Chat with Ryan McGee
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, Ryan McGee will stop by to chat about the 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." McGee puts together the NASCAR Power Rankings for ESPN.com.
Send your questions now and join McGee Monday at 2 p.m. ET!
Ryan McGee (2:09 PM)
What's up everybody?
Ryan McGee (2:10 PM)
Sorry I'm late. Technical issues. I had to defeat Tron at the light cycle course to get through the new firewall...but I'm here now. To the queries!
How would you rank the top-5 drivers' chances at the championship?
Ryan McGee (2:11 PM)
Jimmie 1-1, Kenseth 3-1, Gordon 12-1, Kyle/Harvick 15-1. I give Gordon an edge over the other two because his Martinsville numbers are so good.
Brandon (San Francisco)
Good Day Mr McGee, so Dale Jr's championship chances this year are essentially over, but what a breath of fresh air actually seeing that 88 car qualifying up front, leading laps and racing like we all expected him to do. He's led laps in all the chase races, has 4 top 10's including 2 runner up finishes, do you see that momentum resulting in a great 2014? Or at least a top 5 points finish this year?
Ryan McGee (2:13 PM)
I'm with you. I think that any real Junior fan who suffered through where that team was just three years ago and compares it to where they are now, they realize this group is light years ahead of where they were. I think yes, they have a shot at the top 5, and yes, they should be in the Cup conversation in '14.
Ed (Fort Worth)
Yo Ryan! Re: your comment in your power rankings about Junior - you DO realize they were at Talledega aka Earnhardt country right? Plus, there was that Daytona 500 where Martin and Harvick raced back to the checkers. Just sayin'.
Ryan McGee (2:14 PM)
I realize all of the above. I was digging on myself for being asleep at the switch when the reaction was so strong.
Ryan McGee (2:16 PM)
The inconsistency on the final lap yellows is a bit maddening. But I do think that was the right call on Sunday. Dillon's wreck looked awful, especially from Race Control way over on the frontstretch. If he'd really been hurt, or worse, and they let that keep going, the hell that was raised would've been multiple times what we've heard in the last 24 hours.
frank (kingston, Pa)
So. JJ is P1 in the standings but more importantly P1 in the McGee rankings. One accomplishment that is rarely discuss was that he was the only rookie ever to lead the points standings. How big is that in his overall career?
Ryan McGee (2:18 PM)
Huge. To me, that's perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Johnson's amazing career. The fact that he's never had a bad year. 2011 was the first time he'd ever finished outside the top five in points...and he finished 6th.
A rare ESPN chat. Thanks for having us!!Considering the chorus of complaints about points and the Richmond fiasco, what are the chances NASCAR alters the point system in 2014? Especially if Jimmie wins the Cup?
Ryan McGee (2:19 PM)
Happy to be here! I don't think the points system will be altered. But personally I have always thought that the gap between the winner and second place should be larger. I felt that way with both the old and new systems.
Rowdy Nation (Global)
Do you expect KB to win Texas and Phoenix and take over the points lead and win the Championship?
Ryan McGee (2:19 PM)
No. He could win both races, but I think the points lead is out of reach.
Mike P (Lenexa, Ks)
I asked Guru yesterday and he said that the Truex deal was for 1 year with a club option and no NAPA... is martin trying to land a top tier ride for 2015 at JGR and RFR or is he playing it one year at a time knowing that sponsorship can change on a whim...
Ryan McGee (2:21 PM)
I think he's doing the same at Kurt Busch did. Sign on year-to-year and keep your options open. That said, this team is in way better shape now than it was before Kurt got there.
I had heard a few years ago Junior Johnson was getting back into racing for his son. Is this still going on?
Ryan McGee (2:24 PM)
It is, but it has slowed down. That's by design. Robert started college in 2012. He's going to Duke and entering selected races. He made his dirt late model debut earlier this year.
Sue B. (Seattle, WA)
Hi Ryan. i may be in the minority judging by some of the Twitter reaction, but I LOVED the race yesterday! It may have had a "low key" ending, but there was some bad-ass racing all throughout, and its been a while since I have come away from a race being that satisfied with how it played out. I get no enjoyment from "big one" carnage. I tuned into the race around lap 100, and the boys were ON IT. Unheard of that early on! I would have watched more of the race from the beginning had I known most of the drivers were actually going to RACE. :) It's funny how some fans will say a race is great if it is really boring EXCEPT for a flashy ending. I loved that we had a great race yesterday, even though the end didn't produce the usual giant wreck. LOVED IT.
Ryan McGee (2:26 PM)
I don't disagree with you, Sue. I think the race as a whole was good stuff. But the finish just kind of went pfffft. To me, that doesn't ruin the whole day, but it does still have me scratching my head. I thought maybe I was overreacting to the lack of a move to the front, but then I heard Jimmie and Matt's reaction and they felt the same way.
