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 (2:00 PM)
Greetings my brothers and sisters and welcome back to the intermittent Monday Motorsports Block Party Chat. Before we start, I want to send out a prayer to the family and friends of Marcy Scott, longtime member of the NASCAR community. They are are attending her funeral service today (Monday) in Georgia. She was a dear friend who fought a long battle with breast cancer. If you've attended a race at any SMI racetrack or were a fan of the Busch Series in its glory days of the 1990's, then Marcy was a part of your life, too, even though you likely didn't know it. We already miss you, girl.
Hey McGee, I was at the race yesterday, and found it really boring to watch. How bad do you think yesterday's race was?
Ryan McGee (2:02 PM)
Well, first of all, it's too long. I think most Cup races are too long. I am a big believer in capping most races at 400 laps/miles or less. If a track still wants to keep the magic number 500 in the race title, do what Phoenix does this weekend and make it 500 kilometers. All they do down at PIR is sellout. Just saying...
Ryan McGee (2:02 PM)
Second of all, when a guy really hits it the way Jimmie hit it, the show gets stunk up. That's been true since they started racing at Indianapolis more than 100 years ago.
dwayne (queen city)
Goodyear needs to get their act together. You cant be bringing a tire that bad to a chase race, why not bring the atlanta tire? Kyle blew a right rear saturday and a corded a rf sunday. kenseth blew a tire testing, Gordon blew a lf which is bad. I just dont understand the logic behind there reasoning for that tire.
Ryan McGee (2:05 PM)
Not changing the tire for this race vs. April was a little odd. I hated it when they rolled out a new tire for the Kansas race a few weeks ago, but when they'd just run that new tire at Atlanta, a sister track to Texas, I thought maybe they'd being it to Fort Worth. Pretty safe bet that what they ran on Sunday won't be back when we go back to Texas next spring.
When will RCR announce plans for the Dillon brothers for next season? Will the truck team still be going, or is all the focus on the cup and Nationwide series?
Ryan McGee (2:09 PM)
Ty has already been announced in Nationwide, running alongside Brian Scott and Brendan Gaughan. Austin's Cup deal is waiting on one more piece of sponsorship before it's officially announced. They thought they were going to have it done by Charlotte, but had a last second issue. And yes, they plan on running in Trucks again in '14, per RCR VP Mike Dillon, but plans are TBD.
Mike P (Lenexa, Ks)
More likely to get a win before the season ends... June bug, Older Shrub or Bowyer... and if its Bowyer is his car under more post race inspection becasuse of Spin-Gate
Ryan McGee (2:10 PM)
June Bug. He's had three second place finishes in the Chase. But yes, if Bowyer wins, they might tear it down so far they get out the turpentine and strip the paint off of it.
A couple weeks ago at talladega dale Jr said he wanted Nascar to let the engineers do what they want at plate tracks and see who had the better car. What do you think.
Ryan McGee (2:11 PM)
I think that would be awesome for a test. If they did that in a race we'd end up with car flying into the air like it was Cirque du Soleil.
Ryan rate JoLo's & Keselowski's season so far.
Ryan McGee (2:13 PM)
I'd give them both B-minus. Logano is vastly improved. I was looking at his Chase numbers and he's been sneaky-good. Only five drivers have out-pointed him and he's one of only a handful of Chasers with at least three top fives during the eight Chase races. But inconsistency is killing him. Same with BK, who is running great now, but missed the Chase.
Mike P (Lenexa, Ks)
Did NASCAR deep down want the #24 to win the Chase to validate them for putting him in the case or are they getting it with Bowyer being 6th or 7th and out of contention
Ryan McGee (2:14 PM)
I don't think NASCAR cares who wins. If they did, Dale Jr. would have at least five wins this year and be leading the point standings.
Matt (Florida )
What's going on at Kbm? Closing the nationwide team?
Ryan McGee (2:16 PM)
Times are bad. I know the folks working there now have been told not to turn down any outside job opportunities. The hope is to find funding and keep going, but they are realistic and don't want to keep any current employees from finding jobs.
