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 my desert dust-covered brothers and sisters and welcome back to the worldwide interweb's biggest and baddest one-hour Monday motorsports block party. First, a laurel and hardy handshake to my fellow Dukes boy Marty Smith for the chat room lead-in. Catch him tonight on the NASCAR Now roundtable, 5 pm ET, ESPN2.
Ryan McGee (2:01 PM)
To the queries!
Nick (Fontana, CA)
McGee!!!.....where's the Power Rankings for this final week of the season??? Dont tell me last week was the finale?
Ryan McGee (2:02 PM)
Nope...they're coming. These are crazy times and I had to file a little later this morning than usual. They should be up shortly.
Nick (Fontana, CA)
Wait.....did someone actually win the race yesterday??? Who was it? I only know who finished 5th, 6th & 12th!
Ryan McGee (2:05 PM)
Wah! I totally disagree, at least from our ESPN.com perspective. Newton had a huge front page story up this morning about Carl's win. Besides, this is no different than any other sport. If a guy throws a no-hitter during the last week of baseball's season but it's on the same day that a couple of teams clinch a playoff spot he's going to have to take a backseat too. Just the way it is.
david riley (tucson,AZ)
who has been the best non-chaser in this entire chase?
Ryan McGee (2:06 PM)
No question about it. It's Logano. Last I saw he'd scored the fourth most points of any racer during the Chase, trailing on the top three guys. You have to think he's carrying a lot of momentum and confidence into 2011. And to be frank, he needed it.
How big of a blow to Denny's confidence is the loss last week and how will he handle it?
Ryan McGee (2:08 PM)
Pretty big. At least based on how down he clearly was during his post-race interviews. And I know that he reads all the stories and watches all the TV shows, which means he'll have to hear Jimmie's "the pressures on them all week" comments over and over and over again. I can't wait to get to Thursday's pre-Homestead press conference and get a measurement of where his head is.
What could Hamlin have done differently? He had no choice but to pit.
Ryan McGee (2:10 PM)
Nothing. And a lot of other guys were in that boat too, including his teammate Kyle Busch. And without that loose lugnut Harvick would've had to pit too. It's no-win for the engine guys. If they sacrifice horsepower for mpg's, the drivers complain. If they favor horspower over efficiency, the drivers complain.
Marty's chats are always so much more entertaining/informative than yours...how can we get more chats with him? (Just messin' with you, of course). :-)
Ryan McGee (2:11 PM)
Nice. Long ago I determined that it was the best career path for me to grab ahold of Mart's coattails like a waterski rope and just hang on!
poor denny... I still have my money on him to pull through on Sunday and finally give the #48 team a long-overdue dose of "Shut the hell up."
Ryan McGee (2:12 PM)
Well, history that he'll hang on. But one thing we have learned this season is that history really doesn't mean squat this year when it comes to motorsports championships.
Nick (Fontana, CA)
What'd you think of the F1 finale/championship? Think the NASCAR SC series will have a similar final event with a (race) winner take all Champion??? That would be cool!!!
Ryan McGee (2:15 PM)
That's exactly what I had in mind during that last comment, Nick. The F1 finale, John Force becoming the first Funny Car racer to ever come from behind in the season finale to win the title, and don't forget the IndyCar title was also a final weekend come-from-behind victory by Dario Franchitti.
The commentators yesterday after the race seem to make a big deal out of the fact that JJ has never won at Homestead; do you think part of the reason for that is that over the last 4 years he has just been playing defense and never wanted to risk getting aggressive?
Ryan McGee (2:16 PM)
There is no question about it. And they will tell you as much. I always refer people back to the '04 finale when he really had to race his wheels off to try and catch Kurt Busch. That's exactly what he did, thought Kurt managed to hold him off. At this point in Jimmie's career if anyone questions his ability to win wherever and whenever then they are just in denial.
Just imagine if Harvick didn't hit the wall at Fontana in February and if he had been ahead of Bowyer at Talladega when the caution came out. That's a 45 point swing (15 more points for both wins, 10 chase bonus points for another win) and 1 less win for JJ. I'm still hopeful he can win the championship, but he will need to qualify very well, stay up front, and win.
Ryan McGee (2:18 PM)
I Tweeted it about 10 seconds after the Talladega finish and I still believe it - that 15 pts he lost to Bowyer may end up costing him the Cup. Then again, he lost at least that many points over the last two weeks when he hit the wall late at Texas.
To me one of the most under-reported stories has been the horrible year Brad K. has had. What is going on and does this make Rick H. look smarter for not keeping him?
Ryan McGee (2:22 PM)
Yeah, it's kind of been lost in the midst of the Chase stuff and also glossed over because of his dominant season in Nationwide. I talked to him about it a few weeks ago and he's crazy frustrated about it. But honestly, with the exception of a nice little summer run by Kurt Busch the Penske team as a whole has been pretty generic this year. Add that to BK's inexperience and that's going to give you a bad year.
