Chat with Ryan McGee
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, Ryan McGee will stop by to chat about the 2009 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." For the '09 season, he will be putting together the NASCAR Power Rankings for ESPN.com.
Send your questions for McGee now and join him Monday at 2 p.m. ET!
More Ryan McGee: Columns
Ryan McGee (2:01 PM)
What's up my Sunoco-covered brothers and sisters?! Welcome to the Internet's biggest and greatest motorsports block party. This week instead of our usual selection of party tunes, I'm throwing in The Who in honor of Shrub's decision to channel his inner Pete Townshend at Nashville.
Ryan McGee (2:01 PM)
To the questions!
Do you think the after party has stopped at SHR? Man, I bet that was one epic celebration!!!
Ryan McGee (2:02 PM)
With Tony you can never tell because he always sleeps way late, but I do know that there were some bleary eyes at the SHR shop on Monday morning.
Ryan McGee (2:03 PM)
It was interesting to hear Smoke's reaction to the win, though. As happy as he was he was all business. To him the team had already gotten its first win in the All-Star Race, points or not. Pocono just solidified it.
Jeff (East Bay, CA)
SHR is on fire! What's your percent chance that either Stewart or Newman actually take home the championship this year?
Aaron (Bath, ME)
Hey Ryan, do you think Tony Stewart is the favorite to win the Cup, or do you think the 24 and 48 teams will have something to say about it come Chase time?
Ryan McGee (2:05 PM)
Jeff and Aaron...I still think the 48 and the 24 are the favorites to win the Cup just because of the been-there-done-that factor at Hendrick. Sure, a lot of the SHR guys have won titles, but it's one thing to do it with an entire organization that's been there together. Plus, Tony always gets hot in the summer, so I need to see proof that he'll carry it through into the fall.
Michael (Monroe, LA)
How many more races do you think Tony win's and does he win the Cup?
Over/Under on SHR wins this season (counting the 2 they already have): 6
Ryan McGee (2:06 PM)
I'll take a push at six. I think, including the All-Star Race, Tony will win four and Newman will win two.
Steve, Poughkeepsie NY
Jeff Gordon seemed to rebound yesterday after a few bad weeks. What do you think of his chances of actually winning the chase?
Ryan McGee (2:07 PM)
I think his title chances are still excellent. If not for the caution coming out while he was in the pits at Dover I think he'd still be the points leader, bad back and all.
A push?!?! Okay, my fault for sloppy line. Over/Under on Robby Gordon's final spot in owner points: 31.5
Ryan McGee (2:08 PM)
Yikes...you should be working in Vegas. I'll take the over, but only by the hair of his chinny chin chin.
Jake (Las Vegas, NV)
If Danica is running in the Nationwide series next year full-time, what are the chances percentage-wise she negotiates a pervision in her contract allowing her to race the Indy 500?
Ryan McGee (2:10 PM)
First, that's a big if. Do I think she should go run Nationwide before coming to Cup? Yes. Do I think her ego will let her do it? No. But no matter where she is racing next year I'd be willing to bet my house that she'll be making every effort to secure a ride for the Indy 500. But I think that won't be hard because I think she'll be staying in the IRL.
Mandatory Jr question: How much longer does he race? I mean, people are talking at Jeff Gordon retiring soon and he's 37. Jr is 35, right? It seems to me if they don't get it together in the next year or 2, he could fade away.
Ryan McGee (2:12 PM)
I think the increase in cash and the increase in off-track obligation fatigue will eventually spell the end of the 40-plus and 50-plus year old drivers. So, to answer your question, I think Jeff hangs 'em up in three years and Dale Junior does the same once he hits 40...which would be 2014.
Aron (Las Colinas, Tx)
What time is it? It's Internet's biggest and greatest motorsports block party! It's Stewart/Johnson's title to lose this year hands down. Should be an exciting chase this year i feel.
Ryan McGee (2:13 PM)
Woo hoo! Yeah, I tend to be with you, but I still think Jeff has to be in the argument. And in case you haven't notice, King Carl seems to finally be getting his act together...
