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 (2:03 PM)
What's up my white concrete dust covered brothers and sisters...and welcome to the world's biggest Monday afternoon motorsports block party. Thanks to Angelique Chengelis, the pride of Ann Arbor, for the lead-in. To the queries!
Ed (Fort Worth)
Hey Ryan, thanks for pointing out Smoke's efforts to help out with the flood victims in Middle Tennessee. Growing up in that area, it's been awful to see the destruction. Smoke is now officially in my "I don't care how bad he's doing, I'm still pulling for him" driver group. P.S. A shout out to Vickers, hope he gets healthy really soon.
Ryan McGee (2:04 PM)
No problem Ed. I am a Univ of Tennessee grad and have a lot of friends in Middle Tenn. I don't know if people really understand how bad it is there. Smoke has had his differences with a lot of people, but the fact that he joined the NASCAR contingent that headed down there after Dover on Sunday says a lot about him. Everyone find a Nashville flood cause and support it!
Mike (Paris, OH)
Does NASCAR realize there are other factors in all the empty seats or do they really believe it is jsut the economy?
Ryan McGee (2:06 PM)
They do. And I think things like ditching the wing and double file restarts are proof of that. That being said, I've never seen the stands as empty as they were at Dover. That area has been sacked by the economy, so I think that still has to be the biggest factor.
Joel (South Fl)
What happen to EGR this past weekend? Both cars with the same problem at the same time. Probaly cost McMurray the chase he was in the top 10 all day till that happen. Jamie Mac is the real deal!
Ryan McGee (2:08 PM)
Track bar. And from what Montoya and Jamie said after the race it sounds like its a recurring issue. I remember one year in practice for the All-Star race all of the Hendrick cars were having issues with some new design they were trying in their engines. Mr. H literally threw out every engine that they thought had that design flaw in it and built all new stuff. Sometimes that's what it takes. Same thing happened to RCR last year. They tried something new chassis-wise and ended up scrapping half the fleet.
Ryan McGee (2:09 PM)
Apparently the EGR track bars were made in the name of lightening up the cars. Clearly they have to blow that plan up and try something else.
Ryan, as a fan I'm kind of getting annoyed with the whole Kasey Kahne situation. Do they really expect us to believe that no one knows where a top 10 talent is going to be driving next year?
Ryan McGee (2:11 PM)
Yo Tim. I think they know he's going to be at Stewart-Haas, they are just sifting through all the details to make it work. SHR is clearly in a bit of sponsorship funk right now and they made no secret during preseason that they were in no big hurry to expand. So I think there's some issue that they have to work out. Like how much Hendrick is going to pay them/help them/cut them a deal to make it happen.
I heard that Rick Hendrick and Lance McGrew were none too happy about the supposed "failure" on Dale Jr.'s car that turned out to be nothing. Do you think that Rick Hendrick will go ahead and release Dale Jr. early so that he will have "room at the inn" for Mark Martin and Kasey Kahne in 2011? Dale Jr. could head to RCR with Budweiser in tow and Kasey Kahne could take over the AMP Energy ride at Hendrick.
Ryan McGee (2:13 PM)
All that makes sense except for the fact that, even when he's struggling, Dale Jr is bringing in more money at HMS than the other guys. The whole thing was so weird on Sunday...and it got even weirder with the comments that Earnhardt and McGrew made about each other after the race. A month ago I talked to those two together for a long time before a race and they seemed great. Now it seems like a disaster. Stay tuned...
Hey Ryan, kind of torn as a Casey Mears fan right now..Obviously you don't want to see "your guy" get a ride because someone else is sick (get well soon BV), but at the same time, I'm glad to see Mears back on Sundays. I thought he did a pretty decent job yesterday considering.Do you agree?
Ryan McGee (2:15 PM)
Yes, he did. And don't feel bad. Casey makes no bones about the fact that he's auditioning and he also is straight up about wanting his friend Vickers to recover quickly.
Would there have been a cooler story line than the 43 winning yesterday? Also, I know speeding on pit road (wasn't that the 2nd deal with AJ?) is bad, but the lug nut issue was a complete debacle
Ryan McGee (2:16 PM)
That would have very cool, especially with The King going into the Hall of Fame this Sunday and that killer old school STP-ish paint scheme on the car. Dinger fans should be encouraged about the way he jumped on his crew over the radio after that loose wheel. He sounded like a veteran guy ready to be the team leader.
