Chat with NASCAR Now's Ray Evernham
Known for years as one of the best crew chiefs in the business, helping Jeff Gordon gain his championship foothold, Evernham has gone on to success as a car owner, including Kasey Kahne's current ride, and on air with ESPN.
A true NASCAR insider with connections throughout the racing world, Evernham is the perfect guy to talk about the first two weeks of the season and everything else going on in NASCAR.
Send in your questions below and stop by at 1:30 p.m. ET on Monday!
Buzzmaster (1:26 PM)
NASCAR Now's Ray Evernham will be here at 1:30 p.m. ET to take your questions!
Buzzmaster (1:38 PM)
what do you think of Tony Stewart and his team so far.And do you think he will win.
Ray Evernham (1:39 PM)
I think they could absolutely get a win. It's very very tough. I think he'll experience the ups and downs. But overall, I think they're on track for a new team. Tony's probably worried about getting Ryan's car on track, but the team has shown that it has competitive equipment.
danny woodleaf n.c.
From what I have seen so far this year,like last tires are ruining the racing. How can teams get a handle on this car if tires are not consistant????
Ray Evernham (1:40 PM)
I think that there have been tire issues, no doubt. Goodyear has taken heat for that, no doubt. With that said, I think they've made steps continuing to improve the tire. I do know that Goodyear is working on a new tire specifically for the COT.
Should Jimmie Johnson keep his beard?
Ray Evernham (1:41 PM)
(laughs) I don't know. He's not running good with it. He looks good with it. Looks pretty tough. I think Jimmie and Chad use the first part of the season to learn some things and then the second part to step up when they need to.
Brian (Lewiston, Idaho)
I hate the chase format. I dont care about exciting at the end of season. I want excitment all season, really these first 26 dont matter. Last year proves that with the 48 team.
Ray Evernham (1:43 PM)
Oh boy. You could take an argument from either side. I was more about the traditional side, but became a fan of the Chast as an owner. The Chase provides an opportunity for others. With the points championship, when you got down to it, there were only 2-3 teams racing for the championship. But you don't get a super race every weekend. But not every football game, baseketball game is not great either. But whether it's Chase or not Chase, there have been some great races.
Greg (Meredith, New Hampshire)
With Kahne able to run in the top five at Atlanta and Kurt dominating, do you believe it is the engine or the setup that's causing the disparity?
Ray Evernham (1:44 PM)
I think probably both. Certainly the new Dodge engine has potential. I knew that when I was with that program. Roger Penske's group got with them early, so they have been with it and know it well.
Brian (South Boston, MA)
Mr. Evernham, how long do you think it will take Jeff Gordon to end this streak and finally get a win? And, do you think he can win a championship without getting a win if by some slim chance he does not get a win this season?
Ray Evernham (1:45 PM)
It's hard to win the Chase without winning a race. Not impossible, but hard. Jeff has plenty of race wins in him. I think you'll see him to get Victory Lane. Every time I come up here, they tell me that it's 75 up here in Boston, when does it get nice so I can come up there?
Paul from Tucson, Arizona
Ray, It seems that the "regular season" of NASCAR Sprint cup is all about winning and chase seeding. Are teams changing strategy to win races as opposed to being more consistent? Thanks, Paul Tucson, Arizona
Ray Evernham (1:46 PM)
I think so. Absolutely. I think teams are after wins, because they can afford to give up a few points - if it's gambling for a win or finishing 7-8. That's really what the Chase is about.
Rick (Pittsburgh, PA)
What happened to JPM this weekend!? His car was running some very good times in Practices, and even Qualified 4th, but dropped like a rock as soon as the green flag waved...
Ray Evernham (1:47 PM)
It's such a fine line to get speed in Atlanta. If your car gets loose, it's miserable to drive. I've seen the track change a bit from track day to race day. If it goes to an extremely loose car in Atlanta, you can have a miserable day.
paul (queens, NYC)
How is it that one car on any given day is that much better than everyone else? like yesterday.
Ray Evernham (1:48 PM)
Every once in a while, you get everything perfect for you. You're at a track that your driver likes. If fits your engine combination, your chassi combination. You ahve to enjoy that when it happens, because it doesn't happen all that often.
If a guy leads the last lap and wins, how many more points should that be than to lead every other lap and come in 2nd? In other words...is there enough of a bonus for winning other than the "Chase" Bonus?
Ray Evernham (1:49 PM)
In my opinion, no. I've always felt there should be a bigger bonus for wins. If you win the race and the guy in second leads the most laps, it's only like 10 points. I think if you win, you should get 25 points.
Brian (Hsv, AL)
Is Nascar going to do anything with these COT cars on 1.5 mile tracks. At 95 laps yesterday the 10th place car was about to get lapped. Thats rediculous and boring racing.
Ray Evernham (1:51 PM)
Yeah, it wasn't the greatest race, but that does happen sometimes in Atlanta. I can't explain it. The cars out front seem to catch up fairly quickly. If you're a little bit off, you lose some speed. I did notice that yesterday. I don't know what NASCAR can do. It's something we've been struggling with for years with aerodynamics. The COT seems less sensitive to that.
Trevor, Clearwater, FL
What's your impression of the Jr. and Tony Jr. relationship? I t seems that they're both good at what they do, but, it may be better to separate them to get some more objectivity....your thoughts?
Ray Evernham (1:52 PM)
I'm not really close enough to either one of them to understand the inner workings. But as an outsider, I think they could use some coaching or marriage counseling at times. I do think that Junior is certainly talented enough to win championships. But they seem to have a communication problem. Some times, I think the lack of respect they have for each other on the radio might cause them to not do well during the race.
Nathan (Harrisburg, NC) [via mobile]
Ray, wouldnt it be the right thing if Nascar called a complimentary caution right after the pit road incidient with the tire? (wouldnt be lapped cars)
Ray Evernham (1:54 PM)
Oh boy, that was just a real bad deal. When they did that, it put a bunch of guys a lap down. With scoring, when it happens, it happens. NASCAR has never really gone back and fixed anything once it happens. Being caught up in it is just bad luck. I've never seen NASCAR rescind a caution.
With all the safety inovations now is'nt time that Nascar gives some freedom back to the teams as far as creativity in the cars ?
Ray Evernham (1:55 PM)
I would like to see some creativity given back to the guys. With the COT, with the way it's built, it's taken care of some of the issues. I'd like to see them give some of that back. It's not going to cost any money. But certainly places they go to, they control the shocks and springs. I'd like to see them give some of that back to the guys.
I think Bobby Labonte will be in victory real soon, that's if the Roush-Fenway / Yates engine guys can get their act together. What do you think?
Ray Evernham (1:56 PM)
I think he can. There's a good pairing with him. I'm sure the Roush-Yates engine combination will get it squared away. Very good possibilty you will see him in Victory Lane.
Chad Zimmerman (Hillsboro, IL)
What are ways teams can cut costs to help them during this time of struggle? Not including what NASCAR has done to help them.
Ray Evernham (1:57 PM)
Well, certainly everyone is looking at their fixed costs. They've cut out the frills. They've looked at their travel. One of the first things that gets cut is R+R. No different then every other business, you've got to look at all areas. There are many teams doing that. They're not using their own airplanes, they're flying commercial. The no testing policy has helped. A lot of teams are pooling their resources to get as much out of the money that they're spending.
Ray Evernham (1:58 PM)
Thanks to you fans. I enjoy the chats. We had some great questions. Looking forward to going to Bristol, with the first short track race.