Chat with Ray Evernham
Known for years as one of the best crew chiefs in the business, helping Jeff Gordon gain his championship foothold, Evernham has gone on to success as a car owner, including Kasey Kahne's current ride, and on air with ESPN.
A true NASCAR insider with connections throughout the racing world, Evernham is the perfect guy to talk about the race for the Chase and everything else going on in NASCAR.
Send in your questions below and stop by at 1:30 p.m. ET on Monday!
Buzzmaster (1:31 PM)
Ray, Where is your fav. track to watch a race at?
Ray Evernham (1:32 PM)
My favorite track to watch a race? Is Darlington. I've always enjoyed going there because it's difficult to set up for and it heavily involves the pit crew.
how serious are these cheating allegations in the nationwide series?
Ray Evernham (1:34 PM)
I don't know if you're talking about the allegation regarding the Gibbs cars, I personally don't regard that as cheating. they won the race and it was something that was done to hide horsepower. Where is the line drawn between where NASCAR needs to do what it needs to do and where a team can go to hide their proprietary information. They won the race with a legal car. They put that in in the post race inspection.
where do you think Kyle's season this year ranks among some of the best of recent memory?
Ray Evernham (1:35 PM)
It's hard to tell. He is having a great season. If that's the Jeff Gordon season of 1998 or JJ's season of last year...he's won on road races on superspeedways. He has the ability and opportunity to break the overall record for wins. It's exciting in this day to see someone accomplish those things.
Ralph (New Jersey)
I know you're in the middle of the NASCAR season, but have you had any time to watch the olympics?
Ray Evernham (1:36 PM)
Actually at night, I do. I was certainly caught up in the Phelps thing. That was amazing. Quite honestly, I've found highly competitive is the women's volleyball. And not just because of their skimpy suits, but in their high abilities and being able to cover that much ground with just hte two of them out there.
Marty (Chesterfield, MI)
is it possible that Gibbs is cheating at the Cup level as well? How do we know for sure?
Ray Evernham (1:37 PM)
You don't anything for sure. In a post race inspection, so many hands have touched a car. When they're impounded on pit row, the driver has to get out and they ahve to get their stuff out of the car. NASCAR has the right to take the engines out and do engine dynos. I don't believe that chasis dynos are always accurate anyway.
Ann (Norton, Ohio)
Hey Ray, awhile back it was told that Kenny Francis and his wife were expecting a baby around the last off week... did she have the baby? I bet its adorable. Thanks.
Ray Evernham (1:38 PM)
They did! A baby boy. I'm going to get in trouble, because I can not remember his first name. He's got that little serious look on his face just like Kenny. Little engineer.
Mike (St. Louis, MO)
Of the bubble boys, who's in and who's out?
Ray Evernham (1:39 PM)
I'll tell you, that's going to be a very difficult call form about 6th to 14th. I don't think we'll know for sure who's in until the final flag falls in Richmond.
As an owner has the COT money savings been realized yet, or is it still playing catch up to the large up front investment from the switchover?
Ray Evernham (1:40 PM)
I think with this only being the second year, we're still playing catchup. I think it will be a couple of years before those costs are caught up. But at the same time, the COT is stopping the cost from continuing to rise. We'll get caught up soon. The process and the manufacturing the COT cars will stop us from spending the money we would have spent if there were no rules.
Kevin (Boston MA)
Ray, How do you attempt to balance a budget while trying to put a competitive team on the track. Is there a point when something is not done due to cost?
Ray Evernham (1:41 PM)
Yeah. Certainly teams that are on budget management, sometimes you ahve to give up things. You try to put your money and efforts into where you'll get the biggest return. If you need more people or more research, you might have to cut back in other areas. You might not be able to travel in first class. That's something I've been proud of with our team. We might not be flashy, but I feel we spend money in the right places.
Patrick (Agawam MA)
Would you personally like to see a road race in the Chase at Indy or some other venue?
Ray Evernham (1:42 PM)
I don't think that the Chase is the proper place for a road race, only because there aren't a lot of guys in the chase that are key road racers. Until we get more road races in the season, there's probably best there's not one in the chase. NASCAR is built on the oval circuits, so we should remain on the ovals in the chase.
Hi Ray, do the drivers and owners typically change their racing styles once they are in the chase? Do they go more conservative? Thanks
Ray Evernham (1:44 PM)
It's always been my practice, we really never change the way we race. What it does change a little bit is the way you prepare the car. You certainly look harder at the parts and pieces in the mileage. You probably get more conservative with the parts. Preparing the car is probably the biggest difference you see. In the chase you don't have the chance to make up for a mechanical failure.
Sarah (Akron, Ohio)
Hello Ray, I just have a question about Kasey's car yesterday. While listening to his radio he clearly thought that he had blown up. The Bud crew somehow fixed that car so that he could get back on the track, have they figured out what it was? Have an awesome day!
Ray Evernham (1:45 PM)
Yes, the car failed a piston. We don't know why yet. It did actually blow up. It wasn't a catastrophic blow up. It returned, but only on 7 cylinders. They took away the spark to stop the cylinder form running.
Mr. Evernham, Any early thoughts on Bristol? Thank you
Ray Evernham (1:46 PM)
Well, yo'ure going to see an exciting race for sure. It will be more exciting for the guys in 6th-14th in the chase. Those are the guys that will have to be aggressive enough to get points, but not too aggressive that they crash.
Jeffy D (Feeding Hills MA)
Ray, what tweaks to the COT might we expect in the next 5 years in either safety or "second generation" development?
Ray Evernham (1:47 PM)
As far as safety, they've done a great job, but it can always be improved. I think we'll see some things as far as side impact. I would like to see them give the crewchiefs a little more leeway. Maybe rasing the front of hte car to put whatever suspension they want.
when something happens like that with the Gibbs team, how does it happen without the team owners' knowledge?
Ray Evernham (1:48 PM)
It's really hard to tell. Again, you'd have to look at had the most to gain or lose in what they were trying to hide. That's probably the area you'd have to look. It's really hard to say whether certain people knew or everybody knew.
Ray Evernham (1:48 PM)
I appreciate it. We had some really great questions. I enjoy doing this with you.
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