Chat with Ryan McGee
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, 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 Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (2:07 PM)
Hi folks! Ryan is standing by, but we are having some technical issues at the moment. Keep your questions coming and he will get started as soon as we can get him set up!
Ryan McGee (2:09 PM)
What's up everybody? Got thrown an IT curveball but I located Tron deep inside the Grid and he fights for the users, so he got me to the right place and I am here now. Let's get to the queries!
Cameron (Palo Alto, CA)
Hey Ryan, Thanks for doing the chat!I want to take the other side that i feel like a lot of people have regarding the Dinger. Most seem to say, "Oh, it was just adderal, blah blah." I say, if his story is true, this is a guy who took a random pill without knowing what it was. That screams problems to me, and if i were a potential sponsor, i would say "No Thank You." Your thoughts? Thanks again Mr. McGee
Ryan McGee (2:11 PM)
I said this yesterday and I still feel this way. If you have covered substance issues in other sports - and I have - then this refrain feels way too familiar. Plead ignorance, "I didn't know" "It was a fluke one-time thing" etc.
Ryan McGee (2:12 PM)
Now that doesn't meant he isn't telling the truth. I like him personally so I hope that he is. But unfortunately the track record on these things does not work in his favor. Not in the court of public opinion and cerainly not in the eyes of people who make a living in the drug testing industry.
Ryan McGee (2:13 PM)
All that being said, I really hope he makes it back through this Road to Recovery plan, which will be drawn up specifically for his case, as it is with anyone who is suspended. And I'm not alone. Other drivers, from Stewart to Gordon, have said the same many times over.
Why didnt Carl Edwards make the move to JGR . i think he would have been way better in the long run there
Ryan McGee (2:15 PM)
I was a loyalty thing. And money too. Ford had a lot to do with him staying. He's their flagship driver. And I wouldn't read too much into this down year. He was bound for a post-2011 hangover. It happens to everyone. I remember in '92 when Earnhardt and Rusty were just brutal. The next year they were back to their old selves.
Craig (San Jose, CA)
Any word on when Chevy will finally unveil its 2013 ride? I want to see that bad boy without a camo wrap.
Ryan McGee (2:16 PM)
Very soon. They're a little behind on the approval process. Nothing to read into that, it's just a massive overhaul. Though the other manufacturers have been a little frustrated by their methodical ways.
Do you think Austin Dillon will be able to win Richard a Sprint Cup trophy once he gets up there? He seems to be the real deal.
Ryan McGee (2:17 PM)
He is the real deal. And so is his little brother. That would be pretty amazing if he won the Cup wouldn't it? It would certainly shut down the complaints about him running the 3.
Joey Logano (Parts Unknown)
McGee! In your heart of hearts, where do I end up come February? I REALLY wanna stay in Cup for a competitive team! Do I get my wish? Do I still have to be a Redskins fan?
Ryan McGee (2:19 PM)
Joey, I think you have a real shot at the 22 car. If not, you might have to settle for a Sam Hornish sort of dialed-back Cup schedule while you run the full Nationwide schedule for JGR. Quite frankly, if you'd done that a few years ago instead of being rushed into a Cup car you'd be better off right now. Not saying any of this is fair. I think you're just now coming into your own - and your teammate Denny Hamlin has said as much a lot over the last week - but it is what it is.
Saul (San Diego)
Do you think the pressures of being a driver/commitments lend itself for drivers to abuse ?substances?? And does NASCAR monitor the drivers in other ways besides random analysis?
Ryan McGee (2:21 PM)
Maybe. But I wouldn't exactly put AJ in the upper echelon of overbearing off-track schedules. I think he just made a bad mistake.
Ryan McGee (2:22 PM)
As for monitoring drivers, it's a constant process. The substance abuse policy section of the rule book is huge and it leaves the door open for everything from the eyeball test to changes in behavior to prior record as a potential trigger for a talk, test, or suspension.
Ryan McGee (2:23 PM)
Some say that's too strict. I disagree. No other sport puts its athletes in a position to kill people like motorsports does. I other sports they are really only a danger to themselves.
Saul (San Diego)
Will the 88 continue to consistently run up front at the WG?
Ryan McGee (2:24 PM)
Maybe not consistently. But this team has shown an ability to do what they simply couldn't in the past - make adjustments, get better all day, and be there at the end.