As a Jimmie fan when I saw the race was going to be a fuel mileage gamble I got sick to my stomach. They sure picked a good time to have one of those gambles work. Now we get to see how good he really is at Homstead with no lead to protect.
Ryan McGee (2:23 PM)
Yeah, hard to remember now, but fuel mileage gambles haven't always been their strength have they! I thought that Knaus's play on that gamble was even more gusty than the pit crew swap. Both worked pretty nicely. That 24-turned-48 crew was ranked #1 in total time on pit road.
Is this already the greatest chase ever? Fuel mileage, crew swaps, intentional wrecks...it's a full season in 9 races so far
Ryan McGee (2:24 PM)
And you can add fights, middle fingers, and the RPM "will they be there or not?" drama! I have said this for the last month: If you haven't enjoyed what we've seen this fall in NASCAR then I've got nothing for you. Go watch soccer.
Ryan, I guess it is possible for us to end up in a 2-way or 3-way tie after the race at Homesteada?¦..Is there a tie breaker in place or how do they select a Champion?
Ryan McGee (2:26 PM)
No shared titles here. The tiebreaker will go to the guy with the most wins on the season. That would go to Hamlin because he has 8 and no one can catch him now. Jimmie has six with one race to go. FYI, if there was a tie in wins, they'd go to top fives and then top tens.
Ryan, boy did Mike Ford run his yap and shoot himself in the foot. Himself and his supposed "best team" screwed up on fuel mileage badly...
Ryan McGee (2:28 PM)
I don't think it helped. You never poke the bear with a stick and he may have done just that. You certainly don't give the bear ammo for his shotgun and he definitely did that. Jimmie fired that gun right back at them within seconds of getting out of the car on Sunday.
Does the 24 get his crew back 4 next year?
Ryan McGee (2:29 PM)
That's TBD, bridge. Hendrick is one of the teams that runs a pit crew talent combine every fall and winter so there is always a little bit of turnover/change on their crews anyway. So there's a lot of decisions that have to be made about all of the HMS crews, especially now. But none of those will be even thought about now until the offseason.
Will RPM finish the season at Homestead? Will we see them at Daytona?
Ryan McGee (2:31 PM)
It looks like this week will be the same as the previous three, which will make me a busy reporter on Wednesday just as it did last week. Ever since Talladega week the routine has been that Roush Fenway, who supplies RPM's cars, won't release those cars until the $ has cleared, which always falls on Wed. afternoon. Then they'll either load them up and head south or stay put in Concord, NC. I think they'll make it down to Homestead. 2011? I have no idea. And neither do they.
Ryan McGee (2:33 PM)
I'll say this, you can't overstate the job that A.J. Allmendinger has done this fall. As late as 3:00 PM ET last Wednesday he was Tweeting his doubts about whether or not he'd even be racing at Phoenix. Then he went out finished top 20. Pretty cool.
Rob F (Hoboken, NJ)
Am I the only one shocked that the 24 team will likely go winless for the second season in three years? They've arguably run better (at times) than several cars who've won over that span. Gordon has to cure fans' hunger to see him win again (and again)...
Ryan McGee (2:34 PM)
No, you are not the only one shocked. I get dozens of emails and Tweets from your fellow 24 fans every week. To come so close so many times seems to make it much more painful.
With the NW series owners points close, who will be sitting at the head table?
Ryan McGee (2:35 PM)
That's a great question and I think it'll be JGR. I've been telling people for several weeks now that they don't need to be celebrating Roger Penske's first NASCAR owner's title yet. He still hasn't won one.
I'm with COCO (KC)
What does Kevin need to have happen realistically to take the title for this season?
Ryan McGee (2:37 PM)
I really think he has to win. And even then he needs luck, aka trouble for the other two. He knows that too. Did you see the disappointment on his face when ESPN TV told him that he was still 46 points back?
I'm with COCO (IglooNATION)
Who is the CoCo of NASCAR? Eternally underappreciated for his craft and replaced by an older, lamer person.
Ryan McGee (2:40 PM)
The Conan of the sport? We don't usually have younger guys replaced by older ones, it's usually the other way around. Maybe JR Motorsports booting young guys to make room for Greg Sacks?
Mark (Mount Airy,MD)
Hey Ryan, What is the latest word on Roush/Fenway getting back in the truck series?????Will they and how many trucks do they plan to run if they do?????
Ryan McGee (2:41 PM)
I hear they are definitely looking at it. I know that Ford really wants to get back into the trucks big time, and when it comes to Ford in NASCAR, they really have no other option than Roush Fenway, right?
Which driver, other than the big 3, has had the best/most complete season? I wanna say Shrub but he seems to be feast or famine(add a drop or 3 of my personal bias too) and he seems to have dropped the ball in the Chase
Ryan McGee (2:42 PM)
Another good question. How about a guy who didn't make the Chase? I would take Jamie McMurray's year over anyone outside of the top three. And maybe even over the guy who finishes third.
