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March 13, 1:11 PM ET
Chat with Ryan McGee

Ryan McGee
  (2:00 PM)

Hi folks, and welcome back from a weekend off to the Internet's biggest Monday afternoon motorsports block party! How about another round of applause for that Mike Vega. Sure, they don't know how to pronounce the word "car" up there in Beantown ("cahs"), but he manages to do a killer job just the same!

Ryan McGee
  (2:01 PM)

Besides, I've spent enough time on the Mass Turnpike in my life to know that those people certainly know how to handle a wad of vehicles at high speed.

Lonnie (Apex, NC)

Give me your top five should win the race guys at Bristol this weekend.

Ryan McGee
  (2:02 PM)

Yo Lonnie, love Apex. Home of my baseball hero, Josh Hamilton!

Ryan McGee
  (2:04 PM)

I'll say: 1. Carl Edwards - he's won two of the last three in Thunder Valley. 2. Kurt Busch - 5 wins in 16 starts 3. Kevin Harvick - best average finish of any current active racer at 9.6 4. Greg Biffle - right behind Happy at 9.8, but no wins to show for it 5. Jeff Gordon/Matt Kenseth

Ryan McGee
  (2:04 PM)

So that's six, sue me.

Thomas, Indy

Will someone answer a Vickers question! Do you think Brian will win a race this year...and/or make the chase?

Ryan McGee
  (2:06 PM)

Thomas, you must be new here. I've answered a BV question about every week...and who is the only ESPN.com writer to predict that Vickers could make the Chase? No, not Marty! ME! I think he could very easily win a race or three. With any luck he'd already have a win or two and we're not even two months in.

Glen, Fla

Ryan. forget about top 5 finishing at Bristol. how about a top 5 of who throws their helmets first

Ryan McGee
  (2:07 PM)

Exactly! Remember when Bobby Labonte got out of the 18 car, threw his helmet at it, then kicked it and almost busted his butt falling down the banking?

Ryan McGee
  (2:07 PM)

If Bobby gets that rattled then you know the place is brutal.

Matt (Ogdensburg, New Jersey)

hey ryan what are dale jr's chances at bristol this weekend

Ryan McGee
  (2:08 PM)

Hey Matt...stop posting the same damn question 20 times. The answer - 50/50. He's typically pretty good there (10 top 10's and a win in 18 tries) but these days who knows where his head is at?

Steiny (NYC)

What are your thoughts on Kyle Busch saying that he does not want to be the face of NASCAR?

Ryan McGee
  (2:09 PM)

I say there are better faces to have. That arrangement is fine by me.

james (waterloo, IA)

when will edwards win his first race

Ryan McGee
  (2:09 PM)

This weekend.

Jack partlow va [via mobile]

When will hendrick dump tony jr .

Ryan McGee
  (2:10 PM)

Hi Jack. I think the answer is never. If the Juniors are going to divorce they will have to facilitate it themselves. Personally, I don't know if Dale Junior can deal with another crew chief because I don't know if any other crew chief can take what seems like berating over the radio.

Ryan McGee
  (2:12 PM)

His cousin Tony Junior knows that it isn't personal, I don't know if anyone else would be able to make that distinction. I do think that Mr. Hendrick is going to have a sit down conversation with the two and tell them to get their act together....if he hasn't already.

Ryan McGee
  (2:12 PM)

Great story on the Juniors by my main man Terry Blount on ESPN.com right now.

Matt (Ogdensburg, New Jersey)

well now the only reason i post it so many times is beacuse my question never gets posted and ok i will post this one only once do you think jr has a shot at the cup

Ryan McGee
  (2:13 PM)

Well stop it. It's more irritating than listening to the Juniors on the radio. And no, he does not. Not this year.

Glen, Fla

Ryan. nice article about March madness aka Bristol/Martinville/Texas. question, why does nascar put Bristol and Martinsville back to back instead of maybe spreading them out between boring cookie cutter tracks

Ryan McGee
  (2:15 PM)

Thanks for the props Glen and for reading. Running short tracks back to back is a time-honored scheduling tradition. We used to have what we called the "Short Track Season" when we'd run Bristol, Martinsville, Wilkesboro, and Richmond all in a near clump. Plus, I think the teams and the league brass likes to have everyone in the same mindset for a couple of weeks.

Jake (Orlando, FL)

Four races? Don't you think that penalty was a little stiff for the tire running crew guy at Atlanta?

Ryan McGee
  (2:18 PM)

Yes Jake I do. We suspend crew chiefs for five weeks when they are guilty of the most heinous technical crimes (see #55 car putting jet fuel in line at Daytona). After he was suspended for the majority of the Atlanta race + th 4-race penalty poor Jimme Watts basically got hit with the same. No way that's fair. Besides, he was just trying to do the right thing.

Derek V. (Chatham, Mass)

I tried to get on in time to ask Mike Vega this question but I will ask you instead. How would you rate the Roush Racing-Fenway Sports merger at the two year point?

Ryan McGee
  (2:18 PM)

You can shout it at him when he's on NASCAR Now tonight. Maybe he'll hear you through the TV.

Ryan McGee
  (2:20 PM)

I think it's been a huge success. They've won a Nationwide/Busch championship, They've also won 20 Cup races with four different drivers and finished second in points.

Ryan McGee
  (2:21 PM)

They've also really been the only team to make a major merger/buyout work so far. The jury is still out on Petty-Evernham and Earnhardt-Ganassi, but its hard to imagine they'd have the same kind of success that Roush Fenway has had.

becka,va

who will first vickers or reed

Ryan McGee
  (2:22 PM)

Vickers. Unfortunately, Reed appears headed in the wrong direction.

Matt Kenseth (Concord) [via mobile]

Off to Bristol.... North Carolina is who I have winning the tournament. What about you?

Ryan McGee
  (2:22 PM)

Okay, show of hands...who thinks this is really Matt Kenseth? He's here every week...

Ryan McGee
  (2:23 PM)

I think Pitt or Louisville. But I haven't won an office pool in...well, ever...

Marc (Malden, MA)

If you think the Pike is filled with crazy drivers, you should try 128. Did you go your homework and find out what make everyone goes to next year if GM goes out of business?

Ryan McGee
  (2:24 PM)

I used to live in Bristol, CT and went to Boston all the time. If these Cup guys think slowing down and getting on to pit road at Vegas is tough they should try getting off the Pike to go to Burger King between Springfield and Boston!

Ryan McGee
  (2:26 PM)

To answer your question, I did talk to one team owner (it's always hard to get callbacks during an off week, everyone is fishing and hunting) and he (a Chevy owner) said that he has had "casual" talks with - wat for it - Toyota.

Ryan McGee
  (2:27 PM)

Sadly, there seems to be little faith in anything coming out of Detroit right now.

Laura, Texas! [via mobile]

If he's the real Matt kenseth then I'm Shaka Kahn

Ryan McGee
  (2:27 PM)

And you, ma'am, are on my iPod.

Nick in Omaha

Any chance of the Iowa Speedway expanding one day and getting a Cup race?

Ryan McGee
  (2:29 PM)

Nope, I think Rusty Wallace (who owns the place) is perfectly happy with his current Nationwide/Indy Car calendar.

Ryan McGee
  (2:30 PM)

I finally made it out there last year for the IRL race and was blown away with how nice it is. Especially considering the city around it was completely flooded.

Miner (San Francisco)

I'm not big into NASCAR, and don't know much about it or its history. Just wondering who you think is the greatest driver or all time. Petty? Yarborough? Dale Sr.?

Ryan McGee
  (2:31 PM)

Miner, I have always been a Richard Petty man. My office is covered in Petty Blue and my four-year daughter is already trianed to answer that question "The King", so I am a little biased.

Ryan McGee
  (2:31 PM)

My top five all-time: 1. Petty 2. Earnhardt 3. Pearson 4. Gordon 5. Yarborough

jake (NJ)

Ryan what do you think of Harvick's chances to get back into victory lane this year? He hasn't won a points race in over two years but seems to be on the verge of getting back.

Ryan McGee
  (2:34 PM)

I don't think there's any question that he'll make it to Victory Lane this year. If he doesn't do it at Bristol this weekend keep your eye on Richmond, the two road courses, and Chicago.

Linda (Lake City, TN)

Are there really tickets available for Bristol this weekend?

Ryan McGee
  (2:36 PM)

As of Friday yes there were...can you believe that?!

Ryan McGee
  (2:37 PM)

That's probably the biggest indicator we've seen of the economic slowdown. There aren't a lot of tickets available, but if you ever wanted to go to a Cup race at Thunder Valley (and who hasn't?) then this is the year.

Tracy Jackson (Starkville, Miss) Go Bulldogs!

With the economy continuing to tank, what is the biggest thing you think NASCAR team owners can do to save money?

Ryan McGee
  (2:37 PM)

Oh Tracy, I went to Tennessee. Your 'Dogs broke my heart on Sunday!

Ryan McGee
  (2:38 PM)

Every team is cutting costs across the board. I think that this national "attitude adjustment" as Richard Childress has called it, has taught the owners that they were probably being a little carefree with their cash.

Ryan McGee
  (2:39 PM)

In other words, they don't actually need a half-dozen shock bleed specialists on the team when one will do.

Ryan McGee
  (2:39 PM)

But to answer your question - and the drivers don't want to hear this - the place they will likely be cutting the most in the not-too-distant future will be driver salaries.

Ryan McGee
  (2:40 PM)

Jeff Gordon has already offered to take a pay cut if it will help his team. Which of course is easy to do if you've won more $$ than any racer in American history...which he has.

Steiny (NYC)

In your opinion, is Kurt Busch a serious title threat?

