Chat with Ryan McGee
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, Ryan McGee will stop by to chat about the 2009 NASCAR season.
McGee, a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine, is the author of "ESPN Ultimate NASCAR: 100 Defining Moments in Stock Car Racing History." For the '09 season, he will be putting together the NASCAR Power Rankings for ESPN.com.
Send your questions now and join McGee Monday at 2 p.m. ET!
Ryan McGee (2:01 PM)
What's up folks, after a two-week hiatus the Internet's biggest and baddest motorsports block party is back online. So grab a cold beverage and a fire up the question machine. And how about another round of applause for two-time Busch, er, Nationwide Series champ Randy Lajoie. I still can't get used to him without the mustache...
Wade (Jacksonville, FL)
The announcement of Tryson leaving Kurt Busch's team didn't seem to phase Kurt Saturday night when he finished 2nd spot and looked like a championship competitor. Can the Miller Lite dodge team step up and deliver a championship despite the crew chief change?
Ryan McGee (2:03 PM)
Yes they can. Pat is staying on board through the end of the year and both Tryson and Busch have done the lame duck thing. Kurt was pretty quick to say that he understood it was simply a business decision for Pat and gave him props for turning the team around back in '07.
Even though the TV ratings the last couple of years have said otherwise, I think Nascar has done the right thing by adding the Chase. If there was no Chase, Mark Martin wouldn't have a shot at a championship despite tying for the most wins in the first 26 races.
Ryan McGee (2:04 PM)
Yep. And we'd already be engraving Tony Stewart's trophy despite the fact that he has been going backwards for the last month. People who say they don't like the Chase clearly don't remember all those snoozer championship "battles" that ended by Halloween and made the last half-dozen races of the season totally meanlingness.
Ryan, I know you are a Petty fan, so what do you think of this merger, i'm sorry "takeover"? You know, the king comes off as a pretty good person, and I'm sure he is, but he can also come off as a bit arrogant. #1 Why does the team keep his name? 2 Why does he say that they will use Roush-Yates engines, when reps from Roush say there has been no talk of that? 3 How much is Jack Roush going to enjoy Petty trying to bully everyone at Ford, using Kasey (overrated) Kahne and his name as leverage? The whole thing just smells fishy to me. Sorry to hate on your guy Ryan, but sometimes I think it would be better to let Gilette speak for him.
Ryan McGee (2:07 PM)
I hear you Mike. The King is one of the most supremely confident people on the planet and sometimes it does come off a little cocky. That being said...
Ryan McGee (2:07 PM)
1. The team took the name Richard Petty Motorsports purely for marketing and sales purposes. The Gilletts are smart people and they know that the Petty name opens doors that their name does not.
Ryan McGee (2:08 PM)
2. and 3. Don't overestimate his pull and power within the RPM organization. He gets a vote on stuff like engines and competition, but it's only one vote among about a dozen.
Mcgee,How do you really think Kahne feels about being back with Ford in 2010?
Ryan McGee (2:10 PM)
I think that he's not entirely comfortable with it all because the wounds are still fresh from some of things that were said during the Kahne vs. Ford/Yates contractual lawsuit. But he's handled it well so far and if he gets that Roush-Yates horsepower he won't have a problem with any of it.
With Kyle out of the chase hasn't the season lost 50% of the star power?
Ryan McGee (2:11 PM)
Uh, no. Gordon, Martin, Stewart, Johnson, etc... There's plenty of star power going on.
What should we expect from Kyle Bush of the last 10 races?
Ryan McGee (2:11 PM)
I think he will drive relieved. He already looked relieved after the Richmond race and I think he'll let it all hang out now. There's a better than average chance that he will lead the league in wins and finish 13th in points.
The other thing I want to point out is the consistency factor. Yes, you should be rewarded for wins, but also consistency and Kyle Busch just didn't have it the last 16 races, with only 5 top 10's and 3 of those were in the last 5 races.....that's why he's out of the hunt now. Stop blaming the system Ricky Craven!
Ryan McGee (2:13 PM)
Agreed. I wrote it in the ESPN.com Power Rankings this week (which I believe were just posted) - he may lead the league in wins, but he only has two more top tens than Marcos Ambrose. You win championships by maximizing you bad days. The 18 isn't very good at that.
Wouldn't it be interesting if the last 10 races were won by drivers not in the chase.
