Chat with Ryan McGee
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, Ryan McGee will stop by to chat about the 2011 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 '110 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 sand and mustard-based barbecue sauce-covered brothers and sisters and welcome back to the internet's biggest and baddest one-hour motorsports block party.
Ryan McGee (2:03 PM)
I'm still shaking my head over Saturday night...and I'm betting you are too. So let's get to the queries!
McGee, I don't see NASCAR doing anything except put Kyle on probation for moving Harvick's car out of the way. Plus, In reviewing the Harvick/Busch video, there are a couple things I noticed. Kyle said he gave Kevin room in turn 2. Harvick held his line and it was Kyle who slid up and hit him. Then Kyle complains that Harvick didna??t give him room in turn 4. Harvick couldna??t give him room because Bowyer had a run on the inside. If Kyle would have held his line, this wouldna??t have happened. What are your thoughts?
Ryan McGee (2:04 PM)
1. The deal on the track was it what it was and I don't think NASCAR will have issue with it. Their issue will be with what happened after the fact.
Ryan McGee (2:07 PM)
2. While I do think that Kyle is in hot water for moving Harvick's car, Harvick should have never been out of his car in the first place. And history says that the type of stuff we saw with both of them - at the entrance to pit road where there were a lot of people out and about, both behind the wall and over it - means we'll see some penalties. If those guys want to endanger themselves, fine. But the instant they have those car in position to hurt bystanders...NASCAR doesn't like that at all.
Ryan, just give me a YES or NO. Will Earnhardt make the chase?
Ryan McGee (2:07 PM)
Ryan, had Shrub not taken him out at Phoenix, Carl would have an average finish of fifth. Just how good is their stuff right now, and can it last all year?
Ryan McGee (2:08 PM)
Good point. And I agree. Their stuff is great, especially under the hood. And yes, I have no doubts it can stay that good all year. That's also why I don't think Carl is going to leave Roush Fenway, despite the fact that I think he could pick up a bigger paycheck somewhere else.
Jake (Irving, TX)
How about NASCAR suspend Kyle and Kevin from the NW series as a punsihment? Gets them out of the minors and punishes them for acting like idiots!
Ryan McGee (2:10 PM)
That's a thought, but NASCAR rarely if ever does cross-series penalties. Though they did park Harvick for the Martinsville Cup race for something he did in the Trucks race the day before, that was a loooong time ago.
Joanne (Ft Myers, FL)
Joey at least has the guts to stand up to Harvick. Is he the true leader of JGR?
Ben, (Lodi,CA) [via mobile]
Kyle Bush made himself look like a wuss. Wouldn't it have been a better situation had he just got out of the car and went toe to toe with Harvick? I mean even JoLo stood up to Kevin
Why didn't Kyle get out of the car like a man and deal with Harvick?
Ryan McGee (2:11 PM)
I post these together because they are similar and they also are representative of about 90% of the chat questions that have come in so far! As for Kyle getting out of the car...
Ryan McGee (2:12 PM)
I thought it was not smart of Harvick to get out when he did. There were still racecars all over the place at the point. That's a great way to get hurt. So Kyle staying in the car wasn't so much wimpy as it was healthy.
Ryan McGee (2:13 PM)
Plus, the 18 and 29 haulers were right next to each other in the garage. I know. I was standing there. Harvick getting out of the car allowed Kyle to get back there and for all his people to get in there and keep him in the hauler before Kevin could get there.
Ryan McGee (2:14 PM)
In fact, the first thing Harvick did was jump out and make a run for the 18 hauler, but by then there were so many people there it didn't matter. He jawed with some crew guys, but that was it.
Ryan McGee (2:15 PM)
Meanwhile, Coach Gibbs was already with Kyle and kept him from getting out into the mess until it was time to go meet with NASCAR.
Both Harvick and Kyle are running up front. They are going to see eachother on the track a lot. I have a feeling Harvick is going to try to terrorize Busch as much as he can now for not getting out of the car. Who wins that battle?
Ryan McGee (2:16 PM)
I said it on Friday and Saturday's SportsCenter when all the questions were about Newman and Montoya and I'll say it again here concerning Kyle vs. Kevin, Juan vs. Jimmie, or any other feuds: I don't expect we'll see much at Dover. But DO NOT miss the first laps of the All-Star Race in Charlotte in two weeks! No points + angry drivers = payback city.
Ben, Lodi,CA [via mobile]
Hey Ryan. Does JR practice pit stops? Just has had alot of pit related issues the last few years.
Ryan McGee (2:19 PM)
I do know that after he hit a stretch of strange pit penalties last year they did practice some stops with him. The crew practices weekly, but not with the driver. I will say this, Dale Jr called an impromptu team meeting as soon as the race was over so he could apologize and promise to improve on pit road. The team was very excited about that. I would assume that would mean practices with him behind the wheel.
