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 '11 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 (2:01 PM)
What's up my Texas barbecue sauce-covered brothers and sisters and welcome back to the worldwide Interweb's biggest and baddest (pretty sure only) Monday one-hour motorsports block party. Let's dilly-dally and get on with it!
I am not a fan of kyle, but am curious why his punishment was more severe than Carl Edwards when he flipped BK? I thought Carl's was more likely to have gotten someone hurt compared to Kyle's.
Ryan McGee (2:02 PM)
I'm with you. And so are a lot of people. I called for Carl to be parked after the incidents at Atlanta and Gateway. He wasn't. And I think NASCAR regrets that.
Ed (Fort Worth)
Ryan, do you think Kyle's event planner should just find something else for him to do when the races come to Texas? In all seriousness, how lucky is Kyle to have coach Gibbs as an owner? Gibbs looked completely exhausted during the pre-race interview. I admire him for standing by his driver, but Mars may have the final say on this one.
Ryan McGee (2:04 PM)
You are right, Coach Gibbs did look exhausted. But I think all this weekend chatter about Kyle being fired got totally out of control. He's not going to be fired. And I don't think M&M's is going anywhere either. They certainly aren't leaving JGR. Now I wouldn't be surprised if they moved across the shop floor...just thinking aloud here.
Since NASCAR is intent on controlling every aspect of the racing, why don't they use electronic, engine cut off switches to prevent what happened to Kyle Busch at Texas?
Ryan McGee (2:05 PM)
It'll never happen. They are already so terrified of any kind of telemetry being fed to the pits and back, nothing like that is ever going in these cars.
Matt (Ann Arbor)
Think alot of the reason people are so vocal about Kyle Busch being parked and how he should lose his ride is because it's Kyle Busch. Some people just let their hatred for someone get in their thinking process
Ryan McGee (2:06 PM)
And on the flipside, I think that hardcore Kyle Busch fans are letting their adoration for their driver cloud common sense. What he did was inexcusable. Any real racer knows that.
Mike (Boca Raton)
It seems like there have been A LOT of retaliatory / intentional wrecks in NASCAR in the last year. What made this one worth so much more severe of a penalty than say Carl Edwards intentional wreck of Brad Keselowski last year?
Ryan McGee (2:07 PM)
It's not. And like I said earlier, I think in retrospect NASCAR wishes they had come down harder on Carl.
Ryan McGee (2:08 PM)
Keep in mind too that NASCAR has repeatedly warned Kyle to chill out. Dating all the way back to the mess with Harvick at Darlington in May. Don't let anyone tell you that "body of work" didn't factor into this weekend's punishement, because it did.
Ryan (Ventura CA)
Will there be any more fall out for Kyle Bush this week? Mars does not sound happy at all. Thanks!
Ryan McGee (2:10 PM)
There will be a fine from NASCAR, likely tomorrow. And I wouldn't be surprised if M&Ms levies a fine as well. Remember Home Depot did that to Stewart after the infamous photographer-shoving incident at the Brickyard. And Smoke was with Gibbs then.
so what was your take on mark martin going over to mwr racing for the next two year just think about it he is going to have clint bowyer martin truex jr and mark martin on he's team for the next two years that is a good stragety on micheal waltrip what is your take on that.
Ryan McGee (2:13 PM)
I agree. If Mark Martin is available, you have to sign him. I hate it for Reutimann and it has been great to see the outcry from fans on Reut's behalf. But as cold as it may seem, Mikey said it on Friday, most contracts have an out if a driver is outside the top 25 in points. He's 28th. That's just not getting it done.
Hey Ryan!! We ran the Phoenix spring race on one configuration and the fall race will be run on a different one. Has any other track ever changed configuration during the year like that?
Ryan McGee (2:15 PM)
Atlanta did it in, I want to say 1997. They flipped the front and backstretch, added the double dog leg, and repaved. But the difference is that Phoenix is in the Chase, which makes it a much bigger deal.