Rob F (Hoboken, NJ)
Hi Ryan, I'm surprised so many drivers came out in support of AJ. Why didn't they do the same when Mayfield failed his test?
Ryan McGee (2:24 PM)
Because they like AJ.
Jeremy (Port Angeles, WA)
Do pocono have a billboard/sign on telling fans about severe weather isn't there one for the Indinapolis Motor speedway?
Ryan McGee (2:27 PM)
There isn't a dedicated weather billboard, but there are the Sprint Vision mobile screens. As part of the talks that NASCAR is having this week with Pocono and other racetracks you'd certainly there would some talk about using those screens. I'd think you could also use the scoring pylons in some way. Making PA announcements or sending Twitter alerts is never going to be enough simply because you can't ever hear the PA during green flag conditions and even as popular as Twitter is, it's still only going to reach a small % of fans.
Jason (Santa Clara )
will Iowa ever get a cup date
Ryan McGee (2:29 PM)
I hope so. They certainly deserve it. But someone will have to lose a date for that to happen. They won't be adding any Cup dates. And the fact that Iowa isn't in the ISC or SMI ownership groups kind of hurts their chances. Those groups aren't going to give up one of their dates for Iowa.
Jackie (Spring Lake NC)
Will the new car next year help at all with the areo problems or is it just a cosmetic changer for the manufacturers
Ryan McGee (2:30 PM)
That's actually a pretty hot debate right now among the engineers who are working on these new cars. Their initial reaction has been that there isn't enough of a change under the skin to really have the kind of dramatic effect on the racing that a lot of people expect and, in many cases, very badly want.
Ryan McGee (2:32 PM)
There seems to be a lot more give from the NASCAR R&D side in recent times to look into doing more with the chassis so that they aren't just CoT 3.0.
Since Chevy took so long for next years car, will the other manufacturers have an early advantage next year?
Ryan McGee (2:32 PM)
Nah. If anything, they are dragging their feet because they are working on something out of the box and don't want to show their hand too soon.
what manufacturer will RPM use next season ?
Ryan McGee (2:33 PM)
Ryan, it's a little concerning watching the young talent in the feeder series and thinking about their futures. If/when, for example, Buescher/Piquet/Lofton/Allgaier/Kligerman (released, I don't like the move as a huge Brad K fan) make it to Cup, where can they go? $$$$ is king, and I'd take some of the drivers listed over a 20th place veteran any day; thoughts?
Ryan McGee (2:35 PM)
I had a long talk with Keselowski about this earlier in the summer when we were working on a story for our "Great Debaters" issue of ESPN The Magazine. He asked if I thought he was the last driver that might ever do it like he did it, coming out of nowhere and clawing his way up the ladder into a Cup ride. He said he was like Indiana Jones grabbing his hat and diving under the big stone door right before it slammed shut.
Ryan McGee (2:36 PM)
I don't disagree. I don't know if that door is slammed shut for good, but it's pretty close. There's a ton of young talent out there, but you are right. If they don't have some sort of backing coming up, it's nearly impossible.
Ryan McGee (2:38 PM)
Perhaps the sagging economy might help those guys in the long run. I think teams are going to have to change their business model to survive. As part of that, maybe a lack of total sponsorship dependence will let them go back to talent scouting again. Not just looking a kid's financial portfolio. We'll see.
hi ryan, as a fan of the 29, i'm really concerned about his fall off this summer. how do you like Harvick's chances for making the Chase?
Ryan McGee (2:39 PM)
He's getting into the Chase. There's no question there. But I talked with him on Friday and he said what I already thought, that they are very fortunate that the top ten in points have such a gap over the wild card guys. Otherwise he'd be in serious trouble. They have to find speed between now and September or he'll be doomed to 10th-12th Chase purgatory.
Name 5 drivers under the age of 25 in any Nascar touring series who has the potential to become a star at the Cup level
Ryan McGee (2:42 PM)
Off the top of my head: Austin and Ty Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Cole Whitt, Timothy Peters, Parker Kligerman. On deck are Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, Ryan Truex, and Darrell Wallace Jr.
