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 (2:00 PM)
What's up folks? Welcome back to the worldwide interweb's biggest and baddest Monday afternoon motorsports block party. Coming to you live this week from the Calabash Creamery in Calabash, NC. (www.calabash-creamery.com), where they have 24 flavors and free WiFi. Yes, I do take a day off from time to time and go to the beach...but even the Atlantic Ocean can't keep me away from the block party! To the queries!
Connie (West Palm Beach)
Michigan marks the 2 year anniversary of Dale Jr's last cup win. Do you see #88 going winless again and missing the chase again?
Ryan McGee (2:02 PM)
I don't think he's going to go winless, but my faith in his ability to make the Chase is beginning to wane. In this very chat room I did a lot of bragging about how Dale had his swagger back during March and April...and it looked like he had it back again after qualifying 3rd on Friday. But it didn't take long for all of that to vanish on Sunday. I honestly don't know what the answer is over there. But I do know the sport is better off when the 88 is relevant. Right now it isn't.
Jake (Irving, Texas)
Since Harvicks wife wears that Penzoil fire suit and pretends shes's part of the #29 team isn't she fair game for the shot Joey took at them?
Ryan McGee (2:04 PM)
Yes, but I honestly don't think Delana cares. Wives in firesuits isn't uncommon in other forms of racing, but it certainly isn't the norm in NASCAR. But hell, it's her husband, she's co-owner of her own race team, and she used to be a short track racer herself. The fact that people rag on her about it has always been weird to me.
Is NASCAR going to do something about Tom Logano. He's like a bad stage dad.
Ryan McGee (2:04 PM)
I wrote in today's Power Rankings "Best. Soccer Dad. Ever."
Ryan McGee (2:05 PM)
Yeah, that looked pretty bush didn't it? And it certainly isn't the first time. As a Dad I totally get the source of his passion when it comes to defending his kid, but Joey's not really a kid anymore. He's 20. Time to let him fight his own battles...literally.
Ryan McGee (2:07 PM)
I don't care if he's going to grab guys from his own race team and push them out of the way, but I had a real problem with him grabbing Ralph Sheheen, pit reporter from TNT. Ralph's a good man and just rolled with it, but Logano's Pop is lucky he didn't get laid out right there.
Shane (Piqua Ohio)
Ryan...Is there anymore development on Kasey's future plans? I think its very important he get in a Hendrick car right away. Honestly , I think Dale Jr should be the odd man out. The four car limit put on the owners I believe you want the 4 best. Gordon Johnson Kahne and Martin are the 4 best.
Ryan McGee (2:10 PM)
This deal seems to be headed toward a resolution pretty soon. I think what is taking so long is that some of the possible scenarios have really gotten pretty huge...like Dale Junior doing something else huge. Mark Martin is definitely not retiring a year earlier than his plan, which is the end of 2011. Kasey wants in at HMS as soon as possible...so maybe Dale Junior takes JR Motorsports to Cup w/Hendrick backing? Just spitballing here...but it makes sense.
Is Jeff Gordon in trouble? He's struggling now.
Ryan McGee (2:12 PM)
No, he's fine. Keep in mind that the crew made a great call that handed him a good finish at Charlotte, then they made a bad one that had him dragging an anchor at the end of Sunday's race. I don't believe he's in danger of not making the Chase, so I wouldn't worry unless he's having days like Sunday in August or September.
Ryan McGee (2:13 PM)
Honestly, it's not just a 24 or 88 thing, the entire Hendrick group is a little lost right now. I wasn't one to buy into the "they are lost with teh spoiler" theory, but last Monday when I did NASCAR Now with Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree they convinced me otherwise.
What is the Petty Motorsports shop going to be like this week? Will NASCAR do anything regarding either side of the Joey and Harvick situation?
Ryan McGee (2:15 PM)
Gonna be tense, though as Kasey told us on the TNT broadcast it won't be between himself and Allmendinger since "I never to talk to A.J. anyway". It is always a tough spot when your #1 driver is a lame duck, as Kahne is. But it is even worse when the future of the entire team is still up in the air...and don't let anyone tell you that it's not, because it is.
