Chat with Ryan McGee
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, 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 Monday at 2 p.m. ET!
Ryan McGee (2:00 PM)
What's up my KC Masterpiece covered brothers and sisters? Welcome back to the worldwide interweb's biggest, baddest, and perhaps only one-hour motorsports block party. We have ourselves the closest Chase in history, so there'e a'plenty to talk to about. To the queries!
Matthew (Columbia, NJ)
Hey Ryan, Edwards, Biffle and Kenseth showed alot yesterday, do we expect more of this in the final 7 races?
Ryan McGee (2:03 PM)
Yes. For two reasons. First, we were starting to the Roush Fenway cars getting some momentum going during the summer, particularly Biff and Cuz. A big part of that has been the Ford FR9 engine. They kept telling us that it was going to be be big once it was phased in, and it has been. The RPM cars have been running better also.
Ryan McGee (2:03 PM)
Second, we are now on the 1.5-to-2 mile bread and butter tracks where Roush has made his living for a couple of decades now. No reason to think they won't win at least a couple of more races.
If i can trade Chris Johnson for A. Petterson should i or no
Ryan McGee (2:04 PM)
Not a racing question but yes, I'd do it. If for no other reason because Peterson and Favre are both admitted NASCAR fans.
How does a driver lose the fire in his belly per se. Like gordon seemed to do a few years a go. He defintly has it back and wants to win now more than ever.
Ryan McGee (2:07 PM)
Hi Mike. Interesting question. I don't know if they actually lose the fire, but as drivers get older they definitely don't take the chances that they used to, especially when they become parents. I also think they get distracted with all the off-track stuff. Dale Earnhardt Sr and then-crew chief Larry McReynolds had a famous feud that they played out through the media (specifically Sports Illustrated) when Larry Mac called Dale out for spending too much time on other stuff and not the racecar. It wasn't until more than a year later that Dale admitted that he had indeed fallen victim to that.
Ryan McGee (2:08 PM)
I think Gordon lost focus for a while and also lost faith in his crew. Both are clearly back now.
Andrew (Kettering Ohio)
Let's play what if: If Dale Sr is still living name the 4 drivers at Childress and is GM Goodwrench on one of those cars?
Ryan McGee (2:11 PM)
Well, Senior would be retired. Harvick and Burton, who were practically handpicked by Dale, would be there. And I think he would've liked Bowyer too. Fourth guy might be someone like Keselowski, someone that Dale Junior brought along. But you'd have to figure that DEI would still be around, so who knows? And as for GM Goodwrench, they'd still be gone. Even Earnhardt being alive couldn't have saved GM from its economic woes.
CB (Austin, Texas)
I've noticed from camera-close-ups that the Sprint Cup trophy on display each week in pit road during pre-race is marked as being Jimmie Johnson's 2009 Cup trophy. Why don't they have a new trophy out there and is that really Jimmie's trophy or a replica they put on the track?
Ryan McGee (2:13 PM)
That's NASCAR's copy of Jimmie's trophy. His is currently on display at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. And they can't just whip one up to take on the road. It's solid Tiffany & Co. silver!
Nick Rolando (Orlando)
Ryan, since Menard is leaving who drives the 3rd RPM car next year, Allgaier? Also, as a Florida fan I'm fed up with Steve Addazio.
Ryan McGee (2:15 PM)
I don't think there will be a third RPM car next year. But if I am RPM - or any owner - I am inking Allgaier to a deal right now. As for Addazio, you are not alone. The not-quite-Tebow jump pass alone was enough to put him on the hot seat.
David (New Jersey)
Why was there universal outrage about Carl "nearly killing" Brad from fans and media, but I've heard plenty of people saying that Reutimann was justified in doing what he did. I don't understand the situational ethics. Don't you think people have to decide whether it's OK to intentionally retaliate during a race?
Ryan McGee (2:18 PM)
I hear you David. But what Reut was doing was on the backstretch when no one else was around. Not unlike what Hamlin did to Keselowski at Homestead last year. What Carl did was on a tight track in front of the entire field on a last lap free-for-all to the finsih line. Sure, some of it was situational ethics (I love that phrase by the way, I'll be stealing it), but I think people, especially racers, understand where to and when to retaliate.
Ryan, any word on sponsorship for Gordon next season? Getting a little late for announcements...
Ryan McGee (2:19 PM)
No...and yes, you are right. I talked to Rick Hendrick about it two weeks ago and he said he wasn't worried. We'll see. To Gordon's credit he has been quick to say that it hasn't been a distraction for him. After what I saw yesterday I would say he's not lying.
We heard Harvick talking on his radio about Rowdy's car after the wreck. Do all the drivers pay more attention to Rowdy than the other drivers?
Ryan McGee (2:21 PM)
Not just Rowdy, but all of the cars in the Chase. These guys will try to tell us that they aren't paying attention to the other eleven guys, that they are only worried about their cars and "what we can control"...don't believe it for one second.
when will red-bull anounce scott speeds status? i really wish they wouls stick with him! for some reason that team only gives there drivers two years even though they didnt grow up raceing stock cars.