Ryan McGee (2:14 PM)
That would be awesome, but it'll never happen. Typically a non-Chase sneaks in and wins one or two (paging Joe Nemechek), but the Chase guys will win most of the races. Why? Because they are the best.
We admit that we are Kyle fans but it feels like with Kyle out of the chase that the season is over. Do you sense that too?
Ryan McGee (2:16 PM)
Heck no. I think he's going to win at least two more races. If 18 fans quit watching now that would be an insult to Kyle. The Dale Junior fan have hung in there for more than a year of losing, so the Shrub fans should be able to stick around ten more weeks!
thanks ryan, Also, does that affect the Budweiser sponsorship in the long run, it will take him some time to run good without practice right? Is Budweiser willing to stay with him through all that?
Ryan McGee (2:17 PM)
No doubt. Gillett is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, Bud distributor in the world.
Kenseth has really been negative about his team and threw them under the bus at Richmond. How long with Jack Rouch tollerate that kind of negativity?
Ryan McGee (2:19 PM)
I think Jack will listen. Matt is not a whiner, never has been. If he's complaining, then there's something to complain about. Yeah, they got two cars in the Chase, but Edwards was the preseason title favorite (according to my colleagues) and he hasn't won a race! And Biffle is hanging on for dear life. They've been behind since the second week of the season.
Scott (Manchester, NH)
Will Nascar go anything about broadcasters owning start and park teams? Phil Parsons owns 3 in the top two series and it has become a joke. Why does Nascar act like it is not happening?
Ryan McGee (2:21 PM)
Start and parks have been around since the beginning of stock car racing. They're just getting more attention now because of the economy and the larger amount of media attention. The only time I have a problem with them is when we have a deal like Dave Blaney at Bristol, wrecking cars trying to get to the back. He should have done that on the parade laps.
The drivers have a hose attached to their helmet this brings them air. Is that air conditioned or is it air just brought in from the outside? Thanks
Ryan McGee (2:22 PM)
Most guys have an air cooler in the car. There are ducts that bring outside air in, but after Rick Mast's bout with carbon monoxide poisoning (it's last a decade now) more guys went to the AC helmet.
Why do so many fans get so worked up over start-n-park teams? WGAF?
How come Nascar black flagged Matt Crafton for dumping Hornday at Iowa when Stewart didn't exactly the same thing to Kyle at Daytona and got away with no penalty?
Ryan McGee (2:23 PM)
Yo Morris, Crafton wasn't just in trouble for the Honrnaday thing. He was a weapon all night.
Ryan, what's up? It's my birthday.
Ryan McGee (2:24 PM)
Happy Birthday to you,Happy Birthday to you,Happy Birthday dear Clay-ay,Happy Birthday to you!
Cory (Geneva, IL)
How can you blame the start/parks? Blaney has an average finish of about 41st, but still has earned 1.7 million this season. Not shabby for driving around and qualifying. I'd do it to if I could.
Ryan McGee (2:25 PM)
Yeah, but they aren't seeing much of that $. Tommy Baldwin is making just enough to get back to the gtrack the next week. I liken start and parks to the Citadel playing at Florida. You have to be willing to get your brains beat in to get a big check and put that money back to build the program.
Good to see Pops Eury is ok after his accident. Did Matt Crafton wreck him too?
Ryan McGee (2:26 PM)
Nice. And yes, I'm glad Pops is okay. Got in a 2-car wreck last night but JR Motorsports told me a few minutes ago he's alright.
What up Ryan, Had a great weekend!!! Saw JPM get into the Chase. I can finally relax a bit and watch him go for the wins hopefully. What are his chances he finishes in the top 5 of the chase when it is all said and done and any ideas how I could meet JPM when they come to Texas in November. Def. going to that race now!!
Ryan McGee (2:28 PM)
And you of all people Felipe should kick back and soak it in. It's quite an accomplishment for an open racer in a second-tier ride. (BTW, what's up with Ganassi Saturday night calling out the media for picking on him? Dude, it's not my fault you had no horsepower for six years.)
The top 5 at the end of the year will be...
so is jimmie your favorite?
Ryan McGee (2:29 PM)
Two similar questions there. Yes, I think that the 48 is the favorite, but only if they get their act together at Loudon. They've been lost in the setup forest the last two weeks. Behind him I'll take the 24, 11, 5, and 14. But don't be surprised if the 42 is in the mix.
