Chat with Ryan McGee
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, Ryan McGee will stop by to chat about the 2011 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 '110 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 Kansas prairie dust-covered brothers and sisters and welcome back to the worldwide interweb's biggest and baddest one-hour motorsports block party. In case you missed it, the Richard Childress penalty was just handed down by NASCAR - $150,000 and probation until 12/31/11. Wonder what we're going to talk about today (he asked knowingly)?
Phil (Richmond, Va.)
McGee! If I admit that I smiled when I heard about Childress laying a beating on KB, does that make me a bad person? Would the penalty have been greater if there were pictures/video of the fracas?
Ryan McGee (2:02 PM)
Phil, I have gotten this a lot over the last 48 hours via Twitter & email, both after the news of the fight broke and today when the penalties were announced. I would estimate the RC support at around 90% with the Kyle support at 5% and the "I don't care who it was, what Richard did was wrong" at 5%.
Ryan McGee (2:03 PM)
As for video/pics, I don't know that the penalties would have been greater. But I do know they would be using those images for publicity!
Ryan McGee (2:05 PM)
Speaking of which, many people have asked me how there couldn't be any video or pics. Honestly, the large majority of the media corps don't stick around for Truck Series races. And those that do are in the media center waiting to interview the top 3 and the winner. Sad, but it's a fact. Have a feeling that'll change this weekend at Texas!
Everyone keeps saying RC as an owner should have done that to a driver. Um KB is an owner too and should understand he costs other owners $$$
Ryan McGee (2:07 PM)
That's a good point. I just talked about this during a radio interview here in NC. Owners are doing constant math. And every time a race car/truck gets dinged for no reason, especially when the race is over, all they see are invoices for repairs. Certainly that crossed RC's mind, but I think it had a whole lot more to do with the last month in Cup than Saturday in Trucks.
Could we start a fundraising effort on this chat to donate 150k to charity in Richard Childress's name to thank him for what he did?
Ryan McGee (2:08 PM)
You are not the first person to suggest that! And by the way, NASCAR fines are used to contribute to the NASCAR Foundation, the sanctioning body's charitable organization.
What did Logano's father do when he lost his hard card? I'm in the bottom 5%, I don't care who it was, it was wrong. I'm even more disappointed in Nascar for allowing him at the track. The "there was no one to lead the team" is crap, fly someone in. I think there should have been points taken too!
Ryan McGee (2:11 PM)
You are not alone. And I think as the week rolls your 5% might increase. Logano's father ran Harvick down at Pocono one year ago and what really angered NASCAR was that he grabbed some other people, not racers, and moved them out of the way. Plus, he had been warned before.
Justin (Northern Virginia)
What is your opinion on the penalty for Childress or lack there of?
Ryan McGee (2:13 PM)
It's about what I expected. It ranks among the largest fines in NASCAR history. But I never expected him to be suspended. NASCAR just doesn't suspend people, not on a regularly anyway. Think about it. Jimmy Spencer after the Kurt Busch deal nearly a decade ago. Harvick was parked at Martinsville, also nearly a decade ago. Really, that's it.
Good afternoon Ryan,So, we come to the bore named Pocono. I live a whopping 15 minutes from the track on top of it all. I will be there as I always am, behind pit road, drinking heavily the first 100 laps for no reason. With all of that said, what can be done to make Pocono a MORE interesting race? My suggestion is re-doing turn 3, and a possible add of a small restirctor plate, or someway to keep the racing somewhat close.What do you think?
Ryan McGee (2:14 PM)
Shorten the races. That Trucks race we had there last summer was amazing. Why? Because they had to drop the hammer from lap one. Shorten the Cup races 300 miles and the same thing would happen with them too.
Daniel (Orlando, FL)
Alot of times it seems like power rankings are based on standings and/or finishes of the previous race. Who really is the man to beat all season long? Is Jimmie still the man to hunt down?
Ryan McGee (2:16 PM)
They are definitely based in the here and now. My decidedly non-scientific formula is "What you just did + momentum or lack of momentum where you are in points what you're likely to do at the next track coming up". Long term, Jimmie is certainly in the lead group. But unil they get their pit road issues figured out, they are chasing the 99 at least.
Everyone is making a big deal about JR the past few weeks, but the guy right be hind him was Hamlin, is he back?
