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July 13, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Ryan McGee

Ryan McGee
  (2:02 PM)

What's up my Mylar tear-off wrapped brothers and sisters? It's time for another edition of the Internet's biggest and best Monday afternoon motorsports block party. How about another round of applause for my buddy Terry Blount. To this point in my career he's still the only writer that I've been romatically linked to on the Internet.

Ryan McGee
  (2:02 PM)

What's up my Mylar tear-off wrapped brothers and sisters? It's time for another edition of the Internet's biggest and best Monday afternoon motorsports block party. How about another round of applause for my buddy Terry Blount. To this point in my career he's still the only writer that I've been romatically linked to on the Internet.

Ryan McGee
  (2:02 PM)

To the queries!

Rich (Buffalo)

Of all the guys to whine about the DFR's (double file restarts), Jeff Burton was the last one I expected it from. C'mon JB, you're better than that!It's not the DFR's causing the wrecks, it's the drivers in the cars running out of talent. Under the old system with the lap down cars, you could still have the same issues, at least with this if you're on the lead lap you're racing the guys around you for position.

Ryan McGee
  (2:03 PM)

Rich, I am with you. There's is no bigger Baby Burton fan in this world than me. He is the undisputed NASCAR King of the Quote. But his about-face on the double-file restarts is a little stunning...maybe...

Ryan McGee
  (2:04 PM)

Not surprisingly the dividing line on this issue seems to be performance. And in the seven races we've run with the new restart rules Jeff Burton has been among the worst on the circuit.

Ryan McGee
  (2:07 PM)

I wrote about this in the Power Rankings (where Burton has fallen to 18th). His average finish since the new rule started at Dover is 25.5. Yikes! That would make me sour toward d-f restarts, too. Then again, RCR cars weren't exactly painting the town before the new rules, either. They seem to have really been burned by the lack of testing.

Kevin (Boston, MA)

Ryan, the last 20 laps of Chicago were some of the most exciting we have seen this season. Hamlin basically punts Johnson, Johnson punts Busch, Busch slams Johnson....meanwhile 50 year old Mark Martin charges to the front for the win. We need way more of this, what are your thoughts?

Ryan McGee
  (2:10 PM)

Yeah Kevin, the good news is that every race for the last two months have been unbelievable when it comes to the lst segment of the race, from the final pit stops to the end. And the double-file restarts have had a lot to do with that. Unfortunately, the three hours it takes us to get to that point have been uuggghhhhly. I contend that's why ratings are down this year. People have figured out that they can go cut their grass or take a nap or play with their kids on Sunday afternoon as long as they make it back in time for the last stanza of the race.

Savannah (Atlanta)

Can you shed some light on what happened with Bill Webber at TNT? Is he done with them for good?

Ryan McGee
  (2:13 PM)

Yo Savannah...my wife is from Savannah...I have known Bill for a long time. I was one of his field producers back in the 1990's in the old RPM2Night days. But I do not know the whole story about what went down in New Hampshire to cause his current situation. The folks at TNT have locked things down pretty good when it comes to all the gossip about what did or didn't happen. Either way, I hate it for Bill. But I was happy for another guy I worked with for a while, Ralph Sheheen, who has long deserved a shot at the play-by-play booth in NASCAR and I think did a helluva job. You may think you love motorsports more than Ralph, but you don't. Dude has axle grease coursing through his veins.

Ryan McGee
  (2:14 PM)

Yo Savannah...my wife is from Savannah...I have known Bill for a long time. I was one of his field producers back in the 1990's in the old RPM2Night days. But I do not know the whole story about what went down in New Hampshire to cause his current situation. The folks at TNT have locked things down pretty good when it comes to all the gossip about what did or didn't happen. Either way, I hate it for Bill. But I was happy for another guy I worked with for a while, Ralph Sheheen, who has long deserved a shot at the play-by-play booth in NASCAR and I think did a helluva job. You may think you love motorsports more than Ralph, but you don't. Dude has axle grease coursing through his veins.

Randi (Pittsburgh)

If Keselowski remains with Chevy and JRM in NW, what then happens to Cassill, isnt he being groomed for the 24 car?

Karen (Syracuse)

Any update on where Brad K might be going?

Ryan McGee
  (2:17 PM)

Love the BK double whammy. Here's what's going to happen...at least what I think is going to happen. Brad will end up in a Hendrick-built 3rd car at Stewart-Haas. Landon is still on track for a future HMS Cup ride (he had an awesome showing at the prestigious Goodwood Festival of Speed in England earlier this month). Keep in mind that there is a pretty good chance that Hendrick will have two rides come open over the next 2-3 years. Martin and (gulp) Jeff Gordon will be hanging them up.

Ryan McGee
  (2:18 PM)

Another wrinkle for you...Red Bull team execs are currently over in Europe to talk their bosses into becoming a Hendrick affiliate in 2010. That'd be another option for BK and/or Landon.

Eric S (Saint Petersburg)

This is the anniversary of Davey Allison's death. How good could he have been? I personally think he would have won several Championships by now.

