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 up my rain and wind pelted brothers and sisters and welcome back to worldwide interweb's biggest and baddest Monday motorsports block party. How about another round of applause for Andy Petree? I will always be indebted to him for getting my man Handsome Harry Gant and the #33 Skoal Bandit Olds into Victory Lane four straight times in '91.
Ryan McGee (2:02 PM)
To the queries!
Why does no one talk about Kyle causing that first wreck in the race? Waltrip was correct in his assesment of Kyle.
Ryan McGee (2:04 PM)
I think everyone kind of forgot about it because so much happened after that wreck...but Mikey hasn't forgotten. He's playing the PGA Pro-Am out at Quail Hollow today in Charlotte and I bet he's thinking of Kyle when he pulls out the driver.
Ryan Davis (Dallas, TX)
Quick thought on Kurt Bush. After that great comeback to get an 8th place finish yesterday (after the wreck and speeding penalty) does it show that he will be a force come chase time? Knowbody is really talking about him but he has run good all year even when he didn't have a great car (Texas) and had bad pit strategy that knocked him down to 23rd at Daytona.
Ryan McGee (2:05 PM)
I was totally blown away by the Blue Deuce's comeback. There were several guys that had trouble early and I wrote off, but they ended up making it back to the front for at least a little while - Denny Hamlin and Kasey Kahne among them.
Ryan McGee (2:06 PM)
I think two weeks ago we were all thinking that the 2 was fading fast, but they have certainly turned it around. To me the measure of a true title contender is turning bad days into good ones. They certainly did that.
Okay, so Jeff Gordon is getting bad luck handed to him week after week after week, and a lot of times he has either the best car or in contention for the win. Do you this luck will reverse itself and he'll get the wins he should be getting?
Ryan McGee (2:08 PM)
Yes. He's too good week in and week out not to pick up a win at some point. Last night after the race Rick Hendrick said that Jeff should have won "three, maybe five" races this year. That's where the frustration is coming from...well, that and the 48 seems to always be the car keeping him from Victory Lane.
First off what a great race yesterday! I have 2 questions for you....do you think was JJ's move to the bottom in front of Gordon intended as a block or was JJ trying to get in front to get a push from him?Also, I like Harvick (not sure where he got the nickname "happy" as he is usually pissed about something) but I thought it was pretty lame how he handled himself in Victory Lane concerning Shell/Pennzoil (naming them last and the comments made). Those guys stuck with him when he consistently ran in the back and that is the thanks they get? Hardly bodes well for him finding another sponsor. What are your thoughts on that? Thanks for the time, always enjoy your chats.
Ryan McGee (2:11 PM)
Thanks Kevin. 1. He was trying to come down and pick up a push. But at that stage in the race he perhaps should've had a better feel for how fast those guys would be coming. 2. "Happy" was earned for the reason you state...it's sarcastic. But I don't think he sees them as sticking with him when he was in the back because - his thoughts not mine here - they bailed before he won again. There's some bitterness internally about how that deal went down and Happy couldn't resist the dig.
Hey Ryan! During the Nationwide broadcast, the announcers kept mentioning that if Kevin Harvick won the NW race it would be the first time in history that the same driver won NW and Cup races on the same day, at the same track. Am I totally losing it or didn't Kyle Busch do this a couple years ago?
Ryan McGee (2:13 PM)
Hi Kathi...I think you're thinking about his Trucks-Nationwide Saturday sweep at Auto Club Speedway in February '09...unless I'm just having a brain cramp. These rain-forced Cup-Nationwide doubleheaders are so rare the odds aren't good that it was done before. Plus, my peeps in ESPN Research are very, very good at what they do. Good thing. I'm b-b-b-ad at math.
Paul (Tucson, AZ)
It seems like every time there's a race at a superspeedway, you get a bunch of guys, like Jamie McMurray and David Ragan, running up front who then turn around and do nothing at all the other tracks. What gives?
Ryan McGee (2:16 PM)
It's kind of like Dennis Rodman. Rodman was really, really great at grabbing rebounds. But if he ever had to shoot the ball he looked like a wounded deer. Some guys are good at some style tracks and some aren't. And some teams are just really good building restrictor plate cars and engines and some aren't. It's no different than the bunch of guys who will suddenly become world beaters when we get to the road courses at Watkins Glen and Infineon.
in richmond will we see jeff take out jimmie
Ryan McGee (2:16 PM)
If he's going to do it that'd be the place for it to happen.
Is Kyle on the verge of losing his master of the minors title? He sure didn't look like the guy that beats em up in the minors and can't finish in the majors that we know!
Ryan McGee (2:17 PM)
Good point Octo (and whomever else you are today). He looks like a Cup contender to me.
Tell me if I'm crazy, but is Scott Speed the best driver at Red Bull now, or at least well on his way? I mean this is only his 2nd year driving a stock car. Ever.
Ryan McGee (2:19 PM)
He's definitely on his way. I wrote this in today's Power Rankings (Scott's 20th) - he already has five finishes of 19th or better this year and he had only two in all of 2009.