Ryan McGee (2:16 PM)
As for the Harvick-Logano deal, NASCAR had their meetings with those two drivers after the race. The real issue seems to be Logano's father. He's had his hard card credential pulled before. NASCAR didn't pull it yesterday, but you feel like some sort of warning will be issued. Or worse.
What is Harvick's problem with Logano? It was good to see Joey stand up for himself. Can we expect to see Joey dump Harvick next week?
Ryan McGee (2:18 PM)
I think this goes back a little. Keep in mind those two race against each other a lot when you throw in Nationwide Series races on Saturdays. Harvick seems to think that Logano is a chopper, a guy who cuts down sooner than he should after he makes a pass. To a lot of veteran guys that's a respect thing, young guys vs. older guys. That seems to be where it stems from here.
Ryan McGee (2:18 PM)
I was kind of with the TNT broadcast team, though. I was firing off on Harvick until I saw the overhead aerial replay. Didn't look quite as malicious from that angle.
Hey, Ryan! Once again, Carl shows up with a junk car, accomplishes nothing in practice, has Bob throw the kitchen sink at it on raceday, and struggles to another top 15. Am I going to have to expect this for every race for the rest of the year?
Ryan McGee (2:19 PM)
I would love to give you an answer other than yes...but yes is all I have.
Ryan McGee (2:20 PM)
Roush Fenway is a bit lost as it is, but I also still contend that Carl is suffering from new baby sleep deprivation. I was screaming that about Gordon three years ago and everyone told me I was nuts...until Gordon finally fessed up and said that's what it was!
Can you tell me what happened the first 450 miles yesterday? I feel asleep!
Ryan McGee (2:22 PM)
Hahahaha! I am down at the beach right now. I watched the first few laps and when it started to rain I took my daughter to the beach. I came back four hours later, just in time for the last 40 laps and literally missed nothing.
Ryan McGee (2:23 PM)
The good news? Those last 40 laps rocked. The bad news? It took too long to get there, and I'm not just talking about the rain delay. They HAVE TO shorten these Pocono races to 500K or 400 miles.
iF I WAS RICHARD PETTY, I WOULD BE EMBARRASSED TO HAVE MY NAME ON A RACE TEAM I DON'T HOLD MAJORITY IN WITH ALL THATS HAPPENING WITH RPM
Ryan McGee (2:23 PM)
Yeah, but the big checks don't hurt.
Harvick says he's more worried about consistency and winning a championship than winning races. At what point does he feel comfortable enough to start going all out for wins. Those bonus points could be HUGE. Not only in getting them for himself, but also in keeping them away from other Chasers.
Ryan McGee (2:25 PM)
I think he'll drop the hammer later in the summer when we get to the tracks where he's historically been very good - Bristol, Indy, Richmond, etc. That being said, I think he proved to us (and Logano) that he's not exactly skating around out there collecting points. On that last restart he dan near made it four-wide gunning for the lead.
It's not really possible that Hendrick is going to let a cash cow like Junior go, is it?
Ryan McGee (2:26 PM)
There are ways to "let him go" without giving up the cash. Hendrick isn't exactly doing the Stewart-Haas deal for free. Not saying that he's going to do that with JR Motorsports, but I think he has to consider it.
Kathi (New York)
Hey Ryan, any idea who Smoke might be gunning for over the next few weeks as per his post race comments? I didn't see anything happen to him in the race yesterday, but something about the things he said seems he was ticked off at someone. BTW, thanks for making me laugh with your tweets!!
Ryan McGee (2:28 PM)
I am here for your Twitter entertainment, Kathi! I think Smoke has a few names in mind, but I don't expect him to go out and start wrecking people, just beating them. The good news for 14 fans is that Stewart always races better when he's pissed, so that's a good thing. Also, he always heats up in the summer, which he apparently is already doing!
Kyle and Denny handled all those Chevy's with ease yesterday. Was that better Toyota horsepower or handling in the turns?