Ryan McGee (2:26 PM)
It was just weird looking.
Mike P (Lenexa, Ks)
Safe to say that without the big one that was a pretty tame and non eventful talladega race or am i looking at with tainted glasses because i like the "big one" and the wild card factor that the track creates
Ryan McGee (2:27 PM)
Well, we kind of sold you on that for weeks leading into it. Of course, had there not been the "Little Big One" after the white flag, who knows what might have transpired off Turn 4. Just prior to that, Dale Junior had even radioed in "This is going to be a great finish".
How do you think Kyle Larson will do this weekend and do you think he could become the second rookie to ever qualify for the chase?
Ryan McGee (2:29 PM)
I think anything he does in a Cup car this year is a bonus. As for qualifying for the Chase, I say no. I think it's too crowded up top for a rookie to find a spot in there. But once he gets settled, it's Katie Bar The Door. I'm always a little slow to gushing over young guys, but you should hear Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart talk about him. They're in love.
So can we talk about Kahne and Company. Two wins aside... What a complete bust this season. Kenny lost Kasey both Charlotte races, and Kasey did not help himself by wrecking himself twice.... Speeding on pit road multiple times this year,sliding through his pit box....etc etc.... and a Hendrick driver losing the draft...REALLY.... Is it time for a shake up ?????
Ryan McGee (2:32 PM)
Cuba...nice! Do you mean breaking up Kenny and Kasey? I don't see that happening. Too many people moved too many chess pieces around to keep them together. And honestly, are we really surprised? Isn't this kind of what they do? With the exception of last year, when they finished 4th in points, this is a typical year for them, no matter what team they're with. A couple of wins and a so-so points finish.
Ed (Fort Worth)
I hear you Ryan, just giving you grief. How about my Vols finally knocking off a ranked team!!! I don't buy into the SEC is canabalizing itself - what say you?
Ryan McGee (2:33 PM)
Oh, I know you, Ed! I'm with you. I'm actually writing a piece for ESPN The Mag on this topic. Having a bunch of great teams can't be a bad thing. And it certainly hasn't kept the SEC from winning titles for, oh, the last decade. (And they are my Vols, too!)
What's the delay in the official announcement of Austin Dillon and the # 3 coming to Cup in 2014? Thought they'd announce that by now. I was a HUGE Big E fan but I would love to see that car back
Ryan McGee (2:34 PM)
I talked to some RCR execs about this at Charlotte. It is pretty much any day now. They are waiting on one last piece of sponsorship to come through. They thought they had that done and were going to make an announcement at Charlotte, but it fell through and they had to put it off a little longer.
Ryan McGee (2:35 PM)
And I'm with you. I have no problem with Austin in the 3. I think he's the perfect guy to bring it back and I'm pretty confident in saying that Dale Senior would have approved as well.
Ryan McGee (2:36 PM)
I thought it was a rather 3-like moment he had on Sunday when the car flipped into the air, came down smashed, and he still drove it back to the garage.
88 Fan (NC)
We blame Diloon 100% for costing Jr the Dega win and wonder if you think his stupid last lap move proves he's not ready for cup?
Ryan McGee (2:37 PM)
I think you were watching a totally different race than I was.
Outlaw Busch Fan (Ala.)
Do you think Mr. Haas will let The #Outlaw run a few races with cool sponsorship deals like the Wonder Bread car of will he want all Haas Automotion on Kurt's car? What car number will Kurt run?
Ryan McGee (2:39 PM)
Sounds like it's going to be the 41, the 14 flipped around.
Ryan McGee (2:39 PM)
And yeah, if they can get some fun paint schemes done for next year, I think Haas would be all for it.
Ryan McGee (2:40 PM)
I thought that Wonder Bread scheme was tremendous. And when he ran the Ricky Bobby "ME" paint at Talladega last year, he did an interview with me for SportsCenter and we just went full-on Ricky Bobby quotes.
Do you think Brian Vickers will be back in 2014? Hope so, would be great comeback story if he makes the Chase
Ryan McGee (2:40 PM)
I do think so, and I certainly hope so. What a tough time for him.
Ryan McGee (2:42 PM)
I'll say this. I love "remember when Ricky Rudd taped his eyelids open and drove" stories as much as anybody. But I very much like that today's drivers are willing to put their long-term health first, get out of the car, and get well before racing again.
How can drivers complain that there was no move at end when none of them chose to make a move at the end? I mean it's like us complaining there's nothing for dinner when we didn't make anything.
Ryan McGee (2:43 PM)
Not true. Kenseth made a move and got killed. It cost him the points lead. Logano made a move. Edwards made a move. But when those guys all went low, got no help, and ended up freefalling back to 15th, 17th, 20th, back in there, then everyone else was petrified.
