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 (2:01 PM)
What's up my Fontana smog-covered brothers and sisters and welcome to the Monday afternoon motorsports block party.
Ryan McGee (2:02 PM)
Let's get to the queries!
Go cardinals! Any updates on shane hmiel?
Ryan McGee (2:05 PM)
Yes. For those of you who don't know, Shane Hmiel was in a horrible USAC qualifying accident at Terre Haute. He had neck surgery last night and it went better than doctors has originally prepared us for. As I type he is scheduled to be starting back surgery and it's going to last a while. He was alert and responding to his family. Critical, but stable. The good news is that the risk of brain damage has dropped from what had looked like a near-certainty to a slim to none chance.
Ryan McGee (2:05 PM)
Really pulling for that kid. He's been through a lot to get his life turned around.
Ryan, as a Carl fan, my heart is broken today. 99 fans have seen this movie before: running great during the Chase so far, and then a freak mechanical/fuel issue just eliminates him with the snap of the fingers. Do you think Carl will ever have a Chase without mechanical failure as long as he is at Roush?
Ryan McGee (2:07 PM)
That was rough. And unlike his teammates and their engine issues it appears to have been an ignition problem. The mechanical issues do seem to be a recurring issue, but Carl isn't going anywhere. Honestly, it's amazing that he was in as great a shape as he was in the points standings considering how blah they were the first half of the year.
Frank (Boston, MA)
Vettel, Webber or Alonso- who is going to win the F1 title?
Ryan McGee (2:10 PM)
Nice! An F1 question. It's obviously Webber's to lose...but I can't shake this feeling that Alonso will make a run. The bigger issue right now is if the track in Korea will be ready for the race in 2 weeks! It reminds me of the Texas Motor Speedway's opening. They were still pouring cement and painting walls as we drove in the Thursday before the race.
Since Rowdy's engine failure basically ended the season, shouldn't NASCAR just give #48 the Sprint Cup now, cancel the remaining races and save the teams and fans a ton of money?
Ryan McGee (2:11 PM)
Oof. Here's another Kyle comment...
Is Ky Bu really looking towards next year or is that frustration? He seems to me as a guy who only cares about the race he is in that day.
Ryan McGee (2:12 PM)
I think it was frustation talking. I certainly don't think he's going to come out and try any less hard at Charlotte than he would have before the issue at Fontana. You're observation of him is pretty spot-on. That said...well, I'll just let you set me up here...
Does anyone behind Gordon in the points standings have a legitimate shot at winning the chase? Does Gordon even have a real shot?
Ryan McGee (2:15 PM)
I think the cutoff right now is Stewart, sitting 5th, 107 points out. Behind him is Kurt Busch, 140 out and that's getting to be too much to overcome. The wildcard in all of this is Talladega over Halloween weekend. I think you can be within 100 points going into 'Dega and still be in it simply because of what can happen there. But any more than that is too much. And anyone triple digits back after Talladega can go on and start working on next year.
If my memory serves me correctly this was Danica's second visit to California. She was much improved. Do you think if she came in full time she could actually make it to the cup level?
Ryan McGee (2:17 PM)
Eventually, yes. But that doesn't seem to be her plan. Her life's ambition is the win the Indy 500. Until she does that I think she'll continue to split her schedule, which stunts her stock car growth. BTW...I also think that stepping down and running that K&N race at Dover has helped tremendously. I think she needs to be running more lower level stock car races.
Damon (Frisco, TX)
Did anyone her the audio of Buescher & crew regarding him turning Danica? Do you think it was intentional?
Ryan McGee (2:17 PM)
I have not heard the audio, but it looked pretty bad to me. And I'm not alone.
Heard the news about Kenny Francis following Kasey Kahne to Red Bull. Do you think Kenny will be following Kasey to Hendrick, too? Leading to a crew chief shake up at HMS in 2012?
Ryan McGee (2:19 PM)
There is no question that he'll be headed to Hendrick with Kasey in 2012. In fact, the main reason that his deal with Red Bull didn't get done quicker was Toyota's reluctance to bring in a guy that they knew was going to be bolting for Hendrick after one year.
Ryan McGee (2:20 PM)
And yes, that means there will be a crew chief without a car at Hendrick when we get to 2012. Gentlemen, start your speculation.
My Lions won by the biggest margin since I believe 1995 yesterday. That's like one of those moments you go out and buy a lottery ticket. I skipped the lottery ticket and just hoped Dale Jr could pull out a miracle victory on his Bday instead. Didn't happen...Do you think Dale Jr will ever win again?
Ryan McGee (2:21 PM)
Yes I think he will win again. But not if they keep rolling out those no tires/stay out pit calls like Sunday.
Riley (Hampton Roads)
Loved the article about Rockingham Speedway last week. I saw a great race and realized how much miss that place. What are your thoughts?
