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 (2:02 PM)
What's up, my Martinsville hot dog chili-covered brothers and sisters? Welcome back to the Internet's biggest and baddest Monday afternoon motorsports block party. I've got AC/DC playing and a bucket of KFC, so let's drop the green.
Trophy Maker (Nascar)
I already have the Johnson's name etched into the trophy.
Ryan McGee (2:04 PM)
And why not? But as I have said all along, get me to the other side of Talladega. I remember back in, maybe it was 2002, when Jimmie and Mark wrecked each other on the pace lap and it all but handed Tony Stewart the title...so we'll see.
Do you think Denny Hamlin hitting Junior in the pits messed up Junior's car and caused his tires to keep blowing out?
Ryan McGee (2:05 PM)
I think it had something to do with it, but before that Junior was already screaming on the radio about his brakes. Apparently the 88 had the brake bias set up wrong and that threw him a curve. The heat created by those problems was apparently tremendous.
The chase, I mean the Jimmy Johnson love fest, is losing it's spark watching JJ run away with it. How does NASCAR feel about it?
Ryan McGee (2:06 PM)
They aren't crazy about it, but what can they do? I've never bought into the "dynasties are good for the sport" theory. I hated it when the Yankees and the Cowboys or 49ers were winning all the time. But I think the folks in Daytona are like the rest of us. We may not like it, but you have to sit back and appreciate the history being made.
What is going on with JGR? They seem to be feast or famine.
Tom (New York, New York)
Hamlin's win gives the three car Gibbs team eight total on the cup side through 32 races. Even though that team only put one driver in the Chase this year I would think they would have to be somewhat pleased with the fact that the team is on pace to win 25% of the races on the schedule. Seeing as all three of the Gibbs drivers are relatively young, do you see that team emerging as the dominant force on the cup side in 2011 or 2012?
Ryan McGee (2:09 PM)
I think JGR is already there. If they could have the mid-summer stretch of brutality - Hamlin's bad pit luck, Kyle's go-or-blow - then I think they'd be up in the title hunt already. But man, do I like their future with that bunch of young dudes. Denny is the old sage of the group? Are you kidding?
Why didn't NASCAR throw the caution on the last lap with a car sitting on the start/finish line? If that's not a safety issue what is?
Ryan McGee (2:11 PM)
I'm with you Leo. I had an awesome seat in the Martinsville press box above turns 1 & 2 and I could see the entire track. I started saying "caution...caution..." out loud with one eye on Andretti at the start-finish line and one eye on the field hammering down the backstretch. We had situation like that earlier this year at Loudon. Why not go on and throw it? Hamlin was way ahead anyway.
Ryan McGee (2:12 PM)
Andretti released a written comment about an hour ago saying NASCAR did the right thing. But notice that he wrote it and didn't have to say it on camera.
McGee, how long before the "Big One" at Dega? I say the drivers will be rather calm until the last 20 laps. What say you?
Ryan McGee (2:13 PM)
Yo Yar...we'll have two. One in the first half of the race and one toward the end. Always seems to be that way, usually with one "Small One" in the middle with a couple of also-rans.
Did Steven Wallace slug Kenseth after the Memphis race and do you expect Nascar to penalize Steven?
will walace get penlized for saturday ?
Ryan McGee (2:18 PM)
There was some shoving and shouting and the two had to be separated after the race, which tells you that Steve must have said something pretty bad for Mr. Even Keel Kenseth to lose it like that. That's two weeks in a row that Wallace has flipped out. Yes, a penalty will be forthcoming, if for nothing else then for hitting Kenseth's car on pit road. That was really stupid, especially since Matt had already started unbuckling his belts.
The reason you have been getting so many e-mails - as you said in your Power Rankings - stating that they are glad that somebody beat Jimmie is because us Jimmie fans are content where we are and don't feel the need to gloat, complain or whine. Just stating the obvious.
Ryan McGee (2:18 PM)
When will we see someone kick the %#@ out of that dangerous fool Kesolowski? Too bad Spencer Retired...
Ryan McGee (2:20 PM)
Wow...we've already gotten more Nationwide Series comments today than we've had in the last month. BK isn't making any friends, is he? But I will say this, that was a pretty killer move he made to take the lead at the end. Maybe he just really, really wanted one of those Elvis trophies.
With RPM going to Ford doesnt' Jack Roush really control both Yates and Petty?
Ryan McGee (2:21 PM)
It would appear that way. But honestly, anyone who has run Fords in Cup for a long time now has had to answer to Jack in some way.
Ryan McGee (2:22 PM)
By the way, for those of you who don't know, Elliott Sadler will be running Fords for the remainder of the year to get RPM ready for 2010. And also, the new Ford FR9 engine will be run by Kenseth and David Ragan starting this weekend. The Roush cars that are in the Chase will use the current engine.