Ryan McGee (2:44 PM)
I listened to at least a dozen guys on the radio begging for help, but the only one I heard that said "You got it" was Dillon pledging to help Earnhardt. That's why this notion of "Dillon cost Junior the race" is so baseless.
Ryan.... I see your point... Is Kahne a head case like they say ??? Always nervous and easily rattled..... And Cuba is not all that it is cracked up to be... Maybe on the other side of the fence line !!!!!!!
Ryan McGee (2:46 PM)
Nah. He gets more nervous doing a TV interview than he does going 200 mph. I just think that's what this team is. There's nothing wrong with that, but as a fan I think it gets frustrating, right?
Ryan McGee (2:46 PM)
And hey, you stay safe. We appreciate you doing what you do so we can do what we do.
After all the meetings between NASCAR and IndyCar, and the tv package going to NBC will we finally see a weekend line up that we will have a Sprint Cup and a IndyCar race at the same track the same weekend?
Ryan McGee (2:48 PM)
Don't hold your breath. ESPN couldn't make it happen. I know they tried. I wrote an ESPN The Mag piece about earlier this year about the ridiculous, decades-old grudges that keep those two sanctioning bodies from playing nice. Back in May they sure didn't sound like that was getting any better.
Ryan McGee (2:49 PM)
Brian France was downright snippy when asked about working with IndyCar to reestablish the Memorial Day double. And a lot of IndyCar folks got just as irritated when asked about implementing NASCAR-style green-white-checker rules after the 500 ended under caution.
Ryan McGee (2:50 PM)
It's so stupid. Because if they worked together, there's a tide-raising-all-boats thing that might help during this desparate era for all forms of American motorsports.
Let's say Gordon has a mathematical shot at Homestead, but ends up finishing 3rd in points this year without winning a race...and that Kahne finishes 13th in points with two wins. Whose season would you rather have?
Ryan McGee (2:54 PM)
Give me 3rd in points. History says that guy has a pretty nice year the following season...and it pays a helluva lot more at the banquet in December.
Chris (Rutgers Grease Trucks, NJ)
Hi Ryan: You give Gordan an edge at Martinsville, being that he is so good there. What about Jimmie's record there? It's very strong. Is he not the favorite next week? Thanks!
Ryan McGee (2:55 PM)
I was saying I'd give Gordon an edge over Busch and Harvick in that race for 3rd in points. But yeah, Jimmie is the favorite at Martinsville. He might be the best ever there.
Ryan, you do realize that was octo posting as 88fan to talk bad about Dillon.
Ryan McGee (2:56 PM)
I don't have the time to worry about octo. Clearly he has more time on his hands than I do. You'd think his Mom would give him more chores to do around the house.
dz (new mexico)
on the podcast was is the 406 you reference?
Ryan McGee (2:57 PM)
First, thanks for listening to Marty & McGee! We'll have a new one up on Tuesday. www.espnradio.com/podcenter. We just recorded an interview with Rusty for tomorrow and it was ridiculous. Dale Senior, bow and arrows, etc.
Ryan McGee (2:58 PM)
The 406 is our audience. Unlike the millions that download some ESPN podcasts, our family is small but proud!
Ryan McGee (2:58 PM)
By the way, we're having a 406 gathering at Martinsville this Friday evening after Cup qualifying. Details on Tuesday's show.
Cosmo (New Haven, CT)
I just have to say, I know ESPN has to include talk of the Big One in every restrictor plate race, but yesterday they seemed morbidly obsessed with it. If yesterday's finish keeps them from wadding up 30 cars every race, I'm all for it.
Ryan McGee (3:00 PM)
Yeah, but in all fairness the drivers were the ones that kept bringing it up. It got so rampant at Charlotte I even wrote a story about it for ESPN.com. To a man, they all kept bringing it up as their last chance to catch Matt and Jimmie. When it's the single biggest factor that might alter the Chase, you have to talk about it.
Shirley (Mich. )
So it was Ashley who dumped Dario?
Ryan McGee (3:01 PM)
But they're back together now, right? Their relationship has always been a little different. But with him out racing and her out shooting movies, should we expect it to be normal?
Why didn't MWR keep Truex over Vickers? If they were going to a 2 car line up why not keep the best 2?
Ryan McGee (3:02 PM)
The Vickers deal was done this summer and is tied to certain sponsors. Not as easy as "Well, his record is better, so bye..."
Your top 5 drivers and a darkhorse for Martinsville?
Ryan McGee (3:04 PM)
48, 24, 15, 2, 29. Darkhorses: 11, 39.
Keith H (Seattle)
Who is today's band?
Ryan McGee (3:05 PM)
Funny you should ask that...
Ryan McGee (3:07 PM)
Time to go, folks. The buzzer just went off. Be sure to download Marty & McGee at www.espnradio.com/podcenter. Until next time, tip the wait staff and enjoy the music of Superdrag.
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