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!
Ryan McGee (2:02 PM)
What up folks? Welcome to a special College World Series edition of the Internet's biggest and baddest Monday afternoon motorsports block party! I'm coming to you live from Omaha, Nebraska. How about another round of applause for Boris Said. The second best afro in NASCAR history behind that sweet 'do that Rusty Wallace brought with him in the early '80's.
Jimmy (Brockton, MA)
If Mark Martin makes the chase this season, do you think he will be a legitimate threat to win the championship?
Ryan McGee (2:04 PM)
First, he's going to make the Chase. Second, he's already a legtimate threat to win the title. He's already said that he'll be doing at least one year at Hendrick, but how cool would it be if finally won the Cup and then hung it up right there on the stage in Las Vegas.
Ryan,I read something on fox sports about how RPM could be regrouping under Toyota with Kahne by the end of the summer and ad the rest of RPM's drivers in 2010 have you heard this?
Ryan McGee (2:05 PM)
Key word here is "could". That's definitely an option. The RPM folks are not happy with the sitution that the Dodge cuts have put them in. And honestly, The King hasn't really been all that happy with Dodg ever since they returned to the sport in 2001.
Ryan McGee (2:06 PM)
Back-to-back Shrub questions here for you...
Larry Grace (Gordo, Alabama)
Kyle Busch was pretty non-existent yesterday in the cup race. His Nationwide crew chief said Saturday he was exhausted. Do you think that running both schedule is getting to him?
Ryan (Gilbert, AZ)
What's up Ryan, nice name btw......I have a problem with Shrub.....I know that is no big shock, but what he did after the truck race was just pathetic to me.......I know it is Shrub's world and we just live in it, but how hard would it have been for him to congratulate Colin Braun after the NCWTS race in Michigan.......instead it is just "Can't beliebve I finished 2nd again" while blaming it on a lap car..........Would it kill this guy to just give a little credit to someone else?? Thanks for your time.......
Ryan McGee (2:09 PM)
First, I have been saying this for a couple of weeks now in my Power Rankings on ESPN.com...I think his crazy-busy schedule in Nationwide and Trucks, no matter how many of those races he wins, is detracting from his day job, which is Sprint Cup. At some point they need to reel him in, because yes, he looks exhasuted. And I think that exhaustion has a lot to do with his irritability.
what do you think of the possible move of Danica to Nascar?
Ryan McGee (2:11 PM)
I think she's got a helluva decision on her hands. First, I don't think she really wants to deal with the long schedule on and off the track. When you talk to Hornish and Franchitti and the guys who have made the move from Indy Cars the first thing they tell you is that they wish they had more personal time. And neither one of those guys can touch Danica popularity-wise.
Ryan McGee (2:12 PM)
But she would make more money in the first year of her NASCAR career than she has during her entire time in open wheel. At some point she can't ignore that. I just hope she does what Jimmie Johnson said she needed to do and do the ABC plan (ARCA, Busch, Cup) and ease into stock cars. I don't care who you are, everyone needs to ease into this deal.
Chuck (New York)
What do you think of Ambrose's chance's at Infineon this week?
Ryan McGee (2:14 PM)
I like them. And I love me some Marcos Ambrose. I always say that if someone tells you that they don't like him then they've never met him. Nicest, most humble guy ever and a total wheel man. For those of you that aren't familiar with the V8 Supercars down in Australia, think of Martinsville each and every week on a road course drowning in Foster's. In other words, it is not for the timid.
Hey Ryan, have my weekly JPM question for you today!!How good has JPM really been this year and how can he make the chase? Seems like he is getting good results and not moving up in the standings much.
Ryan McGee (2:16 PM)
Yo Felipe. Your boy is doing just fine. He's only 43 points out of the Chase and has his best track coming this weekend. The reason he's not making big jumps up the standings is because we're nearing the midway point of the season. The first few months we have a lot big moves up and down, but the higher you get and further we get into the year the moves come by the inch not the mile.
chris (new york )
does dale jr finish his career @ HMS?
Ryan McGee (2:17 PM)
Nope. He'll end up with his own deal one day. JR Motorsports will be in Cup and he'll retire behind the wheel of his own ride...even if that ride is basically a Hendrick spin-off.
Brock (henderson nevada)
Do u agree with jj saying Id rather be fast then get gas milage?
Ryan McGee (2:18 PM)
Sounds like a guy who lost to me. I think Martin would tell you the opposite.
Savannah (Atlanta, GA)
JG and Stewart are locks for the chase at this point. In your view, should they start using win or bust strategies (different setups, different race strategies, etc) every week for the next 11 weeks?
Ryan McGee (2:19 PM)
Not yet. I think both team have settled into the strategy and rhythm that wins Cups. Don't do anything stupid, don't panic, and be there at the end. Keep that up and you'll win yourself a championship...and those two know a little about that, don't they?