Blake (Abilene, TX)
Ryan, Why do we not see more TV adds with big name drivers in them. Besides Jr. their are not many more. I would think with some of the big name advertisers that sponser them they would do more TV comercials.
Ryan McGee (2:19 PM)
Love you Blake, but I think Carl Edwards is leading the league in TV ads 5-to-1 right now between Subway, Aflac, Ford, CoPart, and NASCAR Day. And sometimes I feel like the Martin Truex Jr. "NAPA Know-How" ads are on some sort of Clockwork Orange loop.
Chad (Las Vegas)
Is Kyle Busch liked in NASCAR? I think he might be respected but not liked.
Ryan McGee (2:20 PM)
You need to read my feature in the current issue of ESPN The Magazine (has some soccer dude on the cover) about the Busch brothers. The whole thrust of the story is that fact. People love to boo them, especially Kyle, but they also know that those boys can drive. And now they are back getting along, too. For a while they weren't. Now they've re-joined forces. That should be scary for their rivals.
Is Max Papis going to get into the Top 35 this year? The guy has so much heart and it's disappointing to see him miss races.
Ryan McGee (2:22 PM)
I don't see how he can Jimmie, unless some of the teams ahead of him have to shut it down for financial reasons. I hate it. The sport would be better off if Max was relevant.
I noticed in JG post race he talked about how much rubber was on the track. Do you think that contributed to the lack of passing and such?
Ryan McGee (2:23 PM)
Yes. A lot of drivers were kind of griping about the tires after the race, particularly Matt Kenseth. The track got really, really black by race's end, didn't it? A heard a few guys barking on the radio about hitting something, but in reality it was just the rubber marbles rattling around under the car.
Mike (Nijmegen, Netherlands)
Did Bobby LaBonte really start and park yesterday? I can't believe LaBonte is up to it.
Ryan McGee (2:25 PM)
He did. Didn't want to. But they are trying to build a full-time team and have to put back $ however they can. It's just the reality of the times.
The 88 team average performance is a 15 place at best performance with a dreadful thirty something at Dover. It is at improvement from last year, but have they peaked in that they will be a 18 place type team, or do you think they will improve? Does Dale Jr have a communication challenge to have the ability translate the car?s problems to his crew chief?
Ryan McGee (2:26 PM)
I really believbe that communication is the problem with the 88, not the cars, not driving ability, or any of that. How do you fix that? I have no idea. It is truly stunning to me how quickly the confidence has vanished from that team.
Hey Ryan. Big BV fan here, so maybe I'm biased, but I kinda got the feeling that Jay Frye seemed to be more upset about the 83 missing the Chase than the fact that Brian is having some serious health issues. Do you think there's a chance they could fire BV over this issue? And isn't this a flaw with the Chase, it makes drivers getting injured/sick an almost firable offense?
Ryan McGee (2:29 PM)
Not the case at all Matt. I've known Jay Frye for a long time and the man you saw on Friday hadn't slept in two days. His primary concern is Brian's health, then taking care of the race team. I think it's been a letdown of a season anyway, they'd seemed to be getting it turned around, then this happened. It's kind of like your QB getting hurt. You make sure they're okay, then it's the reality of, "Well, who the hell is going be the QB now?"
Ryan McGee (2:29 PM)
He won't get fired over this. Keep in mind, Jay Frye has been in a similar situation before in the MB2 days when Ernie Irvan had his second accident at Michigan.
Ryan McGee (2:30 PM)
Hopefully Brian will beat this, get back in the car, and we can get to pulling for the 83 again.
Rob F (Hoboken, NJ)
Hi Ryan, Is it me or did a majority of the teams struggle yesterday? I don't remember the last time so much of the field went a lap down at Dover. Does extra rubber on the track really make that much of a difference?
Ryan McGee (2:31 PM)
It was kind of rough. The rubber played a factor, along a rash of bad mistakes on pit road. And it didn't help that two cars - Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson - were so much better than everyone else.
I was at the race yesterday - I have been to Martinsville and RIR. If NASCAR takes a race from Martinsville it will be a shame. They announced 88,000 at the race yesterday. I dont see how that number makes sense. No tickets were available in Turn 3 - and we had lots of elbow room in Turn 2 - 4 of us and we each had our own row. Get rid of a race in Dover and one of the races in Pocano and Atlanta putting them in Vegas, Kansas (YUCK) and Kentucky.
Ryan McGee (2:33 PM)
Always great to hear from someone who was actually there for a first-person perspective. And you are not the first person who has proposed that very plan to me.
