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 crankcase sludge covered brothers and sisters? Welcome to the worldwide interweb's biggest and baddest Monday afternoon motorsports block party. I have a chocolate shake in one hand my laptop in the other...so let's get to the queries! BTW, thanks to the living legend Terry Blount for the sweet chat lead-in...he'll be on NASCAR Now tonight for the roundtable show. Dude is buds with Nolan Ryan, that's all you really need to know about Texas Terry.
Alan (Columbus, OH)
If JJ were not in the Chase, hypothetically speaking, who would you say would be the Top 5 finishers?
Ryan McGee (2:04 PM)
Well, first off, let's now go assuming that JJ is going to be a Chase factor. He's running, in the words of Charles Barkley, turr-uh-bull!
Ryan McGee (2:05 PM)
But eliminating him I'll say 29, 11, 18, 24, 2. Though I am tempted to put the Blue Deuce right in behind Harvick. Smoke would be 6th.
Lester (Westerville, Ohio)
Hi Ryan, with Dale jr dropping to 16th in points is he officially out of the chase?
Ryan McGee (2:07 PM)
Yes. And he's also out of my Power Rankings (http://proxy.espn.go.com/racing/powerrankings). When I did SportsCenter from Pocono last weekend they asked me about his Chase chances and I said we would know at the end of The Glen. The four tracks leading into the Chase - Michigan, Bristol, Atlanta, and Richmond - are four of his best. But he had to survive Pocono & Watkins Glen for those four to matter. He did not so they do not.
after getting dumped by Stewert, Boris was really nice and didn't say anything bad. do you think that was because Boris is hoping to get the "road course ringer" ride in the #39 for next year?
Ryan McGee (2:08 PM)
Boris is a smart guy. He's made a lot of money in business and by serving as either a substitute driver or a driving coach with nearly every team in the garage. So yes, he was playing it cool with his "His deal got into my deal and now I'm out of the deal" comment. But his comments over the radio when it happened were plenty revealing about how he really felt.
Justin (Baton Rouge, LA)
Danica was only mentioned once during an entire IndyCar race broadcast on VS this weekend while she toiled around the back; any chance ESPN's Nationwide crew was watching and learning?
Ryan McGee (2:11 PM)
Every time she shows up the Nationwide Series ratings go up, so to not mention her would be stupid. Although she certainly won't be as out front as we had her earlier this season. And I don't think my friends at Versus were exactly ignoring earlier in the season, they just dialed it down when she started running terribly, as they should have.
Ryan McGee (2:12 PM)
BTW, I Tweeted this last night but I'll repeat it here: If Simona vs. Danica was a boxing match it'd already be over, TKO. And Danica would not be the winner.
Jeannie Harrison (South Carolina)
What sprint cup driver has lead the points for the most weeks and not won the championship?
Ryan McGee (2:14 PM)
I don't know what the record is, but I do know that Tony Stewart led the standings for the 13 weeks leading into the Chase last year and vanished. I do some research on that for you. You have to figure that if Harvick were to lose the Cup this fall he'd be pretty close to the record.
Jenn (from DJIC, NJ)
Do you think that even though Junior made up a couple of points that he still has a shot at the chase? I think regardless of the points now, his problem is the guys in front of him aren't too shabby and deserve to be in the chase even more.
Ryan McGee (2:16 PM)
That's exactly the problem Jenn. The issue with four races to go before the Chase isn't how many point you are out of the top 12, it's how many guys you have leapfrog to get there. Martin, Bowyer, Newman, and McMurray is a tall order. And now he also has Kahne and Reutimann nipping at his heels.
Can someone realistically win a championship without winning a race? This year, Gordon and Burton are near the top every single week...
Ryan McGee (2:19 PM)
They can, Steve, but it's not likely. It was a lot more likely under the old points system. But now that Chasers get a 10 points per win bonus and wins bring a little more points than they used to it'd be pretty difficult. No one's ever won the Cup with zero wins, though a few guys like Benny Parsons, Terry Labonte, and Matt Kenseth - all noted for their consistency week-to-week - have won Cups with very low win totals. Kenseth's '03 title that came with only one win is pretty much how we ended up with the Chase format the following year.
Ryan... You like Vegas odds, right? What are the odds that my boy Smoke gets a win and a little more momentum heading into the chase? Can he be considered a REAL contender?
Ryan McGee (2:21 PM)
I do like to post the odds each week from the Vegas Hilton because they are one of the few sports books that take racaing seriously. They do a ton of research each week and watch every qualifying and practice session. Most sports books just halfway look at racing. I'm not a gambler, but I think that the Strip's take on each race is fascinating.
Ryan McGee (2:22 PM)
As for Smoke, I think he can absolutely win at each of the four tracks remaining before the Chase, especially the "regular season" finale at Richmond. No one has more momentum than he does right now, whether he gets another win or not.
Timmy (Ocala, FL)
did we see "new KB" yesterday by never quitting and working all day to go from 43rd to 8th?
