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 now and join McGee Monday at 2 p.m. ET!
Ryan McGee (2:02 PM)
What up folks? After a week off I am back in the saddle again and ready for the Internet's biggest and bestest Monday afternoon motorsports block party. BTW, I fired my previous Internet service provider, so we should be all good.
Ryan McGee (2:02 PM)
To the queries!
I'm a Stewart fan, but putting that aside, the ending to the Daytona race was nothing more than Kyle trying to block a car that was already next to him. Can we all agree on this, despite whether we love/hate Kyle Busch? I personally would've loved to see a side-by-side drag race down the front stretch.
Ryan McGee (2:03 PM)
I'm with you Scott and I think everyone else is too. I have watched that finish 1,000 times and I thought that the TNT guys (Wally and Kyle) did a great job of explaining what happened. Kyle blocked once, which is okay...but when he blocked the second time he got wrecked. Just how it is.
Smoke apologized for dumping Kyle into the wall on Saturday night, but he shouldn't have. If you're going to block on a restrictor plate track, you've gotta know what's probably going to happen. Unless you're Regan Smith, you NEVER lift on the last lap and try to win the race by all means necessary, even if it means punting somebody.
Ryan McGee (2:04 PM)
As usual, you are spot on Rich. And I think what Regan Smith did was prove to everyone that lifting is not an option.
What's your thought on eliminating the yellow line rule for white flag lap?
Ryan McGee (2:06 PM)
I think the yellow line rule serves it original purpose. Before it was implemented we had guys all down on the apron and trying to climb back up on the banking and that was never going to work. If the rule suddenly vanished with one to go I think we'd end up with wrecks that make Saturday night look like a bunch of kids on tricycles.
Jordan (Candor, NC)
McGee, thanks for the article on the rebirth of The Rock. Were you there for the Cherry Bomb 200? That was so cool the track did that race. I know there wasn't a good turnout, but maybe these are baby steps to hosting a Truck or Nationwide event. Here's to hoping.
Ryan McGee (2:08 PM)
Thanks Jordan. For you folks that haven't seen it I have a story in ESPN The Magazine about the rebirth of The Rock since it was bought by Andy Hillenburg and since the NASCAR testing ban. I was not at the Cherry Bomb but I heard the racing was awesome. I will be there this October for the ARCA season finale.
Hey Ryan, in a recent Nascar Now interview Brad K said he had been waiting to see what Mark was going to do in the 5 and he said it was interesting to see about Jeff in the 24. It may be speculation, but what is up with that?
Ryan McGee (2:11 PM)
I think he's being pretty shrewd and he's doing the same thing I'd be doing if I was him. BK is going to end up in some sort of Hendrick-affiliated ride for 2010, likely a 3rd Stewart-Haas car or a JR Motorsports entry. Then when Mark or Jeff hang it up he'll slide into an "official" HMS car. Jeff is about to turn 38 and has said for years he doesn't see himself racing past 40. And I don't think Mark will ever retire. He'll be like Jesse Orosco, that due that pitched in the Major Leagues until he was like 72 years old.
Ryan McGee (2:11 PM)
Got two very similar questions up next...
Devin (Johnson City TN)
Minus the last 4 laps, what did you think of the race overall?? 2 drivers lead 90% of the laps, barely any side by side racing for the lead. It seems to me like the quality of racing has gone down year after year at daytona. What your take?
Brett Roach (Los Angeles)
I know the last lap crash is getting all the attention, as it should, but what did you think of the race besides that? It seemed that the top 3 just rode around single file for most of the race and that no side by side racing made the race boring...your thoughts?
Ryan McGee (2:13 PM)
Ah ha! Someone (or someoneS) noticed the same thing I did. On Saturday night I Twittered (you can follow me at http://twitter.com/RyanMcGeeESPN) that fans had to love all these great finishes we've had this year, particularly the four of the last five weeks...