Funny story about Kurt and Kyle Busch. All of this is fact... my mom works with someone whose family back in Vegas is friendly with the Busch family. Apparently, the primary motivation for Kurt and Kyle getting along again was Grandma Busch. She forced the two of them to sit down and talk out their issues during a family reunion.
Ryan McGee (2:34 PM)
You should read my ESPN The Mag story! I tell that very tale, but the way the brothers tell it is that it was over the holidays and their grandmother made them sit down and play board games together - on the same team - until they worked it out. Pretty cool.
Maybe Dale needs a new radio, bluetooth perhaps?
Ryan McGee (2:35 PM)
Hahahaha! He sure doesn't need Kyle's radio, which wasn't working for a big chunk of the race. Then again, maybe the 18 team is onto something...
When Nascar parked Boyer in the NNW race we saw him disrespect that crew guy by refusing to shake his hand and refusing to be interviewed. How come nobody is bashing him? If kyle acted like that everyone would be all over Kyle.
Ryan McGee (2:36 PM)
I think it's track record. If you've been a good guy in the past and you do that, then it's written off to frustration. But if you're M.O. is to do that all the time, then you'll get ripped. If Clint starts doing that a lot, then he'll get his from fans and media.
Ryan McGee (2:37 PM)
Then again, after everyone saw him pull a Cole Trickle coming off pit road, then maybe they thought he'd go after everyone with his golf cart.
"Shut up, Dale, and just drive"....I like it.
Ryan McGee (2:37 PM)
I know a lot of crew chiefs that would love that plan.
Dee (Las Vegas)
A Saturday night race at Las Vegas MotorSpeedway in the fall and during the chase is just what the doctor ordered! Use your pull to make it happen, Mr. McGee! But seriously, thanks for the chat.
Ryan McGee (2:38 PM)
I'll see what I can do, Dee...I appreciate your faith in my sway over the sport!
Why doesn't Kasey just quit Petty and start racing the #5 now?
Ryan McGee (2:38 PM)
Because Mark Martin would break him in half.
Mark (Plantation, FL)
Since Kyle just turned 25 do you expect him to continue this level of Nascar domination for the next 15-20 years?
Ryan McGee (2:40 PM)
I don't know about that length of time, but he sure shows no sign of slowing down. And "New Kyle" seems to be a guy who is willing to roll with the punches and chase good finishes instead of getting frustrated and throwing his hands up when things go wrong. A guy like that can do some serious damage. And, as you say, he's only 25!
Ricky (Yuba City)
GUESS Who?? Biffle. Biffle has dropped in the point standings. Is there still enough time for him to get on the move and catch the leaders??
Ryan McGee (2:42 PM)
He didn't drop. He stayed in 7th. But don't focus on points. Focus on the fact that finished in the top ten for the first time in a month and he didn't finished 22nd, which he'd done the last two weeks.
I suggested this to Angelique just a minute ago... I'll throw it your way and see your response, too, Ryan. I have a solution for the problems at Hendrick Motorsports. Do a crew chief swap with the #5 and #88 teams. Both teams are off on performance, so some fresh ideas during the race would help both teams without ruining the chemistry back at the shop. Alan Gustafson likes to talk over adjustments with his driver, which seems to be something Junior wants judging by comments he made at Darlington. He said something on the radio about Lance never discussing adjustments with him even though he (Junior) may have something to contribute.
Ryan McGee (2:43 PM)
Not a bad idea, but I don't think Mark Martin would let that happen. He and Alan are having a rough go right now, but they are super close, like father and son close.
With the start and park thing getting more blatant every week, will Nascar finally do something about it? Don't the purses come partly from ticket sales, so aren't the fans that pay to see a race getting screwed and Nascar does nothing about it?
Ryan McGee (2:45 PM)
Shelly, I feel you, but I really don't think the S&P's are as big an issue as people want them to be. I have an issue with the teams that blantantly out there collecting checks, but for teams like Tommy Baldwin Racing or Bobby Labonte's outfit, I really feel like they are building something. No different than how Bill Elliott and his family did in the late '70's or Richard Childress before that.
Ryan McGee (2:45 PM)
And I don't know if fans being robbed. Would you rather short fields? Like 35 cars? Because that's what we'd have.
Do you think the point systems needs to be revamped to keep up with the changing of equipment, sponsorship dollars, economy, parity etc... Or do you think the current point system is ok?