Ryan McGee (2:18 PM)
By the way, props to KBM's Parker Kilgerman for posting an 18th place finish in his first-ever Cup start. That's no small accomplishment when you consider how tough Texas is and how little resources Swan Racing has.
What happened with the Marty & McGee theme song? One week you had one then one week you didn't?
Ryan McGee (2:18 PM)
Producer Jay needs to fix that, doesn't he?
Ryan McGee (2:19 PM)
Hit him up on Twitter @TheRealPodVader
Jimmie Johnson + snoozer of a race = What channel is football on?
Ryan McGee (2:20 PM)
Suddenly my idea of ending the season on Labor Day weekend doesn't seem so nuts, does it?
What voodoo has Jimmie and Chad used to suck up all the luck at Hendrick, leaving Gordon with a negative account balance?
Ryan McGee (2:20 PM)
I guess they forgot to light a candle last week at Martinsville?
Is the thing about JPM mentioned in the forbes article really bad???
Ryan McGee (2:21 PM)
Yes. Anytime the IRS starts looking around your place, that's bad.
Johnny (Huntsville, AL)
In his post race press conference, Dale Jr. referenced the fact that the engine failure at Chicago made his team "change their approach" and just start going for wins every week. Since then their level of performance has increased dramatically. Do you think they have been doing too much conservative points racing this year and should have been going for wins all along?
Ryan McGee (2:24 PM)
They didn't really start "points racing" until the early fall to protect their position. And even then, their approach all weekend was to win, but if late in a race they weren't in a realistic position to do that, they played it a little more conservative. I think the terrible finish to start the Chase was a blessing in disguise because it allowed them a "what the hell" attitude and yes, they are definitely rolling the dice more. They did on Sunday with the short-pitting.
Ryan McGee (2:25 PM)
BUT...I also think that they are unloading much faster on Fridays. That always makes it easier to take chances on Sundays.
Hey Ryan, I've read several articles in the past where Mr. Hinton has noted that when it comes to chase time, Kenseth turns super negative. This year has been different in that he's been overly positive, I assume to his feeling more at home on his new team and the increase in performance. But how deflating does it have to be to come back from two mistakes to finish 4th, but have the other guy have the performance that Jimmie had. Long story short, do you think Kenseth still genuinely feels like he could win this thing, or behind the scenes do he and Ratclif feel like they just can't do it without something out of character by the 48? Thanks!406!!!
Ryan McGee (2:28 PM)
Thanks for the 406 shoutout. (Which reminds me, download the Marty & McGee podcast every Tuesday at www.espnradio/podcenter!) I never felt like Matt turned "super negative" but I think he was admittedly frustrated when it seemed like they were out of the Chase running so quickly each year. This year he's visibly looser, but that also might just be our perception simply because we're not used to talking to him this late in the Chase!
Ryan McGee (2:29 PM)
I don't think he or his team is ready to concede anything. Not even close. And where the 48 team has always been able to get into the head of their opponents in the past, Kenseth is the kind of guy who is kind of impervious to that stuff.
Ryan McGee (2:30 PM)
This weekend will be a great example of his new lease on life with a new team. In the past you could basicallly write off Kenseth on the flat short tracks like Loudon and Martinsville. Not this year. And that means he's got new life at Phoenix, too. No one knows that better than Matt.
What F1, Indy Car driver could come to NASCAR right now and could perform and which driver could go to F1, Indy Car and perform?
Ryan McGee (2:32 PM)
In his glory days I always felt like Michael Schumacher could have driven a Cup car with no problem. He has a ranch in Texas and has been known to slip into a Richard Petty Driving Experience car from time-to-time, in total secret. And I have always believed that Jeff Gordon could have stepped into an F1 car and gotten up to speed in hurry. So did some F1 teams who approached him back in the day. I know Jackie Stewart was all over him.
