Chat with Ryan McGee
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, Ryan McGee will stop by to chat about the 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 (2:00 PM)
What's up my brick dust covered brothers and sisters and welcome back to the sometimes-on, sometimes-off Monday Motorsports Block Party Chat. There's a lot to get to, so without futher ado, adieu, ahem...let's get to the queries.
With Kurt Busch and Kezolowski tied at 14th in points, do you think #78 has a better chance to make the Chase?
Ryan McGee (2:03 PM)
You know, if you'd posed that question earlier in the year I would have laughed and moved on to the next question. But honestly, the 78 has been way more consistent. Both of those teams have two things in common. They both have cost themselves wins with mistakes and they both don't have a win at all. I don't know that either of them have shown the kind of consistency that it will take to climb into the top ten via points and stay there. That means they need to win races to get the wild card (or secure a bottom rung point slot). And if comes down to that, I give the edge to the 2, but barely.
Andrew (Olive Branch, MS)
Will Dale Jr. win a race this year? Will he ever win the Daytona 500 again? Will he ever win the Sprint Cup Title?
Ryan McGee (2:05 PM)
Yes. I have said all along I thought it would come in this stretch coming up. The Michigan-Bristol-Atlanta-Richmond-Chicago stretch.
Ryan McGee (2:06 PM)
As to the other two questions. Yes on Daytona. I honestly have no idea on the Cup. He can, but I don't know if he will. He has the same problem everyone else does, and that's the team he shares a shop with.
Jeremy L. (South Hill,VA)
I called into Sirius this morning to voice my displeasure with Indy this weekend. I cannot stand watching the complaining NASCAR fans on the internet who want 10-wide finishes every week, I want to make that clear. But for all of this talk about how to "fix" the Brickyard 400, I have an easy solution. Brian France has a number of challenges and this is the easiest one to fix: STOP RACING THERE! I get it--NASCAR won't leave there because it is IMS. I am not naive. But "because it is IMS" is a ridiculous argument. By that logic why not race at Baja? Bathhurst? Monaco? Le Mans? Great tracks, right? But of course not, NASCAR does not belong there. I admire the effort of making the race more appealing, e.g. lights for a night race, but honestly it is just delaying the inevitable. NASCAR has no business at Indianapolis, and no one is benefiting from being there anymore. No one. If the drivers want to race there, have them buy an open wheel car and race the 500. The only possible remedy I can think of (and I don't think it will happen) is to shrink the race to 300 miles, maybe even 250. Having a Chase race there? Only if you want to make it even worse (Why? Three words: Lucas Oil Stadium). Eliminate Indy from the schedule; in the short term there will be outrage but in the long-term it is best for NASCAR. That way you can either replace the weekend with a deserving facility or 2nd race at another track, or, even better, the schedule will be one week shorter. But for goodness sake, give up on Indy! Nothing else will work. I'm sorry to say it but that experiment has run its course. And it won't come back.
Ryan McGee (2:08 PM)
I heard you this morning and I hear you now. I too get sick of the complaining. It's a bit of an epidemic with race fans that I really don't ever hear when I'm covering other sports. But I wouldn't hold your breath on NASCAR leaving Indy. It won't be happening anytime soon.
Jake (Irving, TX)
Hi Ryan, how big is it for Newman to join Kyle Busch, Foyt, Andretti, Mears etc. as an INDY winner and kissing the bricks?
Ryan McGee (2:10 PM)
First off, no offense, but putting Kyle Busch in that group is a stretch. His win was great, but doesn't deserve to be in the category of the Indy 500 or the Brickyard 400 and I think Kyle would agree with me on that. Second...to the Newman question...
Ryan McGee (2:10 PM)
For a kid who grew up in Indiana racing sprint cars and dreaming of racing with all those other guys you mentioned, I don't think we can understand how special that it truly is for Newman.
Nick Rolando (Orlando)
Ryan, any chance that Bruton ever adds banking to Loudon?racing there is absolutely brutal to watch. Also, you see the 55 locked up for Vickers after the W? Hope Childers sticks around with him, he's an underrated CC.
