Chat with Ryan McGee
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, Ryan McGee will stop by to chat about the 2010 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 '10 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's up folks? Weclome to the Monday Afternoon Motorsports Block Party. It's a little chilly outside, but that just makes it feel like being back in Daytona and Fontana! Man, what lead-in! My fellow Duke boy Marty Smith. Check him out tonight on NASCAR Now. In the meantime, to the queries!
Ryan - what is your take on NASCAR impounding the #66 after the race? Random car choice or crackdown on S&P?
Ryan McGee (2:05 PM)
Crackdown. Listen, contrary to what people might try to tell you, start-and-parkers have been around as long as there has been racing. If a team like Tommy Baldwin's is making obvious strides toward becoming a legit race team and is doing all they can to survive, NASCAR isn't going to frown on that. But if a car owner enters multiple cars and pulls BOTH of them off the track in an obvious attempt to pocket some cash, then Race Control isn't going to allow that for very long.
Henry Bob (Nome, Alaska)
How you doing down there McGee? Can Hendrick maintain any kind of credibility by keeping Little Dale in the stable after this year? I don't think he can come out and say we just re-signed him for t-shirt sales especially if he puts up his usuall stink bomb like last season. Go KB18 and the Gibbs Gang!!
Ryan McGee (2:07 PM)
Ha, I don't credibility is the issue. I have said all along that I won't pass judgement on where the 88 is until we get to Atlanta and Bristol in March. If Junior is bad at those places, tracks that he could drive with a blindfold on, then we'll know we have some serious issues on our hands.
Ryan, seen any golden horseshoes lately?
Ryan McGee (2:07 PM)
No, but according to Kevin Harvick I know where we might be able to find one.
Now that all the facts are out regarding the 17 crew chief change, what are your thoughts? To me it almost seems like Kenseth took a stand and wants Reiser back, although Roush made it perfectly clear he was at the press conference to endorse Drew and show his uncertainty with Matt's decision. Thanks
Ryan McGee (2:11 PM)
Hi Tim. I said on NASCAR Now last Thursday that I think the 17 has spent all of their time since Robbie Reiser was moved into management trying to rekindle what Robbie and Matt had when Reiser was the 17 crew chief. Clearly now we know that Matt agrees with me. The reason that Todd Parrott was moved from management onto the box is because he's "an old school guy like Robbie"...so why no put Robbie back up there? It reminds me a lot of when Bob Osborne was taken off the 99 car. Everyone thought it was a bad idea except for Mr. Roush. After months of pleading from Carl, Bob was moved back and they nearly won the Cup his first year back. I dunno...
Jillian (Colerain, Ohio)
I have been surprised by the comments or 'tweets' made by Nascar reporters, bloggers, drivers, wives, crew member & spotters regarding Danica Patrick. You are one of the good guys that doesn't make vicious remarks. I understand playful/kidding remarks. Do you think that anyone within the Nascar reporting community will ever write about this? Or is it a case of the media not wanting to upset the apple cart? Thank you!
Ryan McGee (2:15 PM)
Honestly Jillian, me too. It reminds me a little of what Janet Guthrie dealt with when she broke the gender barrier in the '70's, but only a little. The difference now is that where the resistance that Janet received was strictly gender-based, the anti-Danica stuff from within the sport seems to be jealousy-based. The Cup drivers have been very down the middle about their feelings surrounding all the attention that Danica has gotten over the last few weeks. But when you get to the next level down, the people who feel like she's taking camera time and potential sponsor money out of their pockets, it has gotten pretty raw.
Ryan McGee (2:16 PM)
It's not unlike the fatigue that we've seen about Junior and Jimmie. People get tired of asking and answering questions about them. But if you look at other sports, the folks who garner the most media attention - Favre, Manning, Kobe - they deal with the same kind of resentment. Now she just needs to have their kind of success.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
How many win in the Nationwide Series does the car that Danica Patrick drives have with other drivers who drove that car?
