Chat with Ryan McGee
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, Ryan McGee will stop by to chat about the 2010 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 '10 season, he will be putting together the NASCAR Power Rankings for ESPN.com.
Send your questions now and join McGee Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Ryan McGee (2:02 PM)
Hi folks and welcome to a special Tuesday afternoon edition of the worldwide Interweb's biggest and baddest Monday...er, Tuesday, motorsports block party.
Ryan McGee (2:02 PM)
I've warmed up some leftover homemade chicken pot pie, so if I am gone for long periods of time its because I burned the roof of my mouth.
Ryan McGee (2:03 PM)
To the queries!
Is Nascar seriously considering taking away one of the Martinsville races? After yesterday's performance they would be crazy!
Ryan McGee (2:05 PM)
Kevin, I love you dude. And I also love anyone who is with you - and me - on this. There has always been pressure from the sales and marketing suits to take a race from Martinsville, which they say makes it impossible for them to wine and dine current and potential sponsors/clients. That's easier to do in big markets. And TV suits love big markets. But if NASCAR ever left Martinsville I really think that the ghosts of Fireball Roberts, Curtis Turner, and Joe Weatherly would haunt them like they are in Paranormal Activity.
Cory (Geneva, IL)
Did Jr have a bad pit spot or was his crew really bad? He lost about 20 spots on pit road!
Ryan McGee (2:06 PM)
He about wrecked. Tore up one corner of the car. The 88 has been awesome on the track this year, but as soon as it hits pit road - speeding, wrecks, broken axles, etc. - they're doomed.
NASCAR is back! Yesterday was the best finish ive seen in years. too bad there were only about 200 people there to watch it
Ryan McGee (2:08 PM)
Totally agree. Wish that had happened on Sunday. But I give the folks that were there a lot of credit. Martinsville typically draws most of its crowd from the local area - Roanoke, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, etc. - and they had to go work. These aren't the economic times to be skipping out on work.
I guess it is time for us JPM fans to panic, I don't think his luck can get any worse but the Chase is looking like a miracle at this point, he would have to pretty much go spot free up until Richmond.
Ryan McGee (2:09 PM)
Totally agree. I think they are in serious trouble. Everyone keeps pointing to Ryan Newman and Mark Martin coming from the points nether regions to make the Chase one year ago, but those guys had already started their climb by now. And Montoya just looks bummed. And his Tweets of late have been downright depressing. That can't be good.
Whats going on with Mark Martin? I know he is in a better spot than he was this time last year but a few weeks ago he was what, 4th in the points? Is Phoenix gonna have to turn things back around this year because we know how much he hates Talladega so another bad race before then and...
Ryan McGee (2:11 PM)
Tyler, I think Martin is a great comparison/contrast to Montoya. Montoya has had strong cars and not finished well, but Martin has had cars the last three weeks that could have won and not finished well. But the difference is in how they carry themselves right now. Martin is mad, but his head is up. Montoya is already hinting at missing the Chase. Benny Parsons always told me that confidence was worth a few extra horsepower. Right now Mark still has it...Juan, not as much.
Nick Rolando (Orlando)
Ryan, as much as I love and respect your comments I got to disagree that Martin had a good enough car at ATL, he ran about 20th or worse all day. Also I was wondering if you thought Braun or Stenhouse would take Sadler's spot next year?
Ryan McGee (2:14 PM)
I hear you Nick. He was just so good in practice that I thought he had a shot. I was wrong. (And thanks for props.) I think Sadler needs to watch his back, no doubt. I'll be totally honest, I have no idea what kind of lineup we're going to have at RPM when the music stops. Kahne seems happier, Dinger is the future, and Menard is contending for a Chase spot! That might make Sadler the odd man out. Though he's been in that postition before over there. It's always been frustrating to him that they won't let him keep a crew chief for more than one year. He's on something like his 6th in 5 years.
Mike (Austin, TX)
So it worked out in the end, but it seems to be that Denny Hamlin tries to come up with new and different ways to lose races he should win. You getting that vibe as well?
Ryan McGee (2:15 PM)
Yes. And don't buy into all of his talk last night today about "Well, if Kyle and I hadn't pitted everyone else would have." I was a terrible call and they got away with it because of the cautions, double file restarts, and the 24 and 17 hating each other's guts.
