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 (2:00 PM)
What's up my Texas rain-covered brothers and sisters and welcome to the worldwide interweb's biggest and baddest one-hour Monday...er, Tuesday, motorsports block party. I've got my busted ankle on ice, my daughter's banging out tunes on her keyboard, and I'm ready to talk racing. To the queries!
dz (phx, az)
what up mcgee? how difficult is it for nascar to work something out to allow fans to stream the monday race online? watching the race cast stuff isn't that thrilling.
Ryan McGee (2:03 PM)
Pretty difficult. Our friends over at Turner (who run NASCAR.com) paid a lot of money for online video rights and, as they have the right, they protect those pretty vigorously. But I love me some ESPN.com NASCAR Live! You get live running commentary from me, Marty, Newt, Blount, and our bosses...with live timing and scoring? Pretty cool. And free.
Ryan Davis (Dallas, TX)
I was out at TMS all weekend long (including Monday) All I have to say is that Texans love their racing. Great crowd out at the track for a Monday race!!! What did you think about the crowd?
Ryan McGee (2:05 PM)
I was totally impressed. The track announced 90,000 for the Monday Cup race and it looked like about a third of that crowd hung around for the Nationwide race. For Monday? That rocks. And they were rewarded for their loyalty with a killer Cup race.
Rex (Franklin, TN)
What drivers are at Indy with Kyle? Is it a Goodyear test?
Ryan McGee (2:07 PM)
It is. A big one. 14 teams in all. Stewart, Johnson, Harvick, Smirh, Montoya, Kenseth, Kahne, Conway, Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Papis, Reutimann, Robby Gordon & Scott Speed.
Ryan McGee (2:07 PM)
And here come the 24-48 questions...
Justin M (Boone, NC)
Both JJ and JG said it was nothing and that they were just disappointed in each other, but it definitely looked to me like JJ took a shot at the 24 car. It was almost like Brad and Carl but with less flying cars. I don't really like either driver, but I definitely respect how much passion Jeff is putting into trying to beat that 48 team and I hope this escalates into a bigger deal. A rivalry like that for the championship will be great to watch.
Very proud that Gordon finally stepped up and showed the 48 that he is tired of all of it. Will any of what happened yesterday carry on to lets say this week at Dega where teamates are very important at times during the race?
Why is Gordon upset with Johnson especially since back in the day Gordon did exactly the same thing to Big Dale?
SubmarineMike (Jax Fl)
Do you really think that this JJ Jeff Gordon "rivalry" can turn into somethng intense, or will it fizzle out?
Eric (Tampa, FL)
I really enjoyed seeing Jeff Gordon take it to that whiner Jimmie Johnson yesterday, just too bad he didn't get the chance to finish it off though.
Jake (Las Vegas)
Who is more angry these days: Danica or Jeff Gordon?
Ryan McGee (2:08 PM)
Hahaha, good one Jake.
Ryan McGee (2:10 PM)
Do I think there is some meat to the Jeff vs. Jimmie rivalry? Yes. I wrote as much in ESPN The Magazine a few weeks ago. Do I think it will carry over to Talladega? No, because they aren't they stupid and know they will need one another in the draft. Do I think they will hang onto it and take it to Richmond? Yes. At least I hope yes.
Ryan McGee (2:12 PM)
And I like the comparison to Earnhardt and Gordon back in the mid-90's. I talked with Mojo Nixon about this on NASCAR Radio on Sirius/XM last night. It really bothered Earnhardt back in the day that Gordon was the guy who single-handedly kept him from winning his coveted 8th Cup, especially since Earnhardt had helped Gordon in the beginning of his Cup career. Same goes for Gordon and Johnson. If not for JJ it's safe to say that Gordon would be know as Five-Time instead of Four-Time...perhaps more.
Ryan McGee (2:13 PM)
Gordon feels like this is his best chance at a Cup in a while and his team is clicking. That's why we saw him sticking his nose in there on Monday like we haven't seen in a long time. I like it. If no one can step up to rival Hendrick they might as well get it on internally.