Fred (Al) [via mobile]
Who was Big E crew chief is last race?what is that guy doin today in nascar
Ryan McGee (2:22 PM)
Kevin Hamlin. Last I heard he's over at Red Bull. He was Brian Vickers's crew chief for a while.
Fred (Al) [via mobile]
Who was Jeff G. crew chief when he won his fourth cup..what happen ta the guy?
Ryan McGee (2:22 PM)
That'd be Robbie Loomis and he's in management at Richard Petty Motorsports.
Terry (Baton Rouge )
First time on the chat Ryan As a Tony Stewart fan i was wondering what you think was wrong with tony at daga He is usaaly good there. An do you think tony has a really shot at winning anthor champion now that he is a owner
Ryan McGee (2:25 PM)
Yo Terry (you need to buy my College World Series book when it comes out in paperpack tomorrow, packed with LSU). He did fine, just got lost in all the mess during the three green-white-checker finishes. He rode around in the back all day on purpose (so did McMurray, Montoya, Newman, a bunch of guys) and then was up front as soon as he was ready to race. He does have a shot, but I really think that as long as he is so dependent on Hendrick for engines he'll never be able to keep up once the Chase starts.
Jason (Denton, Texas)
Do you think Harvicks and Stewert with all their outside interests hurt their teams by not focusing 100% on Sprint Cup?
Ryan McGee (2:27 PM)
I think there's a balance you have to find and it seems to be different for different guys. Dale Earnhardt admitted that he let outside stuff slow him down, then when he refocused he became a contender again. Harvick's always seemed to run better the more stuff he has going on.
Dave Blaney (The Garage)
Will I make it past lap 20 at Richmond this week?
Ryan McGee (2:28 PM)
Well you made it to lap 33 at Talladega, so there's always hope.
We agree with Felix Sabates that Harvick passed Jamie under the yellow line and that Jamie won the race. Your thoughts?
Ryan McGee (2:29 PM)
Not a chance. I've watched it 100 times and he did not, as the rule states, go below the yellow line to improve his position.
in a race between you hinton,smith,newton,and let's say bestwick who wins?
Ryan McGee (2:30 PM)
Marty. He's been working out with some personal trainer and he's like the damn Terminator now. But I'd be second.
Ryan McGee (2:31 PM)
In a somewhat related note I almost killed Mike Massaro and myself on a Ray Evernham Signature Dodge golf cart in the Talladega infield on Sunday morning.
Hey Ryan, should I be worried about JPM and the chase? He has been really fast this year, but three wrecks that have not been his fault have lost him a lot of points.
Ryan McGee (2:34 PM)
Two weeks ago I said there was no way he would get into the Chase. Now it looks better, especially with the road courses still out there. But his problem isn't how many points behind the top 12 he is - 123 - but the number of guys he has leapfrog to get there, which is eight. That's a lot.
Jim (North Carolina)
Great races yesterday. Whats up with Johnson, I saw Jr push him a few times in the Sprint race. Jimmie never once helped Jr. Junior would move to get his help and then Johnson would go the other way. I was pleased to see Jonson take himself out. Guess that golden horseshoe finally got dislodged!!!
Ryan McGee (2:35 PM)
Yeah, I wrote this in the Power Rankings too. So weird that a guy who doesn't make two mistakes in a season made two in one race. As for not going with Junior, the 88 fans are screaming that no one would play ball with him. If that's true, I think it has more to do with "We're sick of Hendrick" than "I don't want to help Junior."
Who wins first, Jeff Gordon or Jeff Burton? Both seem to keep putting themselves in great position to win then have some horrible stroke of bad luck prevent it.
Ryan McGee (2:37 PM)
No joke. For all the talk about Gordon's bad luck, Burton is the one that breaks your heart. He has had the best car two weeks in a row and has nothing to show for it. For all the attention that Michael got for ripping Kyle Busch, Burton was even more harsh in his evaluation of Mike Bliss. I think his words were, "There's a reason he's not out here with us every week."
Ryan McGee (2:37 PM)
As for who wins first, I say Gordon.
So you say he did not go below the yellow line to improve his position? What did he do then?
Ryan McGee (2:40 PM)
He didn't go below the yellow line to improve his position. It didn't happen. I'm sitting here watching the replay over and over on ESPN.com The only person who thought that he did was Felix.
Jack Trae (KCMO)
Hey Ryan, you have any info on why BK failed post race inspection?
Ryan McGee (2:42 PM)
I know NASCAR took the springs and shocks from the 22 after the race. Haven't heard anything past that, but I've been traveling. Watch NASCAR Now tonight on ESPN2 and we'll have more info for you.
what do you think about jr running the 3 car in the nationwide daytona race
Ryan McGee (2:43 PM)
I think its great. I asked Chocolate Myers about it and he said he was going to see if he could still fit into his old Wrangler crew shirt and go try to sneak onto the pit crew. By the way, Junior's 88 pit crew will be pitting the car.
Ryan McGee (2:44 PM)
By the way, if you're in the Charlotte/Kannapolis, NC area, don't forget that Thursday, April 29, is Dale Earnhardt Senior's birthday and they'll be a big day-long deal at DEI in Mooresville. Chocolate and Dale Junior are both supposed to be there.