Joe (New York)
Hey Ryan, with Carl Edwards running well the last 3 races, do you think he gets his first win in Michigan? And do you think he can run off a few wins before the Chase?
Ryan McGee (2:15 PM)
Nice timing Joe. I think Michigan is the place. Betting on a Roush Fenway car to run well at MIS is like betting on Kimbo Slice to fold in a big MMA match...easy money. And I think he can definitely grab a few wins before September. I have my eye on the two Michigans. the next Pocono, and the Brickyard.
Not to step on any toes, but over/under on Hornish 21.5.
Ryan McGee (2:16 PM)
I'll take the over on that one, too. But I'd have never taken it six weeks ago. The Pride of Defiance, Ohio has been on fire!
Rich, Clearwater, FL
Ryan, Even with Jr.'s not so good finish, I felt it was a quarter-step forward (almost equated to a testing session). Your thoughts on the Jr./Lance combo so far?
Ryan McGee (2:18 PM)
Good to see you back Rich. I think they are headed in the right direction, but if a turnaround is going to happen it's going to take some time. For all the bashing of Tony Eury, people seem to have missed the fact that Junior's struggles have coincided with the implementaion of the CoT. It's pretty clear he has lost the feel for this car. Now he's surrounded by a bunch of CoT geniuses, particularly chasis guru Rex Stump. If they can't lead him out of the woods...yeesh.
Coco Ann Arbor Michigan
Did I miss something didn't Stewart just win on fuel mileage isn't the title take and four win take a little premature?
Ryan McGee (2:20 PM)
Yeah, but Coco you know from watching all those races up there at Michigan that there's a difference in a fluke fuel mileage win (paging Hank Parker Jr.) and what Smoke did at Pocono. He came from 43rd to run inside the top five all day and then his pit crew got him out front when they had to. It was a pretty complete victory...but I would like to know how he managed to convnert sweat into gasoline over that last five laps.
Adam (Whiteville, NC)
Where do you see Truex Jr. next year?
Ryan McGee (2:21 PM)
Yo. Adam, I just drove through Whiteville on the way back from the beach last week. Tell the folks down at the Sonic I said duh-huh. I think he's headed to Michael Waltrip Racing and he'll be taking Bass Pro Shops with him.
Marc (Malden, MA)
You don't think Kyle Busch has a chance to win the Cup?
Ryan McGee (2:24 PM)
Nope. Because he leads the league in wins (three) and he keeps winning all these lower level races people have somehow lost sight of the fact that he has run TERRIBLE in the Cup races he hasn't won. What makes the 48 and the 14 title contenders is that they turn bad days into top 10's. The 18 is either win or spin.
Rich, Clearwater, FL
Thanks, Ry-on (Cajun accent here...not sure why! Ok, now what's wrong with Harvick and RCR? Are the "mega-teams" finally too much to bear for the others?!
Ryan McGee (2:27 PM)
Nice accent. RCR seems to be going through its usual three-year funk. It is the strangest thing to me. And from what I hear of their Monday morning competition meetings, they are throwing everything they have at everything but can't put their finger on it. The good news is that they seem to be turning it around. Three of their four cars were in the top 14 at Pocono...but Harvick was the odd man out and I'm afraid he'll be leaving soon to take his own team up to Cup.
Hey Ryan, Thank you for been one of the few writers that gives Montoya credit for what he is doing. Do you think it is fair to Compare JPM to Hornish Jr when I personally think Hornish Jr is in a much better ride and not near Montoya in the Standings? What race will JPM win this year (maybe Indy)?
Ryan McGee (2:29 PM)
You got it Felipe. I think the fact that he is even contending for a Chase slot with the car that he has is remarkable. As for wins, I think he'll take at least one of the two road course races and if his pit crew doesn't do him in he can add another at Pocono, Indy, or Atlanta.
Mike Elkhart In
I wanna know about Stremmes situation in the 12 car. You media guys beat him up pretty badly?