Ryan-A couple of weeks ago I picked up ESPN The Magazine from the rack while I was getting a haircut. There was exactly ONE page dedicated to NASCAR, but there were THREE pages dedicated to surfing!! Why doesn't NASCAR get more mainstream sports coverage?
Ryan McGee (2:31 PM)
Well, you need to pick up this week's issue. Tim Tebow from Florida is on the cover, but I have a five-page feature on whether or not it's time to start mentioning Jimmie Johnson as one of the all-time greats.
Ryan McGee (2:31 PM)
That being said, I was in Philadelphia yesterday and you would've never known that a race even took place on Saturday night. Drives me nuts.
Nick Rolando (Orlando)
Ryan, what about the rumors popping up that McMurray takes Sadelr's place at the new RPM? He deserves it more than Sadler does.
Ryan, funny that sadler is the only RPM driver not to comment on the merger thus far. I have a feeling he will not be there next year. You?
Ryan McGee (2:33 PM)
I have been hounding his business manager for the last month about that and he swears that ES is staying put. Simple fact of the matter is, someone is going to be left without a chair when the music stops and guys like Jamie Mac and Elliott, who have never fulfilled their once-great potential are the leading candidates.
Do you think Dale Jr is demoralized by having 5 fast teammates at Henrick plus all the really fast young guys like Denny and Kyle around?
Ryan McGee (2:34 PM)
How can Johnson be considered an all time great when he can't even win on a road course?
Ryan McGee (2:35 PM)
Since his rookie year of '02 he leads every major statstical category with the exception of $ won and he's the three-time defending champ. Plus, I seem to remember Dale Earnhardt Sr having a hell of a time finally winning a road course race. He won one.
Will Gibbs try to buy Vickers car and put Kyle into so Kyle will be in the chase? Or will Nascar come up with a winners provisional? How can Nascar get Kyle into the chase?
Ryan McGee (2:36 PM)
Now, that's funny. Kind of like when I Twittered after Michigan that NASCAR was considering a 1000-point bonus for finishing 3rd at Michigan (Dale Jr).
Emily (New Jersey)
Ryan, how in the world did Roush Fenway get so far behind? It can't just be the lack of testing this year. As a Carl fan, I have all but given up on any prospects of a title this year.
Ryan McGee (2:38 PM)
Every year it seems like either Roush or Hendrick miss at the beginning of the year and end up playing catch-up and this year it was Roush's turn. The difference is that in the past they could test their butts off 24/7 to get caught up. With the testing ban this year it has really hurt the teams that got off on the wrong foot. RCR is in that category as well.
Vickers earned alotof respect for making the chase didnt he? Congrats to red bull and toyota for sticking with him. the only thing i didnt like washis comment about going to the US Open lol, does he know football season started??
Ryan McGee (2:39 PM)
Yeah, he's supposed to be there today. He'd better be careful or Serena might come after him.
Remy (San Diego)
As 13th place finisher, does Kyle get invited to the awards banquet?
Ryan McGee (2:39 PM)
If he's still there at the end of the season, yes.
Remy (San Diego)
Is the Nascar Most Popular Driver award limited to only the chasers?
Ryan McGee (2:39 PM)
Is RCR on it's way to becoming the next Yates?
Ryan McGee (2:41 PM)
Nah. And you can tell that by just walking into the raceshops. Yates has been on the decline for a long while now and you can feel it when you go up there. Meanwhile, RCR is in a constant state of construction and expansion. This is kind of what they do - hit it one year, miss it the next, hit the next, miss it the next...
What do you think MWR's chances are of having someone in the chase next year?
Ryan McGee (2:43 PM)
Pretty good. Reutimann was in the running all season. If not for a couple of burbs mid-summer he would've been in the mix at Richmond. And I am a big Truex fan. I think he might blow up next year now that he's finally in a potentially consistently good ride. He's really never had one in Cup.
Your prediction does Kahne resign with RPM if not where could he go
Ryan McGee (2:43 PM)
There's nowhere to go, which is why he'll stay put.
On the Yates topic... If they build great engines, why can't they win? The Yates/Roush engine package has proven to win races. Is it the drivers?
Ryan McGee (2:44 PM)
They are essentially a minor league affiliate of Roush now, like Wood Brothers Racing. Which means their cars, crews, and drivers will never be as good as their engines.
Cathy (New Jersey)
For the NASCAR Hall of Fame, do they decide who makes it based on purely Sprint Cup statistics? Or do they consider Nationwide and Trucks as well?
