Chat with Ryan McGee
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, 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 '11 season, he will be putting together the NASCAR Power Rankings for ESPN.com.
Send your questions now and join McGee Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Ryan McGee (2:02 PM)
What's up my bratwurst juice covered brothers and sisters and welcome to a special Tuesday edition of the Monday Motorsports Block Party. I'm a little short on time today, so let's get going. To the queries!
bob (Never get picked)
I think its gonna be a 3 team race for the chase with Happy harvick/Jimmie Johnson/Carl Edwards. I think "happy" harvick takes it all. Whats your take Ryan? Thanks
Ryan McGee (2:04 PM)
I like this group. I think the first race of the Chase is a lot like Week 1 of the NFL season. Everyone panics or parties a little too much based on one race. But I think Harv and Carl have proven they are back in their spring form. I also think that the 24 will get back into it. And clearly the 22 and 14 are in a groove right now.
Hey McGee! Question about tire wear... why do the underfunded teams tend to have more flats or blowouts than the major teams? Is a setup issue or lower quality parts in the suspension? And how about those Gamecocks??? Gonna be a fight for the East!
Ryan McGee (2:05 PM)
Not to cop out, but I would say both. Probably more of a setup issue. They have to throw the kitchen sink at their cars to try and keep up and their cars simply can't do it. And how about those Gamecocks. I have a piece on Marcus Lattimore's Heisman chances up on ESPN.com Insider today.
Rob F (Hoboken, NJ)
I'm with the 17 and other drivers (outside of Stewart Haas Racing) who are sick of these fuel mileage races. They're OK once in a while, but this is getting a little out of hand. How many tracks in The Chase do you think will come down to a gamble like we had at Chicago?
Ryan McGee (2:07 PM)
You are not alone here. Carl even apologized after the race, saying that he knows it's not very exciting from the stands. But then he also added that there's no type of racing that's more nerve-racking behind the wheel. You certainly have to think it'll come into play at Kansas. But this year it's been coming into play just about everywhere, so at this point I count out no tracks except for Martinsville and Talladega.
Richard Childress talked like he plans to keep running the #33 in Cup even if Bowyer leaves. Do you see him putting another driver (*cough*Vickers*cough*) in that car full-time, or trying to find someone (*cough*Martin*cough*) to split the ride with Austin Dillon?
Ryan McGee (2:09 PM)
Good question. I think the plan would be downsize in the short term and have it ready for Dillon in two years, after he's gotten Nationwide seat time as well as his college diploma, which is the promise he made to his granddad in order to keep racing. I hadn't though about BV over there, but it would make sense. Problem is still sponsorship, though.
Do you think Kurt Busch is flying under the radar with three straight finishes of sixth or better? It doesn't seem like he is getting talked about for the finishes. And who do you have between wvu and lsu
Ryan McGee (2:11 PM)
Yes he is. And his finishes have gone largely unnoticed because of A. His teammate and B. That bizarre fit he pitched after Richmond. But he's the only driver to have been in the top 10 in points all season long.
Ryan McGee (2:11 PM)
And I take LSU. I like where WVU is headed, but that LSU defense is ridiculous. And they are road-hardened.
Mike (Nijmegen, Netherlands)
I really looked forward to NASCAR last weekend, because I could watch a full NASCAR race live after the anouncements from NASCAR and ESPN about WatchESPN and RaceBuddy. However, I apparently have no access to WatchESPN. Probably because I am outside the US. My internet provider is not listed. I think one reason NASCAR created this great option to gain international fans. That won't happen now. Any idea or solution. Can you pass it through to the responsible persons at ESPN and NASCAR? Thanks.
Ryan McGee (2:12 PM)
Just did. And I appreciate you bringing it up. I'll say this, for those of us stateside, it's pretty awesome. I watched part of Monday's race sitting in the elementary school pickup line.
jeff oklahoma [via mobile]
the 88 driver seems to love gas mileage races.. Is it all luck or making the right calls by crew chief..could you also tell him to be on top of the standings when he comes to Texas!
Ryan McGee (2:14 PM)
A little of both, but you can really tell that Junior has gotten much better at saving fuel. And Stevie has always had a good internal fuel mileage calculator. He learned from the best, Evernham and Knaus. It's easy to focus on the fact that they lost the Coca-Cola 600 off Turn 4, but the truth is they nearly stole it. Same with Monday.
If Clint Bowyer has a sponser in his pocket, why would he not just go to the team with the best chance to win? Is it a deal length thing? or could MWR be offering more money to the driver with the same sponser dollars?
Ryan McGee (2:15 PM)
I think Bowyer's salary expectations are definitely a factor.