Ryan McGee (2:28 PM)
Fred (Logan, UT)
Harvick only has 11 cup wins in 1 of the best cars in the garage. Why do people make him out to be something special?
Ryan McGee (2:31 PM)
It's 12 wins, which includes the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400, not to mentiona an All-Star Race, Rookie of the Year, 2 Nationwide Series titles, and has been the points leader most of the 2010 season. And he did it all while stepping into the biggest empty shoes in NASCAR history. Not sure what else you want here, Fred.
Rob F (Hoboken, NJ)
Hi Ryan, regarding your comments about Hendrick being lost since the wing: I disagree. Gordon looked unstoppable until the final lap for several races and JJ has looked good at times too. Whatever they were doing at the 24 team a few races ago they need to again...
Ryan McGee (2:33 PM)
As I said earlier Rob, I was with you. But a day with Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree convinced me otherwise. It's not that they are slow, but they just haven't been able to stick their cars way out on the edge aero-wise like they were earlier in the season. Example #1: The 48 spinning out on his own at the exit of the turn in Charlotte. Twice.
Ryan, do you think the powers that be will shorten the length of the Pocono race? The only excitement happened in the last 50 laps or so. I knew I had time to work on my lawn and still catch the good stuff at the end.
Ryan McGee (2:34 PM)
I have been screaming this for five years now. I think a lot of the Cup races are too long, Pocono being the primary offender. I love the people up there. The Mattiolis are literally the nicest people in NASCAR. But 400 miles, or less, is the ticket.
Are you trying to tell me that these multi-millionaires get up with a crying baby at night? That sounds more like intelligence deprivation to me.
Ryan McGee (2:35 PM)
I know it for a fact. Gordon in particular really wanted to make sure he wasn't a rich "let the nanny do it" father. I applaud him for that, but there's no doubt it hurt his performance for a while. Hell, I couldn't stay awake at my desk when my daughter was little, let alone get through the Tunnel Turn at Pocono.
Perhaps some drivers need to drop the Junior from there names. Sam Hornish Jr. Dale Earnhardt Jr. both have had their share of problems, and we know both of them have a ton of talent. Seems Dale did a lot better when he was called "Little E".
Ryan McGee (2:37 PM)
Hahahaha! Good point. The only Junior who didn't have a problem with it was Junior Johnson, but that was at the front of his name wasn't it?
Ryan McGee (2:37 PM)
BTW...big shout-out to Sam Hornish Jr. on his Pocono run. It was good to seem him up front late. I hate that he's struggled so badly in NASCAR. He was one of the greatest Indy Car racers I've ever seen.
DO RACE CAR OWNERS GIVE THE DRIVER AND THEIR FAMILIES HEALTH AND LIFE INSURANCE WHEN THEY DRIVE FOR THEM?
Ryan McGee (2:38 PM)
I think most drivers do their own deals.
why is nascar so boring
Ryan McGee (2:38 PM)
Why are you in this chat?
It's really sad to see a Bobby Labonte, a former sprint cup champ, to start-and-park. Do you see him getting a better ride next year?
Ryan McGee (2:40 PM)
I agree Jeremy. It is sad to see, but for his team to survive it is necessary. And I have no problem with them doing it because they are taking that cash and really building something with it for the future, not pocketing the checks and buying boats and houses with it.
Craig (San Jose, CA)
Do you know when JJ's wife Channie is due, and what race is in jeopardy of him missing? Will he miss the race only if the baby is born on a Sunday? Just curious to how ready Aric Almirola should be?
Ryan McGee (2:42 PM)
Due date is mid-July and I don't know what Jimmie's plan is. Next week I'm going to be with him in NYC for an ESPN The Magazine story and will ask him. It's actually well-timed because there's an off weekend between Chicago on 7/10 and Indy on 7/25. Even Johnson's family planning is smooth!
Why do people root for Dale Junior? Seems like he's just another Sadler type of driver hardly worth all the attention?
