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April 27, 12:44 PM ET
Chat with Ryan McGee

Ryan McGee
  (2:01 PM)

What up people?

Ryan McGee
  (2:03 PM)

Welcome to the Internet's only one-hour motorsports block party. How about that Andy Petree, huh? (Don't tell him, but I once stood in line to get his autograph when he was the crew chief for one of my childhood heroes, Handsome Harry Gant).

Ryan McGee
  (2:03 PM)

To the questions!

Chris (Wichita, KS)

Is a restrictor-plate race really worthy of being included in the championship chase? I don't feel it does anything to separate the better drivers and teams, but what are your thoughts?

Ryan McGee
  (2:05 PM)

Chris, I think plate races are no more or less fair than road course races or short tracks. When we go to The Glen and Sonoma there are only about a half dozen guys that we know can win. And it is just as easy to get caught up in someone else's mess at Bristol and Martinsville as it is at Talladega and Daytona, the results just don't look as spectacular.

Ryan McGee
  (2:06 PM)

In other words, it all works out in the wash. Right now we have the most diverse schedule in racing - big tracks, little ones, plate, road course, flat, high-banked, triangular, rectangluar, etc... I don't want to mess with it.

Jeff (East Bay, CA)

Whoooo, boy, what a race yesterday! I was literally standing up in my living room during the last 5 laps! Was Newman's strong finish a sign that he might be turning it around, or do we throw it out as a restrictor plate race?

Ryan McGee
  (2:09 PM)

You never throw out a good finish, no matter how you've earned it. And there is much more to Newman's comeback than just this weekend. He's been climbing the points charts for several weeks in a row now. He's suddenly a real threat to make the Chase...and don't forget, he's solid at Darlington and Charlotte.

Ryan McGee
  (2:10 PM)

And I'm with you, I love plate racing. Come December we will only remember a few races from the season and I guarantee that most of them will be the plate races. Always are.

Curtis (Mesa, AZ)

I have to be one of only 7 people involved in this chat, yet I can't get a response...retort?

Ryan McGee
  (2:11 PM)

You're one of about 150...and so far "Who are you?" and "Chris from Wichita is an idiot" isn't anywhere near the lead draft.

Tim (FL)

This riding around in the back until the last twenty laps in restrictor plate races has to go. In my opinion, it makes a joke of the race. Get up there and race! Your thoughts?

Ryan McGee
  (2:13 PM)

I think whatever works for you, do it. Personally I don't see much of a benefit in it. Most of the guys who chose to ride around in the back to avoid The Big One ended up getting caught up in the second Big One late in the race. My thoery has always been if you have a fast car get up front and stay there if you can. If it's good enough for Dale Earnhardt Senior, it's good enough for me.

Jamie (Smyrna, GA)

What changes do you see coming based on the wrecks at Dega? Also, is Reed Sorenson turning it around and catching up to Khane and Dinger?

Ryan McGee
  (2:15 PM)

I don't think there will be much in the form of changes, Jamie. The two big multicar crashes certainly were no worse than what we see everytime we go to Talladega. And if you go back and watch the last crash with Edwards, the roof flaps did their job. The 99 was landing back on the track until it was hit by Newman.

Ryan McGee
  (2:16 PM)

I think we may see new mandates on reinforcing catchfences like we saw after fans were killed at IRL and Champ Car races in the late '90's. Other than that I don't know that there's much that can be done.

Ryan McGee
  (2:17 PM)

Then again, Benny Parsons used to tell me all the time that they should tear down Talladega's turns and rebuild it as a moderately banked track. There again, hard to argue with the thoughts of a champion.

Jimmy (Dega)

I was at the race yesterday and almost got hit with a scrap of metal, what ya think about that Ryan?

Ryan McGee
  (2:18 PM)

I think it's terrible. And I think that's why the track needs to look at finding a way to reinforce the catchfence. Make it 60 feet tall and cover in bulletproof plexiglass...anything to make the fans safe.

Ryan McGee
  (2:19 PM)

I was at Lowe's Motor Speedway in 1999 when a tire from an IndyCar went into the stands and killed three fans. I still have nightmares about that.

Rich, Clearwater, FL

I think Dega showed (both NW and Cup races) that if you give him the car, Jr. will take it to the front. Are they getting "there"?

Ryan McGee
  (2:20 PM)

Yep. And I think it is all about being at places that make him comfortable. That's why I have said all along that the month of May will make or break his season.