Ryan McGee (2:17 PM)
I am a little surprised that PIR did that now. The argument is that there isn't enough time between now and the spring race to do it. However, NASCAR has fiddled with dates to help tracks have time to make it happen. I thought they could have done it this time too.
I think Gibbs as punishment part ordered Kyle to be on top of pit box for the whole race. What do you think.
Ryan McGee (2:19 PM)
No doubt about it. In 1996 Dale Earnhardt had to get out of his car at Indy because of a shoulder injury. Mike Skinner relieved. Earnhardt told me later that watching his car out there without him in it was so painful it felt like his wife was cheating on him. Making Kyle sit there and watch his car race without him for four hours had to send home some sort of message.
Are driver contracts guaranteed? How long is Kyle's? Do they have conduct clauses that allow the team to no longer have to honor the contract?
Ryan McGee (2:20 PM)
Most contracts do, yes. But that's typically tied to a sponsor before it is a team. I know most contracts have them, but I have never seen one exercised at the Cup level.
Doesn't this Rowdy Texas deal prove that even when he doesn't race, Rowdy is the biggest deal in NASCAR?
Ryan McGee (2:21 PM)
For all the wrong reasons, yes.
If points were measured with a much greater emphasis on wins, how many points should Stewart be in the lead right now?
Ryan McGee (2:23 PM)
I have said all along that the winner should get a much larger chunk of the points pie for wins. In this current system I would give them at least a ten-point bonus for wins. So by that math Smoke would be roughly 40 points up, nearly a full race's worth of points, ahead of Carl right now.
Speaking of telemetry in cars.. I'm not sold on Fuel Injection over Carburetors next season in the cars.. Tell me why I should be all for this in racing...
Ryan McGee (2:26 PM)
Because it literally makes no difference in what you see or hear. I've been to two fuel injector tests and if you hadn't told me they were in there I would have never known. It sounds and smells exactly the same and the speeds are the same. The only difference is a little bit of fuel economy, no flames shooting from the headers (which comes from pooled up, wasted fuel) and there's a slight difference in sound when they start. Now they do click-click-click for a split second, like a gas grill, instead of that heavy metallic hammer hit. That's literally it.
Ryan McGee (2:26 PM)
And besides, at some point you have embrace decades-old technology, which is what fuel injection is.
Ed (Fort Worth)
Well, following your train of thought then, maybe JLo should get the M&M sponsorship since he's in their demographic, and Kyle could get the HD team.
Ryan McGee (2:27 PM)
Matt (Sterling Heights, MI)
Had Kyle been, say, 10 points out of the Chase, does he still get parked?
Ryan McGee (2:27 PM)
If you are Hendrick do you miss the number of wins that Kyle could have had for you or are you glad you don't have to deal with the mess and the reputation hurt on your org?
Ryan McGee (2:28 PM)
There is a reason that HMS let him go. They didn't view him as worth the hassle. And if you get any of the team execs to talk to you in private they will tell you that.
Chris (Des Moines, IA)
Does the Busch incident make it possible that NASCAR might allow a "mulligan" race in the Chase where each driver can throw out their worst finish and only have their 9 best finishes count? Granted, that might take a little excitement out of Homestead not exactly knowing how the points with work out but it will prevent wrecks (whether intentional or accidental) from possibly ruining any of the chaser's chances of winning a title. Or, any chance of a "chasers only" point system? Just wondering if anything positive can come out of all of this.
Ryan McGee (2:30 PM)
I've heard that idea tossed around before. I like the idea, but I don't think it would ever be implemented. And even if it was, they likely wouldn't allow Kyle to use this race as his mulligan because it would totally negate the punishment.
Odds that the 14 can win another race and still lose the chase? Odds that NASCAR will look dumb if that happens (especially if its the season finale at Homestead)?
Ryan McGee (2:31 PM)
Not very high. We're at the point now, separated by three positions on the track with two races to go, that winning matters over all else. Even Carl admitted as much on NASCAR Now last night.
I actually heard on a couple chats this week that the 48 team should make changes. Are you kidding me? Chad and Jimmie won 5 in a row. My question to you is this... Are NASCAR or SEC Football fans more unrealistic with expectations?