Ryan McGee (2:33 PM)
As for IndyCar, I've always felt like Tony Kanaan was just a NASCAR guy with a Brazilian accent.
What lower tier drivers do you believe will eventually make it to cup? (Even with an underfunded team)
Ryan McGee (2:37 PM)
It's actually pretty exciting how many young, talented guys there are on the way up right now, especially after this long drought of generic Cup Rookie of the Year winners. I like Chase Elliott, Darrell Wallace, Ryan Blaney, the Dillons, Dylan Kwasniewski, and our NASCAR Next driver from last year, Corey LaJoie. All of those guys have bright futures.
Ryan McGee (2:37 PM)
I wrote a story earlier this summer about the inevitable generational shift that happens every decade or so. We're on the cusp of one of those shifts, led by Kyle Larson.
Matt_33FL (Tampa,FL) [via mobile]
Could NAPA be looking at joining RCR on the #3?
Ryan McGee (2:38 PM)
Not likely. NAPA is gone.
Jeremy (South Hill, VA)
Two things: First, I'm really upset that yesterday's race fell short of my expectations. I really was in eager anticipation of a 10-wide finish, and the remaining 33 cars flipping over one another, EA Sports-style. Second, in all seriousness I understand that NASCAR needs some improvement--but not as much as some suggest--for the 1.5-mile program and rules packages. Have you heard any garage-area insight about the impact that the spacers/wickers on the roof will have on the racing quality at these venues. Seeing as I am a huge physics expert having taught Dawking myself (cough), I am actually pretty excited about those wickers. At Dayton and Talladega in the early 2000s, I remember seeing those cars, with the wickers, fan out on the back straightaway like a flock of pterodactyls. Pretty fun to watch.
Ryan McGee (2:40 PM)
Yes, our expectations can be a bit high. And yes, they are looking at some wicker stuff. The test at Charlotte two weeks ago was to try out some pretty aggressive stuff. To me, it's likely something very simple like a wicker. And as much as I love watching these guys go so fast, being faster doesn't typically translate into greater racing.
In the Forbes article, the author writes, "Still, the IRS has nothing on Montoya and his advisors when it comes to chutzpah." That sentence alone I think can give fans some peace of mind, right?
Ryan McGee (2:41 PM)
There is plenty of chutzpah to go around there, yes.
Matthew (Pennsburg, PA)
Hey Ryan: I am a Greg Biffle Fan, but is there really any reason why he bumped the 48 car on Sunday? I thought he wanted to apologize and work things out.
Ryan McGee (2:42 PM)
Yeah, he was just messing with him. He quickly addressed it with a little Haha Tweet on Sunday evening. No matter his goal, I thought it was a little nuts. Imagine if he'd wrecked the points leader just messing around!
Mark (Albany, NY)
Ryan, I was really thinking about this yesterday & my ? to you is would Jimmie Johnson be as dominant of a driver with another crew chief? No doubt Jimmie has tremendous talent, but without the leadership
Ryan McGee (2:44 PM)
There is no doubt that all parts of the combination have to work right. That's true for the 48 now just as it was for the 24 with Jeff & Ray, the 11 with DW
Ryan McGee (2:45 PM)
If he was with a lesser team, he'd take those cars to whatever limit they had, too.
Ed (Bay City, MI)
Love being part of the 406. Keep up the good work. And don't forget about the music part of it.
Ryan McGee (2:46 PM)
Thanks. Yeah, we've had so many guests lately we had to park the Top 5's for a minute. With yet another country music awards show on tap this week, I know Marty will be lathered up.
When you say Producer Jay, do you mean Jay Sodenberg, aka Pod Vader from the 06010? Pass it on!
Ryan McGee (2:46 PM)
Hitting on something is one thing, going from sixth to first in 15 laps with no one even able to run with them is out of this world. I'm not against the 48, but I seriously thought we'd hear later in the evening the car was illegal. Knaus and JJ are unreal.