Ryan McGee (2:18 PM)
The actual car? None. But the team and its leaders - Tony Eury Senior and Junior - have won with Steve Park, Martin Truex, and Brad Keselowski.
Ryan McGee (2:18 PM)
Not to mention Tony Stewart and Dale Junior.
McGee, hope you're good. Would you say there were more than 30k people at yesterday's race. I find it funny that the same excuses folks had for "the Rock" are now being used for Cali-bore-ia. I'm all for having a NASCAR race out west, just make it at a decent track. People would show up, no matter the economic woes. Fontana's too big. It's really a lane and a half too wide. What say you?
Ryan McGee (2:21 PM)
I wasn't there, but talking to my fellow writers who were they guessed it at anywhere between 30-50K-ish, including the infield crowd. And you're right, that's about what Rockingham was drawing toward the end. The racing yesterday was the best its ever been there, easily. But unfortunately, the reputation it built over the last ten years seems to be keeping fans away. I also think that Vegas being the next weekend just kills the spring race. Where would you rather go if you had to choose, which most fans have to - Fontana or Las Vegas?
How does a track determine attendance for a race? Why are they estimates rather than the more precise numbers you see in other sports?
Ryan McGee (2:23 PM)
Contessa, it's very inexact. The track knows down to a person thanks to ticket sales tracking, etc. But NASCAR has always "guestimated" its announced attendance. Dunno way, they just always have. In fact, for years the league didn't even do that. Goodyear did, which was always weird to me.
Mr. McGee, Wouldn't you agree that the California race is more indicative of the Daley we will see this year rather than the lottery that is the 500? Also do you see the Gibbs Gang taking the title from Hendrick this year?
Ryan McGee (2:25 PM)
No doubt Beth and I think that's an exciting prospect. Like I said just a second ago, the racing at Fontana on Sunday was the best its ever been. If it improves that much at other places where the racing was already great, that'll be too cool. Double file restarts and all the testing that Goodyear has done really has improved the product. And Auto Club Speedway is helping by shortening the race by 100 miles this fall.
Ryan McGee (2:27 PM)
As for Gibbs, I certainly think they have the tools and talent to challenge Gibbs, but right now their best shot at catching Jimmie - Denny Hamlin - can't get out of his own way. Until they discover some consistency they can't catch Hendrick.
Howdy Ryan-Do you think if Kurt or Kyle wins on Sunday we will see the greatest celebration in American sports history on the Vegas Strip?
Ryan McGee (2:28 PM)
It was pretty raucous last year when Kyle won, so I have no doubts we'd see the same. And if Denny Hamlin wins, batten down the damn hatches. The party he threw after the awards banquet last December was so epic that Jimmie bailed on his own party to crash Denny's....and Denny hadn't even won the Cup!
Ryan, We chaps in London love Kyle Busch. The pubs get mighty loud when we can get a race on. He is loved here in Britain. How does he like being an American sports icon like Michael Jordan and Tiger woods?
Ryan McGee (2:29 PM)
I don't think he knows that he is...I'll tell him and get back to you. I might be over there later this summer. You need to give me your locale and let me see it for myself.
Ryan,Wondering if you could settle a debate for me and some friends? We want to know who the media thinks has the best looking gal in the garage. I say it's a tie between the 100%, natural, all American beauty of Samantha Sarcinella and Eva Busch. What say you?
Ryan McGee (2:31 PM)
Dirk...first, I can't answer that because Mrs. McGee is sitting here. Second, you need to quit macking on drivers' wives and find a 3-point shooter that can come off the bench.
Bill S. (High Point, NC)
They have talked for the last few years about attendence at Atlanta, but its a hub for corporate sponsors. California has had poor attendence, besides its location, what are its main points for staying on the schedule? I got to agree with you Ryan, at least it was a decent race yesterday.