Ryan McGee (2:17 PM)
Yes he is. Hambone's only one point out of 10th and headed to what it easily his best track. His career Pocono numbers are scary good.
Jesse Jones (Huntersville, NC)
Does Richard Childress deserve the respect he is given? He "went to hittin'", as Marty Smith said, someone who could not him back. Kyle already was on probation and knew better than to hit a 65-year old man. I dislike KyBu as much as most fans, but this was a classless act by RC IMO.
Ryan McGee (2:19 PM)
Yes, he deserves any and all respect he's given. Barely got out of junior high and now he's one of the richest men in the southeast. He made it all in racing and diversified from there. Does that make what he did right? Nope. But one pause in good judgment doesn't undo a lifetime of hard work.
Hey Ryan, I'm just curious why NASCAR didn't do anything to Kyle for running into Joey Coulter after the checkered flag. It was intentional contact and he's suppose to be on probation doesn't probation prevent him from doing things like that to other drivers?
Ryan McGee (2:22 PM)
He was talked to about it. However, I think it also probably tells you how worried he actually is about his probation. I will give him this, he's smart. Instead of plowing in there full steam he nudged Coulter. It was just enough for him use the "I was just communicating with him about the good racing, I didn't mean to hit him" defense if he needed it.
Matt (Rochester, NY)
Well we may have seen the first negative in the wild card spot. I feel a controversy brewing with the wild card spot. 1 win is going to get it done for one driver I believe. So do we feel that a driver in 20th in points with one win is more deserving of the spot than a driver in 11th with 0 wins?
Ryan McGee (2:23 PM)
First, I don't think one win will get you in. There are too many good racers in that 8th-22nd group who have one win and could win another at least.
Ryan McGee (2:25 PM)
Second, the biggest complaint from fans that I've heard about the old Chase system is that it didn't reward winners. Last year especially, when we started the Chase with I think three guys that didn't have wins and four guys with wins on the outside looking in.
Ryan McGee (2:25 PM)
So, we'll see what people say this year. But if Keselowski has 2 wins and is 19th in points I have no problem with him leapfrogging a bunch of guys with no wins.
What are the tie breakers for the 2 wild card spots? What if there are 4 drivers with at least 1 win in the top 20?
Ryan McGee (2:26 PM)
Then it falls to most points scored among those four. If we still have a tie (not likely) then it falls to top fives and top tens.
Great racing this weekend! Thanks for the Power Rankings. I used to live within walking distance to Rosenblatt. Its going to be weird with the CWS downtown now. My Creighton Blue Jays are out, so I guess I'm going for the winner of Dallas Baptist and Oral Roberts. Man, I miss Omaha this time of year. You going?
Ryan McGee (2:28 PM)
Thanks! Yeah, that was a blow to Omaha when Creighton was eliminated. I will be there, at the end for the championship series. And yes, it will be weird not climbing the blue stairs to my same old seat in the Rosenblatt press box.
Kevin (Boston, MA)
Ryan, with some of these boring tracks coming up, do you ever see NASCAR going to a 2 heat race with a short (50 lap) shootout for the top 10 in each heat?These Kansas, Michagan, Pocono races are brutal, looking for something to spice them up.
Ryan McGee (2:29 PM)
I would love that, but it'll never happen. I do think they are going to shorten races when the new TV deal starts in 2014, but the All-Star Race and Bud Shootout will be the only events that do the short track-style format.
David (Tucson, AZ)
Who impressed you the most at Kansas on sunday?
Ryan McGee (2:29 PM)
Penske Racing. Think about how backwards that team looked just five weeks ago and then they go out and lead the most laps (Kurt Busch) and win the race (BK)?!
Matt (Rochester, NY)
I agree that way more should be put on winning. I am just not sure that the wild card thing is the way to go. Keselowski is not winning again by the way.
Ryan McGee (2:30 PM)
I like it, but no doubt that there will be some tweaks after this year. That's what we do in this sport, right?
gas mileage...gas mileage...gas mileage...gas mileage...gas mileage...gas mileage...gas mileage...gas mileage...gas mileage...gas mileage...gas mileage...gas mileage...gas mileage...