Joe B (Nebraska)
hi Ryan. Q: If Harvick was to leave RCR at end of season, what opprotunities are there for him? don't look like a good time for looking for new team and/or sponsor right now
Ryan McGee (2:47 PM)
That's the million, actually multimillion, dollar question. I don't think RCR is going to have a hard time getting a sponsor on that car, especially now. It's just a matter of if Kevin wants to leave or stay. I wrote a big Insider blog last week laying out his options. If I had to bet on it I'd say he's staying. But with Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch both already locked up, he's the only big name free agent out there. He has to snoop around and see what he can get.
Jack Trae (KCMO)
Is there any chance we will ever see a Talladega night race?
Ryan McGee (2:48 PM)
There has definitely been talk about putting lights in. I know the track staff wants them. But I personally like it as day races. Race during the day and party all night is a Talladega tradition.
Hi Ryan, i have always liked the way Joey Logano drives and still do. What do you think he could or need s to do differently to turn his season around after the last couple of finishes?
Ryan McGee (2:50 PM)
I think he's headed in the right direction. He's gone from barely finishing to a weekly top ten contender in only one year. And he still can't buy a beer legally. The important thing to note about his recent finishes is how good he was before those finishes. He was the best car at Talladega. Don't sweat it. He's fine. And will be for a loooong time.
Ed (Fort Worth)
Given the nature of 'Dega, do you think Wonderboy or Junior (or anyone else for that matter) will match or beat Senior's 10 wins there?
Ryan McGee (2:51 PM)
Good question Ed. I think Dale Junior could do it. So could Jeff, but time is on Junior's side more than it is Jeff's.
How much longer do you think the older drivers like Burton, Kenseth, Gordon, Biffle, Stewert, Dale and that generation will be keep racing?
Ryan McGee (2:53 PM)
Well, Gordon had always said he wouldn't race past 40, but clearly that's out the window. He'll be 40 next August and just last month said he'd like to do five more years. Burton is the oldest of that group. I'd say give it five years and some of these guys will start peeling off. Tony might be the first. I think he'd love to be a Cup team owner and then go play in the dirt while his drivers do the work on Sundays.
Terry (baton rouge )
where can i pick the book up at. So are you staying when the chase starts johnson an gordon will get the best equipment an the others will get 2nd rate equipment. I have been saying that for years about hendrick
Ryan McGee (2:54 PM)
Any major bookstore, Amazon, etc. The paperback has a new chapter about last year's CWS, which LSU won. And yes, that's what I'm saying. It's still good stuff, but you can't tell me that Tony is getting Jimmie's engines during the Chase. Well, you can, I just might roll my eyes.
Ryan, What's the impact of Kasey Kahne's move to the 5 on Danica Patrick? Much of the speculation in the last few months was centered on her taking over the 5 in 2012. Hendrick has spoken, and it is not to be. I'd like to start a new rumor... Mark Martin will become a team owner in 2012, and Danica will be his first driver, in a shared ride with Mark, part time around the Indy schedule.
Ryan McGee (2:56 PM)
When Danica comes back to see us in the NASCAR paddock after the Indy 500 that'll be the first question she gets - So, what's you deal now? And I like your theory.
Jack (Brooklyn, NY)
Hey Ryan, I read that Teresa will be there along with RC and Junior for the announcement about the 3 car for the Nationwide race. Do you think this means that the ice is thawing between Jr and his stepmom?
Ryan McGee (2:58 PM)
I do. It's still there, but not like it was. I was the relaunch of Dale Senior's original fan club, Club E, at Talladega on Sunday morning when they told me that RC, Teresa, and Dale Junior were going to be up on the stage together. I told the moderator that my dad used to be a college football ref, so if he needed a striped shirt and a whistle for Thursday I could hook him up!
Ryan McGee (2:59 PM)
To their credit, I think their mutual love for Big E overrides all the BS that's existed between them for so long.
can jeff gordon fire Jimmy Johnson...i know that will NEVER happen...but theoretically as the owner...can he?
Ryan McGee (2:59 PM)
Can? Yes, sort of. Hendrick gets a vote too. Will he? No.
Cory (Geneva, IL)
Do you think the Dega race is too long? I love it, but if a car can deliberately stay at the rear for 90% of the race and still contend for the win, something isn't right. I know there isn't any way to change it, just looking for a thought.
Ryan McGee (3:01 PM)
I think all of the races are too long. I wrote about that last season and Marty Smith wrote about it just a few weeks ago. The only 500-milers should be the Daytona 500, Southern 500 at Darlington, and Coke 600 at Charlotte. Everything else should be 400 laps/miles or less. You saw it in the Nationwide race. In the shorter events no one sandbags. There's not time to.
Ryan McGee (3:03 PM)
Alright folks...another great hour of chatting magic! They were coming in fast and furious the whole time. Sorry I couldn't get to everyone. But, as always, you email me (email@example.com) or hit me up on Twitter (@ryanmcgeeespn). Thanks for stopping by, tip your waiters and waitresses, and enjoy George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers.