Chat with Ryan McGee
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, Ryan McGee will stop by to chat about the 2012 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." McGee puts 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 Bojangle's chicken grease-covered brothers and sisters and welcome back to the Monday Motorsports Block Party. It was a crazy but fun Southern 500/Mothers Day doubleheader, but now it's time to chat...so...to the queries!
Clint (Dallas, TX)
Would love to see the Roush guys run a tribute to Shelby, Do you know if they have anything planned?
Ryan McGee (2:03 PM)
Clint, I do think we'll see some sort of tribute from all the Ford teams. And perhaps Dodge too. The news broke on Friday and there was a moment of silence at Darlington, but it was a little too late to get anything big together.
Frank (Kingston, Pa)
Ok - Finally had to ask the question since you only ranked JJ 7th. What is your rankings based on? JJ now has a win, has led the most laps and percentage of most laps, and in spite of the restricter plate issues he is 5th in points . He is heading into Charlotte and while he no longer owns it (as you mentioned) he has performed well on 1.5 mile tracks and the team has the swagger back.
Ryan McGee (2:06 PM)
My decidedly non-scientific formula is: what you've just done + what I think you're about to do stats.
Ryan McGee (2:07 PM)
He did move up three spots this week, which is a pretty big jump. I had him down in 10th last week. His numbers at Charlotte have been really generic the last couple of years. But if he takes care of business, he'll move up in a hurry.
Phoenix Construction was the listed as the sponsor for the 51, but did not put their name/logo on the hood. Is Finch trying to put distance between his company and Urt?
Ryan McGee (2:08 PM)
No. He's keeping the hood empty to let the world know they need sponsorship.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who will drive the 39 & the 51 in the All-Star Race at Charlotte if NASCAR Suspends Ryan Newman
Ryan McGee (2:08 PM)
I don't they'll be suspended for the All-Star Race.
Ok Ryan I am going to say it ....Dan ...Danica.... Danica is an ok driver ...there I said it now I am going to wash my mouth out with bleach and gasoline ..!
Ryan McGee (2:09 PM)
Be careful Larry. You make one comment like that and you get hate mail for weeks. Trust me. I know.
Ryan McGee (2:10 PM)
I did think she did a solid job on Friday night. She get her laps in and nearly climbed into the top 10 by staying out of trouble. That kind of performance was a far cry from what she was showing us in practice earlier that day.
Ryan McGee (2:10 PM)
Cole Whitt, Danica, and Pastrana all impressed me on Friday night.
Jason (Santa Clarita)
What is your take on the 51's incident this past weekend, and do you think James finch will fire kurt busch after this.
Ryan McGee (2:12 PM)
I wasn't down there, so all my info is secondhand reporting like everyone else. I do have an issue with the 51 car smoking its way through the 39 team's pits. That's just not smart. But I also have an issue with the 39 guys going in there looking for a fight after the race and then complaining about Kurt flipping out.
Ryan McGee (2:13 PM)
I think everyone will get warnings and that will be that. Kurt's not getting fired. But I don't think this will help him in his employment search for 2013.
Ryan McGee (2:14 PM)
For the first time I feel like the lack of results is starting to get to him. He had a great car at Talladega and Darlington has nothing to show for either one. That was starting to creep into his radio chatter on Saturday night.
Good race Sat. Close racing. Throughly enjoyable.
Ryan McGee (2:15 PM)
Totally agree. That was some classic Darlington. Everyone in close quarters, everyone inches off the wall all night. The lack of cautions early surprised me, but I don't know why. At this point of this season I should expect it.
Your opinion on the grid penalty that Hamilton got when he couldn't make it back to the pits after qualifying? Too harsh? Should the FIA change their rules on this?
Ryan McGee (2:16 PM)
Yes and yes.
the way logano ran saturday night really impressed me do u think he can keep getting top tens
Ryan McGee (2:17 PM)
He seems to be coming around. He drove his tail off on Friday night and Saturday night. The big thing that's shifted with JoLo is his attitude. He has some confidence in his walk right now. He just simply hasn't had that before, not in Cup.
David @ UTI Sacramento [via mobile]
What do u think is the reason for EGR teams #1 and #42 struggles...management, crew chiefs, resources, or even drivers possibly?
Ryan McGee (2:18 PM)
I think it's a processes thing. They completely blew up the front office last year and the new management folks all say that EGR's car construction/design processes had gotten behind. Also, it's clear that the Earnhardt/Childress engine group isn't where they were one year ago. Combine those two and it's going to be rough pumpkins.
Ryan McGee (2:19 PM)
All that being said, if they implement all the changes that they want to and the cars are still struggling, it'll be time to start looking at the driver lineup.
Michael (Las Vegas)
Any insight on how long Jeff Burton plans to drive for? He seems to be fading a little as the years go by
Ryan McGee (2:21 PM)
Nothing official. There would seem to be a natural transition coming, with Burton handing over his car to Austin Dillon. But I think that's at least a year and a half away.
