Commentary

Need some advice? The doctor is in

Updated: April 18, 2014, 3:32 PM ET
By Ryan McGee | ESPN The Magazine

Welcome back to another edition of Dr. Racy Ryan, the Internet's only NASCAR lifestyle advice columnist. After a court-forced hiatus during an investigation by the Coalition of Undeterred Curative Kinesiologists Of One's Sharpness (C.U.C.K.O.O.S.), we are back in business. So let's combine the spirits of Ann Landers and Camping World Truck Series driver Jared Landers and let the healing begin.

Dear Dr. Racy Ryan,

I am a huge Kasey Kahne fan. My cubicle at work is wallpapered with photos of Kasey and my desk is covered in diecast cars, going all the way back to his Channellock days with Robert Yates Racing. But he is 23rd in the standings with only two top-10s in eight races while his three Hendrick teammate are all in the top five. His struggles are keeping me up all night. Am I right to be panicky? And what can I do to calm my nerves?

Stacy in Casey, Wisc.

[+] EnlargeKasey Kahne
Todd Warshaw/Getty ImagesWorried about struggling Kasey Kahne? No need, advises Dr. Racy Ryan.

Dear Stacy,

You are right to be panicky. Sort of. Even though it has been widely reported/said/written that "points no longer matter" under the new Chase format, that's not accurate. Even with the amazing 7-for-7 winners streak that started the season, the odds that we hit 16 winners aren't very good. It's been done only once in NASCAR's post-1972 "modern era" and that was 13 years ago. Even when NASCAR ran 40-plus races a year it was rare to have 16 winners. That means it'll likely come down to points to fill the remaining non-winner Chase slots. Then again, as a big fan you likely already know that Kahne has always been a streaky winner. So if he hits his typical late spring/early summer hot streak he should get a win or two and grab a Chase spot. In the meantime, to calm your nerves try staring at one or more of those posters around your desk, peering directly into his oh-so-blue eyes. And play some Enya while you do it. Don't worry about looking weird. I'm pretty sure your coworkers are already there when it comes to the "Lady with the Kasey Kahne Cubicle."

Dear Dr. Racy Ryan,

This new "knockout style" qualifying format is so exciting, but it gives me a tremendous amount of anxiety. So much so that I can hardly watch Friday afternoons without having a total fit. Do you think this new format it here to stay? And what I should I do about my stress level as it happens?

Seeking Peace in War, W.Va.

Dear Seeking,

It's definitely here to stay. TV viewership is up more than 20 percent, multiple track presidents have told me that the qualifying ticket sales needle is moving for the first time in more than a decade, and the Talladega qualifying session will be aired on network television. Anything was better than the old format, which was a snoozefest, but this has already exceeded expectations. For you, I would mark the start of each qualifying session by screaming "Knockout style!" and punching yourself in the face. By the time you wake up, it should be over.

Dear Dr. Racy Ryan,

I need you to settle a bet between me and my brother. He says that Chase Elliott will be in a Hendrick Motorsports Cup car, probably Jeff Gordon's, within the next three years. I say that it will be lot longer than that because Jeff is nowhere close to retiring. The loser of the bet has to wear a tutu to Talladega in two weeks.

Gambling in Truth Or Consequences, N.M.

[+] EnlargeGordon
AP Photo/Steve HelberWhat happens when Jeff Gordon eventually calls it quits? Hello, Chase Elliott.

Dear Gambling,

Start working on that grand jete, big boy. The latest Nationwide Series winner has been on Rick Hendrick's radar for a lot longer than he's been on yours or mine. I think that, as we've seen with the Dillon brothers at RCR, there is a plan of succession in place, even if no one acknowledges it publicly. I also think Gordon is closer to retirement than he's willing to let on, so that seems like the perfect place for Elliott to land, likely within the next two years. But let's say that Gordon (who just posted a picture of daughter Ella in her first racing machine) decides to keep going, which he has hinted about lately. Then we need to go back and see that last Q&A about Kasey Kahne. Should Kahne continue to struggle heading into his contract year of 2015 then, well ...

Dear Dr. Racy Ryan,

I have a problem with starting projects but never finishing them. At my house I currently have a mailbox post with no mailbox on it, a room with only two walls painted, and I'm wearing a sweater that's half-knit. Although NASCAR team owner Gene Haas seems serious about getting into Formula One, my condition tells me that it too will be a very hard project to complete. Can he pull it off? And what I should do about my inability to close out anything, including this ques...

Incomplete in Lax, Ga.

Dear Incomplete,

I hate to be the guy who says, "I've been around this sport for a long time and I've been to a bazillion news conferences announcing new race teams and racetracks that never happened," but I feel like it's important to make a point here. I've been around this sport for a long time and I've been to a bazillion news conferences announcing new race teams and racetracks that never happened. You can spare me the comparisons between the Haas F1 effort and the USF1 effort announced in 2009. Haas has the wallet, the access to machining equipment, and, perhaps most important, the bravado to think he can do this. That being said, F1 is a bottomless money pit guarded by a lot of people who would rather have their toes run over by a Mack Truck than to see a US-based F1 team succeed. In other words, I'm rooting for it, but I'll believe it when I see it. As for you, let's start small and work our way up into the big stuff. I'm assuming that as you read this at your computer you have no pants on, so do go take care of that. If you come back, then we'll bother with step No. 2.

Dear Dr. Racy Ryan,

You really should be ashamed of yourself, acting like a credentialed counselor and guiding these people down the wrong path. I'm filing a complaint to have this sham taken down. This is more irresponsible than letting a hungry wombat lose in a cookie factory.

Phil in Hollywood

Dear Phil,

Bring it on, chrome dome. I'll meet you by the bike rack out behind Oprah's studios and beat you with a strip of shredded Goodyear Eagle rubber I took from the pits in Fontana. And for the record, I am plenty credentialed. I have a drawer full of them. I even have one from the 1996 Hardee's Fried Chicken Challenge 250 Busch Series race at Richmond.

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.

Ryan McGee | email

ESPN The Magazine, NASCAR

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