29 floors above sea level (NYC)
Live in NY and this summer took the wife to demolition derby. She loved it, she convinced me to stay for mini-van heat and was the best of the evening. Can you recommend a good track down south to see a Figure-8 race. the ones in NY are lame, traveling 15 mph. Where's the fun in that? thanks.
Ryan McGee (2:26 PM)
I appreciate your confidence in my demo derby knowledge. The best demos down here (I'm in Charlotte) are always at the State Fairs. The NC State Fair always hosts a damn doozy. The mecca of DD is in Rockford, Illinois. Those people are insane. School buses, boat trailers, Winnebagos, they wreck it all. Interestingly enough, that's also the track where Chad Knaus got his start as a young crew chief for his father.
Shawn (Gastonia, NC)
Last year we almost had Regan Smith break out at Talladega, Paul Menard had a solid finish and this year we had a rare Junior top-2 and Brad Keselowski getting his first win (with Carl Edwards' PR team being the real big winner). If you could give me a non-chasing super-dark horse to look for, who would you give?
Ryan McGee (2:28 PM)
The entry list hasn't been posted yet, but whoever is in the 09 is always a good bet. Keselowski won in that car back in April and Mike Wallace used to put it in the top five at Dega and Daytona the time. I'd keep my eye on Logano, too. He's due.
Juan Carlos (San Antonio)
Gordon sounded like he is afraid of making Juan Pablo mad. Do the other drivers fear Juan Pablo?
Ryan McGee (2:30 PM)
No, he's not afraid. And the other guys don't fear JPM, but they surely do respect him. They also know he'll do about anything to get to the front, so "fear" isn't the right word, but they might give him a little more room in case he decides to reinforce his long-standing reputation.
Brad ran over Carl at both Dega and now Memphis. When is Carl gonna do the same thing to Brad?
Ryan McGee (2:31 PM)
He will about the time we've all forgotten about it. These dudes have looooong memories. I though Hamlin was going to wreck the 48 racing him so hard during the first 50 laps on Sunday. Why? Because he was still mad about Jimmie stealing the Martinsville win from him back in March!
Ryan McGee (2:33 PM)
Ricky Rudd always told me it was like he kept a stack of Post-Its in the car. And he said he stuck them on the proverbial dash of his mind with industrial strength glue.
Do you think Ragan has a shot at the win this weekend? He is always super good at Dega..........
Ryan McGee (2:34 PM)
It'd be nice to see. Hate that he's been struggling so. And he will have the new Ford engine under the hood. Hmmmm.
Bill S. (High Point,NC)
Speaking of Montoya, how do you feel he is going to react to "out getting a taco"?
Ryan McGee (2:35 PM)
He's already over it. In fact, Jimmie joked with him about it after the Martinsville race was over. Not a great move by Bob, but it's already over from JPM's side.
do the other drivers just hate the 48 right now. hearing radio chatter from hamlin and kyle, they seem to be saying that the 48 gets all the breaks
Ryan McGee (2:36 PM)
The guys chasing the guy up front always say that. As great of a guy as my dear friend Benny Parsons was, he still thought that Richard Petty got all the breaks. Bobby and Donnie Allison still do. Fact is, if you're as good as Jimmie's team is now or as Petty's was back in the day, people are going to complain about you.
Jimmie Johnson (NC)
Should I run in the back of the field all day on Sunday or push for the lead all day?
Ryan McGee (2:37 PM)
Stay up front. The leader rarely sees The Big One.
Ocho Cinco (Chevy Chase, MD)
How about Timothy Peters? Breakout win for the young driver>>
Ryan McGee (2:38 PM)
That was the coolest victory celebration that I have witnessed in person in a long time. Local guy, local team, held off the big dogs to win. That was just his 65th Truck start, so there's no reason to think that we won't be watching him run well for years to come.
jim(trenton) [via mobile]
do you think newman will ever return to his 2003 form when he won 8 races?
Ryan McGee (2:39 PM)
That's a lot to ask, but he's already running much better, certainly much more consistent, than he has in a long time.
Jason (Ellicott City, MD)
What kind of chicken are you eating?
Ryan McGee (2:39 PM)
Dark meat, always. KFC grilled. I am a fan.
Jerry (Ft Worth Texas)
Do you think that Coach Gibbs will hire Knaus or maybe Alan Gustufson to be Kyle's crew chief for 2010?
Ryan McGee (2:41 PM)
No, those guys are locked up. Rarely do you ever see an established guy leave Hendrick. Why would they? Everyone there is paid well and wins races...well, almost everyone. Now, that's not saying that JGR wouldn't go after a Hendrick on the next rung down. But I'm betting they'd promote from within.
Ryan McGee (2:41 PM)
By the way, who is that handsome and talented writer/chatter who told you guys months ago that Steve Addington was going to lose his job? No, not Marty! Me!
terrylee vaughn (ware shoals,sc)
so who u got in your top 5 this sunday start with the winner
Ryan McGee (2:44 PM)
How about: Jimmie, Kurt, Jeff, Newman, Smoke, and for sleepers take Ragan and (drum roll please) Paul Menard.