Ryan McGee (2:15 PM)
...then a lot of my followers came back with "yeah, but all those races were bad leading up to those finishes!" It's true. And that's a problem for NASCAR. I have always maintained that the reason ratings are down is because people have figured out they can not watch all day until the last round of pit stops and watch from there. First step to fixing that, to me anyway, is to shorten some of all these 500-mile races to 400 or less.
I don't know if the powers that be would allow this (Michael Andretti and Honda, namely), but with Smoke's Prelude to a Dream being moved to September, wouldn't you just love to see Danica racing on dirt?
Ryan McGee (2:17 PM)
That would rock. I know Smoke extends an inviation each year to a bunch of IRL guys, just as he does NHRA, Outlaws, and everyone else. I need to ask if that includes Danica. Juan Montoya can't stop talking about how much fun he had at the Prelude the first time he went. Eldora is a loooooong way from Monte Carlo. Speaking of JPM...
how impressed are you with the 42 running top 5 to top ten every week but will they close the deal and get a win
Ryan McGee (2:19 PM)
I am totally impressed, especially considering that his car hasn't exactly been a rocket ship this year. I say it right here every week, the races leading into the Chase are custom made for JPM to make a serious push. I just had no idea he's be in this good of shape at this point in the season. And yes, he'll win. If not at Indy it'll be at The Glen or Atlanta.
Ryan, with the rain that has effected the outcome of three races this year do you think NASCAR would pay any thought to rewarding points based on the percentage of the race that was completed. For example, Ruetiman would only get 65% of the 190 points since that's how much of the race he finished.
Ryan McGee (2:21 PM)
NASCAR actually tried something like that back in the 1970's. It was so damn confusing that even my old friend Benny Parsons, who won the Cup under that very system, had no idea how it worked. Good thought, though.
Is Jeff Gordon still capable of winning the championship?
Ryan McGee (2:22 PM)
As long as there is air in his lungs and he can still put a helmet on he is capable of winning the championship. He's had some bad runs of late, but I say get those out of the way now and be ready for the Chase in September.
Earmhart had a 40th in Nationwide and a 39th in Cup. Is it time for Rick to make another crew chief change?
Ryan McGee (2:23 PM)
Nope. You gotta give those deals at least a couple of months. Plus, his bad Cup finish at Daytona wasn't his fault. The Big One got him.
Ryan, many of the articles I've read today are blaming plate tracks for the crashes at the end of the Tally and Daytona races. From my vantage point, DECISIONS made by the drivers to block were what caused the crashes. I know they block more on plate tracks, but they block everywhere. For me, blocking is the problem, not the tracks. Thoughts?
Ryan McGee (2:24 PM)
I'm with you Kelsey. We're in the minority, but the plate or the yellow line don't dice and slide and block out there. Drivers do.
Hannah (San Diego)
Post race Dale blamed the Daytona floods for his finish. What was he talking about?
Ryan McGee (2:26 PM)
Huge rainstorms in Daytona in May flooded the entire backstretch. Here's a photo from NASCAR Scene: http://www.cupscene.com/gallery/data/media/64/daytona-flood1-may09.jpgHe said, and so did a lot of other guys, that the water damage made the track a lot rougher than it had been for the 500 in February. Makes sense to me. Water messes up everything.
Kurt Busch is really impressive this year. Is he a favorite to win the 2009 Sprint Cup?
Ryan McGee (2:28 PM)
No doubt. And for some reason no one is talking about him. Saturday night was a classic example of Kurt's season so far. He came from 18th to the top five over the last ten laps and no one even noticed it until we saw the final finsihing order. Because his little brother has dominated the headlines, we seem to have forgotten that Kurt is the only guy in that family with a big silver Cup in his trophy case.
Ryan, great party, who's your top five for the the hall?
Ryan McGee (2:29 PM)
Thanks TC. It's been my experience that people from Kentucky know a good party when they see one. I barely got out of Lexington alive one night during college...but that's for another chat room.