Ryan McGee (2:23 PM)
I had a great time at The Rock on Saturday. So did everyone who took my advice and showed up! I am admittedly biased because I was born in Rockingham, but those were two very entertaining races and both fields were packed with future NASCAR stars and some very famous racing names. I talked to Junior Johnson in the pits Saturday morning as he watched his son Robert in the UARA race and he just grinned and said, "This place is just as awesome as it's ever been." If the Last American Hero is on board, you must be doing something right!
Seeing that the 48 increased his points lead in fontana will he win in charlotte and have a max points day and extend it even more??
Ryan McGee (2:25 PM)
There's a pretty good chance, yes. In 18 starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway he has six wins, 13 top tens, and has led nearly 1400 laps! That's ridonculous. And he's also the defending champion of this race.
Ryan McGee (2:26 PM)
What's more, both Hamlin and Harvick's career numbers at Charlotte are surprisingly bad.
Is it true that there are a lot of racers that are now using standard store-bought frozen Otter Pops as a form of hydration and refreshment in the pits?? I can see refreshment, but hydration...?
Ryan McGee (2:27 PM)
It's true. And those things are about 95% water, so I can see where the hydration comes from. I should know. My five-year old practically lives off the things.
Thoughts on LED Bruton-screen going up after the race Sunday?
Ryan McGee (2:28 PM)
It's what, eight stories tall and 100 feet across?! I think that I need to call in some favors and see if I can get the track staff to let me hook my Wii up to it.
Now that smoke has conquered Cali, do you see him making run at JJ? As much as I'd like to think its possible he only gained a few points by winning. And what 2 tracks are left for smoke to win on?
Ryan McGee (2:30 PM)
He can definitely make a run but Jimmie has to have one bad week. As for best shots to win - I'll say Martinsville in two weeks and Phoenix in one month.
Since you said to start speculating, I think it has to mean Gustafson goes to the 88 in 2012. What else could it mean?
Ryan McGee (2:31 PM)
Who do you think will win at charlotte saturday night?
Ryan McGee (2:32 PM)
My picks to click are Johnson, Kahne, Edwards, Gordon...and how about Jeff Burton as a darkhorse.
Do you think NASCAR will penalize #33 for the way Boyer was critizing NASCAR for that final yellow?
Ryan McGee (2:33 PM)
Probably. Though I don't think he'd care because he's already had so much taken away AND he's right.
Duuude... that would be awesome. I want to play Wii with you on the giant screen!
Ryan McGee (2:34 PM)
I know right? I want to see some Madden 11 up on that sucker!
Seriously, you hook your Wii up to it, name a charity, and I'll get you the people. We'll raise a million dollars.
Ryan McGee (2:35 PM)
Alright...we've got some momentum going here. Charlotte Motor Speedway peeps...you listening?!
Do you know if NASCAR checked the fuel in the #16, #17 and #18 for contaminantes or suspicious tampering?
Ryan McGee (2:36 PM)
I haven't heard anything on that. I don't think anyone's that stupid after the mud that Michael Waltrip was dragged through.
i think i might be the only person who wants dannica to succed and she was looking good until she got booted! and ricky carmicheal cant catch a break either!
Ryan McGee (2:37 PM)
Josh I don't think you're so alone anymore. Judging from my Twitter and email inboxes I think a lot of people, whether they love Danica or hate her, were pretty upset over that mess.
Well for at last second race in Fontana, I thought it was pretty good racing, 3 or 4 and at time 5 wide. I hope they would make next year race 200 laps. The fear I have is that next year single early Fontana Race will get boring as usual becuase most teams/drivers may be complacent to get at good to 15, build points and not get aggressive like yesterday. Your thoughts.
Ryan McGee (2:39 PM)
As you know Saul I am a huge supporter of shortening races. And I think that the 400-miler at Fontana and the 300-miler at New Hampshire have backed me up on this. I think more 300-milers would be huge. It allows for zero cruising time.
Ryan McGee (2:40 PM)
And how great was that shot my ESPN TV folks had on that last restart of that parking lot of racecars hauling off 5-wide into turn three. That rocked.
Beth (Worthington, Ohio)
Will you be covering the grand opening at Kyle Busch Motorsports on Thursday?
Ryan McGee (2:41 PM)
That's the plan. I am all over the place this week. Junior Johnson's tomorrow night, the Hall of Fame and NASCAR Now on Wednesday (5 PM ET, ESPN2!), and then the racetrack all weekend.
David (Seattle, WA)
Is anyone really surprised that after four races the 48, 11, 29 are 1-2-3 in the standings? Makes me chuckle at the pre chase predictions of it being "anyone's title!".
Ryan McGee (2:42 PM)
Well, the numbers and the guys who had momentum vs the guys who didn't sure faked us out. But those are the three best teams and they should be right where they are. (By the way, I still think the 29 has a big run at the 48 left in it.)