Ryan McGee (2:44 PM)
Totally disagree, Pauline, respectfully. He's a good guy, stays close to his roots, and has handled an impossible legacy situation with a lot of grace. He's also won 18 races, including a Daytona 500 & an All-Star Race, 2 Nationwide Series titles, and he's finished inside the top 5 in points three times. Love Elliott Sadler, but he'd cut his arm off to have that resume'.
Hank (Brewer, Me)
Ryan I hate to disagree but the Sprint Cup Series is the top series in US racing. can you imagine if the Pirates forfeited after the first 3 innings to save money on lighting and security so they could reinvest in their farm club. Maybe the answer is to shrink the field if NASCAR cannot find enough teams committed to the race. Possibly it is time for franchising like other sports. Basketball does not use peach baskets anymore and while the single team is romantic they do not compete.
Ryan McGee (2:48 PM)
The fact that teams like the Pirates and Royals refuse to boost their payrolls is just like starting and parking to me. We're always going to have last-tier teams in every sport. Just how it is. But if someone is honestly showing me that they are working toward building something I have no problem with it. Go back and look at guys like RCR or, more recently, Red Bull and MWR. They put cars on the track that they knew were total sleds. But they were banking $ to build teams.
Ryan McGee (2:49 PM)
I like your franchising idea, but only someone can promise me that it won't end up like F1 or CART where the inmates run the asylum into the ground.
Bill S. (High Point, NC)
Who's your pick for the big race this week? Of course I mean the one at Eldora.
Ryan McGee (2:50 PM)
Bill, I learned a long time ago that the host of the charity golf tournament usually ends up in the winning foursome. So I always take Smoke when it comes to his event. BTW, Logano is scheduled to be there...just saying...
Ryan McGee (2:50 PM)
And how about Tony Kanaan signing on?! TK in the dirt? I'm in.
Ryan, please call Jack Roush and tell him to give me a good race car for once. I would really appreciate that.
Ryan McGee (2:51 PM)
Thomas (KY )
WALMART to HMS next year, thoughts?
Ryan McGee (2:53 PM)
I have heard that's being discussed and it would be huge. I will say this, though, when I worked for NASCAR Media Group we met with Wal-Mart all the time and they were pretty adamant about keeping their "fringe" role with the sport, serving the broader NASCAR audience instead of alienating customers via an alliance with a certain driver. But these days they seem to really be stepping up their marketing campaign, so who knows?
Phil (Richmond, Va.)
don't hate on Sadler... he's got a grandstand named after him at South Boston!
Ryan McGee (2:54 PM)
Love Sadler. Always have. And I will always believe he was never really given a fair shake at RPM (how many different crew chiefs has the dude had now?). But the stats are what they are.
Has AJ Allemdinger said why he blocked his teammate and caused the gnarly wreck?
Ryan McGee (2:55 PM)
I think he A. Didn't realize how fast the 9 was clsoing and B. Thought that once he got all the way to the grass there'd be no one down there to block. Clearly he was wrong on both accounts.
Will Nascar do anything to stop those "start & Park" teams from stealing prize money like Eddie Gossage said?
Ryan McGee (2:56 PM)
This new deterrent is pretty good, conducting a thorough inspection of the first car out to prove that they are out for the reason they say they are. It's kept a few teams honest. It's pretty costly to put those cars back together.
Spartanburger (Spartanburg, SC)
How do you see Ambrose panning out over the next 2-3 years. Does he need more oval time or better equip and can he be a contender one day?
Ryan McGee (2:58 PM)
He needs more experience. Keep in mind that it took about three years for Montoya to click. That's the schedule that Marcos is on. 2011 will be his 3rd full season. He also need serious help on pit road. They have a technica alliance with MWR and that's worked great, so why they don't take advantage of MWR's very good pit crew development program is weird to me. They've improved over the season, but still need help.
Ryan McGee (3:00 PM)
Alright folks, the bell has gone off and I have to go. Thanks for stopping by. If I didn't get to you, hit me up via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or on Twitter (@RyanMcGeeESPN). Thanks to the folks here at the Calabash Creamery (www.calabash-creamery.com) for hooking me up with some WiFi...and for hooking me up with this killer chocolate shake! See you on NASCAR Now Wednesday night!