Ryan McGee
  (2:41 PM)

Yes he is Steiny. All he had to do is make the Chase, which he's in prime position to do. He knows how to take care of business from there because he's done it before.

Ryan McGee
  (2:41 PM)

And to think, everything they've done this year has been with an engine that was even ready yet!

Laura, Texas! [via mobile]

I'm a big kasey kahne fan! Woo! How many races do you think he'll win this season, cuz he will win at some point and do you predict him being in the chase this season?

Ryan McGee
  (2:43 PM)

Dear Chaka,,,er, I mean Laura...I think he'll win A race, two or three tops, We'll know how for real he is when we get to May, which is when he started kicking butt last year. the trick will be to keep it up this time. Last year he faded faster than a Steven Segal movie at the box office.

Norton (Culver City, CA)

I have had a hard time finding information on the Helio Castroneves trial in Miami. Is there a potential NASCAR impact if he is found guilty?

Ryan McGee
  (2:44 PM)

Hey NORTON! I bet you get that all the time, don't you?

Ryan McGee
  (2:45 PM)

You have good timing with this one. I am headed down to Miami this week to look in on the Helio trial for a couple of days and see what's up and report it you...so keep an eye out.

Ryan McGee
  (2:46 PM)

I think we haven't heard much because tax trials aren't very sexy...even if they are played out in front of a jury like he's committed murder.

Ryan McGee
  (2:47 PM)

And yes, there is a definite NASCAR impact. Helio's attorney that is accused of setting up the tax shelter for his $5 million bonus is Alan Miller, who also handles the money and contacts for a slew of people in the racing business - including Jimmie Johnson.

Ryan McGee
  (2:47 PM)

So stay tuned...I'll be doing m best Court TV impersonation later in the week.

Matt (Birmingham)

Could we please make Marcos Ambrose a roty contender? Sure, Logano is taking his lumps, but in how many years would he be leading? Also, is the recent downturn in good rookies something we can place on the Buschwhackers in every NW race?

Ryan McGee
  (2:49 PM)

Seems unfair doesn'tit, Matt? But the Rookie of Year rules are the Rookie of the Year rules and since Marcos made 11 starts in '08 he has too much experience to keep his rookie status.

Ryan McGee
  (2:50 PM)

This is the same rule that kept Carl Edwards from winning ROTY in 2005. Though Kyle Busch did win it, so it was still pretty accurate.

Glen, Fla

Ryan, chance of Jr winning this week. sorry I'm kidding, real question, Daytona closed the back straight away seating for the 400 because of the economy, has any other tracks followed and closed that many seats

Ryan McGee
  (2:51 PM)

Glen, you are bringing it today...and with some humor to boot.

Ryan McGee
  (2:52 PM)

I think we'll see some tracks close some grandstands. Places like Homestead were already looking into contracting a little bit, so it wouldn't surprise me to see more places fall into that same line.

Aron (Las Colinas, Tx)

Ryan, Where is Texas on your list of favorite tracks to visit?

Ryan McGee
  (2:53 PM)

These days it is near the top. Back in the day it was at the bottom. I have never been as miserable as I was when we were there for the opening weekend back in '97.

Ryan McGee
  (2:53 PM)

Other than no electricity, a tornado, flooding, a sewage leak in turn four, and a horrible race it was a great experience.

Ryan McGee
  (2:54 PM)

What Eddie Gossage has done down there is nothing short of a Texas-sized turnaround.

Alan, HOUSTON TEXAS!

Talking about race tracks in Texas? Why not add Texas World Speedway? It can be the next Super Speedway track. Just saying.

Ryan McGee
  (2:55 PM)

One can dream, Alex, but nobody went to Texas World back in the day and it hasn't gotten any nicer. A lot of Cup teams have tested down there though due to the "No NASCAR Tracks' testing ban. Supposedly Greg Biffle ran like 220 mph at Texas World over the winter.

Danny (Plano, TX)

I liked your story today comparing NASCAR to March Madness, though I usuallt don't like other sports mixed in with my racing. How big of a deal is it really to be in the top 12 now?

Ryan McGee
  (2:56 PM)

Thanks Danny...the Lone Star State is representing today!

Ryan McGee
  (2:57 PM)

Being in the top 12 when we get to the end of April is gigantic. You wouldn't think so, but the last few years our top ten headed into May has pretty much been our top ten when we get to the Chase.

Ryan McGee
  (2:58 PM)

The only guys who weren't in the top 12 when we left Texas last Aprril and eventually made it in were Kenseth and Gordon...and they were the first two guys outside the top dozen.

Ryan McGee
  (2:58 PM)

That's not exactly good news for guys like Mark Martin, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, and - GULP - Dale Junior.

Ryan McGee
  (3:00 PM)

Alright folks, thanks for coming to this week's edition of the Internet's fastest one-hour motorsports block party. Don't forget to tip your waiters and waitresses and enjoy the music of Laura from Texas, aka Chaka Kahn. See you next Monday at 2 pm ET!