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May 4, 11:30 AM ET
Chat with Ryan McGee

Ryan McGee
  (2:01 PM)

What's up my oil-covered brothers and sisters? Welcome to the Internet's only Monday afternoon one-hour motorsports block party.

Ryan McGee
  (2:01 PM)

I come to you live from the shadows of the Lowe's Motor Speedway, where they have just unveiled the trophy for the 50th World, er, Coke 600 in two weeks.

Ryan McGee
  (2:02 PM)

Pretty sweet.

jesse new york

Is kasey kahne wasting away in bad cars from richard petty motorsports and what changes need to be made.

Ryan McGee
  (2:02 PM)

Hi Jesse, I actually just saw Kasey at the press conference (I had to bail before the Q&A because he was running late and I had to get here for the chat).

Ryan McGee
  (2:04 PM)

I don't think he's wasting away in bad stuff anymore...but I certainly thought he was this time last year. They are turning the corner up there, slowly but surely. This whole "do we run the new Dodge engine or not?" debate has been a pain for all the Dodge teams. But you get the feeling that the 9 is at least thinking about turning the corner.

Ryan McGee
  (2:05 PM)

That being said, his contract is up at the end of 2010.

Alan, Chicago

With Carl on Larry King, Ellen, ESPN every day, Oprah it felt like Carl won at Dega. How did Carl manage to steal all the publicity?

Ryan McGee
  (2:06 PM)

First, he's good people and a great interview. Second, NASCAR can say all they want about how horrible Carl's crash was...but it sure did open some doors for them didn't it?

Lucy , Crystal River, Fl.

Marty Smith suggested that they eliminate several rows of seats at Talladega. What do you think about the subject?

Ryan McGee
  (2:07 PM)

Lucy, as usual Mr. Smith and I are on the same page. I think I suggested that last week in this chat. Everyone knows that the front row seats are the worst ones anyway. It's cool to feel the cars go by the first couple of laps, then it gets old and you end up covered in rubber pellets and chicken bones.

Ed, Hartford

Does anyone agree that there were too many of those huge cars Saturday on a 3/4 mile track. All they did all night was bounce off each other. Is that what everyone wants to see?

Ryan McGee
  (2:10 PM)

It'll be hard to find many people in this chat room to agree with you on that one, Ed. Short track racing is what it is, even when we used to run 36 cars and less in the 1980's.

Ryan McGee
  (2:11 PM)

You know I used to live in West Hartford and racing at Richmond reminds me a lot of trying to navigate I-81 at 5:30.

devinbachman whitmore lake

ryan do you like what sam is doing in year two

Ryan McGee
  (2:12 PM)

Devin, I assume you mean Sam Hornish. And while I wasn't very impressed with him over the first half of the season you can't argue with what he's done over the last couple of races.

Ryan McGee
  (2:13 PM)

I have a theory about Hornish and his mindset. Prior to the season he admitted that he was going to give NASCAR one more year and then re-evaluate whether or not to return to the IRL. As long the possibility existed that Helio Castroneves might go to prison there was also a chance that Sam would get that ride while Helio was dong time.

Ryan McGee
  (2:14 PM)

Once Helio was acquitted Hornish started running up front.

Ryan McGee
  (2:14 PM)

Hey, it's just a theory, but it makes sense in my crazy head.

Ryan McGee
  (2:14 PM)

Then again, you may have been referring to my brother Sam and his second year at his law firm. I think he's doing an awesome job.

Clay (Charlotte)

Try I-85 through Concord on a race day.

Ryan McGee
  (2:15 PM)

I'm sitting right off I-85 across from Concord Mills Mall right now. The 600 is three weeks away and the traffic already sucks.

Steve D, Greenville, SC

Ryan, First want to say glad to see a TR Boy do good. My question is, Do you really see Dale Jr. Becoming a contender for the Championship year in and out. He has no excuses now, he's in the best equipment and cars? I am a fan but not sure he will ever be a serious Contender.

Ryan McGee
  (2:16 PM)

GO DEVILDOGS! Dude, if you're a homeboy you gotta give me more than "Steve D"!

Ryan McGee
  (2:17 PM)

To answer your question, I think Little E hears the clock ticking in his head and it's getting fainter by the week.

Ryan McGee
  (2:19 PM)

Listen, the numbers are what they are. He turns 35 in October. The good news is that NASCAR is the only sport that seems to reward guys over 40. The bad news is that while those guys win races, they rarely win championships.

Ryan McGee
  (2:19 PM)

I still think he's going to win a Cup...but only A Cup, not Cups with an "s".

Marc (Malden, MA)

Did you mean I-84 in Hartford? And try I-95 around Boston.

Ryan McGee
  (2:21 PM)

Yes, I did mean I-84. Between the ice storms and the smog and the 4:15 sunsets I must have misread the road signs. And don't even get me started on driving my "cahr" on the Pike.

devinbachman whitmore lake

ryan yes i mean sam hornish jr

Ryan McGee
  (2:21 PM)

But I'm sure you're happy to get an update on my brother as well.

Jeffrey, Atlanta

Why does Delana Harvick disrespect our American flag an National anthem by refusing to remove her hat during the ceremony and why does she wear a pit crew uniform?

Ryan McGee
  (2:22 PM)

First, women do not have to remove their hats. That's why they say "Please rise and gentlemen remove your hats..."

Ryan McGee
  (2:23 PM)

Second, she wears the firesuit because: 1. Safety. Fire is fire, even if you're on top of the pit box. In open wheel racing most of the wives/significant others weart them.

Ryan McGee
  (2:25 PM)

2. She considers herself a racer. Her father is a short track legend and she is a pretty good wheel-woman. Back when she was the PR rep for my ESPN chat room predecesor Randy Lajoioe I watched her wear the hell out of a late model race here in North Carolina.

Jimmy (Jacksonville, FL)

What was up with all the flames shooting out of all the cars during Saturday night's race?

Ryan McGee
  (2:27 PM)

Yo Jimmy, you going to the TPC this weekend? Two sources of the flames. First, when gas pools up in the exhast system and then ignites it blows flames out of the header pipes beneath the right side of the car. You see it a lot at short tracks and it's there all the time, but looks especially dramatic at night.

Ryan McGee
  (2:28 PM)

Second, you probably also saw a lot of glowing orange coming from the wheel wells from those brakes getting hotter than forty hells. Those cars were carrying 150 mph into the turns and then jamming on the binders.

Rich, Clearwater, FL

Ryan, interesting you say that...if you win one cup, it's easier to win the next (i.e. you learn how/what). When's the Tony Jr. change taking place? Soon or at the end of the season?

Ryan McGee
  (2:29 PM)

Historically we start to see crew chief changes after the 600 here in Charlotte on Memorial Day weekend. I'm not saying that Tony Junior is going to be demoted or moved...but if it's going to happen that's when it usually takes place.

Brian Bolivia,NC [via mobile]

What do you think dale Jr needs to change to be more of a winning driver

Ryan McGee
  (2:31 PM)

He had admitted that he needed to refocus on racing. I think he's already taking steps to change that. After the season got off to such a bad start he told his handlers to start dialing back his off-track commitment schedule and just over the last week he said that he's making big changes to his diet. Getting rid of the junk food.

Ryan McGee
  (2:32 PM)

His father did that as well late in life and always said it made a big difference in his health. When Dale Senior opened DEI's Garage Mahal in the late 1990's he hired a full-time chef to improve everyone's eating habits.

nathan fort knox kentucky [via mobile]

great columns i in the military and a huge mark martin fan in your Words will mark race full time next Year??

Ryan McGee
  (2:33 PM)

Yo Nathan, thanks for the props and thanks for all that you and your fellow service men and women do for you us on a daily basis.

Ryan McGee
  (2:34 PM)

No doubt he'll be back. Unless he wins the championship. If he finally wins the Cup I think he hangs 'em up in Victory Lane and goes Truck Series racing.

Ryan McGee
  (2:36 PM)

There's a whole new wrinkle to the Martin retirement watch now. Whatever he decides to do will have a direct impact on what happens to Brad Keselowski. I think Rick Hendrick really wants to put BK in a Cup car ASAP. If Mark stays put I'd look for some form of JR Motorsports to move up from Nationwide to go Cup racing...but in reality it'll be a Hendrick satellite.

Scott (Indy)

Doesn't Jr saying he needs to refocus on racing kinda sorta say that when Theresa E said he needs to decide to be a racer or celebrity, she was right? Just throwing that out for all the little e fans.

Ryan McGee
  (2:37 PM)

Dude, you really went there...they grow 'em big up in Indy, don't they?

David Washington DC

Well we've officially had our fill of JR questions... Can you give my man Montoya some love? Short tracks are supposed to be his downfall but his average finish is right behind Kyle Busch! With some tracks that he traditionally does well on later in the schedule I think he's looking pretty good for the chase...your thoughts?

Ryan McGee
  (2:39 PM)

You David, I think JPM is in great shape. I don't know if you've seen my new Power Rankings or not, but after the first round of short tracks (Bristol, Martinsville, Richmond) he has the 8th best average finish on the bullrings this year. That's unbelievable!

Ryan McGee
  (2:40 PM)

I have said all along that if he is in striking distance by the time we hit August he'll bowl his way into the Chase. He's money at Indy, Watkins Glen, Atlanta, and apparently at Bristol and Richmond. I think it would be great.

Yancey in Pittsfield, Mass.

You went from being on NASCAR Now all the time to not being on at all? What the hell?

Ryan McGee
  (2:42 PM)

Nothing serious, just the way the schedule has worked out. I'll be on this Wednesday.

Ryan McGee
  (2:42 PM)

BTW, how about the big New England contingent this week! Where's Aaron from Maine?

Aaron (Bangor, ME)

Hey Ryan, how's it going? Not a racing question, but since I'm graduating with a degree in journalism this Saturday, I'm curious as to where you started working after school?

Ryan McGee
  (2:44 PM)

Here he is! I went to work in Bristol, CT as a production assistant at ESPN. The next year they decided to start a nightly racing show, the late great "RPM2Night" and sent me down to NC to help produce it. I started writing for The Mag during that time and now here I am drinking Diet Pepsi Max, eating a cookie, and chatting with you good people.

Ryan McGee
  (2:45 PM)

I feel like Leo sneaking his way into the First Class dining room in "Titanic".

Ryan McGee
  (2:45 PM)

And yes I just referenced "Titanic" in a NASCAR chat room.

Ryan McGee
  (2:45 PM)

And, surprisingly, it wasn't in reference to DEI.

Zach (Waterbury, CT)

Do you think Smoke will win another championship before he stops driving?

Ryan McGee
  (2:47 PM)

Yes. Because he won't stop driving until he's either dead or 120 years old.

Alisha (Loris, SC)

You said a few weeks ago that Darlington is your favorite track. Why?

Ryan McGee
  (2:48 PM)

I am a sport history nut. And going to a race at Darlington is like going to Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, or Lambeau Field.

Ryan McGee
  (2:50 PM)

I love to walk in through the tunnel underneath Turn 1 (what used to be turn 3) and there is actually an old painted billboard ad from the 1950's on the concrete wall. All the old timers come back and hang out in the garage like David Pearson and Glen Wood. And it is the coolest thing to see these modern cars running way up against the wall on a track was designed for cars that were nearly 100 mph slower than they run now.

Ryan McGee
  (2:50 PM)

BTW...tickets are still available!

bec,va

what is the trophy going to look like, sick I bet

Ryan McGee
  (2:52 PM)

The one I just watched them unveil at Lowe's Motor Speedway? Yeah, it's pretty sick. Speaking of loving history, this is the 50th edition of the Coca-Cola 600 (I still call it the World 600) and their ace PR guy Scott Cooper tells me that pics of the new trophy are up at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com

Clay (Charlotte)

Ryan, -50 points from your journalist card for typing BTW instead of the words.

Ryan McGee
  (2:52 PM)

See, I though I was being all cool and texty and Twitterish.

Jorge, Miami

Now that Kyle has 50 Nascar wins, 15 cup wins and only turned 24 on Sat, isn't it time for Kyle to get the same level of respect as Jeff Gordon?

Ryan McGee
  (2:53 PM)

One day. But you gotta win championships to get Gordon-like respect.

tom [via mobile]

When you reference Titanic it makes me feel iike Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias.

Ryan McGee
  (2:54 PM)

Okay, it's official. This chat is in the wall.

Jackson (Columbia, MIZZOU!)

When is NASCAR going to get their mess together and start running Cup races on the dirt?!

Ryan McGee
  (2:57 PM)

I'm with you, Jackson. I was in Rockingham for the ARCA race two weeks ago and talked to Frank Kimmel about that very topic. ARCA runs a couple of races a year on big one-mile dirt ovals. Check out ESPNTheMag.com on Tuesday night because I've got a column coming about a crazy Cup-on-dirt idea that just might work.

Matt Kenseth (Concord) [via mobile]

Well Ryan. i made it! when will i return as the winner of a race?

Ryan McGee
  (2:59 PM)

Well "Matt" it could be this weekend at Darlington. You have three straight top seven finishes over the last three years...but I have my money on Dover at the end of the month. You are stone cold cash money there. Have been ever since you made your Cup debut in Bill Elliott's "Get Back Big Mac" Ford.

Matt Kenseth (Concord) [via mobile]

And last week I didnt chat because we had sponsorship obligations... not bc we were running bad

Ryan McGee
  (2:59 PM)

Okay, you're excused.

T-berry

OK men, stop talking about chick-flicks!! I think the talk went south when you said you were eating a cookie and a Pepsi. Maybe if you had been having a brew and a burger or something "manly"!!

Ryan McGee
  (3:01 PM)

I can't drink and chat...but I will once we're done here in about three minutes. And by the way (not BTW) I live on the Richard Petty Diet - Pepsi and Goody's - there's nothing wimpy about that. If it's good enough for The King, it's good enough for me.

Nick, Rochester

Do you think Childress will fire Harvick and put a better driver in the #29 for next year?

Ryan McGee
  (3:01 PM)

Not a chance. And he may not have to. I'm expecting Kevin and Delana (whom you guys all seem to hate because she wears a firesuit) to take KHI to Cup by the end of 2010.

Ryan McGee
  (3:03 PM)

Alright folks, I've got to go trade in my Pepsi and cookie for a Bud and chicken wings. Thanks as always for checking in (especially "Matt Kenseth") and we'll do it again next Monday at 2 pm ET. Don't forget to tip your wait staff and enjoy Black Flag.