Jerry (Tampa, FL)
New Reut - Old Reut. What do you think the difference is? ESPN reported they had a face to face meeting Friday night, so hopefully they can both move on. It's quite silly how much air time that got - purely because Kyle was in the Chase.
Ryan McGee (2:45 PM)
I thought they got the amount of air time & ink they deserved. It kind of caught us all off guard when they both were still so raw about it when they got to the track on Friday. Also, I got a ton of questions this week about Chasers vs. Non-Chasers, so it seemed like the right topic to hit instead of the regular old, "Here's the points, Jimmie, blah blah..." It was the buzz of the garage, so it probably should have been the buzz of the telecast, right?
Ryan McGee (2:45 PM)
Yes, they did talk. No, I don't think it is over.
Jason (Wellington, FL)
Do you think Mr. H might run Almirola in the #88 for the final 6 races so they can figure out if the problems are car or driver?
Ryan McGee (2:46 PM)
I think that the chances of that happening are about as good as the chances that Hendrick would put me in the car for the final six races.
If Rowdy had a face-to-face meeting with driver of the #00, then how come Reuitman didn't have a black eye?
Ryan McGee (2:46 PM)
Because that fight would've gone the other way.
Eric (Tampa, FL)
Interesting point you make to josh in slc about Danica. I was talking to a friend of mine and they actually compared it to Rusty vs DW at the Winston.
Ryan McGee (2:48 PM)
Yeah, maybe not to that extreme, but absolutely the same type situation. When someone is perceived as coming in and having everything handed to them without earning it, race fans hate that. And they should. But when they do show signs of improvement and then just get picked on? Race fans will always jump to your defense in that situation. And that's where she is. Now she just has to back up that nice run she had going.
Has Mark Martin's team finally figured out the spoiler? He's looked pretty good in the last 3 races. If he hadn't started dead last two weeks in a row, he might have been in contention to win 3 weeks in a row.
Ryan McGee (2:49 PM)
It appears so, John. And I also think there's some relief over there that the Chase deal is behind them.
Blake (Abilene, TX)
There is no race tomorow night so who do you like in the ALDS, C. Lee or D. Price?
Ryan McGee (2:50 PM)
Pretty epic, huh? I like Lee, but I've been following Price since he was at Vanderbilt. He due for a signature game. This might be it.
You didn't put Smoke in one of contenders for the race this Saturday night. I know Smoke has been good there at Charlotte Motor Speedway. You never mentioned about Smoke contending before the California race. I don't think you are good at predicting. I'm just saying....
Ryan McGee (2:53 PM)
You found me out Andy! Well, all I really have to go on are the numbers. And what the numbers tell me about Smoke at Charlotte is that he's won there just once in 23 starts and that came seven years ago with a totally different team. In his three races with his own car he's finished 19th, 13th, and 15th. Then again, his numbers at Fontana didn't have much to say either...and we all saw what happened.
Knaus and Jimmie can't be too pleased to have to race against a customer team like #14. Do you think they will complain to Mr. H?
Ryan McGee (2:55 PM)
Nope. But I will say this, everyone at Hendrick was a lot more loose and fast with the "we share everything with Stewart-Haas" talk back when everyone thought they'd be a struggling startup team. Ever since Smoke led the points all last summer that chatter kind of went away didn't it?
What number will Kasey Kahne be running next year?
Ryan McGee (2:56 PM)
It depends on who is still there. People keep telling me that Scott Speed is being booted...but he's still there.
Marybeth (Philly )
Braves or Giants against the Phillies
Ryan McGee (2:57 PM)
Giants. Much to the misery of a NASCAR garage packed with Braves fans. There was much sobbing and gnashing of teeth in many a hotel room and airport terminal last night when Atlanta blew that lead.
Standing at 5ft 11, if I were racing in Nascar, would I be one of the tallest drivers in the garage? It seems that alot of drivers are the height of some horse jockeys.
Ryan McGee (2:59 PM)
They are. And that's not an accident. Smaller and lighter wins in sprint cars and late models. And tall guys can't get in past all the roll bars. Just ask Shaq after his episode of "Shaq vs." with Dale Junior.
Ryan McGee (2:59 PM)
I'm 5-11 and get so used to interviewing guys my height that when I go to college football it makes me feel like a munchkin.
Karen (Santa Barbara, CA)
My heart goes out to Shane Hmiel
Ryan McGee (3:01 PM)
Absolutely Karen. He's in back surgery now. We'll have an update on NASCAR Now at 5 PM ET on ESPN2.
Ryan McGee (3:03 PM)
Speaking of the show, I'll see you live from the NASCAR Hall of Fame class announcement on Wednesday. I don't have a vote, but if I did I'd go Pearson, Allison, DW, Cale, and Lee Petty. Until then, hit me up on Twitter (@RyanMcGeeESPN) or via email (email@example.com) and I'll see you back here next week. Please tip your wait staff and enjoy the music of The Hooters.