Ryan McGee (2:33 PM)
Yeah, I've heard that too. That's nuts. That would be like breaking Tom Brady and Bill Belichick because they only won a couple of Super Bowls in a row. As for SEC vs. NASCAR, there's a lot of people who are in both those boats, so we'll call it a push.
If Rowdy wins Phoenix or Homestead will all be forgiven?
Ryan McGee (2:33 PM)
No. A sincere apology would help more. Not a press release.
Would Home Depot want to sponsor Kyle? M&Ms switching to Joey L seems to make sense but would Home Depot want to make that move?
Ryan McGee (2:34 PM)
They sponsored Tony Stewart back when he was Kyle Busch, so I don't think that would bother them.
Why do you want more points for wins? I think they got it right, yes Stewart has won 4 chase races, but his average finish is lower than Edwards. If Nascar gives more for wins, why don't they just give the driver with the most wins the championship?
Ryan McGee (2:35 PM)
I always have. But am I complaining about the way the points battle is going? Hecks no!
It seems like full season primaries are almost a thing of the past with even prominent teams going to several co-sponsors. How many full season sponsors are left next season? I count FedEx, Lowes, Napa, Menards, Miller Lite ... is it really just those 5?
Ryan McGee (2:36 PM)
You're close. And I think you are right. When we look back, I think we'll realize that the teams let their asking scale get out of hand when things were booming, not unlike most of corporate America.
Greg (South Bend, IN.)
Hey Ryan, Did Gossage go to far this weekend with his "circus" with the death of the FMX rider Jim McNeil?
Ryan McGee (2:39 PM)
No, I don't think you can blame Eddie or TMS for that. It was just an unfortunate incident. I think about all the hundreds of crazy pre-race shows I've seen over the years, especially at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and if someone gets hurt or killed it's because they chose to particpate. So sad for the McNeil family and the whole MX community. But it's not the track's fault.
Actually Kyle asked if he could sit on the pit box. He was not ordered.
Ryan McGee (2:40 PM)
That's what the official company line is, yes.
Parker (Tallahassee, FL)
Kasey Kahne is looking very strong at the end here, do you see him winning one before the end and what do you think his expectations should be when he moves to Hendrick next year?
Ryan McGee (2:42 PM)
I sure hope so. I give - and have given - him a lot of credit. I really thought that here at the end, already testing some for Hendrick and the fact that Red Bull's future is so murky, that he might check out mentally. But he has not. He's been one of the hottest cars on the track for weeks now. He wants so badly to get those guys a win because they have had such a stressful year.
Ryan McGee (2:43 PM)
I wrote this in the Power Rankings and I meant it - it's a little scary to think about what he might do once he gets to Hendrick and is driving for a solid team with solid financial backing for the first time in nearly four years.
Wouldnt it be bad for sport if Carl Edwards wins the chmpionship over #14 who has 4 wins in the Chase? That would not happen in any other sport.
Ryan McGee (2:46 PM)
Yeah, but keep in mind that he also has led the points standings most of the year and he leads the series in top 5's, top 10's, and average finish...and it isn't even really close. So it's not like he's backed into this.
Ryan McGee (2:47 PM)
He's led the points 22 out of 34 weeks this year and has never been lower than 5th.
CJ (Murfreesboro, TN)
Hey, Ryan, i was suprised this weekend when the word "fired" came up in comments about Busch's future. Although i agree with the majority on the pole ESPN had that he should be, does he not realize that he has burned alot of bridges and landing at a top tier team would be hard? I mean, cant go back to Hendrick, won't land at Roush because of Kurt's past, ive heard he and Kurt have no interest being on the same team at Penske, and i doubt RCR would hire as Childress put him in a headlock. Seems to me his options would be limited?
Ryan McGee (2:47 PM)
They would be, yes. But it doesn't matter because he won't be fired.
Ryan McGee (2:49 PM)
And you would be surprised how many teams would be willing to bury the hachet to hire a guy who wins four races a year.
