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 (2:04 PM)
What's up folks? And welcome to the post-Pocono chat. A word of warning: watch those timing lines. To the queries!
Why even have pit road segments? Start the timing at the first cone and end at the 2nd. Problem solved.
Ryan McGee (2:05 PM)
Nope. If you don't enforce the speeding rules in segments then guys are going to just haul butt and say they didn't know any better.
22 Speeding penalties? Were teams just off on how many timing zones there were or about the placement of the zones? One of the wierder developments from this season, although still behind the jet-dryer incident
Ryan McGee (2:07 PM)
Yes, definitely behind the jet dryer, but that was crazy. For the record, I wasn't one of the people that pounced on NASCAR. I Tweeted sarcastically that of course we'd have all these issues during a race when cars had been on the track for 5 days. But to me that was on the teams. You get that much practice and you can't get the timing zones down?
Ryan McGee (2:08 PM)
The issue was that teams were taking off too early in that 10th zone. They clearly didn't understand where the line was. During the race NASCAR officials actually went pit-to-pit handing out locations. The confusion seemed to vanish after that.
Why do the drivers need to know where the timing segments are located? If the speed limit is set, why isn't that just a flat speed for the entire length of pit road?
Ryan McGee (2:09 PM)
They cheat a little in each zone. In between timing lines they'll speed up a touch. Not a lot, but just enough to pick up a few fractions of a seocnd here and there.
Ryan McGee (2:10 PM)
The 48 team has always been masterful at that. But Kyle Busch is the king of getting on and off pit road. He squeezes time out of there that few can.
Tom (Salem, OR)
Thoughts on Dale Jr's post race TV interview after Pocono?
Ryan McGee (2:12 PM)
A non-story. That happens all the time. There are so many of us running around out there with cameras, especially post-race, that it is highly common for a guy to ask if it is live or taped. That's part of why Kurt Busch was so mad during his infamous Homestead tantrum. He didn't understand why he had to stand there. He wanted to tape it.
Ryan McGee (2:13 PM)
They are so exhausted after gettting out of the car that giving them a mulligan is kind of an accepted courtesy. In Dale Junior's case, he wasn't saying anything controversial. He was just out of breath and needed to collect his thoughts. They cued up the wrong "start" to the interview, that's all.
I must say that was one of the BEST races this season. There was ALOT of passing, some different Strategies, Penalties, crashes. You couldn't ask for a better race.
Ryan McGee (2:14 PM)
Totally agree. I was stunned at how racy the new pavement was, especially late in the race. And I sure didn't miss that extra 100 miles.
Yosef (Boone, NC)
If life is like legos, what does Jeff Gordon have to do to get his season turned around?
Ryan McGee (2:15 PM)
Nice. Clearly you were at my App St commencement speech! As for Jeff, I really don't know. I'm kind of at a loss. He has to win races. It's as simple as that. Other than getting up into the top 20, points don't matter.
Ryan McGee (2:16 PM)
Biggest issue he has now is that there are some killer teams in that 11th-20th wild card fight now. I think it'll take 2 wins at least to get one of the two spots.
Why did it take NASCAR so long to clean up the 2nd to last caution?
Ryan McGee (2:17 PM)
I have no idea.
Why all the Joey hate? I mean, he isn't Danica/JJ/Junior. What gives? Could this be the start of something big for the 20 car now that he has his "own" crew chief instead of being force-fed the Zippy way?
Ryan McGee (2:19 PM)
I'm with you. It's the strangest thing to me. Instead of being happy for the kid my Twitter timeline was immediately filled with "The win doesn't matter, they should fire him" comments. I just don't get it. One year ago he was barely inside the top 25 in points. This year he's 15th with one win, which is only a couple of spots behind Kyle Busch.
Tom (North Carolina)
I heard Robby Gordon mention last night that he felt his team might be well equipped to be the primary Dodge team in Cup next year, in terms of engine building, etc. Do you think Robby might be a good short term solution until a better option becomes available?
Ryan McGee (2:21 PM)
I just don't see where the cash is coming from to get into the engine building business. I've said all along I would love for Dodge to get behind teams like Robby's. I wrote a column back in March saying they should embrace the whole Rebel Alliance vs. the Death Star idea and back teams with "real car guys". But I still think they would have to figure out a way to supply those teams with engines.
Can't help but be a little disappointed that today's power rankings didn't include Vanilla Ice lyrics. Too few to choose from?
Ryan McGee (2:22 PM)
Yes. One song will only get you so far.
Maybe NASCAR just needs to get rid of the 5 mph buffer. Set it at 55 or whatever, and leave it.