Ryan McGee (2:11 PM)
No. Too expensive. And plus, it draws great crowds. I think he learned from Charlotte and Bristol not to mess with a good thing. And yes, Vickers in the 55 is basically a done deal.
Ryan McGee (2:13 PM)
You think about the job that Childers has done rotating drivers through that seat, it's pretty amazing. Any crew chief will tell you that's a crazy difficult ask.
Rosie Jayne (LHC )
Shrub is a beast in NW. Do you think NASCAR will change their rules again to allow drivers to run for multiple series championships in a single year? He should be rewarded with some championships.
Ryan McGee (2:16 PM)
No. The "declare your series" rule has done what they had hoped, which is bring attention to drivers in those lower levels. You think about a guy like Ricky Stenhouse Jr. He would have been totally lost in the wave of Cup guys under the old rules. If anything, I think they should go the total other direction than what you're suggesting. I think they should limit full-timers in Cup to a cap of lower level races. I like limiting those guys to ten.
wharfrat (new jersey)
I know that the amount that a driver/team receives as earnings from a weekly race is beyond any mere mortal's understanding. Usually, the winner does receive a significant amount more than 2nd place. Not this week. Kyle "earned" more than Vickers. How strange is this and do you have any explanation?
Ryan McGee (2:18 PM)
It's all about the contingency and points plans. Who a guy is and where he is in the standings and what team he drives for and even what stickers he runs on the car. Throw in the bonus programs like they're doing in the Nationwide Series this year and honestly, I don't even try to figure it out.
Frank (Kingston, Pa)
Well Ryan - The calm before the storm. Can't wait to bombard the ESPN Chat team with questions from the rule book. BTW - In case you don't think fans will ready it I used to read the IRS code for a living. The NASCAR rule book will be like classic comics
Ryan McGee (2:21 PM)
Hahaha! Yeah, just reading the words "IRS code" made me grab some migraine medicine. I think people will be surprised at how short the NASCAR rule book really is. But compared to what it was, it's rapidly expanding. Sitting here on my desk is the '01 Winston Cup rule book and it's 76 pages. The '12 rule book is also sitting here and it's 172 pages. That number is only going to go up.
Andrew (Dayton OH)
Remember when everyone threw a fit that relief drivers should be allowed to get points for the main driver, well, look at the 55, that team can still win a championship. That's their prize, the driver has to sit out, still means the team can win a title, I like that.
Ryan McGee (2:24 PM)
That's what owner points are for. They've always been there. People forget, but we've had a split driver/owner championship before. In 1963, Joe Weatherly (who should be in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, by the way) won the driver's title but the Wood Brothers won the owner's title. They had five different drivers that year.
Andrew (Dayton OH)
MWR has all of it's teams in the chase right now, no one can say that. That is astounding thinking back to 2007 when every Friday you said to yourself "how many MWR cars are going home early".
Ryan McGee (2:26 PM)
Stunning. Last year at Richmond when they'd gotten cars into the Chase I told MWR prez Ty Norris that it was crazy how far they'd come and I thought he was going to start crying. You think about that insane first week they had with the jet fuel at Daytona and all that, then Michael basically bankrupting himself. It's nuts.
24 Fan (PA)
Do you think Mr. H might do a team swap and assign Letarte and the #88 crew to #24 and send Gustufson over to the #88 to help Jeff's season?
Ryan McGee (2:26 PM)
Not a chance.
Hey Ryan, There has been speculation that Ryan could end up back at Penske in a third car. If Penske goes with a third car, I think it will be Sam. If sponsorship is in place, could you see Ryan at RCR with Burton, Menard, and Austin as a 4 car team????
Ryan McGee (2:28 PM)
I'm with you on the Penske deal. There's a promise there that the Captain has made to Hornish to give him a second chance if he's eanred it and a lot of people think that he has. I think RCR is the best move for Newman, but someone will have to go away. They can't handle four teams. They tried before and it just didn't work, plus the sponsorship money isn't there.
Ryan McGee (2:29 PM)
That being said, RC is a sales machine. He could be on the cusp of something we don't know about. The man likes to hunt and fish all over the world, but I can tell you firsthand that his phone is always in his ear working on the next big deal.