Ryan McGee (2:23 PM)
We're getting close. I agree, I wish they would keep him around for one more year. But there are some serious tugs back and forth going on at RB right now between the folks that run the team in Mooresville and the folks that own the team in Europe. Goal #1 is to get Kenny Francis signed on as crew chief for Kasey Kahne. That's almost done. Then they'll figure out what to do with Scott. He continues to say simply that he's under contract for next year, regardless of what happens.
Joe (Athens, GA)
Let's forget about NASCAR for a minute. How awesome is it that North Wilkesboro Speedway is open again? And they had 10,000 people there yesterday for a USAR race. When does NASCAR send the K&N Series or Whelen Modifieds there?
Ryan McGee (2:25 PM)
It is awesome Joe. I'm working on a story about that for midweek. Now we need those same folks to drive down the road a piece to Rockingham this Saturday for the ARCA/UARA doubleheader. The only way that N.Wilkesboro and The Rock are going to get any kind of NASCAR racing back is if people buy tickets and prove they can still draw crowds!
Eric (Tampa, FL)
Who needs a hug more today: Kyle Busch or Tony Kanaan?
Ryan McGee (2:26 PM)
I say TK simply because he'd actually hug you back.
i think david hit kyle because the obvious of kyle spinning him out. but i also think it stems from kyle's rant about david after the bristol race too!
Ryan McGee (2:27 PM)
Good call Josh. I had forgotten about that. I thought Reut's calm, collected "I'm not one of the guys you normally have to worry about paying you back, but I can be" speech was tremendous. And it was obvious who it was pointed at.
Ryan McGee (2:28 PM)
I will say this too. I hope that the Reutimann-Shrub deal will finally shut everyone up on this "Non-Chasers always get out of the Chasers way" theory. If anything, Reut has made a statement on behalf of the non-Chasers, saying, "We're out here racing too".
Andrew (Mocksville, NC)
I'm of the opinion NASCAR ratings would boost next year if someone other than Jimmie's Johnson wins the chase. Where do you stand on that, Ryan?
Ryan McGee (2:30 PM)
Yes. I have never been a believer in the "Dynasties are good" theory. I never thought it was good for the NFL or MLB for the same team to win every year. I also think it would help if the sport's most popular star (Junebug) could become relevant again.
Joe (New York)
Ryan love the rankings, will jeff gordon win a race and if so where?
Ryan McGee (2:31 PM)
Thanks. I channeled my inner geek this week. I have my eye on Martinsville for Gordon's win. Problem is, two of his biggest rivals - Jimmie and Denny - are aces there as well.
Jake (Las Vegas)
Sure hope the Chase finale at Homestead is as entertaining as the Indycar finale was on Saturday night. One thing we know for sure though, there will be more people in those seats than what was the case Saturday. Geez.
Ryan McGee (2:33 PM)
Holy cow, could you believe that? When I flipped over to watch and saw the grandstands it literlly made me sick to my stomach. I swear I don't there were 5,000 people. They had twice that many at North Wilkesboro on Sunday. So disappointing. That night I Tweeted for everyone to remind me of that crowd the next time I complained about empty seats at a Cup race.
lets play the what if game some more if dale sr is still alive is dale jr still in the #8 car
Ryan McGee (2:34 PM)
No. He's at DEI.
who is your pick at california?
Ryan McGee (2:35 PM)
I hate to say it, but Jimmie. Then Carl, Kyle, and Gordon.
As a proud and openly gay male, I wonder if there is any issues with sexual orientation in Nascar? Would drivers care if one the drivers were gay?
Ryan McGee (2:37 PM)
That's a fair question. I don't think there would be any more unfavorable reaction than if it happened in another sport. You should pose this question to my man Michael over at www.queers4gears.com. He was admittedly nervous about covering his first Cup races earlier this year, but was pleasantly surprised at how well he was received by the drivers.
Blake (Abilene, TX)
"I never thought it was good for the NFL or MLB for the same team to win every year" Does that mean your pulling for the Rangers in the MLB playoffs?
Ryan McGee (2:39 PM)
Ha! Yes! And I think you realized that I was talking about the Cowboys, huh? I think it is hugely important for any sport to have their classic superpowers relevant - Cowboys, Packers, Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Celtics, Lakers, etc. - but I do think it gets a little stale when the same team wins every year.
Mike (Wakefield, MA)
It seems no driver in the sport is interested in anything beyond points and the paycheck. Has the Chase format made points-racing worse?
Ryan McGee (2:41 PM)
Not a chance. We've had ten different winners over the last eleven weeks and we now have the closest points battle of all time with six races remaining. I can't complain about that at all.
Ryan, who wins the battle for the basement in the SEC this week, UT or UGA? Also, any word on Kenny Francis status? Thanks
Ryan McGee (2:44 PM)
This will be the first time since 1903 that Tennessee and Georgia have played when neither team had a winning record. I think UGA has more talent, but UT will win. As for Francis, the deal is almost done. There's been some understandable reluctance on Toyota's part to let a guy in for one year and then send him off to Hendrick and Chevy. But Red Bull - and Hendrick - seemed determined to make it happen. I think it's a good move by Red Bull. Francis can bring them some ideas/info from the Roush way of doing things.