Craig G. (Fairfield, California)
Hey R-MAC, two personal choice questions: 1) your favorite NASCAR track and 2) your favorite college football team? Thanks
Ryan McGee (2:44 PM)
1. The Lady in Black. 2. Go Vols.
So...does that mean it's never Kyle, it's always something else?
Ryan McGee (2:45 PM)
You said that, I didn't.
Ryan McGee (2:46 PM)
By the way, Kyle and Logano are going to be on WWE Raw tonight in Buffalo. I had a chance to go with, but instead I chose to stay home and chat with you fine people, the greatest chatters on the worldwide interweb.
Shawn (Gastonia, NC)
Ryan - it is almost decision making time here. Do I go with season tickets to Bristol (good: awesome track, bad: 3 hr drive), renew at Lowes (good: 25 minute drive & All Star Race, bad: Rain @ 600 + cold humid wind chill @ 500 last year left bad taste in my mouth) or do I try to pull a quad (Darlington, Martinsville, Bristol, Atlanta) and hope to score some good free tickets to Lowes if (when) they're available?
Ryan McGee (2:47 PM)
Go with the old school quad!
Ed (Fort Worth)
Go Vols? Were you screaming at the TV or sick after the Bama game?
Ryan McGee (2:47 PM)
The poor guy in the hotel room next to mine in Greensboro probably thought about calling 9-1-1.
Addington: And why did you think at Addignton going ot lose his job?
Ryan McGee (2:50 PM)
Let me say first, I don't think he should. But you could feel the momentum shift away from him as soon as the Richmond Chase cut-off race was over. Whatever they did to the 18 on the last stop adjustment-wise caused it to fall out of the top five on the night and out of the top 12 in points. He got a tongue-lashing from the bosses in the hauler after that. If it was my (and clearly it isn't) I keep him where he is. But you never fire the star QB, you fire the coach. And in this case, Steve is the one who is expendable.
What's the point of the restrictor plate change? It won't stop what happened in the spring from happening.
Ryan McGee (2:52 PM)
I agree with you and so do most of the folks in the garage. Going slower should theoretically keep them from getting airborne as easily as they have been, but Ryan Newman gave about a 20-minute talk about better ways to keep the cars on the ground and says the new plates aren't it. And dude has a Purdue engineering degree.
addington to smoke, and grubb to junior, heard it here first
Ryan McGee (2:53 PM)
We'll see...and that might be our first comment from the Hamptons all season.
Chris (Fort Mill, SC)
Ryan, I'm in college for journalism and you always do a great job with it. Every job has it's downside though. What are some of the "bad" perks for you?
Ryan McGee (2:55 PM)
Thanks Chirs. Being away from home so much is tough on my family. And situations like back in May when I revealed that Mayfield tested positive for meth are hard because there is so much emotion and tension involved. But getting paid to cover sports and then talk about them with smart folks like you guys makes the dark times worth it.
Does Dale jr know what he's doing out there? Is he good enough to be racing in cup?
Ryan McGee (2:57 PM)
Well, he's won 18 races, a Daytona 500, the All-Star race, and two Nationwide titles, so I think he certainly good enough to do it. I just think right now he is in such a dark place confidence-wise that he's having a hard time clearing his head. It is a total snowball effect. It's no different than A-Rod being so bad for so long in the baseball postseason. Hopefully, and I say this because I really like Dale as a person, he can do like A-Rod and break out of it.
Ryan McGee (2:59 PM)
That being said, McGrew has made some weird decisions of late. I think the pressure is eating him up as well. And I did not like the way Lance was talking to Dale on the radio this weekend. Instead of cheerleading him back to health, he seems to be telling him what he's doing wrong all the time. Sounds like overcoaching.
Dale Jr is now 1 win in his last 130 cup races. What makes you think he can turn that kind of record around?
Ryan McGee (3:01 PM)
Because his father won only one race in nearly three seasons at one point, then suddenly snapped out of it and finished second in points right before his death...and he was 50. The talent is there. The confidence is not. And believe it or not, that happens to them all. Even Dale Senior.
thanks ryan, ever been to the hamptons
Ryan McGee (3:02 PM)
Yes. But now that they've seen me giving out demolition derby advice they may never let me back in.
Penny (Ft. Myers)
Do you think we will ever have any women crew chiefs in Nascar?
Ryan McGee (3:02 PM)
Yes. We're getting closer each year.
Ryan McGee (3:04 PM)
Alright, folks. Gotta go. Be sure to check out my new daily Insider blog on ESPN.com and I will see you on NASCAR Now this Wednesday night when I go head-to-head with Sweaty Eddie Hinton. In the meantime, tip your wait staff and enjoy the music of Molly Hatchet.