Talk about Nascar feuds? Does Gordons dislike for Kenseth run as deep as it appeared in post race?
Ryan McGee (2:17 PM)
Certainly seems so. The infamous hemleted shove at Bristol was four years ago, but if you go back and look at it Gordon has gotten more than a few verbal shots off at the 17 since then. To Matt's credit, he's just kind of rolling with it. If it was Carl Edwards he might've gone running after Gordon with a tire iron.
Ezra from Indonesia [via mobile]
Is there any change rule in this season?
Ryan McGee (2:19 PM)
I take this question because it is from Indonesia and that is just cool. Yes, Ezra, there have been two biggies. First, the green-white-checker "overtime" rule that has extended three of the four races this season. Second, you may have noticed that the big ol ugly wing is gone and the spoiler is back. Welcome to the Motorsports Block Party!
Even though Kyle and the #18 will be disappointed with the finish yesterday shouldn't they and all of JGR be happy going into the break and Phoenix with a ton of momemtum on their side?
Ryan McGee (2:20 PM)
Yes. They were teetering on vanishing and now they have all three cars in the top 16 in points. If they run even 25% better than they have been imagine how good they'd be.
I wonder if it was Brad and not Denny beating and banging like that at the end if people would be calling for Brad to be suspended??? Wait, I don't wonder, I know they would be......
Ryan McGee (2:21 PM)
I can't really argue with that, Tracy. But if you want to wear the black hat, that's what comes with it.
Frank (Kingston, Pa)
Ryan, First year in awhile that I was not able to attend Martinsville. It is by far my favorite track and I have been to Bristol several times. It seems to me that given the issues that there have been with tracks like Fontana and ATL NASCAR would have a big PR problem right now if Martinsville lost a date. Which 3 tracks do you think are in the most jeopardy for losing a race date?
Ryan McGee (2:23 PM)
I missed it, too, Frank. I was at the zMax Dragway watching the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals...which was ridiculously cool, by the way. I think Martsinville, Pocono, and Fontana are on the ropes. Keep in mind that Bruton Smith keeps making noise about wanting a second date at Vegas. That's up to him. So don't be shocked if Atlanta ends up losing one to either Vegas or, when the courthouse mess is settled, Kentucky.
Jeff Gluck (Charlotte, NC)
If you started a race team and could pick three current drivers for your team, who would you pick?
Ryan McGee (2:25 PM)
Gluck! We are honored by your presence, oh Tweet and Blogosphere master. I would take David Stremme, Kevin Conway, and Mike Bliss.
Ryan McGee (2:26 PM)
Okay, no...if it was to win a title right now I would take Jimmie, Kenseth, and Kurt. If it was to build for the future I would take Logano, Keselowski, and Justin Allgaier.
kevin harvick (kernersville, north carolina)
So Ryan will i either win a race or make the chase this year? Or will it be both? I'm just curious to see what your opinion is?
Ryan McGee (2:27 PM)
Thanks for checking in "Happy". I say yes to both. And then you will go start your own Cup team.
Outside of maybe Mark Martin, who still didn't appear to have much for hamlin or Burton, HMS was very pedestrian at martinsville. JJ was fringe top 5 with Gordon and jr around the top 10. Any idea why?
Ryan McGee (2:28 PM)
Lot of Mikes checking in today...Gordon was great until the last bunkhouse stampede. Junior was very good until his pit problem. Martin was very good and was coming up through the pack again until his tire issue...and Jimmie finished in the top ten and took over the points lead. If that's pedestrian I'll take two.
Ryan McGee (2:29 PM)
The 48 was the only that really just flat "missed it", but Jimmie admitted that they were trying some "goofy stuff" that they might want to run when they come back to Martinsville in the fall.
Nate (Minden, NE)
Hey Ryan, what do you think about Scott Riggs and the 09 team in the Nationwide series and now him coming back to the Cup for a few races...do you think teams are starting to see his potential again?
Ryan McGee (2:31 PM)
I hope so. Riggs is a good guy. I don't know anyone that doesn't like him. But he kind of ended up a "tweener" and fell out of the Cup ranks. I give him credit for bailing on Tommy Badlwin Racing when he just didn't feel comfortable starting and parking. I don't criticize Tommy for that because I really think he is working toward building something as opposed to just picking up checks. But Riggs wasn't comfortable with that and now he's hopefully working his way back.
one last time i ask, who makes the chase the 29 or 88? or both?