Aj (Indy )
So....how long before SHR starts getting bunk engines from Hendrick ? : )
Ryan McGee (2:15 PM)
Hahaha! Probably pretty soon!
Cory (Geneva, IL)
If the race was two more laps, wouldn't Martin Truex have won? Harvick ran out of fuel coming to pit road.
Ryan McGee (2:16 PM)
Maybe. I think that Harvick could have played it more conservative than he did had he needed to. In other words, he couldn't have dropped the hammer like he did, but he could have stayed in the gas more than Smoke.
Why do most people count Tony Stewart out of winning the chase until he wins a race? And do you think Mark Martin is a possible seat filler for go daddy next year with stewart haas to take up what Danika cant cause its all econmics in my opion she is even there.
Ryan McGee (2:18 PM)
I think everyone was kind of taking their cues from Stewart himself. As late as Friday he was telling the media he had no shot. Funny wha a win can do. As I wrote in the Power Rankings, I'm not ready to jump onto Smoke bandwagon just yet, but he's certainly grabbed momentum that he was sorely needing. Now he needs to keep it.
Ryan McGee (2:19 PM)
And yes, I think that Mark will be in the GoDaddy.com car when Danica is not. I have no evidence, just a feeling. We'll know all of that most likely when we get to Phoenix. That's where GoDaddy.com is located and they like hometown announcements.
Michael (Edinboro University of Pennsylvania)
Is there any way NASCAR can eliminate fuel mileage races from the Chase? Having a champion decided by who can conserve the most fuel is not really a champion in my opinion.
Ryan McGee (2:21 PM)
No. Not unless they start tossing out debris cautions every week with 15 laps to go. Look on the bright side, during a time when NASCAR gets hammered for environmentalists for fossil fuel consumption, maybe being the guy who conserved fuel the best is a positive message! Okay, that's a reach...
I hate realignment.
Ryan McGee (2:21 PM)
As do I. In college fotball and on my truck.
Greg (Good thing I didn't see Kurt Busch at the game) (South Ben
Hey Ryan, Does Nascar monitor all the teams radio channels during the race? How does Nascar communicate with the teams during a race? Just with the offical in each pit? Never understood it.
Ryan McGee (2:23 PM)
Race Control does monitor radio channels. Yes, officials in certain pits will monitor their teams, but no one is assigned specifically to one team's channel throughout the race. I do know that NASCAR Media Group records all of the radio communication and Race Control has access to playback.
Jeff (Oklahoma )
I forgot to mention, could you tell them to run the Old School Mountain Dew scheme instead of the Diet Mountain Dew...I just cant see myself wearing a diet mountain dew shirt or hat to a race.
Ryan McGee (2:24 PM)
I have little pull in such matters, but maybe they'll read this. And I love Diet Mountain Dew. I get all hopped up on it and Goody's Cool Orange. I call it the Richard Petty Diet.
Did the 17 ask Yeley to push him or was Yeley trying to do Matt a favor?
Ryan McGee (2:25 PM)
Yeley was trying to do a favor. But by the rule, that doesn't matter. A push is a push. I have a feeling that rule might get a little facelift during the off-season.
Is it possible that Bowyer could ever end up at Penske?
Ryan McGee (2:25 PM)
Not next year.
Why does the 24 always seem to choke when it comes to the Chase? Is it crew or driver?
Ryan McGee (2:26 PM)
Yesterday it was a flat tire. Honestly, they did a heck of a job getting back up into the top 15, but unfortunately they were bitten by fuel just like so many others.
In 2013 are the Cup cars going to look more like the Nationwide cars? I do think Cup needs more brand identity but I'm not a huge fan of the design of the Nationwide cars.
Ryan McGee (2:27 PM)
They will be closer yes, but identical no. The original plan was to roll out Mustangs and other "Pony Cars" like Nationwide, but now they are backing off of that. They want to give each series an identity. For the record, I love the Mustang and the Challenger in Naionwide. They actually try to resemble their street versions. I'd missed that.
Rob (Colorado Springs)
How will the fuel injection affect the fuel mileage races next year, specifically, what happens when they run them out, can't prime it like a carburetor.
Ryan McGee (2:29 PM)
All the crew chiefs tell me that the fuel injector will cut back on the number of fuel mileage races for that very reason. And I think that's why we haven't seen NASCAR make a knee-jerk reaction to try and alter all the fuel mileage races this year, like fiddle with the tires. Because they know the "problem" will take a big step toward resolving itself next year.
I know they can't/won't do much about the push rule at plate races... but what is the difference in pushing a guy under caution with a few laps to go in order to save fuel and pushing him on the last lap when he's out? Either way, they are NOT finishing under their own power... Or do you think that will be part of the "facelift" on the rule?