Ryan McGee (2:34 PM)
Location, location, location. I was chatting (via Twitter) this morning with the great Nate Ryan from USA Today about this very topic. I was there the day that Bill France Junior jumped up in the middle of Brian's preseason "State of the Sport" press conference and called Rockingham and Atlanta out for not selling out its races. If he was still around today he'd be doing the same to Fontana. I think they should keep one - remember they sold a lot of tickets for their fall Chase race - but not two.
Ryan, maybe I'm crazy, but I actually think Danica's 4 month break from stock cars will actually help her and not hurt her the way Ricky Craven seems to think it will and I say that because the media/drivers/fans are already tired of her and she's already annoyed at the lack of results so far, so what this break does is allow her to get away and recharge, then comeback and Loudon without much fanfare or expectation, agree or disagree?
Ryan McGee (2:35 PM)
Totally agree. She'll get a taste, have some time to let it all sink in, then return later in the year with some knowledge under her belt. Plus, I learned a long time ago to agree with whatever Ricky Craven says. Smart, smart man right there.
Blake (Abilene, TX)
With the Olympics going on, it makes me wonder. How awsome would Nascar be in the Olympics or any kind of car raceing? Have any of the different raceing federations evertalked about haveing their drivers copete against each other?
Ryan McGee (2:37 PM)
I wrote a story about that two years ago during the Beijing games. The closest event we have to a motorsports Olympics is the Race of Champions they run in Europe every December. Jimmie, Jeff, Robby, and Carl have all competed in it and say it is the coolest event ever. Watching Carl and Michael Schumacher go at it two years ago was awesome.
Craig (San Jose, CA)
Why must Harvick always be so "classy" after a race? Did JJ benefit from the being on pit road at the right time...sure. However, it came down to a 22 lap shootout. Lined up side by side, and Harvick couldn't beat JJ (and Harvick's car was better at the time). The champ drove his (blank) off, and Harv bounced off the wall when it was money time. One day JJ will hopefully earn the respect of the Harvicks, Hamlins, Biffles, (other jealous guys), etc.
Ryan McGee (2:39 PM)
Jealousy has a lot to do with it...and frustration. When one guy keeps beating you every week and he seems to be able to do it a totally different way every time, it has to drive you nuts. Especially if you're Harvick and haven't won a points-paying race since 2007.
Jon Jon (Alabama)
Do you think Mr H will be putting Danica in the #5 before the end of the year and when will Martin be retiring for good?
Ryan McGee (2:40 PM)
Not in the 5, but he has said that he might put her in a Cup car at the season finale if the season goes well. Mark tells me that he is committed to running through his contract, which has two years left on it.
Hornish seemed to salvage a decent day after that speeding penalty. Is he worth keeping in my fantasy stable as a C driver? Can he crack the top 20 in points this year?
Ryan McGee (2:41 PM)
No. I would keep him for Vegas, maybe Atlanta, and jettison him like a Star Wars escape pod before Bristol.
It seems that Kyle's pending marriage, Nascar team ownership and Nascar Championship have made Kyle even stronger. Do you sense that and is Kyle gaining more and more fans?
Ryan McGee (2:43 PM)
Yo Roscoe, I've said all along that he would gain more fans as his career progressed. Remember, the fans booed Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Rusty Wallace, and DW when they first showed up and starting beating everyone. They booed Mark Martin too. But its funny how winning year-in and year-out can turn the grandstands in your favor.
Do you consider The Busch Brothers to be the greatest Nascar brothers combination in our sports history?
Ryan McGee (2:45 PM)
(Man, did the Busch Brothers Fan Club get on here today or what?) No, Jennifer, not yet. I think that honor will belong to Bobby and Terry Labonte as long as they are still the only bros to win Cup titles. If Kyle can win a title at some point they'll move to #1 even with one fewer Cup than the Labontes because their win total will be be greater.