Stewart intentionally wrecks Vickers - no penalty. Jamie Mac tries to intentionally wreck Vickers (under caution no less) - no penalty. KB intentionally wrecks Hornaday - two race suspension. What gives?
Ryan McGee (2:50 PM)
I think there's a body of work thing going on, having been warned before. And I also think the nature of what he did to Honrnaday, running up under his rear bumper so that there was nowhere Ron could go, and then putting him into the wall at the frightning front-first angle that we've seen kill people in the past.
Where do u think brian vickers will drive next year?
Ryan McGee (2:51 PM)
I honestly don't know. And neither does he. He and his people are scrambling, but it looks like his only real option will be if the folks who run Red Bull Racing now can get something together for 2012.
Ryan McGee (2:52 PM)
I had a long talk with team GM Jay Frye about it on the grid at Talladega and he says there are a lot of options out there, but no real good ones yet.
Ryan McGee (2:53 PM)
When the Red Bull departure was announced I was with Marty Smith. We both looked at each other and speculated that Vickers might be the one guy left without a chair when the music stops. Hope not.
JACOB (Wellston, OK)
MCGEE!!!! Why didn't you knock Busch out of your power rankings? He didn't even race. Should have been kicked out.
Ryan McGee (2:55 PM)
I dropped him nine spots! That's the biggest hammer I've dropped all year. And even with the missed race he still has four wins and is even still ahead of fellow Chaser Ryan Newman in points.
It seems the problems at JGR are more that poor engines. Any chance there are crew chief swaps for next year?
Ryan McGee (2:56 PM)
Maybe. The Mike Ford rumors keep swirling. So does the Zippy talk. But I think they are already suffering a bit from this transition they are making from in-house engines to TRD. All the employees of that shop look terrible. They are genuinely worried about their jobs. Hard to make horsepower when you aren't sleeping at night.
Matt (Columbia, NJ)
Ryan, I see Greg Biffle has had a couple top 5 finishes in the chase, and he won 4 straight races at Homestead a while ago. Is there hope for the 16 team next season?
Ryan McGee (2:57 PM)
There's always hope for those guys. They just kind of yo-yo from year to year. The big thing with them are the mental errors, and that includes the driver.
Zack (Up Here)
What was the reaction by the other drivers to Kyle's penality? Any one sympathetic toward him?
Ryan McGee (2:57 PM)
corey k (cleveland)
Since Tony already recieves 3 bonus pts., then the lead would only be 25 pts.(7x4=28, 3-28=25) But if Carl got the extra pts for reg. season win the lead would only be 18 (25-7=18) And Carl could catch him with a win of his own
Ryan McGee (2:58 PM)
That made my head hurt a little, but I liked it.
Is there any driver that can be counted on to do well at phoenix v.2?
Ryan McGee (2:59 PM)
Whenever we go to an all-new or a madeover track I always say to go with the big teams. Hendrick and Roush have more engineers to throw at the unknowns than anyone else.
email@example.com (West Coast, Duh)
Ryan, Will you marry me???? Actually Just wanted to say that us Kyle Busch fans believe He has repented of his sins, and will go on to victory.
Ryan McGee (3:00 PM)
I'd have to check with Mrs. McGee on the first part, but thanks for asking. And I sincerely hope you are right. The kid is standing at a crossroads. I hope he has sense enough to take the right fork in the road.
Aren't Ragan and Ruti without rides at the moment and unlikely to get one?
Ryan McGee (3:01 PM)
Yes. And I think that's part of why Vickers is in trouble. Ragan is always going to be #1 on that free agent list.
lefty (tampa bay, fl)
Give me 2 drivers out of thechase this year that might make a runnext year in the chase? Kahne or truex jr?
Ryan McGee (3:02 PM)
Kahne and Biffle.
Ryan McGee (3:03 PM)
Alright folks, gotta go. The bell has rung and I want to go catch the last half-hour of the NASCAR Now roundtable on ESPN2. Speaking of which, I'll see you on the rountable show next Monday. This chat will be a little earlier than normal, stay tuned for the time! Until then, tip your wait staff and enjoy the music of GRITS: The Musical.
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