Zach Bernard (Colubus Ohio)
Who's the next underdog to break through this season, Bayne won Daytona, few weeks ago we had Blaney leading with a hand full of laps left at Degga, and Saturday Regan recorded his first cup win. Kudos to Wood brothers, Tommy Baldwin, and Furniture Row with what they've accomplished with much less funding than Gibbs, Hendrick, RCR, and Penske
Ryan McGee (2:21 PM)
Good question, Zach, and I don't know. I felt all along like Furniture Row was knocking on the door of something big. In fact, Regan and I talked about it on the grid before the race. When he saw me in Victory Lane he laughed and said, "Dude, I was talking about getting some top tens...not this!"
Ryan McGee (2:21 PM)
As far as who might be next, how about JTG Daugherty and Bobby Labonte.
Do you think that Regan Smith should have won Talladega a few years ago?
Ryan McGee (2:21 PM)
At what point do you think the sponsors step in and say, "Hey guys, we don't want our product associated with your behavior?" And do you think they will?
Ryan McGee (2:24 PM)
It has happened before. A lot. The most famous I suppose would be when Home Depot stepped in and hit Tony Stewart with a big fine for his behavior. In this case, I don't think we'll see it. Certainly not in public. But might Joe Gibbs or Richard Childress get a phone call from a sponsor at some point in private? Absolutely. Knowing those guys and the situations they've had to deal with before, I'd say they will probably make the call first to make sure everything is okay.
Ryan McGee (2:25 PM)
Probably a good thing M&M's wasn't on the car. They are very image conscious. They didn't even let Elliott Sadler talk about his hunting exploits. I get that. Their market is kids.
Why is it that people only complain about my man Jr and pit stops. LEts see Kyle overshoots his pit, HArvick, Smoke, etc speed, Truex spins before pit road, Menard almost runs a guy down, Gordon leaves and almost takes the fuel guy with him, Kensith misses the commit cone. Yet all people do is cry about Jr.
Ryan McGee (2:28 PM)
Turk, I think Dale Jr obvious gets more attention for these things because of who he is. But there is no doubt that he has more high profile issues on pit road than anyone else I can think of over the last few years. It's been a real sticking point for his fans.
Turk in MI raises an excellent point and raises a question. A catch can (which we don't have) or a wrench on the back of a car, I get. That can cause a great deal of damage at 200 mph. But what's the big deal about running over a cone or an air hose? They certianly aren't going to get on the track.
Ryan McGee (2:30 PM)
Yeah, but they do become debris. Or at least have the potential to. Maybe not out on the track, bit on pit road. Someone's got to run out and get it. And the air hose issue is absolutely a safety issue. I've seen hoses get wrapped around tires and remember, those are air-powered. It breaks or snaps in the wrong place and it becomes dangerous.
Chris (Crestview, FL)
Ryan - Juniors pit road problems are only "high profile" because he is Junior. The stats prove he isn't any worse on pit road than a majority of the other drivers in the series.
Ryan McGee (2:32 PM)
You have those stats? I don't. All I know is that since he joined Hendrick his personal issues on pit road have been a problem. This isn't just coming from fans. This is coming from him and his team.
Ryan, with Sadler running so well in the nationwide series, any chance he'll get another shot in Cup soon? Red Bull?
Ryan McGee (2:34 PM)
I think he's happy where he is.
Do you think JPM needs to check his attitude and driving style if he ever hopes to win on a oval?
Ryan McGee (2:35 PM)
He's not changing anything. And I do think he'll win on an oval. Probably Atlanta. Here's the thing about Montoya, and it's what drives the other guys so crazy. He just doesn't care what other people think. On some level all of the drivers care what other people in the garage think of them. JPM doesn't. Never has. He didn't in CART and he didn't in F1. And that drove those guys crazy too.
Brian (IL) [via mobile]
Do you think a lot of the teams and media members lost the respect they had for Kyle after he put there life in danger on pit road?
Ryan McGee (2:37 PM)
Nope. Anyone who didn't respect after already didn't respect him before...and vice versa. But I'm betting some track workers feel a little different after seeing that 29 car plowing it toward the pit wall.
Ryan, since you're a hat expert, who wore better hats, the women at the Royal wedding or the women at the Kentucky Derby!!!!
Ryan McGee (2:38 PM)
Kentucky Derby by a long shot. Unless you are an alien. If you're an alien then you have to go with the Royal Wedding because it looked like a collection of UFO's.
Ryan McGee (2:38 PM)
Speaking of which, anyone who follows my man Marty Smith on Twitter needs to go back and look at the picture he posted from the Derby. His wife was rocking a serious hat.
Where is Mark Martin Going next year
Ryan McGee (2:41 PM)
The persistent rumor is Red Bull, but I think that's rooted more in his longtime friendship with the GM over there, Jay Frye, who is one of his dearest friends. I don't think RB is looking for a guy Mark's age. Plus, I think Mark would like to go somewhere where he could get an ownership stake in the team, similar to Jeff Gordon's deal with Hendrick. But I don't know if anything like that would be available.