Ryan McGee (2:46 PM)
I posed that same question to Bobby Allison down at Daytona Speedweeks and he never even hesitated. "Nope, it's me and my brother Donnie."
Blake (Abiene, TX)
With the so called "Foreign Invasion of Nascar" would nascar as an olympic sport be exciting?
Ryan McGee (2:47 PM)
It would have to be like NASCAR, stock cars, to make it work. I say we call the IROC folks and have them dig out the Pontiac Trans Ams and take them to the Olympics! (BTW, Blake I saw your Dirk comment...can't post it, but very funny.)
Why does it seem like Jimmy Johnson has better equipment then his other teamates.
Ryan McGee (2:48 PM)
Because his crew chief is a bonafide, dyed-in-the-wool, once-in-a-generation racing genius.
Turtle (Los Angeles)
Has the quality of the on track racing improved since Waltrip retired?
Ryan McGee (2:50 PM)
Wait...which Waltrip are we talking about? If you mean DW, there's no doubt. Back during his best days you might have 15 cars finish on the lead lap. These days we can have 30-plus. If you mean Mikey...you're Mr. Funny Guy, aren't you? (And the answer there is also yes.)
Hank (Lancaster, Pa)
Ryan - Very little was written about JJ's 24/7 series. Did you watch it and if so what was your take?
Ryan McGee (2:53 PM)
Thought it very well done. Some of my old ESPN TV coworkers (I was producer in my previous life) worked on the show and I thought they did a great job. I don't know that it did a lot to dispel the "he's a boring guy" theories, but if anyone dares to try and say that he isn't an athlete or isn't changing the way our game is played, then they didn't watch it. I know some fans complained that it was on premium cable, but that's a huge step up in prestige for the sport, as is the Showtime show. Even if you can't afford to add those channels, it's a big compliment that those two networks want in on NASCAR.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
Is this Jaime McMurray's year for a breakout season?
Ryan McGee (2:54 PM)
If his season ended today it would still be a breakout season for Jamie. Couldn't be happier for him. Great guy.
Carson (Myrtle Beach)
With strong finishes by the 33, 31 and 29, is RCR back? and can Bowyer ever win a championship?
Ryan McGee (2:56 PM)
Yes they are. They are making more horsepower than ever and they also fixed something in the front end costruction of their cars that had them missing setups so badly last summer. Yes, Bowyer can win a title. He feels a lot like a Kenseth/Labnte kind of champion. He'll sneak up on people. With Burton not getting any younger and Harvick looking at other teams for 2011, Clint's the future of that team.
big ben (nc)
if kelly bires steps into the #7 NW car and wins a race or two while danica is doing indy car, how bad is that going to look if she comes back and continues to struggle?
Ryan McGee (2:57 PM)
To me, not at all. He grew up racing stock cars. She's been racing them for, let's see, three weeks now. One has nothing to do with the other.
Gigi (New York)
Kurt and Sam are looking stong but the Brad experiment looks to be a bust. You think Mr. Penske will be putting Parker or Justin in the #12 before the end of the season?
Ryan McGee (2:58 PM)
Nope. I think he'll be putting Justin in the 77 when Hornish goes back to Indy Cars.
what do you mean denny hamlin cant get out of his own way? how are two flat tires his problem?
Ryan McGee (3:00 PM)
Not saying they are his fault. Saying that his luck is as rotten as a month-old apple right now. No matter who the blame falls to, he's 22nd in points. Time to get it in gear and make that title run.
"Why does it seem like Jimmy Johnson has better equipment" Extenze of course!
Ryan McGee (3:02 PM)
Nice. On that note, it's time to wrap up this week's edition of the Monday Motorsports Block Party. Next week I'll be on a little early, 1:30 PM ET from Bristol, CT as I prep for that night's NASCAR Now on ESPN2. In the meantime, as always tip your wait staff and enjoy the music of Gordon Lightfoot, who, despite what the Internet said last week, is not dead.