Drew Barbera (NJ)
How many year until Kyle Larson is in the cup series?
Ryan McGee (2:29 PM)
Full-time? I'll say two.
so many octo questions...
Ryan McGee (2:30 PM)
I wish I cared enough or was smart enough to weed them out, but to his sad Mom's basement credit, they're usually good questions.
Do the ratings for Eldora prove that any midweek racing will not get the ratings that they get on the weekend? Huge buzz but not the best ratings for a truck race.
Ryan McGee (2:31 PM)
I don't think we should get too carried away with the numbers on a spectacle such as that one, but I absolutely think we're headed to midweek Cup races. I've been at the track at lot this summer and that's an idea that more and more drivers are getting behind.
Bored (at Work)
re: capping the number of races one can drive in a lower series...they'll run into legal issues and there will be unintended consequences.. What they can do is limit the NASCAR license to something like 50 points races per calendar year across all series. That would solve a lot of the problem while certainly being a reasonable action by a sanctioning body - it's their license, they can put whatever terms and conditions they want on there, like they did with choosing a series to earn points in.
Ryan McGee (2:33 PM)
First, sorry you're bored. Second, I see where you're going, but I think they could cap it without much of a stink.
Joanne (Ft. Myers)
How has #88 only managed to win 2 Cup races while #48 has won 32 races and 3 Sprint Cups in the 6 years they've been running identical HMS equipment?
Ryan McGee (2:33 PM)
Jimmie and Chad.
Craig G. (Fairfield, CA)
Hey R-MAC! What are your thoughts about Kyle Busch's current status in the standings? Thanks!
Ryan McGee (2:35 PM)
I think that Shrub fans should be elated. This is the first time, basically ever, that he's entering August in such a great points position. The gap between him and the next guy back is gigantic. I have always said that if the 18 ever got midsummer/early fall figured out, then the rest of the world better hang on. Stay tuned...
D. Hamlin (Denialville....USA)
Ryan, don't give up on me just yet...give me a couple more weeks & championship here I come!!!!!!
Ryan McGee (2:35 PM)
Roscoe (Chino, CA)
With Burton's pathetic performance yesterday do you think RCR will run Tye Dillon in the #31 for 8-10 races next year in preparation for a full Cup season in 2015?
Ryan McGee (2:38 PM)
He finished in the top five the race before this one. Let's not bury him quite yet. But I do think it's obvious where all this headed. The Dillon boys are coming. And no one can complain about the whole silver spoon thing because they both win. You can have all the family money you want, but the checkbook doesn't do the driving.
Ryan, Kudos for the Joe Weatherly mention. I couldn't agree more on him in the HOF. Raymond Parks as well. I prefer to get some of the older gentlemen that grew this sport into the HOF before they are forgotten.
Ryan McGee (2:40 PM)
I don't have a HoF vote, but I really thought Weatherly and Parks might get in this year. I was thrilled to see Fireball finally get in, but Weatherly and Curtis Turner need to be in sooner than later. Those three were the superstars that launched the sport into the 1960's. I'm also a Red Byron fan. For guys like Fireball and Turner and Byron I hear some voters gripe that their stats are good enough. But they were so much more than stats. Do the research!
Tell Andrew all of the Hendrick cars are in the Chase too.
Ryan McGee (2:41 PM)
Yeah, but that's to be expected. MWR was being held together by duct tape and bounced checks just a few years ago. Hendrick Motorsports hasn't been in dire straits like that since 1984.
I love all you people who want to limit what series drivers can race in. Don't you know it's all about SPONSORSHIP!!!!. If a sponsor wants a specific driver to represent them...they'll do it, no questions!!! If the National Guard wants Jr to wear a pink drivers suit, guess what, he's in pink. It's alllllll about $$$$$$$$$$
Ryan McGee (2:43 PM)
But in an era where most sponsorships - including Dale Jr's - aren't running full-time schedules, then asking Cup moonlighters to do the same doesn't seem like much of a sacrifice to me. Most sponsors only want to run the big races and big markets anyway, so let the Cup guys run those and stop flying them into places like Iowa this weekend.