Ryan McGee (2:31 PM)
Dude, I don't beat up on Stremme! I think he's great and was one of the people who stood up and applauded Penske for giving him a chance. I once rode around on a golf cart with him at Michigan talking to fans and have been a fan ever since. That being said, he has only three more career top tens than I do and I've never started a single race. Being nice is great, but The Captain needs results...so Stremme needs to start bringing it.
Teresa, Eubanks, AL
Kyle Busch really knew how to put on a show when he cracked that guitar! Would he have more Cup wins if he were not running so many lower tier races? Is there really any hope for him winning a cup against Tony, JJ, and Jeff with this schedule?
Ryan McGee (2:34 PM)
Teresa, I think you have hit on a topic that not many people are talking about....but is about to blow up. Running and winning a bunch of Nationwide and Truck Series races is great if you are also taking care of business on the Cup side. But at what point do you acknowledge that running three races per weekend is ultimately a distraction? If he keeps freefalling in the Cup point standings then I think people will start answering that question for him.
Kyle's Nationwide celebration in Nashville...disrespectful or fun?
Ryan McGee (2:36 PM)
When Pete Townshend smashes a guitar it's cool. When anyone else does it they are merely trying to look cool. And the "I wanted to give a piece to all the crew guys excuse" was weak at best. You can buy them all guitars or watches or something and not diss Sam Bass, one of the world's all-time nice guys.
Can MWR really get Reutimann into the Chase? What a shocker that would be from 3 years ago to border line Chase contender this year.
Ryan McGee (2:37 PM)
I think it's really going to happen. I was not a believer, even after he won at Charlotte, but strong performances at Dover and Pocono have convinced me otherwise. And yes, what turnaround! Meanwhile, Mikey is spinning out coming onto pit road...time to hang it up and become a full-time owner.
Stu (Madison, Va.)
Elliott Sadler (sigh)... what a shame... at least he has the Virginia Pork Festival to look forward to on Wednesday...
Ryan McGee (2:38 PM)
Yes. And that's about it. I hate it, but the clock is ticking on what I always thought was going to be a brilliant career. the good news? He's great as a TV analyst.
Saul (San Diego)
Hey Ryan, In reading last week Terry Blount's Article, he wrote, What it boils down to is this: With very few exceptions, if any, the drivers in the top 12 now are the ones you will see battling for the championship in the fall. Right now the next 12 races, the top 13 chasers are racing to jockey between the top 12; Do you think that it is bad for the sport to know to early, as Blount wrote: he drivers in the top 12 now are the ones you will see battling for the championship in the fall.
Ryan McGee (2:40 PM)
Saul, as usual, the honorable Mr. Blount is correct and the statistics back him up. When NASCAR expanded the Chase field from 10 to 12 the idea was to get more cars involved in hunt when we get to Richmond in mid-September, but the opposite has happened. If the race was for 10th we would have a lot more cars involved. No one like the idea of expanding to 12 in the first place, so I say go back to the old even ten.
Ryan McGee (2:41 PM)
BTW, Terry's book "The Blount Report" would make an awesome Father's Day gift!
jordan (Candor, NC)
Well stated on the Kyle immature and stupid celebration. Thanks for not being scared to say something.
Ryan McGee (2:41 PM)
10-4 Jordan. You guys deserve nothing less than how I really feel.
If an owner signs the sponsor, then the driver leaves- it it common for the sponsor to go to- or is it totally up to the individual company to stay with the owner or go with the driver to a new team?
Ryan McGee (2:43 PM)
It's all about contracts, JD. Sponsors do deals with both the team and the driver. If they came in with a driver they can usually leave with them, or if a sponsor's deal with team expires at the same time that a driver is leaving, they might go with them.
Ryan McGee (2:45 PM)
When DW left Hendrick Motorsports to do his own deal, he wanted to take Tide with him, but they had a few years left on their deal with HMS. But when Ricky Rudd left Hendrick a few years later, Tide's deal was up and they liked Ricky so they left with him. My understanding of the Bass Pro Shops deal is that they can walk with Truex if he leaves. Even if that's not not the case, I know that they love Martin and his love for the outdoors (his father is a very successful commerical fisherman in NJ). So when their deal is up with EGR they'll bolt for wherever Truex is.