Ryan McGee (2:14 PM)
BTW...my ESPN.com Insider blog tomorrow will be all about intersquad rivalries. Remember Darrell Waltrip vs. Neil Bonnett when they both drove for Junior Johnson? That makes JG vs. JJ look like a couple of preschool kids fighting over a turn on the swings.
caster and camber (bahama, nc)
is there any "meat" in the rumor about evernham coming back to be gordon's crew chief? i didn't think to much of this rumor until i heard dave despain talk about it sunday night on the wind tunnel. i thought evernham still had a piece of gillet motorsports, a.k.a. rpm, so thats the main reason i didn't think this could happen. have you heard anything?
Ryan McGee (2:16 PM)
Ray is itching to get back involved in the sport, but the terms of his buyout by the Gilletts has him stuck on the sidelines. He's working on it...
Ryan McGee (2:17 PM)
Can you imagine the hype that would surround a Ray return to Hendrick? Holy cow. I don't know if he'd do it as a crew chief, but perhaps as a team manager to work with Letarte, who is one of his former apprentices. Not saying it'll happen, but if it did...wow.
Blake (Abilene, TX)
Can Nascar start weighing down Jimmy Johnson like they do in horse racing to make it fair for the other drivers?
Ryan McGee (2:18 PM)
Hahaha. Based on what Marty Smith tells me about Jimmie's workouts, if they did he'd just hit the treadmill and work it back off!
As of right now what drivers do think are in trouble of missing the Chase. I'm huge fan of Smoke, but I don't think it looks well
Ryan McGee (2:21 PM)
Well Ryan (love your name) it is early yet and keeping in mind that Smoke doesn't usually hit his stride until summer, I wouldn't worry too much. Yet. The good news is that after two invisible weeks he was one of the cars to beat at Texas before the wreck. As for the other guys. I think Kahne is done and Montoya is teetering. Other than that, its pretty wide open. I know the numbers say that our top 12 now is probably our top 12 in September, but I'm not buying that. Not as wild as this year's been.
Scott (Manchester, NH)
Eddie Gossage said what a lot of fans seem to think by calling out the start and park guys, especially the Parsons team, how much crap will he get into by Nascar or Bruton Smith for speaking his mind and telling the truth?
Ryan McGee (2:23 PM)
I know some of the drivers were like, "Why the heck is Gossage even talking about this?" But he did speak out on a subject that he knows fans are irritated over. I still say that when NASCAR cut the purses back this year they should have made those cuts at the bottom of the finishing order. If last five places paid $10,000 instead of the $80,000 they paid on Monday then the bottom feeders would simply go away.
Frank (Kingston, Pa)
Ryan - So Mr. Hendrick has signed KK for 2012 but still has not signed Knaus for 2011. Priorities a bit out of order or do we expect another breaking story out of Mr. Smith?
Ryan McGee (2:25 PM)
Or me! Don't sweat Knaus, that deal's going to get done. As for Kahne, I'm not nearly as curious about where he's going to be in 2011 (still say its Stewart-Haas) as I am about what Kevin Harvick is working on.
David (Los Angeles)
Any word from the drivers on aero, side-draft differences with the spoiler on the big track? Or thoughts on the effect of the spoiler at Dega?
Ryan McGee (2:27 PM)
They said there was a definite difference when it came to side-drafting. Specifically that it had much more sudden, direct effect than before. The crew chiefs were worried about losing side-downforce without the wing, but weren't really squawking about it much after the fact. Whatever effect it had, it worked for me. The racing was pretty freaking good.
Ryan McGee (2:29 PM)
As for 'Dega, everyone is VERY anxious to get to Happy Hour this weekend. They ran so many different plate/spoiler combos during the big March test they can't wait to see what they have on their hands with the package NASCAR decided on. Closing speeds during the test were pretty ridiculous, so it should be wild on Sunday.
Ernie (Bridgeton, MO)
Now that Kyle is leading in NW points don't you think Kyle owes it to Nascar and his fans to run all the races and defend his Nascar Championship title?
Ryan McGee (2:30 PM)
Depends on who you ask. Most of the fans seem to want the Cup ringers out of there. And so do the young guys who keep getting their brains beat in on Saturdays.