Ryan McGee (2:24 PM)
The real problem kind of falls under "be careful what you wish for". For years NASCAR timed pit road speeds with a stopwatch, but drivers complained that it was too rudimentary and gave Race Control the chance to play favorites. They demanded electronic timing & scoring on pit road. The older guys warned that it might create too tight of a box, but the younger guys pushed for it anyway. Now you have no argument. The numbers are what they are.
i know that you are not a big open wheel fan of indy but do you see that the indy cars might be cumming back in 2013 and beyond that your thoughts on that.........
Ryan McGee (2:24 PM)
Do what? I am a HUGE open wheel fan. I wrote a love letter to the Indy 500 on ESPN.com last year.
Ryan McGee (2:26 PM)
As for Texas, I think leaving would be a huge mistake on IndyCar's part. I was there in the late 1990's when the IRL first started running at TMS. The shows were great then and they are great now. I appreciate the safety concerns, but this is a different car. The lessons learned from Las Vegas '11 will never be forgotten.
Ryan McGee (2:26 PM)
Judging from the drivers' reaction after Saturday night's race a lot seemed to be changing their tune.
Jeremy (Port Angeles, WA)
Do you think it would benefit Danica to do more dirt tracks races to know how a lose car feels like?
Ryan McGee (2:27 PM)
I don't think it would benefit her now like it would have when she was young and moving up the ladder. But I would love to see it.
What do you think the pole speed will be for this race at Michigan? Some people think it will break bill Elliott's dega lap.
Ryan McGee (2:30 PM)
It won't be that fast, 212 mph. But it will smash Ryan Newman's current MIS record of 193.232 and I think it could blow by 200 mph for sure.
Ryan McGee (2:30 PM)
Some will say that's a bad thing. I don't think so. When's the last time qualifying was a big news story? It will be this week.
Joanne (Ft. Myers)
Since 2009 Joey has 2 cup wins, Burton 0, Dale Junebu 0 and Truex 0. Are those 3 winless drivers on the hotseat?
Ryan McGee (2:31 PM)
Nope. Burton maybe, but certainly not the other two.
Do you think that Kurt Busch is someday worthy of the Hall of Fame? Or do his temperamental antics make that unlikely in his lifetime?
Ryan McGee (2:32 PM)
I think that eventually anyone with a Cup title will get into the Hall. The sport isn't old enough to deny any champion admission. But he'll have to wait a looooong time. And when it happens the stories that will be written will be more about his temper than his talent.
What turned me off about Joey was his Dad. Hopefully, he told his Dad to let him fight his own battles.
Ryan McGee (2:33 PM)
His Dad has kept a very low profile since he embarrassed himself at Pocono last year. That's a good thing. For everyone, but especially Joey.
Ryan McGee (2:34 PM)
But fans can't hold Joey accountable for his Dad acting like a dummy. I coach my daughter's baseball team and have two "Stage Dads" who drive me nuts. But I don't blame the kids.
Cameron (Palo Alto, CA)
I loved watching The Kid lead near the end. It's really impressive seeing what he has been able to do while running a part-time schedule. I can't help but think that the pressure of winning a championship negatively effected him the last few years, and now he isn't, he's doing great. Your thought?P.S. Love the Chats. PLEASE KEEP THEM RUNNING ESPN!!!
Ryan McGee (2:37 PM)
I can tell you this about Mark Martin, he is crazy happy right now. I interviewed him for NASCAR Now after he won the pole at Dover and right before we taped it he hit me on the arm and said, "Man, this is so much fun!" It's amazing that he has three fewer starts that Jeff Gordon yet has more top 5s, top 10s, poles, and is just one spot behind Gordon in the point standings.
With Reutimann's run Sunday, do you think he might be in the 51 the rest of the year? I don't seem to recall a lot of wrecked cars from him this season, so it might be cheaper on Finch's part.
Ryan McGee (2:38 PM)
We'll see. The big talk between Finch and Busch is tomorrow. Finch has already told anyone who will listen that his message to Kurt will be "Stop wrecking cars and be nicer to the team".
Do the cars really burn an ethanol blend, or are the decals put on the cars to keep the environmentalists happy?
Ryan McGee (2:39 PM)
They do. It's E15.
When all is said and done, who will be the most beloved Wisconsin driver of all time, Matt Kenseth, Dick Trickle, or Alan Kulwicki? Of those three, who has the most driving talent?