Brian Chattanooga [via mobile]
What is your take on te BCS talking playoff now anything to do with the SEC getting two teams in the title game
Ryan McGee (2:22 PM)
A football question! I think it certainly got some of the non-SEC leagues talking. But in the end public demand for the playoff is what's forced this.
Will there ever be an automaker more influential than Shelby was?
Ryan McGee (2:23 PM)
He's certainly in the top five. He's right up there with Henry Fords of the world.
Steven Richey (Tennessee)
I did not realize i knew such a famous person. Congrats on the speech at Appy State.What did you tell the graduates?
Ryan McGee (2:25 PM)
I told them: 1. Don't forget where you came from. 2. Take advantage of all the media outlets and information at their disposal...but not to let those outlets tell them what to think 3. Don't let the haters and complainers win. And I mixed in some stories about Peyton Manning, Usain Bolt, and a goat sandwich.
Rowdy Smoke fan (Maryland)
About your power rankings, you said Smoke struggles at Charlotte. Didn't he won the All Star race back in 2009, plus he won the pole for Charlotte fall race and finished 8th there? He almost won the 600 race back in 2008. I wouldn't go that far.
Ryan McGee (2:26 PM)
But he also has just one points in 26 tries and only 3 top tens since 2004. By Smoke standards, that's not good.
Hey Ryan, you think after the 600 Matt Kenseth gets the points lead? I think so.
Ryan McGee (2:27 PM)
I do too.
David Bell (West Palm Beach, FL) [via mobile]
What kind of odds would you give Dale Jr. on having a season like Tony had last year. No wins going into The Chase, then lighting up like the 4th of July. Or one like Carl, one win and ooooh so close to a title?
Ryan McGee (2:29 PM)
We'll see. I think he needs to win soon. His best windows for wins would appear to be in the spring and fall, not the summer. If he doesn't get it done at Charlotte or Dover, 88 fans might have to wait it out through summer until we hit the stretch that starts with Bristol in late August.
Who do you think are going to be the two transfers from the sprint showdown this saturday night?
Ryan McGee (2:31 PM)
I'm hoping that Martin Truex Jr. gets in. To me it would be a shame to have an All-Star event and then not have a guy who is clearly one of this season's all-stars in the big show. He's been in the top five in points basically all season.
your thoughts on Jeff gordons year lady luck is not on his side. Is his 2012 season just about over.
Ryan McGee (2:33 PM)
When I interviewed him for SportsCenter on Friday he flat-out said that he wasn't thinking about making the Chase on points. It's all about getting those wins and getting one of the wild card slots. And that was before he dropped another spot to 24th in points.
Ryan McGee (2:33 PM)
To me, this is the great thing about the current Chase format. We have lots of different groups with lots of different goals. Yet so many teams still have a chance to make the postseason.
Ryan McGee (2:34 PM)
I had my reservations about the Wild Card deal when they announced it, but I'm a fan now.
Rowdy Umpire Man (Maryland)
Looks like that 18 team is making some noise. Would you consider them the team to beat now?
Ryan McGee (2:35 PM)
Maybe not THE team to beat, but they are definitely on the uptick. He was the third best car all night long at Darlington, trailing only Johnson and Hamlin.
Ryan McGee (2:36 PM)
Speaking of which, remember way back when everyone was ready to bury JGR? Now they have three wins and all three cars in the top 15.
joe north fort myers [via mobile]
Who do you think will be in the 20 car next year if Joey doesn't turn it around?
Ryan McGee (2:36 PM)
Right now he is.
So who do you see as poised to pull off a couple of wins over the summer (non-top 10 drivers) to put themselves in a wild card position for the chase?
Ryan McGee (2:38 PM)
Gordon and Kasey Kahne. Though the way Kahne is running right now he could be in the top ten in a few weeks. If there's one thing that Gordon can lean on for some solace it's the way that Kahne got his horrid luck turned around after the first month and a half.
DennisDuncan Oklahoma [via mobile]
Cole Whitt is not getting close to the amount of credit he should get. He has really impressed me this season. Too bad that in today's economy that being a terrific driver doesn't carry the weight that sponsorship does. I guess its better to be mediocre and bring big $ with you. God bless.
Ryan McGee (2:40 PM)
I don't exactly feel sorry for him. He's in a good ride and we just did a big interview with him and Junior together for ESPN. I did a story on him in our ESPN The Magazine NEXT issue last year. And don't forget, he got his big break because of his support from Red Bull. I see where you're going with this and I don't disagree about sponsorship getting generic racers in some rides. But Whitt is doing just fine.
Karl Hungus (Germany )
Hi Ryan,How do you compare Shelby to the Enzo ferrari's and other great car designers?
Ryan McGee (2:42 PM)
He's right up there. When Shelby was handed an open checkbook, much as Ferrari always had, he proved pretty quickly that he could hang with anyone in the world. We learned that at LeMans.