Andrew (W. Kentucky)
Will ESPN continue offering premium NASCAR coverage in 2015 when the ESPN-NASCAR contract expires?
Ryan McGee (2:46 PM)
My schedule hasn't changed and I don't expect it to. We were already looking at expanding the Marty & McGee podcast and those plans are still plowing ahead. As long as ESPN The Magazine will have me, I'll be around. Does that count as premium?
Greg (North Carolina)
The business structure of NASCAR is too incestuous - yes or no and why?
Ryan McGee (2:49 PM)
I agree. When I worked for NASCAR that often would be a source of frustration. As editor-in-chief at NASCAR Images (now Productions) I might have a TV show idea, but by the time it was run through all the departments of the company there might be too many sponsorship conflicts to make it happen. Sometimes there would be infighting between the ISC track sales teams vs. NASCAR sales teams vs. race team sales teams.
Ryan McGee (2:50 PM)
But honestly, that's nothing new. It's a relatively small group of independent contractors all competing for the same pool of money. That's always going to be difficult.
fhfhfhhf [via mobile]
Ryan McGee (2:50 PM)
I totally agree.
Mike P (Lenexa, Ks)
As a 29 year old male who loves this sport with a deep passion, what does Nascar have to do to get my age demograph back in the seats? or for that matter watching on tv for 4 hours...
Ryan McGee (2:53 PM)
I think the answer lies in your question. The races are too long, as are the season and the race weekends. We should be running 300-mile one-day shows. Maximize the ticket value and keep your TV audience. In any sport, if the event goes longer than three hours (with the exception of prime time NFL games) league execs freak out.
Ryan McGee (2:54 PM)
I maintain that the problem is that the people who will utimately need to make that call - Helton, Pemberton, etc. - love being at the racetrack more than any place on Earth. I love that about them, but being at the track three days out of every week and 12 hours every Sunday isn't attractive to folks your age. Or hell, folks my age.
All teams have 1 flagship team: #48, #18, #99, #2, #15 so do you expect A. Dilloin in the #3 (#29) or T. Dillon in the #31 to be the RCR flagship team?
Ryan McGee (2:55 PM)
I think it'll be Austin in the 3. That's the hope. Then let them duke it out for the top rung once they're both up there.
Drew Barbera (NJ)
Do you have a problem with 5 people getting in the HOF every year? I feel like we are already running out of guy who deserve to get in. Nothing against Dale Jarret but I really don't think he is HOF material.
Ryan McGee (2:56 PM)
I agree. I think that's too many. We're going to run out of people in a hurry. I think one day soon we might see that process altered, including the formation of a veterans committee like they have in baseball.
Phil (Columbia, SC)
Hey Ryan, I know we have the Alabama gang, but can we give some props to the Carolina gang: David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, & Cotton Owens. Not a bad gang don't ya think
Ryan McGee (2:57 PM)
One of the greatest days of my life was sitting in the Beacon in Spartanburg having lunch with Pearson, Cotton and Bud Moore. All now in the Hall.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What Drivers has Competed in Both the Indianapolis 500 & the Brickyard 400 Counting with the 20th Brickyard 400?
Ryan McGee (2:59 PM)
I only have three minutes left, so I can't look it up, but I can tell you this. Only two drivers have competed in all three big Indy races - 500, 400, and US Grand Prix. That'd be Juan Pablo Montoya and Jacques Villeneuve. With a little luck, Montoya could have won all three.
Saul (San Diego)
So Pocono this weekend....
Ryan McGee (3:01 PM)
Oh yeah...that. Give me 48, 24, 99, 39, 20. Darkhorses: 78, 22.
Ryan McGee (3:02 PM)
Wow! That was a great chat and I'm leaving a couple hundred questions unanswered. You can always hit me up on Twitter (@ESPNMcGee). And don't forget, a new Marty & McGee podcast drops Tuesday at ESPNRadio.com/podcenter. See you at Pocono this weekend. Until then, tip the wait staff and enjoy the music of Tall Paul.