Ryan McGee (2:42 PM)
Speaking of Red Bull, I hear the big bosses from Europe might be coming over for Charlotte Speedweeks, so we might start getting some movement on who will replace Kahne in the 4 and what Brian Vickers is going to do.
Ryan McGee (2:42 PM)
If I'm a free agent, that 4 car is looking pretty dang good. It was crazy fast on Saturday night.
Hey Ryan, Just finished "The Road To Omaha", terrific stuff, congrats! Headed to Dover this weekend, would you recommend the Truck Race Friday or the Nationwide Saturday..I'm already going to Cup but wanted to check out at least one of the other races. Thanks
Ryan McGee (2:45 PM)
Thanks! Still really proud of that book and I can't wait to get back out to Omaha next month. As for Dover, this is tough choice. Both put on good shows there. But I will say this: being there Friday means you get to see all three series, whether its racing, qualifying, or practice.
With Scott Speed landing a Penske ride for Indy 500 and running for Harvick in Nationwide do you see Scotty back in Sprint Cup for 2012?
Ryan McGee (2:46 PM)
First, I was thrilled to hear the news that Scott will be running for Dragon in the Indy 500. I don't know if we'll ever see him back in Cup. But he sure does feel like a nice fit for IndyCar, doesn't he? He's already planning on running the IndyCar finale at Las Vegas to go for that $5 million bonus for non-IndyCar regulars.
Ryan McGee (2:48 PM)
He's always told me he still wants to try drag racing too. His wife Amanda is a member of the NHRA Pro Stock Bike racing Smith family and Scott says he's always lobbying to get a ride with them!
Do you see any other tracks following suit like Auto Club Speedway and shortening their events to appease network television and the fan base with smaller attention spans? Pocono comes to mind here..
Ryan McGee (2:49 PM)
I hope so. Anyone that has ever read my stuff knows that I am big fan of shortening races. I say we leave the Daytona 500, Southern 500, and Coca-Cola 600 alone. The others can all be cut to 400, or even 300 laps/miles.
If I were Red Bull, I'd seriously take a look at Regan Smith or Jack Roush in the 6. The first well-funded team to put Regan in a car is not apt to ever regret it.
Ryan McGee (2:51 PM)
I totally agree. But I do think that Regan likes where he is because he likes theidea of building this team up.
When the manufacture changes come in to Cup in 2013, I think? Where's Chevy going to go? Impala or Camaro? I would like to see the Camaro myself.
Ryan McGee (2:52 PM)
Looks like the Impala, though they are receiving a ton of pressure to figure out how to run the Camaro. They say that the NASCAR body style, specifically the B-post, doesn't allow them to use "classic Camaro lines". But Ford made it work with the Mustang and Dodge with the Challenger. I haven't given up on it yet.
Is the #4 car faster because of cc Kenny Francis? I feel Kasey & Kenny could keep building and be more competitive staying @ Red Bull rather than becoming another "lesser than JJ" member @ Hendricks!
Ryan McGee (2:54 PM)
Karen I am hearing this more and more and I kind of expected to. But I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that Kasey is all in for his move to Hendrick. Because of that I give him a lot of credit for working as hard as he is at Red Bull. Would have been easy for him to mail that in while he was looking ahead to 2012, but he's not doing it.
so I guess this is just a bash Kyle session and not a real representation of all the questions out there, I follow you on Twitter, would of expected more fairness, like mentioning Kyle had no reverse in his car!
Ryan McGee (2:55 PM)
You know I love you, we talk every week on Twitter, but there's no way you've read my comments in this chat today if you think I've been bashing Kyle.
Anthony (Hampton Georgia)
Who are the top six or seven favorites at Dover this weekend?
Ryan McGee (2:55 PM)
Because we're tight on time I'll give you two...
Ryan McGee (2:57 PM)
1. Gotta get a grip. Tires have been a big issue at Dover of late and that white concrete surface is a bear even when the tires are good.
Ryan McGee (2:58 PM)
2. Pad the right side of the seat...big time. Driver fatigue is brutal after 400 miles of g-forces, epsecially in the driver's neck. You have to brace his head on the right side to catch it from all those centrifugal forces wanting to fly up against the banking. If you don't, that fatigue will show up late in the race and you'll end up tired and wrecked.
Whos your pick for DOver and top 5?
Ryan McGee (3:01 PM)
I'm taking Carl Edwards. And I like the 18, 39, 16, 17, and 48 to be chasing him late. Dark horses: 31 and 43.
Ryan McGee (3:02 PM)
Alright folks, that will do it for this week. See you next Monday, same bat time, same bat channel. In the meantime, tip your wait staff and enjoy the music of the Lovemongers.