Ryan McGee (2:31 PM)
You love it! Okay, maybe not. But I will say, the gas mileage finishes of late have been pretty exciting. I just don't enjoy all the math we have to do to get to those finishes!
Were you surprised that NASCAR didn't at least pull Childress hard card and ban him from the track for at least 6 races?
Ryan McGee (2:33 PM)
Nope, was never going to happen. Worst I thought might happen was they would put restrictions on himn like they did on Sunday. He wasn't allowed to be at the prerace drivers meeting or on pit road. He had to stay on top of his haulers the whole race. Then again, that's where he usually stays anyway...
RCR hasn't won the Sprint Cup since 1994, 17 years ago. Where do the Childress people get that idea that they are something special?
Ryan McGee (2:34 PM)
There are four elite teams in this sport and they are one of them, with Roush, Hendrick, and Gibbs. Anyone who argues against that isn't paying attention.
Christine (Jasper, In)
I agree with Jesse Jones comments about RC. I don't like Kyle any more than his haters do, but I think it was low of him to approach Kyle like he did. Maybe I'm wrong to, but I almost felt sorry for Kyle after the speeding incident, then spinning out twice last week, and now being hit by Richard. Am I wrong to feel sorry for him or did he deserve that?
Ryan McGee (2:36 PM)
No one deserves to put in a headlock and punched (okay, sometimes my little brother did here and there) but he has definitely had a bad month.
Do you expect Chevy, Bud and the other RCR sponsors to penalize Childress like Home Depot did to Tony Stewart for striking the protographer?
Ryan McGee (2:37 PM)
No. But they are likely having "clarification" meetings today. Actually, as sponsor-conscious as RC is, he likely called them all on Satuday night to talk about it.
Ryan, I could not agree anymore that the truck race was nothing less than AMAZING. Best racing at Pocono that I can remember since my first race was Tim Richmond's victory in 87 when I was 1 lol. One thing you need to know is that Pocono has a verbal agreement with NASCAR for 2 races at 500 miles for some time to come. SO, with that said, knowing they WILL be 500 miles, what can be done? I should have asked it that way the first time.
Ryan McGee (2:38 PM)
I know about it. But I think that as the younger generations inherit that agreement the races can be shortened. And the TV networks are definitely leaning toward shorter events, and they have the biggest checkbooks.
Ricky (North Carolina)
Do you think it's a mere certainty that Carl Edwards will resign with Roush the way their cars are running or could someone else really snatch him away?
Ryan McGee (2:40 PM)
That was the first question I asked Jack Roush during our NASCAR Now post-race interview at the All-Star Race. He said that it certainly didn't hurt his efforts to keep Carl on board, but admitted (with a laught) "This will likely cost me a little more money that it would have before the season started."
Matt (Rochester, NY)
Hamlin is coming on, he could win two races. Stewart could win 2 over the next 13. I think Junior gets a win somewhere. Edwards, JJ, KB (both) win...We are running out of races for drivers from 11-20 to rack up 3 of those. Seriously, how are those guys going to win 3 of the 13 races to the chase? I have not even mentioned Harvick, Kenseth and Bowyer. Can we bet on the wild card thing, I will take that action!!
Ryan McGee (2:42 PM)
Gordon could have two wins. Hamlin, who is not yet in the Chase, could have two. Newman, who is about to drop out of the top ten, has one and could get another. Montoya and Ambrose are both candidates to win both road races. Kahne could already have two or three wins. Keselowski has one already. Biffle and Ragan could win two each. Mark Martin is sitting there. Point is, I'm not saying it will happen...but can it? Absolutely.
David (Tucson, AZ)
If junior is going to get a win this season, what track do yuo think it will be on?
Ryan McGee (2:43 PM)
Plates tracks are always a possibility. He could also win at Michigan, Bristol, Atlanta, or Richmond.
Phil (Richmond, Va.)
I went up to the Charlottesville Regional this weekend. UVa scored 29 runs, 25 of them with two outs... how crazy is that?
Ryan McGee (2:43 PM)
Their bats have woken up just in time! And Mr Hultzen is going to become a rich dude later tonight.
Do you think 20 years from now, KBM and KHI will be 2 of the dominant Sprint Cup teams?