Ryan McGee (2:46 PM)
It's for everyone. The vast majority will be Cup/Grand National guys, but it would certainly be a crime to keep a NASCAR Modifieds legend like Richie Evans or Busch guys like Sam Ard and Jack Ingram out.
Do you think there could be a possible crew chief change in the 18? Addington has never been at the caliber of a Zippy or a Mike Ford.
Ryan McGee (2:47 PM)
Yes. And judging from the way Steve was being yelled at by Shrub and the Gibbs family after Atlanta, I wouldn't be surprised to see it sooner than later.
Ryan McGhee (Va Beach)
Ryan - so do you think we'll see a clean-shaven Brad Kesolowski at Penske next year, or was he a hot enough commodity that Roger would agree to an exception clause in the contract?
Ryan McGee (2:48 PM)
If the Yankees can make Jason Giambi shave then the Captain can make BK shave.
Do you expect to see Kyle Busch re-unite with Alan G. in the #5 at Henrick for 2011?
Ryan McGee (2:48 PM)
Not a chance.
I've got the 24 winning the title. 7 top 10's in the last 10 races, 4 top 5's (3 2nd's). With how this format has treated him, he's due.
JJ is definitely one of NASCAR's all time greats, but is he one of the greatest drivers of all disciplines? Could he step into an Indy car or dirt track or IROC and do as well? On that note, who are the greatest drivers (of any era) that could dominate in whatever they drive? A couple thoughts... Tony Stewart with success in Indy, NASCAR, and dirt, or Mark Martin with his ASA championships, IROC domination, and NASCAR success.
Ryan McGee (2:51 PM)
He could get in a dirt car right now and get up to speed. And I've personally seen him run up front in both an off-road truck and a sports car. And he held own during his trips to the Race of Champions deal over in Europe, so yeah, he can drive whatever he wants to. And the greatest cross-platform racers of all-time will always be Foyt, Andretti, and Parnelli Jones. (I'm talking about A.J. and Mario, not Larry and Jeff.)
Who in the Gibbs family was yelling at steve? what about?
Ryan McGee (2:52 PM)
The fact that the 18 car went from contender to total crap after the last pit stop. It ended up costing them the Chase.
Does the chase encourage drivers to points race instead of racing for wins?
Ryan McGee (2:53 PM)
A little, but not a whole lot more than during the regular season. There's no doubt that guys like Montoya and Biffle were taking it easy when they knew they were in good spots, but both still ran for wins when they got near the front. Now no one will be points racing, for a couple of weeks anyway.
What would be a good amount of points to give the regular season champion to start the chase? 25 extra points?
Ryan McGee (2:55 PM)
Yeah, I like that number. I think you have to give him something, no different than giving the NFL team with the best record a more favorable seeding. They deserved it.
Seth (Iowa City)
I understand the point of the chase is to make the end of the season more interesting (especially competing with the NFL and postseason baseball), but to me there is just something wrong with eliminating someone as talented as Matt Kenseth with 10 races left to go. Do I have a point at all?
Ryan McGee (2:57 PM)
He was more than 600 points back. He was already eliminated. If nothing else, the Chase gives a guy like Vickers, who was also that far back, new life.
Should Nascar only give 1/2 points for wins like Kenseths Daytona 399, and the rainout wins of Reuitmann and Logano?
Ryan McGee (2:58 PM)
Zeke, I like the thought, but I've already got enough stuff to keep track of without half-points.
Is Krista Voda married?
Ryan McGee (2:58 PM)
She's about to be.
I've never seen a meltdown within the 17 camp like on saturday. Kind of sad.
Ryan McGee (2:59 PM)
Yeah, and it is a true testimony to how much pressure the Chase brings. That's the one team that never gets rattled...and they got rattled.
Justin (Northern Virginia)
Is it me or is NASCAR the only sport that understands how important their fans are? You got NFL owners sticking it to people during this tough economic times by charging people the right to buy a ticket and caddies that yell and take away cameras.
Ryan McGee (3:00 PM)
Yessir, Justin. I've got a lot of friends that work at the racetracks and they are taking a bath with all this ticket price slashing, but they know that they have to take of the people who have always taken care of them. Just another reason I love being a race fan!
Ryan McGee (3:01 PM)
Alright folks, the horn just went off, which means I gotta go. Thanks for stopping by and as always, tip your wait staff. Until next week enjoy the music of Chickenfoot.