Ryan McGee
  (2:20 PM)

No doubt. I think he was well on his way in 1993 and Dale Earnhardt Senior always admitted that his seven Cups may not have happened had Davey lived. Hard to believe its been 16 years. That day at Talladega was the saddest ever. Even with all the tabloid-ish mess that was taking place around her, I will never forget the grace that Liz Allison showed that day.

DJ (KC)

WHAT JEFF HANG THEM UP?!?! dude has to drive till he is 45 right?

Peter (Las Vegas)

Jeff Gordon will be hanging them up? How soon do you think that will happen? Really in 2-3 years?

Ryan McGee
  (2:22 PM)

That's what Jeff says. He's been saying for more than a decade now that he "doesn't want to be like Ken Schrader or Mark Martin" and race forever. He has always targeted 40 as his retirement window. Well, he turns 38 in a couple of weeks...hmmmm...

Dave (Cleveland)

Who do you think will win at Indy in 2 weeks?

Ryan McGee
  (2:23 PM)

Mark Martin. He's done everything there BUT win. It would be the biggest victory of his career by far if he does.

Randi (Pitt)

Did you just say you love a BK Double Whopper?

Ryan McGee
  (2:24 PM)

Mmm...hamburgers.

Craig G. (Fairfield, California)

Hey Ryan, I enjoy your work. I'm a fan of many drivers and think most have genuine personalities. Who is your favorite to cover?

Ryan McGee
  (2:27 PM)

Thanks Craig, you are my new BFF. You are right about the personalities. What you see is pretty much what you get with these guys. I am a big fan of Carl Edwards. He's genuine, smart, and also fearless. Jeff Burton has always been the best interview. Going back in the day, I loved talking with Ricky Rudd, Dale Senior, and Sterling Marlin. And I have always wished that NASCAR did more to market some of the great personalities who aren't necessarily the biggest merchandise movers. Robby Gordon, Marcos Ambrose, Kurt Busch, and Brian Vickers are damn great guys, but the league does little to promote them.

Bill (NC)

Thought Jeff liked the idea of a part time schedule like Mark has done for a couple of years, wouldn't that only leave one and a part time ride open?

Ryan McGee
  (2:29 PM)

Yeah, but you're talking at Hendrick Motorsports itself. HMS sattelite teams like Stewart-Haas, JR Motorsports, and now possible Team Red Bull all have room to expand to four cars each.

Jeff (Cali)

Ryan i changed my mind. I will race till i die. cant think of anything else to do. And yeah my wife is hot i win right?

Ryan McGee
  (2:29 PM)

Okay, thanks for clearing that up "Jeff".

Lance (Raleigh)

I see you applaud Gordon for his late run in your rankings but the problem is he was a 10th-15th place car the entire night. Why do you think his performance isn't as strong as the start of the season. It seems like once again, Letarte is failing to give him a car that can win.

Ryan McGee
  (2:31 PM)

Yeah, but Lance it's where you finish. There were a lot of guys who had top ten cars (I'm looking at you Carl Edwards) who came up with so-so finishes. That's just how this racing deal works. You gotta be there at the end. Mr. Gordon has always been pretty damn good at that. BTW...Go Enloe Eagles!

Jeremy (Radford Va)

With RCR slipping or losing ground every 2 or so years do you ever see a time where he will turn to Hendrick for help?

Ryan McGee
  (2:32 PM)

Not a chance. RC wants to do it his way and he's frustrated but not panicking. They seem to miss it every three years or so, we end up writing about how they've lost contact with the Hendricks and Roushs of the world...and then the next year they bounce back and put a bunch of cars in the Chase. My money's on that happening again next year.

bryan (the bluegrass state)

4 years ago Tony would have beat Kyle like a rented mule for mouthing off like he has been, right?

Ryan McGee
  (2:33 PM)

No doubt. In fact, he did that very thing - verbally - when Shrub first came to Cup. I just wrote a feature for ESPN The Magazine about the "new Tony" and he was very honest with me about his new outlook on life.

Kathi (New Rochelle, NY)

Hey Ryan..big fan of the rankings and the chats. I am a little disappointed that Kahne didn't move up as many spots in your rankings as he did in the points. My boy raced in the Top 10 all night Saturday and kept the car nose clean.

Ryan McGee
  (2:36 PM)

I hear you Kathi. And I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to give him a bigger boost in this week's Power Rankings, but it's getting pretty crowded in the top ten so big moves are hard to come by. However, he did move up two spots to 10th and he'll be on my short list of favorites at the Brickyard. Plus, my wife and our babysitter say he still looks dreamy.

Jeremy (Radford, Va)

Kyle has kind slipped the past few weeks, any chance he misses the chase?

Keaton S (Kansas)

Do you think Kyle Busch will make the chase this year?

Scott (Portland Oregon)

Kyle Busch may very well miss the chase. Why is it that he won't admit that the accident at Daytona was his fault and that his constant overdriving of his car causes most of his problems? What's your opinion?

Ryan McGee
  (2:39 PM)

First, you are all right. He may very well miss the Chase. Last night on SportsCenter they said that he hadn't had a top five since winning at Richmond on May 2. I jumped up and grabbed my stat book because I thought, "No way that's right!" But it is. Holy cow.

sweatervested1 (Mobile, Al.)