Ryan McGee (2:43 PM)
What I love about Shelby and Ferrari both is that they were as much concerned with asthetics as they were aerodynamics. To them it was make the fastest automobile possible, but also make it beautiful. That's rare when it comes to real genius engineers. And both were.
joe [via mobile]
Any word on who will be in a Dodge next season my money is on rpm
Ryan McGee (2:44 PM)
No word. And all indications are that RPM is staying put. The King has already said that they are working on an extention with Ford and Roush Fenway.
Ryan McGee (2:46 PM)
I've said all along that RPM's issues that would prevent them from going to Dodge are: 1. They don't have the ability to build their own engines. Dodge needs that. 2. The King was pretty angry about how he felt like Dodge treated Petty Enterprises when they first came back to the sport. Not sure if those hurt feelings have healed.
Greg (South Bend, IN.)
Do you think Eric McClure will ever be the same driver? I've always heard Ernie was never the same driver after his MIS crash.
Ryan McGee (2:47 PM)
Great question. It was great to see him in the media center at Darlington on Friday. But it was obvious that he was in more pain than he was trying to let on. I really believe that he believes what he said about getting back into a car without hestitation once the doctors say he can.
Ryan McGee (2:47 PM)
But he also has little girls at home. And I think their reaction, particularly from his oldest, is going to be hard to forget for a while.
Ryan McGee (2:48 PM)
Eric is a class act. I am just so glad he's still here with us. I really think that if that wreck had happened a decade ago he'd be gone.
Bryan (Pacific NW)
I've been impressed with Michael Annett. Do you think RPM would be grooming him for the 43 or at some point down the road, a 3rd car?
Ryan McGee (2:49 PM)
Absolutely. Tim Fedewa has been working with Michael and I had a talk with Tim about his development during Talladega weekend. Tim's impressed. And anyone who remembers Tim as a racer knows that he's not one for BS.
Im a Jr. fan for life....but holy cow kyle sure can wheel a race car...i love being one of the only ones that cheers him in the stands...AND its a diver me and my wife agree on...so there is that...go 88 AND 18!!
Ryan McGee (2:50 PM)
And here is a post I never thought I would ever read. 18 and 88 fans living together in harmony. Perhaps the Mayans were right about 2012!
Teri (North Hollywood)
Loved the picture of you and your Mom on Twitter. She is beautiful. When/where do you expect to see Matt Kenseth get his next win?
Ryan McGee (2:51 PM)
Thanks! She was pretty put together to have just had a baby (me) the day before that pic was taken!
Ryan McGee (2:51 PM)
Right now Kenseth is my 600 pick.
Craig G. (Fairfield, CA)
Hey R-MAC, my favorite driver Carl Edwards seems to always be in the top 10 in race results. What does he need to be a consistent top five or race champion contender?
Ryan McGee (2:52 PM)
He's kind of easing up the ladder, isn't he? If I was you I'd be pleased. There's a ramping up process happening there and he's not peaking to early. Last year I felt like maybe the 99 got out ahead of itself and spent the summer trying to catch back up. Not this year. He'll also be stout at Charlotte.
Chris (New York City)
Is Ryan Newman done? As a fan this is by far his most disappointing season at SHR he's been terrible at tracks that he's supposed to be good at and even worse at tracks he is good at. What's going on with him?
Ryan McGee (2:54 PM)
Good question. Though he did win a race this year and typically gets off to slow starts, so I wouldn't cash in yet. I would wait it out and see where you are when we hit Daytona in July. Right now he's 14th in points and essentially half of a race's worth of points out of the top 10. With the win he'd have the wild card slot.
Keith H (Seattle)
Please remember when telling us to tip the wait staff to also include a band name...
Ryan McGee (2:55 PM)
Did I forget last week? You know, I showed up like 15 minutes last week, so I think I was frazzled and off my game.
Saul (San Diego)
Who do you think was the most hated driver to date.
Ryan McGee (2:56 PM)
By fans? Well, it's interesting because nearly all of the guys who were the most hated - Dale Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace, Darrell Waltrip - all ended up becoming beloved.
Ryan McGee (2:57 PM)
I have always been curious to see if Kyle Busch can make that transition. Judging by NASCAR's ultimate popularity contest - the noise of driver introductions - I think he's already starting to creep over toward cheers from boos. Not a lot, but certainly more than before.
Ryan McGee (2:58 PM)
But the worst I ever heard someone get booed when I was growing up was DW. Down at Rockingham in the 1970's and 80's they used to wear him out. Buddy Baker's great line was that fans would boo DW when he was driving up Interstate 77.
Ryan McGee (2:59 PM)
That changed late in his career, particularly after Rusty turned him to win the All-Star Race in 1989.
Ryan McGee (3:00 PM)
DW went from hated to loved and Rusty went from loved to hated. When Rusty tells that story it is truly entertaining. Cops showing up at his house to make sure he was okay because the crowd was so rough on him.
Ryan McGee (3:02 PM)
Alright folks, gotta go. I'll see you at the All-Star Race this weekend (I'm picking Hamlin). Until then - as promised to Keith in Seattle - please tip the wait staff and enjoy the music of The Barbed Wires.