Ryan McGee
  (2:21 PM)

Statistically speaking he's better at Richmond than he is at Talladega and he's always been good at Charlotte and Dover. We'll REALLY know his Chase chances by the time we get to June.

beca,va

jimmy thank GOd that you didn't get hit

Ryan McGee
  (2:21 PM)

Amen to that.

Greg (Crystal Lake)

NASCAR is a joke their not even athletes I drive a car everyday how is this any better?

Ryan McGee
  (2:23 PM)

Greg, go spend one hour with the folks at the Richard Petty Driving Experience or the Jeff Gordon Racing School and then come back and tell me that. Better yet, go to you local short track and have the track champ take you for a few laps. Then tell me its the same as driving around wherever Crystal Lake is.

Ryan McGee
  (2:24 PM)

Even better, go to a sitck and ball chat and leave us alone.

Keith (MD)

ARe tickets available for Richmond?

Ryan McGee
  (2:24 PM)

Yes, but not many. Call now!

Jack (Brooklyn, NY)

Do you think Dale Jr will win a race this season, yes or no?

Ryan McGee
  (2:24 PM)

Yes. And I think it might happen this weekend.

Jamie (Asheville, NC)

I heard Ryan Newman refer to the "Earnhardt Bar" when he was talking about his crash with Carl Edwards. What bar is he talking about?

Ryan McGee
  (2:26 PM)

Hey Jamie, love Asheville, I watched Robert Pressley, his dad and his brother, beat the living hell out of about a dozen other guys one night at the Asheville Speedway.

Ryan McGee
  (2:27 PM)

The Earnhardt Bar is a roll bar that runs along the length of the windshield that keeps the roof from collapsing when a car has a hard roofline-first impact.

Ryan McGee
  (2:28 PM)

They call it the Earnhardt Bar because it was added after Dale Senior had a horrifying crash at - where else - Talladega in 1997. He broke his collarbone when he flipped over onto his roof and another car - I think it was the 33 car - came flying in and hit him, a lot like Newman hitting Edwards on Sunday.

Ryan McGee
  (2:29 PM)

If Dale hadn't always insisted on having his seat mounted so low in the cockpit I'm not sure if he would have survived that deal.

Clay (Charlotte via Asheville)

Asheville Speedway isn't there anymore, great track. Zoning issues or something.

Ryan McGee
  (2:30 PM)

Well now, that sucks. I loved its location down in that valley. The Pressley's owned that place!

Ryan McGee
  (2:30 PM)

Not literally, figuratively.

Trevor (Clemson, SC)

Do you know anything about Kurt Busch?s contract situation? Will he resign? I would love to see him in a Gibb?s car with his brother!

Ryan McGee
  (2:32 PM)

Trevor, he's signed through at least 2010 and I doubt he's going anywhere. And I don't think the Busch boys have any desire to be teammates. Their relationship is tenuous at best and not living in Kurt's shadow was the main reason that Kyle left Roush for Hendrick years ago.

JJD (Seattle)

What do you know about BK's 2010 plans? If Mark Martin stays in the 5 might he go to JGR's 4th car?

Ryan McGee
  (2:33 PM)

First, congrats to Brad Keselowski. And also to car owner James Finch. I don't know what they put in that 09 car for these plate races, but Mike Wallace was always running up front in them and now it has a win!

Ryan McGee
  (2:35 PM)

His 2010 plans are totally up in the air right now. I know that JR Motorsports isn't really happy with the way that the Nationwide Series pays off right now - it doesn't - so a move to Cup isn't out of the question. But whatever BK does, I would be very surprised if he leaves the Hendrick solar system, which includes Stewart-Haas and JR Motorsports.

Jake (Manhattan, KS)

What race did Dale Sr. Flip his car, get out, look at it, and then get back in to finish the race?

Ryan McGee
  (2:38 PM)

That was the '97 Daytona 500. He ended up on his roof and while sitting in the ambulance he asked the safety crew to try and restart the car. When it refired, he jumped back in it and finished the race. It was a very balls-of-iron moment.

Ryan McGee
  (2:40 PM)

Kind of like Carl Edwards being airbone, upside down, and one fire one second, then calmly climbing out and jogging across the finish line Ricky Bobby-style. That's true blue steely-eyed missile man stuff right there.

Brian (Lewiston, ID

how do they determine what the finishing order is for the cars that dont return to the track after those wrecks?

Ryan McGee
  (2:42 PM)

It goes back to either the last time they crossed the start-finish line or the last scoring loop they passed, in other words where everyone was running before the wreck happened. That's why you see teams scramlbing to get their car in good enough shape to go out and run one more lap.