Ryan McGee (2:32 PM)
As for the Hall (and I love this topic), here's my first five: Richard Petty, David Pearson Dale Earnhardt, Bill France Senior, and Junior Johnson. I'll put that up against anyone's top five. DW, Cale, Bobby, Bill France Junior, and Lee Petty in 2011. Those first three might get in a fight in the parking lot before the ceremony.
I wonder if Kurt makes sure that Cup is in the background of every family Christmas card photo he sends to Kyle?
Ryan McGee (2:32 PM)
Do you think Jeff Burton will make the chase, he had a pretty good run at daytona
Ryan McGee (2:35 PM)
I was looking at Baby Burton's numbers this morning. He's three positions and 108 points out of the Chase with eight races to go. That's certianly doable. I think he's RCR's only real chance to get in now. Bowyer is fading fast and we haven't heard from Harvick and Mears since...2008.
MARSHALL MILLER (fort collins, co.)
Personally, I think that Jeff Gordon badly need's a crew chief that can make decision's and call's like Jimmy Johnson's "Chad" !
Ryan McGee (2:36 PM)
There's a lot folks that think that. But cosnidering that Knaus is one of the top five crew chiefs of all time, everyone wishes they had a Chad.
I'm suprised you didnt see 2 cars linked up at the end of the race pulling away like we saw at Dega?
Ryan McGee (2:37 PM)
A little. But Daytona is much more narrow and puts a larger premium on handling than 'Dega. We never see the 25-car pack like we see in Alabama.
Truex to Waltrip has got to be the worst kept secret in Nascar. Will Waltrip quit for good or run part time at Daytona and Dega?
Ryan McGee (2:38 PM)
He's going to run part-time. I don't think he wants to hang it up at all, but Father Time and Mr. NAPA are telling him otherwise.
Stu (Madison, Va.)
Wow... as it stands right now, Denny Hamlin would be the only driver from the South to make the Chase... and the new Baby Burton would have to be Ward's son Jeb... making a name for himself at South Boston
Ryan McGee (2:38 PM)
Crazy isn't it? And I hear Jeb is pretty good. Which is hard for me to fathom because I can remembder when he six years old.
What has been RCR real problem this season?
Ryan McGee (2:41 PM)
I don't know and sadly, neither do they. My insider over at RCR said that the team's Monday morning competition meeting, where all the teams get together and compare notes, has been an exercise in frustration. They have plenty of horsepower, so I have to think it's a car problem. The lack of testing has kind of sucker-punched them, as it has a lot of teams. They seem to go through this every three or four years don't they?
Deb (Ft. Myers)
Now that Joey Logano has won a race and is ahead of Earmhardt, Harvick and a bunch of other veterans in points isn't it time to give Joe, JD and Joey some credit?
Ryan McGee (2:43 PM)
I've been giving them credit all year. I think it took them a little longer to get going than rookies in the past because of the lack of testing. In the past rooks were testing every week and every day all year. Now they are relaly limited. The 20 bunch is down at Rockingham a lot, but there's no substitute for real time on track where you also compete.
Why hasnt Kyle Busch done a interview after the wreck? Or has he?
Ryan McGee (2:44 PM)
Because he's mad. And I get that, though as a writer it sucks. He should be releasing a statement midweek. As of 2 PM, he hadn't yet.
Handicapping the chase, to me the clear cut the favorites are Stewart and JJ.
Ryan McGee (2:45 PM)
Agreed. And I'd throw Gordon and Kurt Busch into the second group right behind them. And keep an eye on Carl. He's coming.
Robert (Atlanta GA)
With the big 3 cutting back funding how are the smaller teams going to make it in NASCAR?
Ryan McGee (2:48 PM)
It's going to be tough. I think all the folks that were complaining about the CoT are probably finally going to see the benefit in running that car. They can build six of them instead of two dozen track-specific cars like they had to do with the old model. The smaller teams will be hit much harder than the Hendrick and Roush Fenways of the world. Sponsorship just became even more important for them...and there ain't much of that out there these days.
