Chat with Larry McReynolds
Larry McReynolds won 20 poles as crew chief.
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, former NASCAR crew chief Larry McReynolds stops by to chat about this weekend's Brickyard 400 (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, ESPN) as well as his work with Ford and AAA.
McReynolds won 23 races as a crew chief, including two Daytona 500s, one with Davey Allison and one with Dale Earnhardt Sr., his only Daytona 500 win.
McReynolds is working with the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills program, an automotive technology competition for high school juniors and seniors. McReynolds will provide advice to Jonathan Anderson and McKenzie Nordland, along with their instructor James McFagden. The winning pair, both from North Dakota, will job-shadow the No. 16 Roush Fenway team at the Nationwide Series race on Saturday this weekend.
Send your questions now and join McReynolds Friday at 2 p.m. ET!
Sarah (Memphis, TN)
How did you get involved with the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills program?
Larry McReynolds (2:04 PM)
I had a little bit of familiarity with it prior to this year. They had a contest a couple of years ago in Alabama and through the speedway I had the chance to be the keynote speaker at their awards ceremony. And after that, they asked me to be apart of helping promote their program. There is a need for more auto mechanics and it's an honor to be apart of this program that is allowing students to get hands on experience.
Michael (Phillipsburgh, PA)
What do you want the winners of the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills program to take away from this weekend?
Larry McReynolds (2:09 PM)
What's interesting is, in talking to Jonathan, McKenzie, and their instructor is that they have never been to a major race. They spent some time in Charlotte and then traveled up to the Brickyard to be honorary pit crew members. They also will give the flag for the drivers to start their engines tonight for the ORP truck race. They all said they didn't realize how precise everything was in NASCAR. But for what I was them to take away from this experience, is the love of what they do. Take the time out to not only learn but enjoy everything that is going on.
Michael (Springfield, IL)
How many wins / championships will Jeff Gordon have before he hangs up his steering wheel? Can the #24 driver reach 100 career wins before his time is up?
Larry McReynolds (2:12 PM)
I certainly hate being a fortune teller but no one really knows. It's been a long time since he's won his last championship. He hasn't won since Jimmie Johnson and the #48 car has become a team. Gordon has done everything but go to victory lane. The way this chase is structured; Jeff can go into it as the point's leader. I don't think getting to number 7 is on his radar but I don't think he's done winning just yet. He's just taking it one race at a time.
Shane (Piqua Ohio)
If you had a dissapointment in your career as a crew chief what would it be? Mike Skinner never winning a points race? Davey Allison not winning a championship?
Larry McReynolds (2:14 PM)
I'm very much honored and I feel very blessed to have had the career that I've had in NASCAR. I would have to say never winning a championship is the biggest disappointment even though we came close in 1992.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Which race team do you think that Danica Patrick will drive for when she races in the Sprint Cup Series?
Larry McReynolds (2:17 PM)
I have no idea on this one. I have a lot of respect for Danica; I think she has a lot of talent. I do question the way her career is going right now but I have to believe that if she ever makes the move to Sprint Cup, it has to be with a team that needs good sponsorship (sponsors seem to love her). But before she heads to Sprint Cup she needs some more time in IndyCar. I say this with respect towards Danica. I would love to see her come over because she has a following and our sport could use a little buzz.
Matthew (Columbia, NJ)
Hey Larry Mac, are you surprised with the struggles of Roush Fenway racing this year?
Larry McReynolds (2:20 PM)
I think I've been a little surprised for the past year and a half. If you take the #99 and #16 cars, they won 11 races in 2008 and they've been shutout since then. It's kind of a tale of two tapes but the good news is that they have three cars in the top ten right now. But since Matt Kenseth's win, they have only one win. What I have seen of late, they look like that have been making some noise. I think for the Ford camp in general, it looks like things are coming together. I don't think they will be down for long.
Brian (Richmond, Ky.)
If NASCAR came and asked you for one change you would make to make the COT race better, what would you tell them?
Larry McReynolds (2:24 PM)
I've have to be honest with you but our product is pretty darn good right now. I don't know it I would have said this a year ago but this is the way I feel now. If you look at our first 19 races, we're having good completive races with great finishes. Even great races at places that we don't usually have good races like Fontana and Las Vegas. I do think the biggest thing is making some tweaks to the chase and how the champion is determined.
Larry Mac: Brickyard, second greatest race in Nascar behind the Daytona 500? Are there any drivers who would rather kiss the bricks than win the 500?
Larry McReynolds (2:27 PM)
Every race is important and we run 36 of them in a year. Each race is tougher than the last one. The Brickyard is 100 years old and one of the most famous tracks in the world. I never got a win here but I got close. I know a lot of drives would love to say they won at Daytona but also at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Larry McReynolds (2:30 PM)
I think going back to the Ford/AAA Auto Competition, I don't thin we can stress enough how important it is. When they started the 2010 competition, there were over 10,000 students who signed up. The competition consists of a written part and a hands-on part and the two winners had a flawless hands-on part. IF you're interested go to www.autoskills.com or www.facebook.com/autoskills.
Larry McReynolds (2:31 PM)
Thanks for chatting with me today. Hope everyone enjoys this weekends races.