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 (1:20 PM)
Ray Evernham will be by at 1:30 p.m. ET to take all your questions!
Buzzmaster (1:32 PM)
We've got Ray!
Newman said that Tony Stewart is smarter than he thought. Is he smarter than you thought as well?
Ray Evernham (1:33 PM)
I don't know if Tony is smarter than I thought. Tony is a smart guy. He has a high racing IQ. Peope are smart at different things. Is Tony smart enough to sort out the national budget? I don't know. I don't know who is smart enough for that. But for racing, it's something I always knew he was smart enough to do.
Ray, what exactly is Ford's problem at Martinsville?? Is it the taller deck engine with excess weight that screws up what would otherwise be a good chassis set-up or is it simply the drivers??
Ray Evernham (1:34 PM)
That's a good point. THere's no doubt about it. The new Chevy is lighter. The new Toyota is smaller and lighter. So the center of gravity is different. It's good to share information, but when you've got good information, it's good. But when you've got bad information, it's bad for everyone.
Hi Ray. Is Johnson's win tainted by the way he "bumped" Hamlin in order to gain the lead, also with the way Smoke and now Newman have been racing how long before Stewart-Haas drives into victory lane
Ray Evernham (1:35 PM)
No. Jimmie clearly had the fastest car at that point in the race. Short track racing has contact. I know there are people who don't like that. I'm not a big fan of contact. It was kind of an aggressive move, but I don't think his intent was to knock him out of the way.
Frank (San Juan, PR)
Hi Ray, it seems to me that Jeff Gordon and Steve aren't able to close the deal. Do you think the problem lies in not being able to make the right adjustments to the car?
Ray Evernham (1:37 PM)
I think they're better than they were last year. I think they're communicating better. They're getting closer. I do think the communication during the race and communication about keeping up with the track as it changes is an area they need to work on. But I think they're making gains every week. I think they're continuing to improve.
Do you think Junior's slow start is over? Can you elaborate on the meeting they had with his team last week?
Ray Evernham (1:38 PM)
Rick Hendrick is a great leader. He has a very very good view and a unique way of putting things into perspective for everyone. They're continuing to improve on their communication. I'm sure he pointed out their weaknesses as well as their strengths so that they can help each other. I don't think it will be an instant change, it will be evolutionary.
ellis.. raleigh, nc
do u think drivers need to be more aggresive on the track? I enjoyed JJ and Hamlin going after it yesterday.
Ray Evernham (1:40 PM)
I agree. I thought yesterday was a good mix. I saw some aggressive driving, but I didn't see anyone being stupid with risks. And there is a difference. I think the level of talent is very high and the level of respect they're showing each other is good. I agree it was a good level of aggressiveness. I enjoy seeing aggressive driving. I don't think Jimmie's intent to knock Hamlin out of the way.
Garrett ( West Virginia)
Ray, where does Jeff Gordon have the best chance to end his winless streak?
Ray Evernham (1:41 PM)
History tells us that he just left the two race tracks that would have given him the best opportunity. He doesn't have a win in Texas, so maybe it's time it comes. I think his first win will come from a place that we don't expect. And I think Texas is one of the few places where he hasn't won.
Jimmie Johnson doesn't mind testing ban. Do you mind it?
Ray Evernham (1:42 PM)
I think it's what needs to be done to go along with the economical issues the sport, the country and the world are dealing with right now. As the economy comes around, I think there should be controlled testing. The ban has helped some people and hurt others. I do agree that economically it is the right thing to do right now.
Do you think David Reutimann is showing major improvements?
Ray Evernham (1:43 PM)
I think that team is hitting their stride very well. David has done well and so has Marcos. They're doing a good job as a company and David is leading that charge. I think Rodney Childress has made a difference in that organization.
will reed fall out of the top 35 at texas
Ray Evernham (1:44 PM)
I don't think so. I think it's just taking them a while to hit their stride. But if you look at Reed, he's been able to make the top 35 in points throughout his career. But right now, he's just not hit his stride over there at RPM.
Good afternoon Ray. As an expert on HMS . if you only had one area or thing to point out, what is the one thing that HMS does that sets them apart from everyone else when it comes to Martinsville?
Ray Evernham (1:46 PM)
The first thing, and foremost, what I think everyone needs to always remember, is the thing that sets them apart is Hendrick himself. He's an amazing person. At Martinsville, they used to build specific engine combinations. They worked very hard to get their cars to handle and drive off with good forward bite.
Shayne - Syracuse, NY [via mobile]
Hey Ray... Do you think Brian Vickers has a chance at making the chase this year?
Ray Evernham (1:47 PM)
I think so. I think that they certainly have a shot. They're going to have to have everything go perfectly right for them. When you look at the Chase, there are the top 7-8 guys that are solid and like last year there are the 8-12 guys who anyone could do better any weekend.
There are reports that Petty can't afford to run Allmendinger all year. What are your thoughts on that?
Ray Evernham (1:48 PM)
I think that they have found sponsorship to run him through May. If they can continue to run like they have, I think the sponsorships will come and they'll be able to keep him around.
Smoke (Fleetwood PA)
Ray giving the success of Stewart-Haas racing so far in the young season, how many wins will Stewart have this year, and how soon will first be.
Ray Evernham (1:49 PM)
Oh, I never predict wins because there are so many outside factors. I think Tony will be in the position to win and have the chance to win several more times this year. Whether he wins, a lot of things will determine that. It's impressive that Tony was in position to win this weekend and I think you'll see that several more times this year.
Ray Evernham (1:49 PM)
Thanks for some really great questions. I think that we are really headed toward a good place for the NASCAR season. Keep the questions coming. Look forward to some more chatting!