Playing what if... IF Cole Trickle was real, what kind of career stats would we be looking at in 2010, as I am sure his career would have wound down by now.
Ryan McGee (2:47 PM)
Well, keep in mind this is a guy who came from 8th to 1st in one lap at Darlington. I think his career numbers would have been similar to Rusty Wallace. Somewhere around 50-ish wins, but only one championship. As Buck Bretherton explained, Cole was a Kamikaze driver. That's good for winning races, but not championships.
ryan, i was just wondering if you think when we get to martinsville if its the 17 against the 24 for the win again if matt will go for a little payback for what happened in the spring? i doubt it because matt's not that kind of driver but im just wondering what you think
Ryan McGee (2:48 PM)
Nah. You're spot on with Kenseth. I think too much time has passed for him to be hanging onto that grudge. And Kenseth isn't the kind of guy that wants to have cost someone a championship. But the way things have gone this season, who knows?
Scott (Kansas City)
How about some love for the fans at kansas Speedway! Full stands and an outstanding weekend of racing. Bring on the second race!
Ryan McGee (2:50 PM)
Totally agree Scott. My reaction on Sunday was the total reverse of my reaction to the Indy Car race on Sunday night. And Kansas managed to draw that kind of a crowd while still clinging to their ridiculous season ticket policy that required fans to purchase packs of tickets instead of tix to individual races. Just this morning the track president told my buddy Nate Ryan of USA Today that from now on they will be selling stand-alone tickets. I think that's great...a little late...but still great.
Ryan McGee (2:51 PM)
As for Kansas getting that second race next year, I have always said that a ticket is a vote. The tracks that sell the most tickets should get to keep races or have one added while the ones that don't need to be cut back or dropped.
Ryan McGee (2:52 PM)
People always bang on Pocono, but I was there in July and the place was packed. Thus they have proven that they should stay on the schedule. I wa also at Atlanta in March for a gorgeous day and no one showed up. Thus they lost that date but will draw well for Labor Day like they always have.
Will we actually have to watch Conway recieve the rookie of the year award at the championship banquet
Ryan McGee (2:53 PM)
Yikes. I guess so. And I'm afraid that next year's RoY situation is going to be worse.
Hmmm, could you do the power rankings in Gone with the Wind style next week!!!
Ryan McGee (2:53 PM)
Hmmm...I'll have to recruit my wife, star of GRITS: The Musical, to help me with that.
Blake (Abilene, TX)
Are Dick Trickle and Rich Bickle related?
Ryan McGee (2:55 PM)
No. Neither are Lake Speed and Scott Speed or Eddie Sachs and Greg Sacks.
Can The Dinger win this year? The wifey promised me a TV from Best Buy if he wins, so I really need/want/hope he can win one this year.
Ryan McGee (2:57 PM)
Really?! Then I like your chances. Keep your eye on Talladega. I really think he could win that one. And kudos to you for befriending Dr. Dinger. I've only chatted with her once or twice but people love her.
My vote is for the rankings to be done in The Hangover style next week.
Ryan McGee (2:58 PM)
Nice. I did make a "One man wolfpack" reference in my ESPN.com Insider college football blog a couple of weeks ago.
Ryan, hope your having a great day. Why is it that every year for the last five years Johnson has messed around in the season (still able to get a top five seeding) then all the sudden, like a bat out of hell, Chase comes and the team comes alive?
Ryan McGee (3:00 PM)
You know, I asked Chad Knaus that very question on NASCAR Now last Monday night. Specifically, I asked about "flipping the switch" come Chase time. He laughed and said that if there was such a switch he'd be flipping to "on" more often than just the fall. He also pointed out - and the numbers back him up - that even in the middle of that terrible summer stretch (their worst ever, statistically speaking) that they had actually run well before getting caught up in messes. He's right. Look at Bristol as an example.
Ryan McGee (3:01 PM)
But I do think that, like all great sports teams, they do turn it up in the postseason, whether it is a conscious thing or not.
How come Dale jr didn't make your top 20 power rankins when he moved up from 18th to 17th in pts?
Ryan McGee (3:03 PM)
Because that was kind of a fluke. He finished 22nd in the race.
Debbie (Midland, Tx)
Is KK getting the "junk" now? Almost making it unbearable to watch!! Go Rangers
Ryan McGee (3:04 PM)
Well, he did win the pole. But you have to think he's not getting what the Dinger is getting.
Ryan McGee (3:05 PM)
Alright folks, that'll do it for this week's edition of the Monday Motorsports Block Party. See you back here next week, same bat time, same bat channel. In the meantime, you can hit me up on Twitter (@RyanMcGeeESPN) or via email (email@example.com) and I'll see you on NASCAR Now this Wednesday night. Until then, tip your waiters and waitresses and enjoy the music of the Dan Band.