Evan Johnson (SLC, Utah)
What's up Ryan? I said it last week and i'll say it again Denny Hamlin has the worst luck in the garage, hands down, no doubt. What's wrong with that team?
Ryan McGee (2:46 PM)
No doubt Evan. I wrote in this week's Power Rankings that DH's luck is more worthless than GM stock.
Hey Ryan! I want to recommend that if anyone wants to see the full thoughts of Sam Bass regarding the guitar smashing debacle, seek out an interview he did with Nashville's NBC station. Sam's feelings ran deeper than the couple of quotes I've seen printed thusfar. Also, Sam reveals how many hours he and Gibson put into making the TROPHY and how much it really costs? Thanks
Ryan McGee (2:47 PM)
Always leave it up to resident of Nashville to do some serious research on a guitar controversy! Thanks for the heads up Steve.
Jonathan (Birmingham, AL)
What's your focus look like over the next couple of weeks? All CWS with NASCAR on the side, or 50-50 between the two? Love the book!
Ryan McGee (2:51 PM)
Thanks Jonathan (for those of you that don't know I have a book out about the College World Series "The Road To Omaha"). I am headed to Omaha this weekend and will be there for the duration. But have no fear, racing is still always on my mind! In fact, I will be doing this chat from the Rosenblatt Stadium press box during Game 5 on Monday and will be sneaking away from the CWS to visit Rusty Wallace's Iowa Speedway for the Iowa Corn Indy 250!
Racing at MIS this weekend, I think Cousin Carl finally gets back in Victory Lane.
Ryan McGee (2:52 PM)
I'm with you. I'm always taking the Roush Fenway cars and of course these days you have figure the 48, 14, and 39 will be in the mix.
Ryan, Another in case you haven't noticed point, that 17 team seems to be catching some steam again.Don't ever count that guy out.
Ryan McGee (2:53 PM)
You know it Mike, and Michigan is coming at the right time for those guys. Speaking of the 17...Kenseth hasn't checked in with us in a while has he? He used to be here every week...
What up Ryan! What did you think about the double file restarts?
Ryan McGee (2:54 PM)
They rocked. Unfortunately we didn't get to see them very often, but Pocono was a good place to introduce them because we got to see everyone dive-bombing into turn one.
Ryan McGee (2:56 PM)
The good news is that for the first time in, well, EVER...I totally understood where everyone was in the running order on every restart. I swear I think I spent the entire ESPN.com in-race Race Cast chat from Dover trying to help the chatter figure out who was where when on every restart...and everyone knows that my chatters are the smartest race fans in the world, so how ridiculous was that?
You scared Kenseth off, Ryan
Ryan McGee (2:57 PM)
I think you're right. I had to drop him the Power Rankings a few weeks back and maybe that made him mad. Then again, his wife is about to have a baby so maybe he's at Babies R Us registering for stuff.
Marc (Gulfport, MS)
Ryan, was Jeff Gordon complaining about the double file restarts? I didn't catch entirely what he said.
Ryan McGee (2:58 PM)
He wasn't really complaning Marc, he was just saying that it was going to take a while for everyone to figure them out. He's right. After doing something a certain way for, oh, 60 years, it'll take more than a week to get used to the new system.
Mark (Mount Airy,MD)
Hey Ryan, I think Matt is on baby watch right now. But after the kid is born, he'd better get back to the chat!!!!!
Ryan McGee (3:00 PM)
I think youre right, Mark. When I see him at Daytona in a few weeks I will tell him that the mambers of the Monday Motorsports Block Party are going to revoke his front of the line priveleges if he doesn't get on board!
Ryan McGee (3:02 PM)
Alright folks, thanks as always for the best fan questions on the worldwide interweb and I'll see you next Monday from Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha. Don't forget to tip the wait staff and enjoy the tunes of The Vapors. I bet they wouldn't smash a limited edition hand-painted Sam Bass Gibson guitar would they?
Chad (Las Vegas)
Ryan, who wins the CWS? I say LSU!
Ryan McGee (3:02 PM)