Kyle (parts unknown)
I didn't speak after the race because I had a headache......DUH!
Ryan McGee (2:49 PM)
You should have had three headaches "Kyle" because the second and third hits were even harder than the first.
Do you expect Kyle to wait for Talladega to payback Stewart or will Kyle get his revenge sooner?
Ryan McGee (2:49 PM)
Everyone's memory runs just long enough to get them to the next short track. That'd be Bristol on August 22.
Stewart tore up Kyle's best superspeedway car so will Gibbs rebuild that car or get Kyle a new car for Talladega?
Ryan McGee (2:51 PM)
Nick, they are likely figuring that out right now. Been figuring it out every since the car was unloaded off the hauler Sunday afternoon. My money is on "brand new car".
i was just glad everybody walked away those were some very hard hits!!!
Ryan McGee (2:51 PM)
You and me both. You could tell they were particularly hard by the way that Kyle Petty reacted to them in the TV booth.
Ryan ... if Kyle had gotten to Tony in Victory Lane ... who woulda won that one?
Ryan McGee (2:52 PM)
Tony. But it would have been a mess. Shrub weighs like 75 pounds and Tony weighs like 75 hamburgers.
Ed (Fort Worth)
Not a NASCAR question, but I was wondering if you had any reactions to Bernie Ecclestone's recent comments. It's amazing the man still has a job as this isn't the first time he's pulled a stunt like that.
Ryan McGee (2:54 PM)
Bernie is an idiot, almost as big of an idiot as Max Mosley. Lucky for those dummies, F1 is an unsinkable ship. You can't give Hitler props. You just can't.
Kelsey (Still Bama)
On an unrelated note, the dude that mentioned the party got me thinking, are you excited about Hallowdega? Now THAT is going to be a party!
Ryan McGee (2:55 PM)
It's going to be scary. The infield at Dega is not for the weak of heart as it is...but the Boulevard on Halloween?! It'll make a pirate blush.
RAY GORDON REID ( BEAUTFORT SC 29201)
QUESTION 2 TO RYAN MCGEE AT 2.25PM OK RYAN YOUR PICK FOR CHICAGO
Ryan McGee (2:57 PM)
I'll give you four plus a dark hoese...
Ryan McGee (2:58 PM)
Kyle Busch...Jimmie Johnson...Matt Kenseth...Tony Stewart...and (dark horse) Kevin Harvick.
After every restrictor plate, there is a group of people calling for the abolishment of the estrictor plates, and increased safety, I think if you get rid of the plates, NASCAR will really lose viewers, well just have 4 more long boring races and the sport cant lose anymore fans, and you cant make the sport much safer other than speed limits, I would like to know your opinion on these topics.
Ryan McGee (3:00 PM)
I'm with you Sam. Plates are a necessary evil. When you get your NASCAR schedule for the season the first thing you do is look and see where your local track is...then you look and see where the four plate races are. That's a fact. At the end of the year we'll truly remember only a half-dozen races this year. And four will be the plate races.
Mayfield IS NOT on the list of entries for Chicago ...
Ed (Fort Worth)
Do you think there will be a Mayfield sighting this weekend? Two races now where he's not on the entry list. Everyone involved is looking bad in this deal.
Ryan McGee (3:02 PM)
It's too late in the chat to get into Mayfield now...but I can't believe he didn't have a car ready for Daytona. We all knew that hearing was happening when it did for a month. He couldn't get his car ready in a month? And the "I didn't want to ruin everyone's 4th of July" was a little insulting. Ed is right. No one is looking good at this point.
Ryan McGee (3:03 PM)
Alright folks...gotta go...thanks for coming to the party. As always, tip your wait staff and enjoy Roxy Music.
watched the last american hero on tv this weekend.any thoughts on the movie?junior is from a town close by to me.
Ryan McGee (3:04 PM)
Love it Robb...and so does Junior. That's good enough for me. In fact, I'm going to go watch it right now. I keep it on permanent save on the DVR.