Ryan McGee (2:47 PM)
It was nuts. It's rare, especially in this era, that we see a car that much visibly faster than everyone else. When he had new tires on it was like watching the Millineum Falcon.
Why do you think JJ isn't respected amongst the fans and in sports? I am a diehard 24 fan, while my brother is 48 fan. We had a little bet at a sports bar, to see who people knew more. Gordon or Johnson? we ask 20 diferent people, 17 of 20 knew of Gordon, while only 6 knew of Johnson. i know nascar boomed in the 90's with Gordon, but it seems no one ever outside of racing reconizes the history of what the 48 is doing? In your opinon, Why?
Ryan McGee (2:49 PM)
You are absolutely right about Jeff Gordon. Even now, in the twilight of his career, he's still JEFF GORDON. To me, that's why he's on the NASCAR Mount Rushmore, not just for the impact he's had on the racetrack, but what he's changed off the track. The reason all these guys today have jets and mansions and more money than they can spend is because of the groundwork that Gordon and his team laid nearly two decades ago. Just like Earnhardt and Petty before him.
Ryan McGee (2:50 PM)
Johnson isn't as mainstream because the sport isn't growing like it was in Gordon's day. But within the sport, he's just as revered among his competitors as Gordon was when he was seemingly winning every weekend. And he is despised by a large chunk of the fanbase...just like Gordon was.
Anthony (Charlotte, NC)
Kahne posted his car number this weekend. At Phoenix, is it back to posting Newman's?
Ryan McGee (2:52 PM)
Probably, but then back to his number at Homestead. I wrote this in the ESPN.com Power Rankings earlier today - Over the eight Chase races, his average finish on the four 1.5-mile ovals is 8.5 and on the four other tracks it's 28.2.
Jeremy (South Hill, VA)
Your response to my question touched on something that I think is a bit over-stressed, at least in my opinion. While I understand that faster speeds don't always mean better racing, I think we have to be careful to make a huge leap--in my view too huge--and reduce speeds. Mike Bagley and Pete Pistone on SiriusXM referenced once a race at Ontario on YouTube in the 70s. Much slower speeds, and flat banking to boot. And it was a great race to watch. But you know what else I noticed? Empty seats. Not just sparse. Empty. Sometimes either NASCAR doesn't belong at a track (Ontario and now Indy in my view), or fans come to see other things, like their favorite driver/personalities which is another huge set of worms (corporate dollars, etc).
Ryan McGee (2:54 PM)
Sometimes it just doesn't work. I was there for the inaugural weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana and we used to drive past the remains of the Ontario track every single day. Like Ontario, Fontana sold out all its events in the beginning, but faded away.
Jim Bob (Bama)
What type of reputation do these smaller teams have in the garage? Are there some who are well respected for trying to do it the right way? And are there some less respected for starting and parking or not getting out of their own way?
Ryan McGee (2:57 PM)
If those teams are really working toward building something, even if they are starting and parking, then they are respected. There are teams who were start-and-parks who were obviously doing it until they could bank the cash to start really racing. And there are teams who are starting and parking just because they can. Those teams aren't disrespected...they just aren't even really thought about. As long as they get the hell out of the way, no one cares.
Jose Canseco (Miami)
The 48 is on steroids, not the driver......the car
Ryan McGee (2:57 PM)
Well, you would know, Jose.
Vettel is on an incredible run in F1. Just stating.
Ryan McGee (2:58 PM)
Keith H (Seattle)
What are wickers?
Ryan McGee (3:00 PM)
Essentially a little strip of plastic or metal that is attached to edges on the car. Could be the roof, the spoiler, a window line, anywhere. In open wheel racing they call it a Gurney Flap. It's a small but very effective aero device that can create tremendous amounts of air pressure to whatever side of the surface it's applied.
Ryan McGee (3:02 PM)
Alright folks, goota go. Hit me up on Twitter (@ESPNMcGee) and be sure to visit ESPNRadio.com/podcenter to download Marty & McGee. Until next time, tip the wait staff and enjoy the music of Nantucket.