Kyle, Edwards, or Biffle at Homesead and why?
Ryan McGee (2:43 PM)
Give me Carl. He has the higher average finish (5.0) over the last five Homestead races (though Biffle has two wins to his one) and he has momentum after the win at Phoenix.
Do you see Rowdy moving KBM up to a Nationwide team next year?
Ryan McGee (2:44 PM)
He wants to, but I don't think money woes will let him. The lack of sponsorship has been a gigantic source of stress for him this year.
Do you see Kasey Kahne really winning at Hendrick Motorsports? If Dale jr can't win with them, how will Kasey
Ryan McGee (2:46 PM)
I have been screaming this to KK fans all year. Don't expect him to just jump into a Hendrick car and start winning in bunches. The list of guys who haven't won championships at Hendrick is a helluva lot longer than the list of guys who have. Some pretty big NASCAR know-it-alls have been telling me that he may not want to leave Red Bull next year as planned. I tend to agree with them. Especially if Dale Jr continues to struggle.
Did you see any team orders yesterday with Rowdy helping out Denny? Looked like Rowdy let Denny pass on the restarts?
Ryan McGee (2:48 PM)
I have no doubt that if there is a chance to let him sneak up and lead a lap to get bonus points that will happen. It happens all the time all season long. But I don't expect anything any larger than that, say blocking a bunch of guys. But that also has been done before. This is oft forgotten because of the tragedy that followed, but Dale Earnhardt Sr. was blocking the hell out of the field behind him to help the DEI cars get away up front.
Ryan McGee (2:48 PM)
If anyone were to pull off some goofy move, don't you think it'd be Kyle?
Hi Ryan. Will you take a picture of JJ when he wins his 5th championship for me. All my pics from the last 3 years have that silly chain-link fence in the way.
Ryan McGee (2:49 PM)
Ron (Long Island City, NY)
How much do you think an RPM car would fetch on ebay?
Ryan McGee (2:49 PM)
I don't know. But I think George Gillett would take it.
I'm playing call of duty while posting on this chat!
Ryan McGee (2:50 PM)
I'm jealous. I love those new ads with all the random people in the war zone.
Nick (Florence, SC)
Are the guys picking on Danica or is she just making alot of enemies with agressive driving?
Ryan McGee (2:52 PM)
If she's making enemies it is not because of aggressive driving. If you listen to her on the radio one of her primary concerns has always been to make sure she wasn't in the way. I think a lot of guys, particularly young guys, are jealous of the attention and sponsorship cash she gets.
11&29 have fire in there bellys do you think they'd work together to make sure it's not the 48 winning again?
Ryan McGee (2:52 PM)
Nope. It's every man for himself.
kat (las vegas)
With Roger Penske bringing Chevy back to Indycar, what does that mean for his cup effort in the future?
Ryan McGee (2:55 PM)
I think he'll probably end up going down that road at some point, but the IndyCar deal won't put a rush on it. He's long been the master of keeping multiple manufacturers in house and in different series without angering the others. Right now he runs Dodge in NASCAR, Honda in IndyCar, and was running Porches in sports car racing as recent as just a couple of seasons ago.
Ryan (Ventura CA)
Biggest off season Story?
Ryan McGee (2:55 PM)
What's up with the 88? And whether or not RPM exists.
i know this is porbably a stupid question BUT who has the more pressure this weekand in maimi is it #11 or the #48 OR THE NUMBER 29 and how do you thing it will play out for on next sunday...
Ryan McGee (2:57 PM)
I'm with Jimmie. I think it's all on the 11. Being the hunter means you have nothing to lose, especially for the 29. Being the hunted means you're being shot at. And that's never any fun. Unless you're ToniStert at home playing Call of Duty right now.
Ryan McGee (2:58 PM)
And by the way, I'm assuming that ToniStert is Octo.
so how do you thing tha travis pastrana will fit in nascar coming off from the x games and how many races will he run in the waltrip racing camp for the 2011 for next season....
Ryan McGee (3:00 PM)
The plan is for seven N'Wide races in '11 and then 20 for '12. I think it's huge for NASCAR. I wrote a story for ESPN The Magazine earlier this year with my 12-step plan for NASCAR recovery and one of the points was get fellow X-er Brian Deegan into Cup ASAP. That was back when TP was falt denying any move to NASCAR. Now we're looking at a stock car future thatn may include Deegan, Pastrana, and Ricky Carmichael? Hells yeah.
Ryan McGee (3:02 PM)
Alright folks, that'll do it for this week's block party, If you're down at Homestead this weekend be sure to holla. In the meantime, hit me up on Twitter (@RyanMcGeeESPN) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Until next time, please tip your waiters and waitresses and enjoy the music of Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers.