Chat with Ryan McGee
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, Ryan McGee will stop by to chat about the 2012 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)
Welcome my Band-Aid covered brothers and sisters to the Monday Motorsports Block Party Chat. Ho hum...nothing much to talk about today, right? WRONG! To the queries!
Darren (New York)
Taking away the obvious from the incident with Jeff/ Clint, I feel that everyone is missing the two main points here, 1) Jeff wrecked a car in a chase for a championship, and 2) he took out two other cars. For those two reasons he should be benched. Every driver has or will retaliate against another one, but I have lost all respect for Gordon with the way he handled that situation. You do not do that to a driver in a chase for the championship.
Ryan McGee (2:02 PM)
This seems to be the prevailing opinion today. Hard to argue with those two points.
Boston for 15 (Boston, MA)
I know Gordon is a popular guy, blah, blah, blah. The punk should be parked next week. No one should get away with wrecking a driver still mathematically in contention. That was a total amateur move by a so-called legend.
Ryan McGee (2:02 PM)
This is a great "If the show was on the other foot" question, indeed.
Craig (San Jose, CA)
I know I'm a biased fan blinded by hope, but give me one reason to believe that Jimmie can pull off a miracle on Sunday. I keep thinking it can happen. Gut feeling.
Ryan McGee (2:04 PM)
I don't that it is over...but it is close. Keep two things in mind as we head to Homestead. 1. We saw a 27-point swing on Sunday. That happens in the other direction this weekend and, well... 2. Brad still has not had his one bad week in the Chase. Everyone else has. Truthfully, he's only had one bad week since June!
Ryan McGee (2:05 PM)
I'll say this before and I'll say it again. If he doesn't have a bad week at Homestead and goes 10-for-10 with solid Chase finishes, then guess what? That's a champion, plain and simple.
Seems like Brad is either a huge whiner that has very thin skin or he can't stand the attention to be directed away from him. He kinda made a fool of himself in the post race press conference and he certainly missed Steward's point from last week in my opinion. He has been in Cup 3-4 seasons and he is going to lecture Gordon about being embarrassed about what happened? It would be one thing if it was directed at him, it wasn't, and while he could have been collected in the wreck he wasn't.
Ryan McGee (2:07 PM)
That's just kind of who he is. Always has been. He doesn't hold back on his thoughts. What's interesting about that is that is a different kind of lack-of-filter that we see with other guys. Filterless for them usually means spouting profanities or rambling. For Brad, who is a very smart guy, it means rolling out his opinions no matter what the topic. Lot of people, especially rivals, don't like that. But there's nothing they can do about it, either.
Ryan McGee (2:08 PM)
Great example was the post-race at Texas when Brad just carried on about the criticism of his restarts...and did it sitting right next to one those critics, Kyle Busch. Kyle was looking at him the whole time like, I can't believe he's saying this right in front of me.
Brian (Middletown, PA)
So, what was more exciting to watch this weekend? Bama lose to A&M, or the scuffle behind the wall in Phoenix?
Ryan McGee (2:10 PM)
Crazy, right? I Tweeted last night that between Bama and Jimmie we saw two supposed unbeatables go down in a heap. I know there are probably a lot of people who are fans of both the Tide and the 48. You might want to get them something to drink.
Hi Ryan, how impressed were you with Kurt's 2nd straight Top 10 in his @FR78racing Chevy?
Ryan McGee (2:11 PM)
I was impressed. I looked it up and it's been a little over a year since Kurt had B2B top 10's. However, it hasn't been that long for Furniture Row. Regan Smith did it in August with two 9th place runs.
Childress might be sad to see Happy go, but the silver lining for Harvick moving to SHR in 2014 is that it frees up the 29/3 car for Austin... how long does Burton have in the 31 before he's gone to make way for Ty next?
Ryan McGee (2:13 PM)
I think the plan all along was for Burton to slide out and Austin to slide in by '14. Harvick's move will alter that a bit. But I like my future at RCR down the road if it's Austin and Ty with another big free agent.
Ryan McGee (2:14 PM)
Honestly, I know that RC isn't real happy with the Harvick move (especially if he takes Bud with him), but that place needs to hit the reset button. They can't keep going up and down on this inconsistent roller coaster they've been on. This feels like a step in that direction.
Ryan McGee (2:16 PM)
In a related note, I have no problem with Austin Dillon in a #3 car. It's time. And he's the perfect guy to make that move. Richard started driving it because his hero was Junior Johnson, who drove it before him. For his grandson to take it over, I think Earnhardt would have no problem with that at all.
Think Dodge execs are kicking themselves right now with the way things are turning out for them... Sure hope for Bad Brad's sake that Penske Fords will be more consistent performers than RFR's Fords were this year.
Ryan McGee (2:17 PM)
I think the Dodge guys are loving it. Hey, it wasn't their choice. They were kicked to the curb. If anyone is double-clutching it might be Penske.
Eddie Gossage had the "throw a helmet at the 17 car" game at Texas. Imagine what he could have done with Gordon/Bowyer!
Ryan McGee (2:18 PM)
Don't think he isn't in a meeting right now trying to figure out how to capitalize on it!
Ryan McGee (2:18 PM)
By the way, I thought the Wild Asphalt Circus stuff was awesome.
Will teams have this 2013 car ready for the start of next season? Hearing a lot of teams have not been able to build any cars because NASCAR hasnt signed off on the final version.
Ryan McGee (2:19 PM)
They'll be fine. It's already been run a lot by the manufacturers, teams, and NASCAR itself. I was talking to Brian Vickers, who has been doing a lot of NASCAR's testing for them, and he loves it.
Ryan McGee (2:20 PM)
It's really more a fabrication move than anything else. The chassis doesn't change, so they aren't totally building new cars from rack to track. Just skinning them. That's not easy, but it's not as hard as going from scratch.
Alice (New York)
Mr. McGee, do you think the fact that NASCAR had already black-flagged Jeff should impact their penalty decision? Personally, I think his lack of regard for the safety of the field and the championship contenders alone suffices, but since NASCAR already had black flagged him when he wrecked Clint Boyer, he should definitely be parked at Homestead. Do you agree?
Ryan McGee (2:22 PM)
There are a lot of things wrong with what Jeff did. I don't expect him to be benched. That kind of penalty is typically reserved for someone who has a history of being difficult or has already been warned by NASCAR. Like Kurt Busch's suspensions or the time Harvick was parked for his Martinsville tantrum way back when.
Ryan McGee (2:23 PM)
But that being said, if Gordon is parked, then I don't have a problem with that. I don't think he would either, to be honest. I thought the look on his face was like Cole Trickle after he'd wrecked Russ Wheeler in Days of Thunder. Kind of relieved.
what i think should had happen clint bowyer should have slow down and follw him at end and then settle it in the pit and instead of the garage area...
Ryan McGee (2:25 PM)
Don'r agree with you. Pit road incidents put a lot of innocent bystanders in harm's way. Back in the garage, everyone has to have a hot pass. In other words, they know the risks.
What happened to Matt Kenseth at the end of the race? Did he cut a tire or something?
Ryan McGee (2:25 PM)
Titus Pullo (Rome, NY)
It will be wonderful to finally have REAL RACING this weekend on U.S. soil in Texas, instead of this freak show roller-derby-on-four-wheels in Florida. Just what is NASCAR going to do when their "have at it, boys" policy gets someone killed?
Ryan McGee (2:26 PM)
I am looking forward to Austin. They always love a good parade in Texas.
Cory (Geneva, IL)
Not that it would, or they would, but is there anything NASCAR could do if someone like Kahne or Jr. just wrecked Keselowski on the first lap?
Ryan McGee (2:27 PM)
Good question. But I don't think we'll ever have to know because I don't think anyone would do it.
Marc (Malden, MA)
What was Nascar thinking not throwing the caution when Danica got spun? They're very lucky she didn't get hurt when two cars slammed into her past the finish line.
Ryan McGee (2:29 PM)
You bring up a huge issue, and one I thought was a much bigger deal than the fight. Not throwing the yellow there was just insane. Everyone knows that these guys already have a helluva time seeing anything that time of day when they come off Turn 4 and head into the sunset. The frontstretch is super narrow. So now you're letting a limping car that's billowing a smoke screen ride along the inside wall...during a green-white-checker finish?!!
Ryan McGee (2:30 PM)
We're really lucky no one was hurt. Especially Danica or Ryan Newman.
If Brian Vickers' return to Nationwide with JGR goes well, could you see him in full-time Cup ride with them in 2014? Or is it more likely that he'd try for Martin's seat in the #55 at MWR?
Ryan McGee (2:30 PM)
I say the 55 car.
Which lucky ESPN writer gets the USGP F1 assignment at Austin?
Ryan McGee (2:31 PM)
My man Terry Blount, proud member of the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame. I toyed with the idea of going, but just couldn't make it work.
Jeff Gordon (Nascar Hauler)
I wont be bench because Robbie Penderton loves me.
Ryan McGee (2:31 PM)
Yeah, but how does Robin Pemberton feel about you?
A lot of action, how about Danica finishing 17th? I think she is a long way away, but she seems to be improving more and more than I expected. She had a chance at a top 15 before Burton punted her. I feel a little better of her contending for some decent finishes next year. People seem to forget that 16 year olds have more stock car experience than her.
Ryan McGee (2:33 PM)
And she was headed to a much better finish than that before her late incident. That's two decent efforts in a row. But yes, I still think going to Cup full-time next year is going to be a horror flick. Another full Nationwide season and I think she'd be a legit in that series. Instead, they are throwing her into the deep end. Full of sharks.
Agree about the lack of caution being a bigger deal than the fight, but...will Keselowski holding the 20 point lead, and it not being a five point lead going into the final race, have any impact on a suspension? NASCAR doesn't want to lose the casual fan who would have tuned in if it was a "tight" championship battle, but now won't, but might again to see what Bowyer may or may not do to Gordon.
Ryan McGee (2:35 PM)
I don't think one factors into the other. But if Jeff is in the race, the odds of him being punted are mighty good.
Laura (Manhattan Beach, Ca)
What did you mean in your comments about Dale not liking the reconfigured PIR? It didn't seem to slow down @@KyleBusch?
Ryan McGee (2:36 PM)
I'm not sure what one has to do with the other. One guys likes it, the other doesn't. Just as I'm sure they probably don't have the same favorite food.
Jeremy (New Roads, LA)
Am I the only one who realized that Childress drivers wrecked eight cars over the weekend?
Ryan McGee (2:37 PM)
Pretty sure Childress realized it. What a weekend for Jeff Burton. I wouldn't be surprise if we found out someone ran into his rental car.
Phoenix (FSU Dorm)
Shrub led many laps but ............. Is he just having difficulty closing the deal or is he using his equipment up too early?
Ryan McGee (2:39 PM)
As bummed as he is not to get the win, I think he'll take a day like Sunday over the days he was having most of the season's first half. They have quietly gotten it back in gear. There's always one non-title contending team that seems to hit winter with a ton of momentum. This year that's Kyle.
Chris (Brunswick, GA)
Gordon should have to pay to fix the 20 and the 43 cars. The 43 has been having some pretty good runs lately by the way. Is Aric coming back?
Ryan McGee (2:40 PM)
I think he is. That's three very good cars in a row. People still try to convince me the 43 should look elsewhere, but I think Aric is just now getting the hang of this. He's been around so long that people think he has more Cup experience than he actually does. This is just his first full season.
Nick Rolando (Orlando)
Ryan as a Blue Oval supporter I think the move by Penske was good in the sense that it gives them security (5-yr deal) compared to Dodge and a one-yr deal, joint effort on engines and more manufacture support.
Ryan McGee (2:42 PM)
Agreed, as long as they don't end up playing second fiddle to Roush. But I do think they could have handled it all much better back in February and March. Still, if they win their title together it'll be a nice ride into the sunset.
Keith H (Seattle)
Here's something my NASCAR brethren are missing. Let's take it in a football context: A team with a big halftime deficit has just has much time to make it up as they did to fall behind. JJ has just as much time (one race) to make up the deficit from yesterday. What am I missing?
Ryan McGee (2:43 PM)
Nothing. I'm with you, per my 27-point swing comment earlier. But history is not on the 48's side.
Claudia (Western NY)
Would Nascar dare dock Bad Brad points for his profane comments? Didn't they do that to Junior?
Ryan McGee (2:43 PM)
Junior's were in Victory Lane on live TV.
With news that Danica won't be attempting the 2013 Indy 500, I'm curious to find out if she even had a potential ride lined up anyway?
Ryan McGee (2:45 PM)
Not really. She had left that door open with comments she made earlier this year, that she'd been mulling over some opportunities and would like to do it if the situation was right. But SHR did the right thing and nipped that in the bud. Zippy kind of went off about it, and he's right. He saw the toll Memorial Day doubles took on Stewart. Danica needs to focus on her day job in 2013.
Forgot the mess with Danica's car leaking oil, why didn't Nascar throw the white flag along with the yellow when Gordon dumped Bowyer? That should've ended the race right there with Harvick as the winner.
Ryan McGee (2:46 PM)
That's what RCR contended too, but the replay clearly showed the 29 wasn't back to the line when the yellow light came on.
Good parade... Funny! I caught that. How about giving some credit to the most technical cars in the world. Also, F1 qualifying is the most exciting in Motor Sports.
Ryan McGee (2:47 PM)
I love F1. But it's a totally different style of racing. When open wheel fans bash stock cars or vice-versa, it drives me crazy. It's like comparing baseball to cricket. They may look similar, but they are not.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Do you credit Danica's improvement in NW to JRM getting rid of the Eury's and brining in Ryan Pemberton?
Ryan McGee (2:48 PM)
Yep. I love the Eurys, but that was a move that should have been long ago. And the Earnhardts knew that. It's just never easy to tell family that they need to leave, whether they are setting up race cars or whether they've hung around way too long after Thanksgiving dinner is over.
Whoa, they're still racing in NASCAR? Don't they know it's football season? Seriously, shouldn't this have been done about 6 weeks ago? Some overlap is ok, but this much?
Ryan McGee (2:50 PM)
I'm with you. And I get in hot water everytime I say this...but I am a fan of shortening the season. A lot. Like Labor Day weekend. It prevents you from competing with football and it creates a little more demand by cutting back on the supply. Right now racing never goes away and thusly, fans never really miss it.
Ryan that's a ridiculous rule, Harvick was on the straightaway headed for the white and the wreck was behind him. Sure, the JGR drivers would've complained about an early yellow, but that's just sour grapes because they didn't win. What's more important, a win or safety?
Ryan McGee (2:54 PM)
Well, with F1 coming this wknd, instead of rolling restarts in NASCAR, how bout starting races from a dead stop in a grid formation?
Ryan McGee (2:56 PM)
I love those. But 43 guys doing that on the frontstretch at Martinsville is something that would last one time. It would make that last turn at Phoenix look like Moms pushing baby carriages through the park.
Chris (Brunswick, GA)
Is Kyle Larson the real deal? Seems like he has amazing talent. Too bad he is signed with EGR & their sinking ship.
Ryan McGee (2:57 PM)
He is. There are a lot of real deals out there right now. I think this is the fullest the talent pipeline has been in decades.
camera man (ESPN)
can I get a shout out? I need an award for keeping up with Clint yesterday
Ryan McGee (2:58 PM)
How awesome was that?! That crew is the best.
Plate racing has changed, so this is probably a mute question (but, really, is ANY question about Star Wars ever mute?). But now that Lucasfilm and ESPN are both owned by Disney, if the tandem racing comes back, can you refer to it as pod-racing with impunity?
Ryan McGee (2:59 PM)
This right here is a great point. And I appreciate you remembering that I was terrified that Lucas would sue me for calling it that. I will call our legal department immediately!
Steve (Dont know)
Ryan if you shorten the season. What tracks would you AX
Ryan McGee (3:00 PM)
I axe no one. But I cut a lot of them back to one race.
What is your final guess on who gets what penalities tomorrow from yesterday?
Ryan McGee (3:01 PM)
I say Gordon gets a big $ and points fine, but isn't parked. Everyone else I think is in the clear.
Ryan McGee (3:02 PM)
Alright folks, gotta go. Thanks for the fast and furious questions. No way I could get to them all, so hit me up on Twitter or email. In the meantime, enjoy the music of John Philip Sousa and thank a veteran today. We get to do what we do because of what they did for us.