue?
Terry Blount (2:25 PM)
It's No. 1 in my book, expecially since they rebuilt the infield with the new garage area. But I listed Texas as the most underrated facility.
Chris D. (Washington, DC)
Terry, curious as to your thoughts on Harvick's chances this year. Does RCR have what it takes to win a title in 2009? Thanks!
Terry Blount (2:27 PM)
RCR needs to find a little more horsepower to compete with Hendrick, Gibbs and RFR. They are just a tick off at some races. If they do, Harvick or Burton could win it.
Where can I get the book? It sounds very interesting.
Terry Blount (2:28 PM)
It hits all the major bookstores this week, but you also can order it online at Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, etc. And you can order it at the bottom of my ESPN.com columns.
Chris D. (Alexandria, VA)
Terry, what NASCAR track do you think deserves more Sprint Cup races, and which track do you think deserves fewer races? My votes would be for Kentucky and California, respectively.
Terry Blount (2:30 PM)
Good points on both ends. I rated Cali (Auto Club Speedway) as the most overrated, but NASCAR wants two races in the LA market. Kentucky will get a race when the lawsuit is settled or dropped.
2 Questions Terry, Do you see Kasey Kahne making a splash this year in the chase? And do you see Tony Stewart's program @ Stewart Hass giving him at least a win and/or a spot in the 12 man chase field this season?
Terry Blount (2:31 PM)
Don't see Kasey making the Chase. I think Tony will get a win, but making the Chase is a much tougher task.
Jake (Manhatta, KS)
out of the new start up teams which team do you think has the best chance at winning a race this year?
Terry Blount (2:33 PM)
Don't know that any of the start-up teams can win this year, but it would be cool (and good for the sport) if one did. If I had to pick one, I'd say Ambrose could win a road-course race.
jacob (va beach)
who wins at daytona?
Terry Blount (2:35 PM)
I'm a sentimental guy, so I'll go with Mark Martin. That would be cool, and he could tell me I told you so.
How many times will Toyota cheat this year?
Terry Blount (2:36 PM)
Oh fake Jack, you know that "ankle-biting chihuahua" can't hurt you.
Hi Terry, What is all the hype about the new Dodge nose. I thought they all had to be basically the same on the COT?
Terry Blount (2:38 PM)
It's a very slight difference between the models. But the Dodge guys think they will have a little more downforce. What they really have to worry about is whether Chyrlser stays in business.
Chuck (Chicago, IL)
JGR seemed to fade at the end of the year. Do you see them starting off as strong as they did in the first half of last year this season?
Terry Blount (2:39 PM)
They probably won't start as strong, but I think they will finish better. That's the key and being consistent is what they've worked on.
Terry, first off I enjoyed the book. What have you heard about the new Ford engine and will we ever get a Cup track in Denver?
Terry Blount (2:41 PM)
Thanks JR. Roush is a little hesitant to go with the new engine until he's sure it's better than the one they have. They probably will use it in some ARCA events first. NASCAR wants a track in Denver, but the economy has put a halt to all track expansion plans for now.
Chris (Richmond, VA)
Do you think that Sadler and Allmendinger peacefully coexist given this past off-season? I bet RPR has the most awkward meetings this year.
Terry Blount (2:42 PM)
They want be sending each other Christmas cards, but both guys are professionals and will handle it with class for the good of the organization.
Jake (Manhattan, KS)
Do you think all of the races will have a 43 car field?
Terry Blount (2:45 PM)
I'm starting to believe they will because of all the independent teams that have registered at the R&D Center in the off-season. Cali and Vegas will be the real tests because it costs so much to transport cars and employees out there. One thing we'll see is fewer teams racing the full sked.
terry, It seems to me that since Jeff Gordon became a father he has lost a bit of his "racing edge". Would you agree? If not what is your opinion on why he is not winning races?
Terry Blount (2:47 PM)
Great question. I've seen this so many times over the years. Great drivers reach a point where they just aren't as agressive as they were in the past. They have too much to lose _ family, money and a great life. I'm not saying Gordon has reached that point, but I wouldn't blame him if he had.
Tank Durbin (Pewee Valley, KY)
Terry, what do you make of the circus that was Bobby Labonte's perceived offseason move to DEI and then abrupt shift to Hall of Fame Racing? Do you think the 96 car gives him a better/equal/worse opportunity to contend every week as compared to last year in the 43 car? Thank you.
Terry Blount (2:50 PM)
It was all about the sponsor. Bobby knew the 96 had a new primary sponsor coming in. EGR wanted him to drive an unsporsored car, hoping his name would bring sponsorship. He's taking over a car that was terrible last year, but it will be better with Yates /Roush backing.
T.J. In manteno, il [via mobile]
Hey Terry, excited to read the book! Does Brian Vickers sneak into the chase this year?
Terry Blount (2:51 PM)
It wouldn't shock me. I think Red Bull is a team on the rise. In my book, I rated Jay Frye as NASCAR's most underrated team executive.
Andrew Somerset, KY
Tell me about Clint Bowyer. New crew chief and car. Is he a chase guy, or too much overhaul for one year?
Terry Blount (2:53 PM)
Frankly, I think Clint got the shaft this year. He lost everyone on his team except one guy and he doesn't have owner's points. If he makes the Chase, he should be considered for Driver of the Year.
Jonathan (Birmingham, AL)
Last season, JPM led the circuit in DNF's and it killed his chances following his good run at Dega in the spring. Will the new team and better equipment be enough for him to actually contend for a Chase spot this season?
Terry Blount (2:55 PM)
I'm not sur how much better his equipment is with all the uncertainty at EGR. But I think Truex can help JPM show a litte more consistency and avoid some of those DNFs.
Here's a curveball. 5 current drivers you would enjoy hanging out with outside the track and why?
Terry Blount (2:57 PM)
I don't hang out wth drivers outside the track. I'm too old for their posse. But I'll give you five drivers I really respect as individuals _ Jeff Gordon, Jamie McMurray, Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards.
is there a 4PEAT this year?
Terry Blount (2:57 PM)
I say no, but I hope he goes to Homestead with a shot at it.
What do you think of Richard Petty Racing since the changes?
Terry Blount (2:59 PM)
I think it's wonderful that the Petty name survives, but team has a lot of work to do to reach championship caliber.
Terry Blount (3:00 PM)
Gotta run folks. Really enjoyed the questions today and thanks again for reading the book.