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Thursday, November 7, 2013
Dr. Racy Ryan at your service

By Ryan McGee
ESPN The Magazine

We here in the ESPN.com motorsports cubicle, er, department, are happy to announce the return of Dr. Racy Ryan, the Internet's only NASCAR advice columnist. After a forced hiatus to handle some legal matters with the National University of Trained Sociologists (N.U.T.S.), it's time to once again handle your queries about racing and life as they run door-to-door. So let's join hands, light a tire rubber, conjure up the spirits of Ann Landers and Elmo Langley and let the healing begin.

Gordon/Bowyer
This week marks the one-year anniversary of the infamous Clint Bowyer-Jeff Gordon run-in at Phoenix.

Dear Racy Ryan,

I am a huge Jeff Gordon fan. My wife adores Clint Bowyer. This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of their infamous run-in at Phoenix and also the one-year anniversary of me having to sleep on a cot in my toolshed. My hope is that I can convince my wife to mend our marriage by showing her how two pros like Jeff and Clint can bury the hatchet. So, have they? In a related note, I'm pretty sure there is a hatchet buried in the pillow of my toolshed cot.

Miserably Married in Bachelors Rest, Ky.

Dear Miserably,

Unfortunately, the 2012 Phoenix rift between Gordon and Bowyer is still as wide as the Grand Canyon. Earlier this week, during a NASCAR Hall of Fame appearance, Gordon was asked about their once-chummy relationship and said, "I don't think you can ever fix it ... that was big, that was a major thing that happened between us and a heated exchange in the [NASCAR] hauler afterwards, too. I don't think it will ever be quite like it was." As for your marriage, something else Gordon said might provide you with a tiny glimmer of hope: "We've spoken since and laughed about a few things so I'm not saying we won't ever have a couple of beers together." So this weekend during the Phoenix race, you should get out your nicest beer steins, fill them with chilled 5-Hour Energy shots and present them to your missus as a peace offering, something to start a dialogue over. Even if it turns into another fight, you should both be so jacked up that it will at least be one heckuva showdown to be part of. A five-hour showdown.

Dear Racy Ryan,

When Martin Truex Jr. drove for Dale Earnhardt Inc. I got big a No. 1 tattooed on my left calf. When he moved to Michael Waltrip Racing I had a 56 tattooed on my lower back. Now he's signed on to drive the 78 car for Furniture Row Racing. What do I do?

Outnumbered in Fifty-Six, Ariz.

Dear Outnumbered,

Have the 78 inked in the center of your back and a big 100 tattooed to the back of your neck. Then go back and fill in all the remaining numbers and hit the road, going to schools to teach people how to count.

Will Farrell
Do you find yourself thinking of this guy often? If so, Dr. Racy Ryan is only a mouse click away.

Dear Racy Ryan,

It's been 52 races since my favorite driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., visited Victory Lane. The drought has me so overanxious I can't sleep. I lie awake with the words "If you ain't first, you're last!" echoing in my mind. Do you think he will win again? Perhaps soon? And in the meantime, what might I do about my sleeplessness?

Dale in Junior, La.

Dear Dale,

Soon, yes. I think it could happen this weekend at Phoenix. He has three runner-up finishes over the past six races and during the Chase has only been outscored by Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick, the top three drivers in the championship standings. To ease their pain, I think all Earnhardt fans should look back to just three seasons ago when he couldn't even crack the top 20 in points. Even without a win, he's light years ahead of where he was then. My first instinct to cure your overnight anxiety is to remind you that the words keeping you awake were actually spoken by Ricky Bobby, a fictional race car driver. But I realize that you are currently reading advice from a fictional psychiatrist. So take two Skittles and call me in the morning.

Dear Racy Ryan,

Matt Kenseth is in the middle of one of the all-time tightest championship battles against one of the all-time greatest NASCAR drivers. Yet he always looks so calm! Can you pass along his secret to help me deal with my stress?

Nervous Wreck in Carefree, Ariz.

Dear Nervous,

He really is freaky calm. Always has been. To me, that's what makes him such the perfect opponent for Johnson. It was interesting to watch them at Martinsville, where Jimmie was blatantly shifting into his news conference mind games, telling stories about how he'd extended his running workout to 20 miles (Kenseth's car number, get it?). That's the kind of stuff that ate guys like Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards for lunch. Kenseth just shrugged it off. "I couldn't run 20 miles if you gave me a month to do and I had somebody chasing me." I asked Matt what he does to relax his mind and he said he listened to music. So I asked him for his playlist, thinking it would calm me, as well. But after 20 minutes of his favorite group, Five Finger Death Punch, I was in the fetal position in the corner of the media center. So ... don't do that.

Dear Racy Ryan,

Jimmie Johnson might be about to win his sixth Cup. But who is the greatest driver of all time?

Richard in Petty, Texas

Dear Richard,

Sometimes the answer you seek is as simple as looking at yourself.

Austin Dillon
The iconic No. 3 back in Cup? Strap in, Mr. Dillon.

Dear Racy Ryan,

As we await the formal announcement of Austin Dillon in the No. 3 Cup car, I am worried about the young man being able to handle the pressures that will come with that number. Do you think he can handle it? I wish I could talk to him about my experience when I had to follow in the footsteps of my father at work.

Hat Trick in Threeway, Va.

Dear Hat,

Having followed Austin throughout his entire career, all the way back to Legends Cars, he's always handled using the 3 with great class, despite griping that has only gotten louder as he's moved up the ladder. Certainly there will be a ton of attention and emotion surrounding it all, especially at Daytona next February (where he'll likely run very well). But he sees his use of the number as a tribute to both Dale Earnhardt and his grandfather, Richard Childress, who raced with that digit long before he hired The Intimidator to drive his cars. And I firmly believe that if Dale was still around, he'd like it. As for your experience, I'm sure walking in your father's shoes was tough, but unless he was Michael Jordan or George Washington, then no, Austin doesn't need your help.

Possum
What does this fella have in common with Dr. Ryan?

Dear Racy Ryan,

I want you to know that, once again, I am on to you. You have no credentials. Your "advice" is going to do more damage to these poor people's lives than an overcaffeinated possum in a sweet potato warehouse.

Phil in Hollywood, Calif.

Dear Phil,

Bring it on, big suit. I'll meet you behind the Dr. Phil House with a hammer I stole from RCR's Truck series team and make like Thor. And for your information, not only am I credentialed, I have a hard card.

OK, folks, that will do it for this edition of Dr. Racy Ryan, the Internet's only NASCAR advice columnist. Keep those questions coming and until next time, remember -- it's not that other people don't like you, you don't like you.