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 (2:01 PM)
What's up my Talladega beer-covered brothers and sisters and welcome back to a special birthday edition of the Internet's biggest and baddest one-hour Monday afternoon motorsports block party. To the questions!
Jack (Brooklyn, NY)
So have we figured out who Robert Richardson is yet?
Ryan McGee (2:03 PM)
Yes! A good dude. I literally just hung up the phone with him. He's still a little stunned by his 17th place finish at Talladega and is back at work today in Texas. He's a salesman for his father's industrial pipe company. Keep an eye on ESPN.com's NASCAR page tomorrow for my story.
Brad K. (Talladega)
Ryan I have a problem. I keep on wrecking people. I just can't stop. Why won't NASCAR park or fine me? When is someone going to put me into the wall?
Ryan McGee (2:04 PM)
Thanks for checking in B.K. Yeah, you seem to always be around the trouble when it starts, don't you? You might want to check your bank account this week because I feel a fine coming on. And you better bring some extra seat padding in 2010 because I feel some retribution coming on.
Steve Addington to the 2 car with Kurt? I like the sound of it but is it really possible or likely?
Ryan McGee (2:05 PM)
It is definitely possible, though I am still expecting Penske to promote from within. If that were to happen it would merely be the next bizarre chapter in the living psychology study that is the relationship of Kyle and Kurt.
Russell (Las Vegas)
Has anyone stopped to consider what might have happened to Newman in that crash if he had a neck?
Ryan McGee (2:06 PM)
Russell (Las Vegas)
Is there any more word on the plans to change the banking at Fontana? Does NASCAR want another plate race?
Ryan McGee (2:08 PM)
Don't hold your breath on this one. The president of Auto Club Speedway, Jillian Zucker, is the one who openly suggested that in the spring and there is a precedent. Remember that Homestead has completely blown itself up and started over twice now. But I don't think that ISC, NASCAR's track ownership arm, wants to spend that of money right now. If they did, they'd be looking at flattening Talladega before jacking up Fontana.
Do you think Ryan Newman landing on Harvick's hood saved his life? Seems to me it kinda cushioned the blow. Part II - was Mark Martin okay after his flip. He seemed a bit strange during his interview.
Ryan McGee (2:09 PM)
I don't know if it saved his life, but it certainly saved him from potentially serious injury. The 29 car not only cushioned his blow, it scrubbed off some of the speed that the 39 was carrying as it came down to earth.
Ryan McGee (2:11 PM)
As for Mark, he was admittedly rattled after, his words, "The first time I've flipped one of these things". But he has acted like that in plenty of interviews before. He likes to respond with a tight-lipped smile when he's thinking, "What do you want me to say here?" Keep in mind he'd also just lost any shot at winning the championship.
I heard that someone at nascar wanted broadcasters who criticized NASCAR fired. Is that true and if so do you know any details?
Ryan McGee (2:15 PM)
This has turned into one of the great overblown stories in recent memory. Long story short - a great NASCAR beatwriter did a series of "roundtable" talks with Larry McReynolds, Kyle Petty, and Jimmy Spencer about the state of the sport. They had some very harsh words for everything from the Car of Tomorrow to the quality of racing to the way the sport is covered by the media. Some of the things they said upset a lot of people and a NASCAR PR spokesman issued a lengthy statement disputing what they said and suggesting that those three should be disciplined by their TV bosses. Thankfully, I think that all the post-Talladega issues will make this non-story go away.
McGee, a lot of people are moaning about the smart strategy by the 48 yesterday. While I wanted him to race, obviously he did the right thing. I can already hear the metal engraver working away. What do you have to say about it? Cancel the races after this weekend!
Ryan McGee (2:17 PM)
The 48 played a strategic card that has been used by everyone from Dale Jarrett to Jeff Gordon to Tony Stewart to Bobby Labonte. Like everything else at Talladega, sometimes it has worked and sometimes it has blown up in people's faces. The real smooth move that no one is talking about today was Chad Knaus's decision to come in and top off during that last caution. That move may have very well won the Cup.
Ryan what kind of race was that, i mean that wasn't talladega. A circle for about 66 laps total is pathetic nascar screwed up big time. I love nascar racing and i felt like a person who never watched nascar, it was cars going around a track to tick off laps.
Ryan McGee (2:20 PM)
Yep, right up until it was time to make the money at the end. Then it got crazier than my ex-girlfriend. Some folks have suggested that the drivers should have organized a sit-in or a walk-out after the received their "back off on the over-aggressive driving" talking to. If you ask me, they did. It was that single-file ridearound that we had to watch before the racing started.
Ed (Fort Worth)
Nascar told the drivers they wanted to see daylight in the corners...just prior to the race. What were they supposed to do? I don't blame them for logging laps. There was still the big one at the end.
Talladega's banking (Alabama)
I'm not such a bad guy. I have feelings too, you know!