Ryan McGee (2:47 PM)
I want there to be one small change. I want wins to be worth more. There should be like a 40-50 point gap between 1st and 2nd.
Since Kyle is looking like a genius for firing Addington and making Dave is cc, who do you think Kyle would recommend for Lance's replacement on the #88?
Ryan McGee (2:47 PM)
Rob F (Hoboken, NJ)
Isn't the "old Kyle" attitude what fans - especially oldschool and core - were looking for? While it doesn't help your championships chances, it's kinda (or was, anyway) cool that someone was so focused on winning as opposed to a good points day. While I understand why they don't, I kind of wish more drivers were so bent on winning.
Ryan McGee (2:48 PM)
I don't think New Kyle wants to win any less or will cease from going for it just as often or speaking his mind like he always has. I just think that he now knows how to turn bad days into good ones. But if he's near the front at the end, you don't need to worry about him points racing and settling for second. Big difference between that and what I'm talking about.
Do you think beer and alcohol will be banned from sports/racing sponsorship like tobacco?
Ryan McGee (2:49 PM)
Never. Liquor will always have some restrictions and perhaps one day beer will have some time of day rules, but banned? Nope. Too much $$$.
what really happened yesterday with junior. i saw the hood up. i thought they said that the engine had problems. thanks
Ryan McGee (2:50 PM)
Apparently nothing. Which is why the team and Dale were a little miffed at each other when the race was over.
Frank Grimes (Springfield)
Maybe I missed it, but what is the latest update on Brian Vickers? How long can we expect him to be out?
Ryan McGee (2:53 PM)
Officially, we're week-to-week Frank. He's back in North Carolina (he initially checked into the hospital while in D.C. to visit wounded troops) and running tests. The biggest issue, as posed by ESPN's medical specialist during NASCAR Now on Sunday morning, is that blood clots are treated with blood thinners. And blood thinners create a potentially fatal situation if he's in a bad crash. He wouldn't be able to stop bleeding.
Ryan McGee (2:53 PM)
There's no real timetable now other than week-to-week, but it doesn't sound promising, certainly not in the short term.
Rick (Buffalo, NY)
I saw Hamlin's post NW race interview discussing the Boyer incident and he said something like "I try not to take these races seriously - we focus on Sprint Cup." Please tell me why I should even watch these races if the majority Cup guys don't even take them seriously and end up wrecking NW regulars (Bayne was having a great day until he was caught up in that wreck)
Ryan McGee (2:55 PM)
It's a fair question Rick. Fact is, the Cup guys make a lot of coin to run the Nationwide races. But their Cup day job, especially when they aren't running for a Nationwide title like Kyle Busch was last year, will always be the higher priority. I have long supported the idea of capping the number of NNS races the Cup guys can run. Still do.
Blake (Abilene, TX)
I jumped out of my car, removed the gas cap swiped the creditcard selected my grade and had the nozzel in the tank in less than 30sec.
Ryan McGee (2:56 PM)
A few teams could've used you on Sunday.
Matthew (Columbia, NJ)
Will Sam Hornish be back in the 77 car next year or will Penske put Allgeir in that car?
Ryan McGee (2:56 PM)
My money is on Allgaier. Kid is the real deal.
Ricky (Yuba City)
Thanks Ryan. Great point. Are Jimmy and Jeff buddies again? They seem to be getting along better.
Ryan McGee (2:57 PM)
As far as we know, yes. Does that mean they are currently playing golf together or going through family photos? Um, no.
With #5 partially sponsored, Shell firing #29, Old spice firing #14, #39 partially sponsored, #24 losing Dupont are the sponsors bailing on the Chevy teams cause the driver are getting old?
Ryan McGee (2:58 PM)
No, it's a sport-wide issue, not just a Chevy or old guy issue. Though I hadn't really connected those Chevy dots until you pointed it out.
Joe (New York)
Who do you like as your top 5 at the All Star Race?
Ryan McGee (3:00 PM)
I always like Smoke, the defending champ, in these Saturday night specials. Let's say 14, 11, 18, 48, 29...and maybe someone from the second group of winless All-Stars that are in the qualifying race.
Ryan McGee (3:02 PM)
Alright folks, the buzzer's gone off, so I will log off. I'll see you on NASCAR Now this Wednesday night and next Sunday from the NASCAR Hall of Fame induction. If I missed your question, hit me up via email (email@example.com) or on Twitter (@RyanMcGeeESPN). See you next week! In the meantime, tip your wait staff and enjoy the music of Dio.
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