Is it a coincidence that Jr had his best flag-to-flag race of the season in the first race that the spoiler played a role or could it be a sign of things to come?
Ryan McGee (2:32 PM)
It's not coincidence as much as it was just another piece of the equation. A track he loves + more confidence in his team being actually relevant on a week-to-week basis spoiler running up front and actually looking racy = a happy JR Nation. They should be. Especially with Talladega, Richmond, and Dover coming up. Darlington, not so much.
Miguel Angel (San Antonio)
Do you think that Mr Henricks might sign Juan Pablo Montoya so he can't get some better race cars and win races and a championship?
Ryan McGee (2:33 PM)
He wishes! But no. There's only so many Hendrick cars to go around.
Dee (Las Vegas)
It was nice to see Stewart and Gordon shake off the wreck like a couple of championship veterans that they are. Usually those guys are so fired up that they would be all over the other one. I'm guessing they have a mutual respect for one another that doused any chance of a flare up.
Ryan McGee (2:35 PM)
You used the correct word there, Dee. Respect. Gordon was super-hot on the radio after the wreck, most of it targeted at Smoke. But by the time he got to him face-to-face he showed Stewart the respect of talking it out calmly. And vice-versa from Tony. Then they were both nice enough not to call out Carl Edwards.
Shawn (Gastonia, NC)
I have the aching suspicion that something really cool or really boring will happen at Talladega this week. Last year we had Carl playing Ricky Bobby and the single-file picket line. How do you think this week will play out?
Ryan McGee (2:37 PM)
I think it's going to be wilder than I-85 headed south through Gastonia on a Friday afternoon! I really do expect a lot of passing. I sincerely hope no one does a Ricky Bobby (or a Cole Trickle for that matter) and I think the odds of that happening have been cut dramatically by losing the wing, though league brass keeps trying to convince us one had nothing to do with the other. Hey, it's gotta be better than that snooze-fest we had last fall.
Frank (Kingston Pa)
You mentioned on twitter that ky gets a race in 2011. Which track loses, Fontana or Atlanta?
Ryan McGee (2:41 PM)
I didn't say it, Frank, Darrell Waltrip did. And if Kentucky does get a Cup race it'll likely come from one of Bruton Smith's other tracks. My money is on Atlanta. Hate it. But that's the only move that would make sense for SMI, Bruton's track ownership arm. If they really want to get crazy, we might see Atlanta and Martinsville lose dates to Kentucky and Kansas. And Bruton keeps saying he wants a second date at Vegas. But I don't know where that would come from. If they ever expanded the schedule to add more dates my wife might leave me.
Ryan,When is Junior going to shave that ugly beard of his?
Ryan McGee (2:41 PM)
He shaved it today! Seriously!
toomuchcountry (Franklin TN)
So where does this leave RPM for the 9 ride? Quality drivers in short supply. Is Vickers available to sign elsewhere - maybe with RPM?
Ryan McGee (2:42 PM)
Great question. It probably hinges on Budweiser as to whether that car even exists next year. And if I'm Vickers there's no way I leave Red Bull for RPM. Red Bull is super-stable and poised to expand. RPM is in constant chaos and poised to contract.
Blake (Abilene, TX)
Im sure this joke has been worn out but I think there use to be a Dennys Car. They should bring it back for Denny Hamlin.
Ryan McGee (2:45 PM)
I like it! You should go to the Toyota Sponsafy site and make one. "I love love."
What would happen if Danica Patrick or any female racer was to become pregnant. Would they be forced to get out of the car right away?
Ryan McGee (2:46 PM)
Yes. I just had this conversation with the folks at John Force Racing in the NHRA about his daughter, Ashley Force Hood, who is one of if not the most popular driver in drag racing. It's no secret that she's thinking about kids. The moment she gets pregnant there are plans in place to get her out of the car. You'd have to think the same situation would exist in NASCAR.
Is it true Tony Stewart's pit crew primarily uses Otter Pops to stay refreshed?
Ryan McGee (2:47 PM)
That's what I hear.
If the 6 car opens up in the Rousch stable does it attract a Vicker's or is there someone coming up through Nationwide?