Ryan McGee (2:45 PM)
That's a good question. I really don't know if Harvick wants to go down that road. I keep asking and he keeps just kind of, "Oh, I don't know". Same with Kyle. But if they do stick with it, I don't see why they couldn't. They're problem is the same problem all new teams have. It's nearly impossible to start from scratch anymore. You have to be dependent on the big four and that will get you so far. Stewart-Haas is finding that out.
big ben (nc)
with as much extra gas as brad k had for a burnout and to make it to victory lane, don't you think stewart could have made it to the end on fuel? is grub's seat getting hot?
Ryan McGee (2:47 PM)
No. The 14 has been doing a lot of zigging when it should be zagging this year, but I have said all along that Smoke fans shouldn't panic unless we get to mid-August, when he's usually crushing it, and still laboring. When summer warms up, so so does Tony.
Kyle brought this all on himself. How can you feel sorry for him about the speeding incident?
Ryan McGee (2:48 PM)
Didn't say I felt sorry for him. Said he's having a bad month.
I was wondering what may be happenin over at EGR. This was an organization that won 4 races with both drives last year. This year has however been difficult to say the least. Yet this is a trend that seems to be affecting those affiliated with ECR. The only one that has been consistant has been the 29. The 42 and 33 are getting by as best they can it seems while the 1, 33, and 78 appear completely lost. Could this be due to the new nose and the way there motors are set up in the car? Maybe they are running hotter thus not producing as much horsepower with the new nose? I hope you may be able to answer my question especially on the EGR side. Either way, thanks!
Ryan McGee (2:50 PM)
I think everyone without one those monster Ford FR9 engines right now is trying some crazy stuff to close the gap. That's how you end up with the 48 blowing an engine for the first time since forever last weekend. But the 33 is gaining on it, the 78 did win a race, and the 29 has won three. Only the 31 has been terrible and a lot of that can be written off to bad luck.
Ryan McGee (2:52 PM)
As for EGR, it feels deeper than that. It feels more like Roush did one year ago or RCR the year before that. They clearly missed on something during the winter, when they were getting their cars ready for 2011. They haven't handled well all year. No matter how much horsepower you have, if the car won't turn it won't turn.
Please tell me your not a UVA fan ....there is only college in Virgina and that VT
Ryan McGee (2:52 PM)
Nope. Just cover college baseball and football. That means I spend my springs paying attention to UVA and my falls watching VT!
What were your thoughts about Kenny Wallace saying Childress "chickened out" by refusing interviews?
Ryan McGee (2:54 PM)
He didn't. He had penalties pending and was likely told by NASCAR to keep quiet until it was all sorted. Kyle had been cleared, so he was able to talk. RC won't be silent by the time we get to this weekend, perhaps even sooner. Y'all should watch NASCAR Now all week, just in case.
Daniel (Orlando, FL)
I'm not a big believer in this 2 wins will get you in talk. Harvick has 3 wins, 2 more than first place Edwards, and second place johnson, and 3 more than third place Earnhardt, Jr. and he only sits in fourth in points. Anything can happen and just 'cause you have two wins dosen't give you an automatic entry.
Ryan McGee (2:55 PM)
I hear you. And it drove me even crazier when people had one win and some people said, "Oh, he's safe now." Um, nope.
Sleepers for a good run this weekend?
Ryan McGee (2:57 PM)
Mark Martin, Martin Truex, Brian Vickers.
Chris (Crestview, FL)
Will Stewart-Haas Racing ever be at a point were they can build there own chassis and engines or do you see them getting stuff from HMS permantly?
Ryan McGee (2:58 PM)
They are working toward going off on their own, but they keep telling me they are a long ways off. They have to lock down more sponsorship before they can start getting into the construction business, whether it be cars, engines, or the buildings they'll need to make them in.
Hey Ryan, who is your top 5 this weekend?
Ryan McGee (2:59 PM)
Hamlin, Johnson, Gordon, Harvick, Edwards...and Smoke.
Ryan McGee (3:01 PM)
Alright folks, that'll do it for this week's motorsports block party. See you back here next week. In the meantime, hit me up with questions on Twitter (@ryanmcgeeespn) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Check out NASCAR Now tonight for the latest on the Childress story. As always, please tip the wait staff...and enjoy the music of Joe Grushecky and the House Rockers.