Ryan McGee (2:21 PM)
Check out my ESPN.com blog later this afternoon. It breaks down the top theories on how to "fix" Talladega.
Dale Jr's last Dega win was Oct. 3, 2004-more than 5 years ago. Do you think Dale will ever win another Dega race?
Ryan McGee (2:23 PM)
Oh yeah. He was a contender yesterday and he finished 3rd there in the spring. Keep in mind, his Dad had a long winless streak, too, then bounced back to start winning again.
Glad to see the cc for the 88 was made permanent. Now they need to concentrate on performing better. How do you think they will run at Texas? I though Jr drove a pretty solid ract yesterday.
Ryan McGee (2:24 PM)
I think it could be his breakout race. For all the talk about Talladega, Daytona, and even Richmond, his first Cup and Nationwide wins both came at Texas.
Bill S (High Point, NC)
35 cars(=/-) running single file around the top of the race track. Do you think this gets NASCARS attention?, or just the fans hoping to watch some good racing?
Ryan McGee (2:25 PM)
I think it definitely got their attention. Chatting with NASCAR PR via Twitter this morning they have promised to take it to the Fan Council this week to get an honest opinion. If they hear half of what I've been getting since the green flag on Sunday then finding honest opinions won't be a problem!
Ryan-Why do the drivers complain about safety every time they come to Talladega, but you don't hear the same omplaints about Daytona. Even Mark Martin put Daytona in his part time schedule. What's the difference?
Ryan McGee (2:27 PM)
#1 - Money. #2 - Daytona doesn't have the history of gigantic crashes that Talladega does, though it certainly has had some big ones. 'Dega being so much bigger and faster, the danger feels multiplied. Because it is.
terrylee vaughn (ware shoals,sc)
whos your top 5 at texas this week, and jimmie had a great performance increasin the chase lead thts awesome, the chase is jimmies now wht u think,
Ryan McGee (2:28 PM)
I'll say 48, 11, 4, 99, 5. And keep an eye on the 17, 33, 29, and 88.
Wing creating downforce going forward + lift created going backward= Ryan Newman one lucky driver....they need to go back to the spoilers- or change wing designs....Your take?
Ryan McGee (2:30 PM)
I think the wing will get a long look and redesign at some point. No way do I want to go back to the spoiler. Life was too freaking complicated when we were raising and lowering spoilers for different makes each week. Quarter-inch here, half-inch there...ugh.
Ed (Fort Worth)
Hey McGee, hope to see you down here for the Dickies 500 this week. Going out on a limb to say another top 10 for Junior at Texas. Good eats in the area man, be happy to fill you in if you're interested.
Ryan McGee (2:31 PM)
Thanks Ed...I won't be there this weekend. It's my little girl's birthday. But I'll be there next spring and looking for grub! And I am with you on Junior.
dz (phx, az)
how often do you make it out to the races during the weekends?
Ryan McGee (2:33 PM)
I did the full schedule for years. Now I'll do 12-15. Living in Charlotte I get a lot of info visiting shops, lunching with key players, etc.
When Kyle and Carl got wrecked out at plate tracks they never made the negative comments about Nascar like Newman did. Do you think Newman will be fined for his whinning?
Ryan McGee (2:35 PM)
Well, let's see. Kyle won the first CoT race a few years back and immediately got out of the car and called it a piece of crap on national TV. And in April Carl said that NASCAR had to fix the racing at Talladega before they killed someone. I'd say there's plenty of complaining to go around. And if I'd been hanging upside down by my seatbelts for 12 minutes like Newman was, I'd be pretty hot, too.
cactus jack (new mex)
just to be a contrarian- remember Indy last year? NASCAR did a good job fixing that. they can fix things...
Ryan McGee (2:35 PM)
Laura (Fort Lee, NJ)
Since Mr H has declared that Lance isn't the problem isn't it up to Little Dale to step it up and perform better?
Ryan McGee (2:36 PM)
Yes. There's no excuses now. And to Junior's credit, he hasn't been giving any even when things have gone so bad.
Ed (Fort Worth)
Newman has an engineering degree from Purdue. If Nascar is smart (debatable at times) they'll be banging on his hauler asking for ideas on how to keep all four wheels on the track.
Ryan McGee (2:37 PM)
They certianly should be. He has some very specific ideas about improving the roof flaps...and that was before he went airborne on Sunday.
Laura (Fort Lee, NJ)
Since Coach and JD weren't satisfied with Kyle's 12 wins and no chase, are they expecting Kyle to win the 2010 Sprint Cup?
Ryan McGee (2:39 PM)
I guess so. Still scratching my head over the Addington demotion. All he's done is win four races and post more top fives than half the guys in the Chase. I really like the guy that's taking over, Dvae Rogers, who has been chiefing JGR Nationwide Series cars. But if I'm Dave I'm a little worried about unrealistic expectations.
Jimmie Johnson (Charlotte, N.C.)
Hey Ry, I don't want to stir the pot too much since I don't seem very popular these days (even as I am about to win Cup #4) but please make sure the engraver spells my name right this year....it ends "ie" not "y". Now that I got that off of my mind, it about time to head out...I'm playing frisbee with Edwards today and I told him I would drive. Now....where did I park my damn golf cart?!?!?!?!?!
Ryan McGee (2:40 PM)
Ryan, your thoughts on mcmurray's win yesterday?
Ryan McGee (2:42 PM)
I thought it was great and I hope that we in the media make sure to give him his due. He has always done things the right way and really, truly loves racing, so it was great to see the relief on his face in Victory Lane. As for next year, J Mac has been tied to Bass Pro Shops and the #1 car at Earnhardt-Ganassi. You'd certainly think that his win would help accelerate any 2010 deals he was working on.
How come a great young driver like Aric Almirola isn't racing full time in Cup?
Ryan McGee (2:44 PM)
Great question. I think we're kind of in this purgatory phase right now in the garage. We have some older guys who have never fulfilled their potential - Sadler, Hornish, and yes, McMurray - and some young guys that being held back because of those guys. At some point we'll hit the breaking point and those older guys will be replaced. Or maybe not.
Sadler had a good run in a ford yesterday. Will returning to Ford help jumpstart his career?
Ryan McGee (2:45 PM)
This ties into the last question. I hope so because I like him and I'd like to see him keep his career going. But top 10's here and there won't do it.
Mr McGee are you still for restrictor plate races or has this Talladega race changed your opinion? Dont you agree it is better for racers to race than to put on a show?
Ryan McGee (2:47 PM)
Actually, my new opinion is the one that Jeff Gorodn shared after the race. If you want the Cup races to be as exciting and entertaining as the Truck races are on plate tracks, let's shorten them to 200-300 miles.
cactus jack (new mex)
are ragan and kenseth using the new ford engines for the rest of the year or was it just for talladega?
Ryan McGee (2:52 PM)
As of Saturday they hadn't decided, but the original plan was just to run the restrictor plate engine at Dega and decide on unrestricted races afterward.
Ford announced a $1.0 Billion Q2 profit while GM is government owned. Are Chevy/Henrick days of dominance coming to an end?
Ryan McGee (2:53 PM)
Nope. That's certainly a great sign for Roush & Co. (not to mention the USA). But honestly, factory support isn't even close to being as important as it used to be. Good people at the shop are still the key and Hendrick has hundreds of them.
Ron (Orlando, FL)
You said you dont want to see spoilers but that is what the Nationwide is getting next year and arent the chassis suppose to be the same between the CUP and Nationwide cars for next year, I say if the Nationwide cars put on a show and good racing then make the CUP cars follow suit. Your thoughts?
Ryan McGee (2:55 PM)
Maybe. But only if Cup sticks with Nationwide's "these are the spoiler rules and we're not changing them until next season so stop complaining about it" plan. It used to drive me crazy when we'd have all this bickering from Cup teams about needing spoiler help and we'd never hear a peep from the Busch guys...and the Busch guys had better races.
I could be mistaken on this but I swear this is not the first time I have seen single file around the top at a plate race. The announcer's made it sound as if this were earth shattering stuff?
Ryan McGee (2:56 PM)
We have been through this before. The 2000 Daytona 500 was one of the worst races ever run by anyone with cars.
Do you agree that Dale jr didn't seem very excited about Henrick making Lance his permenant cc?
Ryan McGee (2:57 PM)
Pancho, he doesn't get excited about much at all these days. I think he's just ready to get to the checkers at Homestead and go on a long vacation. I don't blame him. He's been the world's highest paid pinata this year.
i always try to defend nascar to the non believers. i always say watch bristol and degga! now since they ruind bristol and now degga i have no more ammo..............thanks nascar for screwing up one of the most entertaining events
Ryan McGee (2:58 PM)
I hear you bud. Just hang in there. They always seem to be able to fix these things.
Matt (Ogdensburg New Jersey)
hey ryan beings the nationwide series is going to the COT don't you think that we'll see more cup guys running nationwide races and use it as a form of testing for the sprint cup races
Ryan McGee (2:59 PM)
No doubt. Speaking of Dale Junior, I have long been a proponent of his running more Nationwide races to get his confidence re-stoked. Next year's new CoT would seem like a good reason to do that. And he is down in Talladega today participating in the test.
Sonia (Winston Salem)
After the race Dale jr said blocking caused the Dega wreck. Since Tony was in front of Ryan, was Dale saying that Tony was blocking Ryan?
Was it Stewart blocking Newman that caused the big one like Little Dale jr said?
Ryan McGee (3:02 PM)
There was blocking anywhere and everywhere. And yes, Smoke was the guy in front of him when it started.
Ryan McGee (3:04 PM)
Alright, folks. Time to go. It's my birthday and I have to go upstairs and search for my hidden presents before the wife gets home. Have a great week, see you next Monday, and as always, tip your wait staff and enjoy the music of Southside Johnny.