Ryan McGee (2:49 PM)
Like someone in Nationwide. I think Roush has some talented young guys in his pipeline, though personally I don't they are ready for Cup. Again, I think Vickers stays put. He left Hendrick because he felt like he'd never be the #1 guy there. Why would he go to Roush where that'd be the case again? Besides, I'm hoping David Ragan turns it around...great guy. But it doesn't look good, does it?
Frank (Kingston, Pa)
Sorry - Saw that you just picked it up from MW. My bigger concern is the second Kansas date. My favorite track is Martinsville. Will we see the paperclip lose a race date?
Ryan McGee (2:50 PM)
Sure looks that way. Kansas is getting that new giant ISC-owned casino. But I've said it before and I'll say it again, if they take a race from Martinsville I might go up there and chain myself to a tree.
Ryan McGee (2:51 PM)
If people don't want Martinsville to lose a race, then do what you did to save Darlington. Go up there and buy tickets! A ticket is a vote. Empty grandstands send a message...the wrong one. Ask Rockingham how that worked out.
How did kasey's relationship with Ford have to do with him leaving RPM?
Ryan McGee (2:51 PM)
It didn't help.
Jack (Brooklyn, NY)
I couldn't believe they had 115 green flag laps without caution in the middle of the race yesterday. Were Nascar officials in a hurry to get out of Texas or what?
Ryan McGee (2:52 PM)
Ha! Yes, I think everyone was ready to get out of there and go home. But I also think that when we have 500 mile races, which are too long in my opinion, we're going to have at least one long period of "everyone ride around and don't cause a mess until we get to the laps that actually matter".
Yesterday on Kyle's radio it sounded like he wanted to take the car to the garage early in the race when it was not hooked up right. Similar instances have happened in the past like last year in the final truck race when Kyle wanted to park it with about 70 laps to go since he was not going to win the race and during his last year at HMS when Rick had to hire Jr. mid race to finish a race because Kyle disappeared. When the going gets tough seems like Kyle wants to quit. Any thoughts?
Ryan McGee (2:55 PM)
Here's the difference in Kyle one year ago - certainly three years ago - and now. He may whine about quitting, but he doesn't actually do it. In the past, if he had a bad car he threw his hands up and gave up. That's why he'd end up with a bunch of wins weighed down by a bunch of finishes of 20th and worse. This year he's working his way back into races. We saw it early and so far the trend has held. We call that growing up.
Hey Ryan, how r u? I was so impressed with Denny yesterday. What did you think?
Ryan McGee (2:57 PM)
Totally. You know, I was one of the people that really banged on him for not getting out of the car at Phoenix, especially when he was two laps down. But in this week's Power Rankings I offered up an apology for that. What he did on Monday was pure All-American Ricky Rudd-with-his-eyes-taped-open hero stuff. The team said you could hear him grunting over the radio it was hurting him so bad as he was digging to hold off Jimmie.
Ryan McGee (2:57 PM)
That's pretty damn cool in my book. I don't care who your favorite driver is, you gotta respect that.
Bill S. (High Point, NC)
Come on Ryan, is that really fair to Rockingham? Alot had to do with the dates they gave the track.
Ryan McGee (3:01 PM)
I was born in Rockingham and I grew up there. My parents are natives and so were my grandparents. Yes, the dates were crappy, but even when people knew it was on the chopping block they still didn't show up. And I'm not just talking about people in Richmond County, but race fans in general. I'm not saying The Rock wouldn't have lost its dates, but I wish it had at least gone down with more of a fight. I'm still mad about it. Can't you tell? The good news is that Andy Hillenburg is doing a great job down there now. I'll be there for the USAR/UARA doubleheader on May 15.
Austin McGee (Pine Island, MN)
Ryan McGee (3:01 PM)
Ryan McGee (3:03 PM)
Alright folks, the bell just went off. Which means either my turkey's done or the chat is over. Thanks for coming out for a rare Tuesday edition of the block party. I'll see you back here on Monday at 2 PM ET. In the meantime, holla on Twitter (@ryanmcgeeespn) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). As always, tip your wait staff and enjoy Adam Ant. See you at Talladega!