Ryan McGee (2:32 PM)
I think the facelift will be specifying intent. Yeley hadn't intended on pushing Kenseth into the top 10 and Kenseth had intended on receiving help. It'll be ruled in plate races just like any other race.
Ryan the 24 was 20-28 position all day. Was not a flat tire, it was that they weren't even in the ball park on the setup. Tell it like it is ok.
Ryan McGee (2:34 PM)
I didn't say they didn't miss the setup. But they had to put under green with a flat tire and they did run out of gas. Why would I make that up?
Chris (Crestview, FL)
Given that Junior was already up to 6th place before all the fuel mileage stuff started happening, doesn't that bode well for the 88 team? Could they be a team to look out for in this chase or did they just "luck" into there 3rd place run? Also tough loss for my Noles Saturday night, came close to pulling it off against the Sooners
Ryan McGee (2:35 PM)
Totally. I wrote in the Power Rankings that I thought 88 fans should be really encouraged by that performance. They were junk early and turned it around.
Texas Ranger (Talladega )
I'm all jacked up on Mountain Dew!
Ryan McGee (2:35 PM)
Austin (Denver, CO)
McGee, why has "old blue eyes" struggled so much lately? Wreck, wreck, and hit the wall yesterday? When he's wrecking so much, he's gotta be focused more on next year when he drives for Hendrick and Turner Motorsports?
Ryan McGee (2:36 PM)
1. They had horrible luck at the beginning of the year. 2. They are a lame duck team and have been for months now. And yes, I think he has one foot out the door headed to Hendrick. It'll be the first time in years he's had real stability behind him.
Zach Cross (Church Hill TN)
Could Bowyer end up in the 6 or 20 car?
Ryan McGee (2:37 PM)
I think it's MWR, RCR, or nowhere at this point. Gibbs is still on the radar, but the more I talk to JD Gibbs the more I think they are comfortable with what they have.
I have posted 15 questions, thanks man for not answering any...........
Ryan McGee (2:37 PM)
Somebody needs a nap.
Alan (Columbus, Ohio)
Hi Ryan! After all of the fighting the 18 did to get back in the top 10 (on several different occassions), how demoralizing was it to run out of gas and get a 23rd place finish? Further, what kind of hangover can a day like that cause?
Ryan McGee (2:39 PM)
Back in the day, it would have been devestating. But "New Kyle" bounces back from adversity, long term and short term, way better than he used to. Now making up those points are a whole other problem. That's where those 4 wins and the bonus pts that came with them are so huge. Without those, he's back there with teammate Denny Hamlin, who is nearly a full race behind.
What was the driver reaction after ESPN showed the piece on the radio communication between Menard and his crew? After that piece it was obvious the spin was planned. I would imagine that a lot of drivers have lost respect for Paul Menard and the RCR organization.
Ryan McGee (2:41 PM)
There were a lot of eyebrows raised. I'm not one to subscribe to a lot of black helicopter conspiracy theories, but the part that jumped out at me was why, being so many laps down, wouldn't he just come on in with a tire going down? It's not like he was racing for points anymore.
With so many people wanting to see a road race in the chase, do you think Nascar may consider it in 2013?
Ryan McGee (2:42 PM)
In 2013, yes. In fact I have a story about that coming out in ESPN The Magazine this week. A lot of people have their eye on Montreal, but I have my eye on that fancy new F1 course opening in Austin next summer.
I have posted 5 questions, albeit 1 of them a repeat in hopes of further clarification. But I know you have like 500-2,000 people bombing you right now so thanks for taking the time to do what you can.
Ryan McGee (2:42 PM)
I appreciate it. We're way up in the hundreds now and I can only get to so many. As always, people can hit me up on Twitter (@RyanMcGeeESPN) or via email (email@example.com) if I don't get to you.
Were you surprised at the sheer number of cars that ran out of gas yesterday?
Ryan McGee (2:44 PM)
I was more surprised at the number of Chase guys who chsoe to roll the dice on fuel. That's a big gamble. We saw that burn a couple of guys last year, bad.
Rob F (Hoboken, NJ)
I've read an editorial or two today stating the 11 is all but officially eliminated from The Chase. Do you think any driver is truly out of it at this point?
Ryan McGee (2:45 PM)
Not officially, but 41 points back is essentially a full race back. Even if everyone gets their one mulligan, that's still a looooong piece of ground to make up.
Ryan McGee (2:47 PM)
Hey folks, I hate to have to cut this short, but since it's Tuesday and our normal Monday slot I gotta bolt. Otherwise my plane will leave without me. I'll make it up to you next week...assiuming we don't get rained out to Monday...again. Until then, hit me up on Twitter and email, tip your wait staff and enjoy the music of Mountain Soul.
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