Ryan McGee (2:41 PM)
Wow. And you're asking this of a guy that grew up with a Dave Marcis autograph on his wall! I think Kenseth is the most talented Cup driver to come out of Wisconsin. We'll always wonder what could have been for Kulwicki, but the numbers that Kenseth puts up are crazy good.
Ryan McGee (2:42 PM)
I always say that he's like Curtis Martin in the NFL or Harold Baines in baseball. When he retires we'll look at his stats and say, "Damn, he really did all of that?!"
Joanne (Ft. Myers)
I retract my first question. A guy sitting 2nd in points should not be replaced, and thinking that is absolutely crazy.
Ryan McGee (2:43 PM)
Okay, everyone get off Joanne's back now. I knew what she was getting at.
What can NASCAR do to improve attendance? I remember going to MIS and it being a sell out now there are many empty seats.
Ryan McGee (2:44 PM)
I'm a big believer in what Rusty Wallace said about contracting the schedule. As hard as it is to think about cutting classic tracks back to one race, I really think it's in their best interest. Look at what's happened at Atlanta and Darlington. They went from two so-so crowds to one very good one.
Ryan McGee (2:46 PM)
It's a supply and demand thing. Right now there's too much supply and that cuts into demand. The reason NFL fans go so gaga over the Draft every April is because they're starving for football. And that's a good thing.
What exactly goes into promoting a race, like what Andretti is doing with Milwaukee, Baltimore, etc.? What are they responsible for? Is Andretti doing this purely for profit or because he feels he can do it better than the people who drove the Milwaukee Mile into the ground?
Ryan McGee (2:47 PM)
It's a ton of work. I have talked to Andy Hillenburg about this a lot since he bought Rockingham. There's a lot of unforseen expenses. Primarily upkeep and advertising.
Ryan McGee (2:49 PM)
In the case of why for the Andrettis there is definitely some of both. Yes, they think they can do a better job than the previous owners. But yes, they aren't going to do anything that they don't believe will return some profit.
Ryan McGee (2:49 PM)
I'm pulling for them simply because I love that track. The history there is amazing.
Hey Ryan, would you agree that one of the biggest mistakes JGR has made was promoting joey too quickly. They are only now reaping the rewards of his talent.
Ryan McGee (2:51 PM)
100% agree. And I think when we look back he'll be the last of the "Young Gun" craze that burned out way too many young guys who were thrown into the deep end before they were ready. The road is scattered with those guys, from Ron Barfield Jr. to Andy Houston to Reed Sorenson.
Kurtis (Houston, TX)
If Kurt can somehow bring Monster with him as a sponsor, is JGR the only REALISTIC and competitive team that would take a shot on him?
Ryan McGee (2:52 PM)
I think his brother getting into Cup ownership is his only chance to be back in a competitive ride. If that were to happen - and that's a huge if - then it would be as a JGR dependent. But I can't see Gibbs all-in rolling the dice on Kurt.
Did it seem to you that NASCAR penalized all those fast drivers-except #88- for pit road speeding to try to help Dale win a race but he still figured out how to blow it?
Ryan McGee (2:54 PM)
Anyone who still believes that NASCAR helps anyone win races is nuts. You really think that if they were in the business of fixing races that they would have let their biggest star go winless for this long?!
I like the promo they did at Rockinham..for every ticket purchased, a free one would go to someone in the military. If they did that at tracks with military bases nearby, that might boost attendance.
Ryan McGee (2:55 PM)
I liked that too. We've seen college football teams do that with bowl games, particularly out in Hawaii. And from all indications that program at The Rock was a big success.
Do you see Kurt taking some sponsorship $$$ to SHR and taking the #39 seat?
Ryan McGee (2:57 PM)
That's the hot rumor right now, especially after Smoke went out of his way to defend Kurt after Dover. But I think that had less to do with Kurt driving for SHR and more to do with the fact that the PR firm Stewart owns also happens to represent Kurt.
The "Young Guns" craze was fueled by sponsors demanding pretty marking faces, rather than top talented drivers. Fortunately for the fans, the talented old veterans proved that driving ability is still important in NASCAR.
Ryan McGee (2:59 PM)
It got totally out of control. But the team owners have to share a lot of the blame too. They were the ones who started locking 16-year olds to ironclad driver development contracts and then either: A. Bringing them up too fast and making them look bad or B. Sticking them on a shelf so no one else could sign them and letting their best young years go to waste.
Ryan McGee (3:00 PM)
You're right. The veterans kind of circled the wagons and weathered the storm.
Ryan McGee (3:01 PM)
Alright folks, gotta go. See you back here next Monday. Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel. In the meantime, tip your waiters and waitresses and enjoy the music of Buckner and Garcia.