Jeff (East Bay, CA)
That was the right call for Jimmy though, right? He's in the chase for sure, so the gamble (even though it didn't work out) to get the extra bonus points was the right call...
Ryan McGee (2:20 PM)
No doubt. One of the great things about the Chase format is that we see guys making bonzai moves like that during the summer. In the past they were all in "points mode" which is no fun for anyone.
Lourdes (Hollywood, Florida)
Will it be Nascar history when Kurt Busch wins the 09 Sprint Cup and Kyle Busch wins the 09 Nationwide Cup? Have brothers ever accomplished that?
Ryan McGee (2:22 PM)
I hadn't thought about that...but no, it has not happened before. The only brothers I can think of who won one of each at all were the Labontes. Terry won two Cup titles and Bobby won the Busch championship. But it didn't happen in the same year.
Haha, tell Lourdes neither one is going to win a championship this year.
Ryan McGee (2:22 PM)
Ha! Yeah, that's a big IF isn't it?
Hey Ryan. Just wondering, do you get to go to many races, or do you just watch and cover them for ESPN and the Mag?
Ryan McGee (2:24 PM)
Yo Carl, I'll be at the track about 15 times this year. Most of the feature-type stuff that I work on it's actually easier for me to sit down and talk to drivers and team members in Charlotte, where I live. Back in my ESPN television producing days (remember RPM2Night) I'd do 30-35 weekends a year - NASCAR, IRL, NHRA, you name it.
once the chase starts i think that the other cars should not be out.. let the top 20 cars just race for the championship..
Ryan McGee (2:26 PM)
Why 20? If the field is going to be that large you might as well let everyone back in like we used to do it. I'd rather go the other way. I liked it when we had a nice round number of ten guys in the Chase. A dozen is too many.
Mark (Mount Airy,MD)
Hey Ryan, Enjoy the CWS. Who is your pick to win it all????
Ryan McGee (2:28 PM)
I am enjoying it Mark! Love the racetrack, but it is good to get out to the ol' ballpark every now and then. I think Arizona State is in the driver's seat. BTW, Fullerton just went yard and leads 2-0 over Virginia in the 2nd. Sitting the press box watching the College World Series and talking racing with the best chatters in the known NASCAR universe...I love my job!
Anything new on the Truex front? it sounds like he has a plan but can't release it to the public yet, does that mean a change in manufacturer?
Ryan McGee (2:29 PM)
Yep. Look for an announcement within the next couple of weeks that Truex will be headed to Michael Waltrip Racing. I think Martin is working through some contractual stuff and Mikey is trying to get his part-time '10 plans squared away so they can announce it all at once.
Mark (Mount Airy,MD)
Hey Ryan, is the road course at Sonoma better or worse for a driver with back issues like Jeff G.?????
Ryan McGee (2:31 PM)
Worse. I remember when Mark Martin was suffering form his terrible back problems and Dale Earnhardt raced at Watkins Glen with a broken collarbone they both said that the constant shifting around in the seat was brutal on their pain pressure points. On an oval the pushes and pulls are repititious, so you get used to it. That being said, Gordon could win at Infineon if he was driving in a straitjacket.
do you think Stewert sandbagged it lastyear, not wanting to win in a Toyota?
Ryan McGee (2:33 PM)
That theory was out there, but I honestly don't believe that Tony is capable of sandbagging. And as emotional as he was when he scored what was likely his final win with Joe Gibbs Racing was pretty revealing. His loyalty to his guys outweighs any manufacturer loyalty. But it was no secret that he had no love for Toyota. Still doesn't. At least not until they are the only manufacturer left!
Just wondering if anyone (other than Nascar) saw any debris on the track during the first 2 cautions. Usually I'll give Nascar the benefit of the doubt, but as each green flag lap passed and I became more and more bored watching, I couldn't help but wonder if Nascar was chomping at the bit to get the field back together and have a go at the double file restart. So was it phantom debris??? Thanks Ryan!
Ryan McGee (2:34 PM)
Phantom debris is just as much a part of racing as gasoline and tires. Thank God for it on Sunday, otherwise I would have slept through the entire thing.
Ryan McGee (2:35 PM)
There's actually a picture somewhere of me asleep in the Michigan media center during the previous record-holder for Most Boring Race Ever, Dale Jarrett's beatdown of the field at Michigan in '99. At least yesterday we had that great finish. In '99 it was a snoozer from green to checkers.
Ryan, I thought Chevy and Dodge contributed Very little to the teams. Why is NASCAR trying to get more foreign car makers in to the series? Can you Imaging Mercedes building a NASCAR engine?
Ryan McGee (2:38 PM)
It's all relative Ed. The amount they contribute isn't gigantic, but the impact of that $$ depends on the team. Scaling back won't have a huge impact on a team like Hendrick Motorsports because they have so many different revenue streams and resources. But for a smaller team like Richard Petty Motorsports or Nationwide and Truck Series teams every little bit they lose hurts much more.