Ryan McGee (2:32 PM)
Not trying to take away from Denny's win but didn't Gordon take the white flag before the caution with Kyle's spin so shouldn't the race have ended? I need clarification on that
Ryan McGee (2:32 PM)
He was about 100 feet short.
Is kenseth playing it cool because he doesn't want people to be expecting it when he puts Gordon into the wall next weekend?
Ryan McGee (2:32 PM)
Perhaps. He's no dummy.
Mike (Nijmegen, Netherlands)
If I noticed the words of, crew chief of the #42 Target Chevy, Brian Pattie on NASCAR now genuinely the spoiler carries more dirty air behind the car than the ol' wing? What are your thoughts?
Ryan McGee (2:35 PM)
Based on what drivers are telling me, there's not a ton of difference, but there is definitely more dirty air than with the wing. The one thing that confused me was that at the 2-day spoiler test here in Charlotte last week all anyone talked about was "I can't wait to see what it does in traffic" yet very few guys actually ran in pairs to see. They said they didn't want to run the risk of wrecking...so what, they don't mind running that risk at Texas in three weeks?
Chuck (Plano, Texas)
What do the big teams see in journeyman driver Casey Mears?
Ryan McGee (2:35 PM)
A great standby driver.
How come Nascar doesn't encourage Firestone or Bridgestone to come into Nascar to supply tires to encourage competition and improve the quality of tires?
Ryan McGee (2:36 PM)
Because Goodyear has paid a lot of money to keep them out. Plus, everytime we've had a tire war in racing someone gets killed. Just the way it is.
Austin McGee (Computer Class)
Are we related?
Ryan McGee (2:37 PM)
Sure. And I am going to go on and assume that we are also related to Royce McGee, longtime Richard Childress Racing employee, and Willie McGee, former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder.
norm (palm springs ca)
Who wins first from teams yet to win. RFR? RCR? RPM?
Ryan McGee (2:37 PM)
RCR. It'll happen at either Phoenix or Texas.
Roger (El Cajon, CA )
Always wondered what gets perference on a day Indy Car and Nascar run on the same day for guys like Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi?
Ryan McGee (2:39 PM)
Depends on the races. Penske nearly always chooses IndyCar. In fact he calls the race for Ryan Briscoe. But The Captain has done a lot of weekend commutes when one is racing on Saturday night and the other on Sunday. During May you used to not be able to get either one of them to Charlotte, but the looser Indy 500 schedule has allowed them to jet back and forth.
norm (palm springs ca)
What chance do you give Menard of making the chase, Scott Speed is dropping like a rock.
Ryan McGee (2:41 PM)
I think his biggest concern is Speed's teammate, Brian Vickers, Kasey Kahne, and the three Gibbs cars, which are all coming for him. I don't think he can keep it up long enough to make the Chase. Then again, I would've bet my truck that he would have already faded by now. And it's a nice truck.
With Roush-RPM failing to give Kasey quality race cars do you expect Kasey to bolt to Henricks and drive the #88 next year?
Ryan McGee (2:42 PM)
He may be going somewhere...but it won't be the 88. Junior's not going anywhere.
I say pedestrian by Hendrick's standards. It's a place that they could potentially run 1,2,3,4 and I didn't see anyone (outside of maybe mark as I said earlier) that was a car to beat
Ryan McGee (2:43 PM)
I hear you. I think with the right breaks they could have put three in the top five. But I did think that Gordon was a definite contender.
Chuck (Montpelier, VT)
Did I miss something yesterday? Kenseth punted Gordon, not the other way around, so why are you implying Gordon deserves whatever Kenseth dishes out in the near future.
Ryan McGee (2:44 PM)
I'm not implying that at all. I'm saying that if Matt is thinking about getting him back, he's smart enough and subtle enough to hold onto it for a while and cash in when no one's looking. That's Matt's call, not mine.
Matt (Staunton, VA)
I'm willing to bet the finishes of Harvick and Kahne start to fade later in the season once their lame duck status becomes official. Your thoughts?
Ryan McGee (2:44 PM)
Agreed Matt. I almost typed that earlier about Harvick.
Trish (Ft. Worth)
Did Harvick throw his team under that bus and blame them for his brake failure or admit that he was driving over his head and abused his brakes?