Ryan McGee (2:24 PM)
Yep. Being seeing it all year. I have typed this until my fingers are ready to fall off - he's a different person this year. One year ago if he'd started the day by having to go into the pits before the green flag like he did on Sunday he would've thrown up his hands and whined and quit. Not anymore. That's why I think he's a legit title contender this year. "Old Kyle" was never a real contender because he quit too quick when the going got tough.
Is Kurt Busch saying Danica should come over now an acknowledgment of her ratings draw for NASCAR (and how badly they need the bump in interest)? Why else would he care what she does?
Ryan McGee (2:26 PM)
Well, he was asked the question, so he answered it. I don't know if he cares one way or the other. But his feelings on it are pretty much the same as everyone else's. She needs to commit to one side of the fence or the other. And I think it's been pretty obvious this year that - other than Indy - her heart hasn't been in IndyCar this year. She's like the kid sitting in class and staring out the window daydreaming about being outside. She's in her IndyCar, but she's thinking about NASCAR.
What are your though of Chicagoland opening the chase for 2011?
Ryan McGee (2:29 PM)
I don't have a problem with it. One of my biggest issues with the Chase is that the events that it starts with are a huge letdown. We have all this tremendous hype and PR push building to the Chase and then it starts with New Hampshire, Dover, Kansas, and Fontana? No offense to my friends who work at those great tracks,but the Chase should be hitting bigger markets and splashier races...especially as it goes up against football.
David (Wilkes-Barre, PA)
Any chance that Marcos doesn't end up in the 9?
Ryan McGee (2:30 PM)
Slim to none. He's going. They just have to get some sponsorship locked up. He wouldn't have bailed on JTG-Daugherty if he didn't have another ride lined up.
Iron Head Forever (NY)
Should Allmendinger go back to openwheel? Is the reason why he hasn't because he is American and American companies don't sponsor Americans in that series?
Ryan McGee (2:32 PM)
Nope. He just re-upped for multiple years with RPM. Besides, they kind of kicked him to the curb...and this was after he'd won some races and made a big splash! No, he's fine where he is. And he also will make more cash in one season with a midpack Cup team than he would in multiple years in open wheel. I contend The Dinger could really be a big star if he got more marketing muscle behind him...and that includes from the folks down in Daytona.
Ryan, any idea where Sadler drives in 2011?
Ryan McGee (2:33 PM)
I have no idea. And I don't think he does either.
Hamlin just riding out the string until the Chase starts? Who from Harvick to Kyle (pretty safe to say the top 7 are in the Chase) has the most to worry about going into the Chase?
Ryan McGee (2:35 PM)
I think he is. I was really surprised that he admitted going into Watkins Glen that he and his team really don't work much on road course racing. That's going to need to change, especially with NASCAR kicking around the idea of putting a road course in the Chase. As for who I think is in trouble among the top seven, how about Jimmie? The four guys ahead of him and the four guys behind him all have a helluva lot more to smile about when they look back over the last month.
James (Burke, VA)
What did Kurt mean when he said that Pretty Boy Kahne got the #5 ride over him? Before Kurt re-upped with Penske was Kurt in talks with Henricks about joining HMS?
Ryan McGee (2:37 PM)
I think his point was that he should have been in the mix for that ride, but never really was because Kahne is much more marketable than he is. I thought his "Hendrick drivers get paid to be on the cover of People magazine, I'm paid to drive race cars" quote was easily among the top 10 of the season.
Ryan McGee (2:37 PM)
That being said, I think he never had any real intention of driving for anyone other than Penske next year.
Does Jamie Mac have a legitimate shot at leapfrogging Martin, Bowyer, and Newman to make it in the Chase?
Ryan McGee (2:38 PM)
I like how you don't even mention Earnhardt. He can do it, but it'll likely take a Hail Mary at Richmond to make it happen.
Mark (Lexington, KY)
So how do you get this far into a chat w/o discussing the prior day's race and/or winner? :)
Ryan McGee (2:38 PM)
Hahaha! Great question! I hadn't even noticed that.
Mike (Nijmegen, Netherlands)
I am always curious when I take a look at Jayski's pitstall selection why (some, not continually the same) top tier drivers ,when they not necessarily qualify up front, are able to pick a stall either in front or behind a start and park team. Perhaps they pay for it? Any idea?
Ryan McGee (2:40 PM)
No, they don't pay for it, they're just smart. Especially on a tight pit road like The Glen, they love to have open stalls ahead or behind them. It's pretty obvious who won't be around by the first pit stop. Sad, but true.
hear the 82 has a performance clause in his contract. Since it seems every driver Red Bull picks up off of the street for the 83 places higher than the 82, odds of him being released.
Ryan McGee (2:42 PM)
I don't know about a performance clause for Scott Speed, but I do know that he looks and sounds very unsure about his future. I will say this, dude just rolls with it. I think it comes from being slapped around like a pinata by the European F1 media and his classless former bosses at Toro Rosso. His wife comes from a long line of NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle winners, so I wouldn't be surprised if we don't see Scott end up over there one day. Hopefully later than sooner. I like Scott.
Sean (Los Gatos, FL)
do you think that Coach needs to fire Zippy and get Joey a new crew chief to improve the Home Depot performance?