Ryan McGee
  (2:42 PM)

That's one more lap than all the other guys who were in the wreck, which at Talladega could be 10+ finishing positions and dozens of points.

Ellis, NC by way of Louisiana

Wasn't it great to finally see a smaller sized team win a sprint cup race again. JR would 've won both races at Dega. Newman's car was holding him up at both races.

Ryan McGee
  (2:44 PM)

It was great to see a small team win one. It's good to know that it can actually still happen...once a decade or so, but it can still happen.

Glen,Fla

Ryan, if the only problem with Dega/Daytona is the fans safety, why cant they tear down enough front row seating so the seats are elevated and moved further away from the track like Homestead.also why isnt anyone applauding the COT. that think is as strong as a sherman tank

Ryan McGee
  (2:45 PM)

10-4 on all of the above, Glen. I would much rather see tracks eliminate some of the lower rows than tear down or cover up seats up high and on the backstretch, which is what some are doing during these tight economic times.

Ryan McGee
  (2:47 PM)

And I am with you on the COT. I have never been a hater. The fact that we had two seperate pairs of cars slingshotting all over each other on the last lap is exactly why these cars were designed the way they are. I like the COT, always have.

Aaron (Bangor, ME)

I made it! Where are all your regular, weekly attendees?

Ryan McGee
  (2:47 PM)

Yo Aaron, the regs are starting to check in. Good thing, we had to circle the wagon on some yahoo a little while ago.

Kenny (Alabama)

What do you think about the yellow line rule? The drivers I heard that talked about it yesterday like it. Do you think NASCAR throws it out during the last lap?

Ryan McGee
  (2:49 PM)

I'm a fan. I agree with what Dale Junior said when he admitted that it had taken the drivers some time to get used to it. Now that they have it has dialed down some of the craziness.

Ryan McGee
  (2:49 PM)

And going back and watching the race this morning I think each of the times that guys did dip below it and weren't penalized those calls were on the money.

Ryan McGee
  (2:50 PM)

If the car in front of me is so slow that my choices are A. Wreck him. B. Jam on the brakes. C. Go below the yellow line...then I think it is fair for NASCAR to take that into consideration. For the most part they did.

Ryan McGee
  (2:51 PM)

But I don't think they throw it out on the last lap. Ask Regan Smith about that.

Larry (MI)

Who was Brad's crew chief yesterday. I didn't see an interview or any mention of his crew chief on Fox's coverage or on Victory Lane on Speed.

Ryan McGee
  (2:54 PM)

It was Marc Reno. He's a very quiet lifelong NASCAR mechanic that has bounced around racing since the late 1960's. Longtime Cup fans will remember him as crew chief for Ernie Irvan at Robert Yates Racing back in the day. A very good dude...and if James Finch can find sponsorship Marc will be back on top of the pit box for the All-Star Race in a few weeks.

Jeff (East Bay, CA)

I have to say, it's hard not to like Carl Edwards (though I persist.) He handled himself like a man after that race, giving props to Keselowski for taking the reins and making the pass, no matter the consequences.

Ryan McGee
  (2:56 PM)

I have always said that anyone who doesn't like Carl has never met him. I know my wife likes him...has ever since he was on the cover of ESPN The Magazine with his shirt off.

Ryan McGee
  (2:56 PM)

Here's two similar ones to end on...

Tim (Huntsville, AL)

Was Sunday's Talladega crash the worst you have ever seen? I was sitting about 20 rows above it and it scared the hell out of me.

flynn (sardis al)

What crash do you think was worse carls or geoff bodines at daytona in the trucks years ago and do you know if fans were hurt in the bodine crash?

Ryan McGee
  (2:59 PM)

Here's my top five worst ever: 1. Geoff Bodine's Truck crash at Daytona, 2000 2. Michael Waltrip, Bristol Busch race, 1990 3. Mike Harmon, Bristol Busch race, 2002 4. Bobby Allison, Talladega, 1987 5. Yesterday 6. Richard Petty, Darlington, 1970

Ryan McGee
  (2:59 PM)

So that was six...you know what, I think I might write about this very topic in my blog at www.espnthemag.com on Tuesday....thanks for the inspiration.

Ryan McGee
  (3:00 PM)

That will do it for this week. I guess Matt Kenseth has been running so bad that he's decided not to check in anymore.

Ryan McGee
  (3:01 PM)

As always, please tip your wait staff and enjoy Stryper.

Cale (Dallas)

NASCAR SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ryan McGee
  (3:01 PM)

And this from a guy named Cale...