Ryan McGee (2:45 PM)
Neither. Something broke and it broke early.
Andrew (El Lay)
Ryan, can we get some love for the 33? Apart from the blown engine a couple weeks ago he's been consistently among the top 10. Will Bowyer finally get back to victory lane in Phoenix??
Ryan McGee (2:47 PM)
I said that same thing in my Power Rankings this week. I think Clint is the most underrated driver in the sport. All he does if put himself in a position to win three out of every five weeks. And if you look at his numbers vs. his RCR teammates since he joined the team he's clearly the leader of that garage.
BJ (California desert)
Will we ever see a book from you, similar to your "Road to Omaha" one (paperback edition available April 27! ... how's that for assuring you see this question?), about NASCAR?
Ryan McGee (2:49 PM)
Wow! BJ is my new publicist! I hope so. I did a NASCAR book in '07 - ESPN Ultimate NASCAR: 100 Defining Moments in Stock Car Racing History. But I would love to do a behind-the-scenes straight narrative like Road to Omaha. Unfortunately, NYC publishers don't seem to believe that race fans buy books. So go prove them wrong! There's some great NASCAR books out there right now. I just read "He Crashed Me So I Crashed Him Back" by my buddy Mark Bechtel at Sports Illustrated. It's about the '79 season and it's a great read.
Ryan McGee (2:51 PM)
Just last year my man Terry Blount wrote his "Blount Report" about NASCAR's most overrated and underrated drivers and stats. If Mark and Terry sell more books then they'll let me and Marty write some!
ryan i think paul menard does not get credit he deserves .slugger labbe underrated.
Ryan McGee (2:52 PM)
Sure looking that way isnt it? Slugger has never really worked with a top shelf driver - going all the way back to Kenny Irwin in the late '90's. Can't imagine what he'd do with a top ten driver and a top ten team.
so you say the lame duck status sets in for harvick but you said he makes the chase, so is it both you think?
Ryan McGee (2:52 PM)
Yes. I think he makes the Chase. But as soon as he falls out of contention for the title he'll drop like a rock getting ready for '11.
Heather (St. Louis)
It looked like another bad Addington pit call cost Kurt. How much longer are Kurt and Roger can put up with Addington's bad pit calls?
Ryan McGee (2:54 PM)
Kurt's 6th in points with a win,a pole, and three top 10's in six races. Not bad considering they've worked together for all of four months.
You see females as sponsors drivers and owners..when do we a female crew chief
Ryan McGee (2:55 PM)
I won't say soon, but it'll happen. Too many smart women out there for it not to.
Kat (A very wet Northeast)
Here's a thought for you: Run the All Star race on the beach at Daytona in honor of the sports origins. Let's see what current drivers can do with old cars like Mercs, and Hudsons on the sand.
Ryan McGee (2:56 PM)
You know it Kat! I am all for that. Every time I got to Daytona I go down to where the South Turn used to be, where they hammered off of A1A and onto the beach, and just get angry that I wasn't able to watch that in person.
Why doesnt Nationwide run at different tracks than sprint cup all the time. It would give it an identitiy of its own and be more interesting to watch with new race tracks. Less cup drivers would compete and it would attract new fans in different areas.
Ryan McGee (2:59 PM)
Ray, there used to be a much more deliberate effort to do that with both Nationwide and Trucks. But a decade ago when the NASCAR marketing folks became too Cup-centric (I know because I worked there) they kind of lost sight of that. They started believing that no one would buy tickets for them as a standalone. These days it seems like they are open to that idea again. I hope so.
So you think Henrick has unlimited patience with Dale and will keep Dale in the #88 just as long as the sponsors don't demand results?
Ryan McGee (3:00 PM)
Again, this kind of falls under what we just said about urt Busch. Junior is 10th in points. A year ago he was already out of the Chase. That's the right direction...right?
What driver (or media member) has the best plans for the off-week?
Ryan McGee (3:01 PM)
I'm hosting the neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt at my house for the fourth straight year. Does that count?
Ryan McGee (3:04 PM)
Alright folks, the bell just went off, which means I have to go. If you want to fire off another question or if I missed yours today, hit me up on Twitter at @RyanMcGeeESPN. In the meantime, thanks for coming to the party, tip your wait staff, and enjoy the music of Level 42.