Ryan McGee (2:43 PM)
Firing Zippy will never happen, but I do think he might be ready for a front office/management job. That's not based on anything more than observation. He looks and sounds tired to me. And what else does he need to prove? Nothing.
I'm pretty sure that Sterling Marlin in 2002 must have set the record for most weeks leading points without winning the title.
Ryan McGee (2:44 PM)
Good call Jolt. And that was under the old system. I bet DW comes close too. In '79 he led all year and choked like a dog eating a garbage can lid down the stretch. I remember because I was a Richard Petty fan and The King is the one who caught him.
By Kurt saying that Hendrick was all pretty boys and he was not offered the 5.....is he saying something about himself?
Ryan McGee (2:45 PM)
Read what I wrote in the Power Rankings. My wife's reaction says it all.
Jeremy (Des Moines)
Can you imagine how Jeff and Jimmie's careers would have gone had they been paid to drive race cars and not simply be on magazine covers?
Ryan McGee (2:46 PM)
Exactly. Gotta be hard to drive with makeup on and all those paprazzi cameras flashing in your eyes...
i dont know why fans and media have a problom with start and park teams. if you are fast enough to get in to a race then you can do what ever the heck you want if you want to start and park to make money so in the futre you can race and be competitive so be it.
Ryan McGee (2:48 PM)
I'm with you Jesse. I have said right here in this chat many times. It's the most overblown "controversy" in recent memory. S&P's have been around as long they've been racing cars. If people want to keep them out of races then they need to build a car that's faster and knock them out! I have no problem with a team like Tommy Baldwin Racing, someone who is honestly working toward building a team.
Eric (Harrisonburg, VA)
MONTOYA WON! Does he win again before seasons end? I'll take him at Bristol.
Ryan McGee (2:49 PM)
I think he could. But I'll take him at Atlanta over Bristol. But Thunder Valley is still a great pick. To me, the biggest shocker of his Cup career has been how good he's been on short tracks.
Carl (North Dakota)
Can you PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get you brodcasters to stop saying he is the meat in that sandwich when three cars are running side by side by side when going into a corner.
Ryan McGee (2:51 PM)
Yeah, I'm with you. And I also cringe with all talk about how much they are all "rubbing and touching one another".
Ryan McGee (2:51 PM)
By the way, I am getting some laugh out loud comments about Kurt, Hendrick, and "prety boys"...but I can't post them or I'll get fired. But I do thank you for the entertainment.
Justin M (Boone, NC)
WOOOOOOO JUAN PABLO MONTOYA!!!!!! sorry, this chat just needed more than one post about the winner of that racing thing that happened yesterday
Ryan McGee (2:52 PM)
And I thank you for that. What a beatdown, huh?
Willie (Alton, MO)
where do you think Martin will be driving next year or is he gonna retire again?
Ryan McGee (2:53 PM)
I think he's staying put. And I have enjoyed him digging in and standing his ground against all the rumors and questions about him getting out of the car. I chatted with him briefly at Pocono about it all. He's really been hurt over all of this. I don't blame him. It has all been so disrespectful for a guy who has been out there mixing it up in Cup since 1981!
Juan won, great job. Marcos choked again (what's wrong with him) and Kurt made the comment of the year. What do you expect next weekend and is the monkey finally off Brian Pattie's back?
Ryan McGee (2:56 PM)
Yeah, I wrote this in the Power Rankings too, "See Brian Pattie, all you had to do was win!" He is a very well respected member of the crew chief fraternity and he has gotten a lot of pats on the back to help him 1. Get over the call that lost the Brickyard and 2. Get over the verbal abuse he's been taking from Montoya. Poor guy was so sure something was going to go wrong with a seven-second lead on the last lap he couldn't even watch from the pits, he had to climb down and go take a walk.
Ryan McGee (2:56 PM)
As for next weekend, I think we might see Cousin Carl put another long winless streak to bed.
Hey Ryan, whose career is more in shambles right now: Tiger Woods or Dale Earnhardt Jr? Let's face it, both of them are in dire straits.
Ryan McGee (2:57 PM)
Bad times for both. Though I'll say that one deserves it and other does not.
Tom (Danbury, CT)
DW led for 29 of 31 weeks in 1979.
Ryan McGee (2:58 PM)
Ding ding ding! We have a winner!
Ryan McGee (2:59 PM)
I was (am) such a huge Petty fan and DW talked so much smack all season long...I remember listening to MRN and losing my mind when Waltrip lost the title at the Ontario, CA track. When I was with FOX I used to bring that up with Darrell from time to time. He just smiled and said, "I thought I could be The King. But there's only one."
Ryan McGee (3:00 PM)
By the way, a great book is out about that '79 season written by my buddy Mark Bechtel: "He Crashed Me So I Crashed Him Back". Everyone remembers the '79 Daytona 500 but few remember how great that whole season was. Mark really tells the story well.
Ryan McGee (3:01 PM)
Alright folks, the questions are pouring in fast and furious, but my time's up. If I missed yours you can hit me up on Twitter (@RyanMcGeeESPN) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Until next time, tip your wait staff and enjoy the music of The Embers.