Ryan McGee (2:40 PM)
As for NASCAR courting foreign car makers, that's been going on a for a while. The Toyota flirtation went on for years before it actually became a reality and they've been winking and smiling at Honda for a while now. Truth is, in the global village we now live in the idea of what is a "foreign" car and what is "domestic" is totally blurred. Just two hours from my house they've been building BMW's in Greer, South Carolina for nearly twenty years now. Stay tuned...it'll be interesting.
do you think after this year everybody will finaly see that JR. cant drive the CoT's? stop blaming everybody else!
Ryan McGee (2:46 PM)
Good point Gary. I've been saying that all along. He just can't get a handle on this new car. He's not only one, he's just the only one who also happens to be the most popular driver ever.
Ryan McGee (2:46 PM)
BTW, sorry I vanished there for a minute. Bad WiFi at Rosenblatt Stdaium.
Annie (East Bay)
50 year old men getting trophies gives Nascar a really bad image with young people. Doesn't Nascar really need 10 more Kyle Busch like characters?
Ryan McGee (2:49 PM)
Honestly Annie, I hope Mark keeps winning races until he's 70. As long he's still out there it makes me feel like a young man because he was one of the guys I grew up watching. As for Kyle, he is great for the sport in his own unique way, but he could stand to have a little more Mark Martin in him.
What are you hearing in regards to Kyle Petty lining up a Cup ride for next year? He has mentioned several time that he has some sponsorhip lined up, but he is waiting to get something competitive lined up.
Ryan McGee (2:51 PM)
Yeah Scott, Kyle has really been frustated by all of this. He really thought he'd have a part time gig lined up buy now and I think he'd hoped to have something in place to do the Wally Dallenbach "in-race reporter" thing for TNT. But he has said all along that he wanted to be in a car that he knew would be competitive, and they just aren't any that are available to him. On a side note, have you been following his "Ponytail Express" motorcycle ride? How much fun would it be to be out there with those guys for that deal?
CJ, SLC [via mobile]
Having long been a proponent of making the Chase more of a reflection of the regular season, thereby evening the competition and adding some excitement, is there any chance NASCAR adds a road course to the final 10 events? We have a great one just 30 minutes from Salt Lake, with long, sweeping, FAST turns! As an added bonus, the spectators can see the entire track, unlike some RC's...
Ryan McGee (2:53 PM)
Good to see you back CJ. And yes, I am a HUGE fan of having a road course race in the Chase. I did a story for ESPN.com last year where I laid out the perfect future Cup schedule and I had a road course in the Chase. I know people don't like 'em, but you are right, you have to represent the regular season in the postseaston.
Ryan McGee (2:54 PM)
And I love the Utah track. I went there with Ashley Force one time to see her take a road racing class and watched her nearly flip her Mustang over on its roof.
Jeff (East Bay, CA)
Mr. McGee...what was up with Newman this week? They just didn't seem to bring a competitive car...is this just an anomaly or a problem they have with this type of track?
Ryan McGee (2:55 PM)
I wouldn't worry too much about. They just flat missed it. It happens. As well as Ryan had been running it was bound to happen at some point.
Jason (Cumberland Gap)
Is there anything in the works to get the Cup drivers from winning every Nationwide race and 1/2 the truck races. I loved watching the up and comers battle to get noticed. Now I've quite watching entirely. (Congrats to Colin, a fellow road-racer)
Ryan McGee (2:57 PM)
There's been talk about limiting the number of lower level races that Cup guys can run...or not letting them score points...a bunch of stuff. But the simple fact of the matter is that it is easier for NASCAR, ESPN, SPEED, and the racetracks to sell tickets when Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards are racing than just the full-time guys.
Ryan McGee (2:59 PM)
Speaking of which, a big shoutout to Busch and Trucks champ Johnny Benson who is doing well after a very scary crash over the weekend. Back in the day people used to mistake for me him at the track. I actually signed a couple of JB autographs once for a very drunk fan at Daytona. Signed it "Enjoy rehab, Best Wishes, Johnny Benson". Hell, he didn't know the difference. Probably still doesn't it.
Who do you have winning at Sonoma this week and why?
Ryan McGee (3:00 PM)
Gordon, followed by Montoya, Stewart, and - my sleeper - Marcos Ambrose.
Ryan McGee (3:02 PM)
Alright folks, that will do it for this week's special Rosenblatt Stadium edition of the Internet's biggest and rowdiest Monday motorsports block part. (Virginia leads Fullerton 4-2 in the 3rd.) If you're in Omaha I'll be signing copies of my new book "The Road To Omaha" at the Borders in west Omaha. In the meantime, tip your wait staff and enjoy Pat Benatar.