Ryan McGee (2:44 PM)
Honestly, the list is much longer than that. Justin Allgaier, Michael Annett, Sergio Pena, Corey LaJoie... This is easily the most young talent that has been in the pipeline in a looooong time. There's going to have to be a purge at the Cup level to make room for them all.
Noticed the other day that all Restrictor plate winners in 2012 are same as in 2009 (Kenseth in a rain-affected race/Brad K/Smoke), should I just put down Jamie Mac for Talladega then or go with Cal Naughton, Jr?
Ryan McGee (2:46 PM)
Stick with Jamie. Keep in mind that, as much as I love him, Cal's win was the biggest fluke in NASCAR history. I doubt we'll have the 30-car crash followed by the footrace and finish line makeout session again.
Chris (Bryant, AR)
Do you think Penskie will build his own engines after seeing what Roush Yates has got?
Ryan McGee (2:46 PM)
Nope. He's all-in. That shocks me. But he is.
Briton (West Virginia)
Ryan, Keselowski wants to have a say in who Penske hires as a second driver. Is this a normal occurrence in the garage with all teams or is this rare since it is only a 2 car team at the moment?
Ryan McGee (2:47 PM)
It's not that unusual. I think they will definitely ask him what he thinks of the candidates. Now whether they'll actually take that advice or not, who knows?
Rob F (Hoboken, NJ)
Do you feel AJ will have a legit shot at actually making it back to cup with a quality ride, or was this his last great shot with the 22? I wonder if his management team is trying to instill realistic expectations of a comeback or not.
Ryan McGee (2:50 PM)
It's going to be a long road back. If he wants to get back into Cup, he'll have to take his lumps first. The biggest problem he's going to have is what we were just talking about. There are more talented young guys - with no baggage - standing in line than ever before. If you're a sponsor, you're going to lean toward them over a guy with a big black mark on his record. Not saying that's fair. Just saying that's how it is likely going to be.
Ryan McGee (2:51 PM)
As for his management team, I like them personally. But it is hard to imagine that they could have handled the PR portion of this any worse.
Ryan do you have an pointers for a frist timer going to Bristiol and I mean as a fan not a driver. We are going for the Night race I hope the new changes to the track bring some exciting racing before the track changes.
Ryan McGee (2:53 PM)
Get there early and do some walking. Take it all in and allow yourself to see every angle of the track and the mountains around it. And check out the track schedule and pick a spot on the fence by the tunnel entrance outside Turn 3. It's a great place to get a glimpse of or even chat with drivers, but best on Friday before and after practice instead of Saturday before the race.
Cory (Geneva, IL)
Would Jr. being the title hunt at Miami make NASCAR mainstream for a few weeks?
Ryan McGee (2:53 PM)
Nick Rolando (Orlando)
Think you forgot Trevor Bayne too Ryan.
Ryan McGee (2:54 PM)
True. The problem is that I'm not sure what Trevor is going to do in the future. He's running out of moves.
Kahne and Gordon locks now for the WC's?
Ryan McGee (2:55 PM)
I think Kahne is in. Then it's a two-horse race between Gordon and Kyle Busch. Busch is the kind of guy who can hit a hot streak and win 3 out of 5.
Saul (San Diego)
Do you prefer Sonoma or WG?
Ryan McGee (2:56 PM)
I like them both. I've been to The Glen more often, but both areas have so much personality. I'm writing an ESPN.com piece for this weekend about my historic experience at The Glen last year.
Tim (San Francisco)
Hey Ryan - who are your top 5 at the Glen this weekend? Similar to Sonoma??
Ryan McGee (2:58 PM)
Sort of. It's interesting how some guys can be so good at one and then so generic at the other (see: Bowyer, Clint). But for my picks I'll take...
Ryan McGee (3:00 PM)
20, 9, 18, 2, 24...and for sleepers 51 and 20.
Ryan McGee (3:01 PM)
You know who else is better at The Glen you might think? Carl Edwards. You don't consider him a road racer, but he cranks about Watkins Glen top tens pretty regularly.
Ryan McGee (3:02 PM)
Alright folks, gotta go. I'll be back at my normal Monday slot next week. In the meantime, continue to keep the families of the Pocono lightning victims on your minds. I've been doing this a while, nearly 20 years, and I've never seen a racetrack storm escalate that quickly. It was genuinely scary.
Ryan McGee (3:03 PM)
See you next week!