As a huge Kyle Busch fan, why does he get so much hate? Is it because everyone is afraid of him? People need to admit he is a damn good driver!

Ryan McGee
  (2:42 PM)

Yo Sweater, the fact that everyone boos him is proof that they all think what you know - that he is a good driver. The attitude rubs some people the wrong way, but you know what? They said the same thing about Darrell Waltrip, Rusty Wallace, Tont Stewart and, yes, Dale Earnhardt Senior too. They would boo those guys as they drove up I-77 on the way home from the track. But eventually they all became fans because they respected the talent. I think that'll happen with Kyle once he chills out.

Scott (Portland)

He's a fantastic driver. Now he needs to learn how to be a fantastic sportsman.

Ryan McGee
  (2:42 PM)

Exactly.

Jack (Brooklyn, NY)

Ryan, you gotta stop jinxing my man Dale Jr. Every week you put him back in the power rankings he has a bad race and falls out again. Leave him off until he strings a few top 10s together, or dare I say, gets a win.

Ryan McGee
  (2:43 PM)

Good point Jack. He and Jamie McMurray keep trading the #20 spot and whoever sits there ends up sucking. Maybe I should keep them both out after Indy and see what happens. But don't hold your breath for that win...

Scott (Manchester, NH)

When Dale Jr misses the chase for the second time since it's inception, do you see Nascar changing the format again like they diid a few years ago?

Bill S. (High Point, NC)

Kyle Busch and Mark Martin don't make the chase, will NASCAR make some changes to the chase like they did after Gordon and Jr missed the 10 car field?

Ryan McGee
  (2:45 PM)

Good question fellas, but I don't think so. NASCAR caught a lot of unexpected flak for expanding to 12. I wish they'd go back to 10. It is a nice round number, goes with the ten-race Chase format, and besides, they don't even take the 11th and 12th guys to New York for the media blitz or to Vegas for the banquet. So what's the point?

Craig G. (Fairfield, California)

Hey Ryan. I love both NASCAR an Indycar. Juan Pablo is doing MUCH better in his second year. WHat do you attribute this to? Think he'll make the chase?

Ryan McGee
  (2:47 PM)

Three things. #1. Horsepower solves a lot of problems in a racecar and this year he's got that Childress horsepower. #2. The testing ban seems to have opened the door for some second-tier teams to close the gap a bit this year (I'm including RPM, MWR, and Red Bull in that group). And #3. He's good. And after a few years in these cars he's no longer learning on the job.

Marty (Seattle)

Will Lance Mcgrew be Jr's crew chief next year? Do you think that Lance and Dale can get it figured out and at least contend or maybe win this year?

Ryan McGee
  (2:49 PM)

I think he will be. The numbers don't necessarily back me up here when I say that the 88 team is much improved over the dreadful first part of the year, but if you listen to these guys on the radio it's like a totally different team. They are still going through the "get to know me" process, learning each other's tone, language, etc...so you have to give them at least through the start of next season to see if they're really going to make this work.

Jack (Brooklyn, NY)

I can't help but wonder if Lance was given the "interim" title because he's simply just holding the spot until Ron Malec finishes up the season as engineer on the 48 and can come over to the 88. next year,

Ryan McGee
  (2:50 PM)

That's a great point, Jack, and a very popular theory in the garage right now.

Jason (TN)

What happened to Scott Speed at Chicago? He dropped like a rock from the green flag and looked like a moving chicane after the first lap.

Ryan McGee
  (2:51 PM)

I think we call that "in over his head". I like Scott a lot and I think he can drive, but he's really been thrown into the deep end on this deal and it'll take more time for him to figure it out. Kind of like we just saying about Montoya.

Scott (Portland)

I think it's time for someone to stand up and admit that for whatever reason Jr. is just not working out at Hendrick.

Ryan McGee
  (2:51 PM)

I don't think it's Hendrick. I think it's the CoT. He wasn't running any better at DEI either.

SS94 (Bellevue, WA)

Hi Ryan - I'm curious to know which drivers are considered to be the best by the other drivers. If all of the equipment, teams, etc were the same, who are the fastest and best drivers out there? I'll take a guess and say that Gordon, Johnson, Stewart, Shrub and JPM might make the list but that's purely a guess. Thoughts?

Ryan McGee
  (2:53 PM)

They all love Gordon, especially the young guys coming in now who grew up watching him. They also love Smoke and Mark Martin. It's funny, but everyone always seems reluctant to give props to Jimmie Johnson, but he's also the one who is beating their brains in right now. No one wanted to give Richard Petty credit back in the day, either...and he was pretty good, too.

Rickey Henderson (Hall of Fame)

NASCAR chat is great, but Rickey is the greatest of all-time.

Ryan McGee
  (2:54 PM)

"Today...I am...the greatest..."

Ryan (Huntsville, GA)

whats up ryan? So when will we begin to see many of Jr. Nation completely give up on the guy, he isn't getting any better and the COT isn't going anywhere(The car he can't drive). I think it's time for Jr. fans to move and give some other drivers the fan attention that they deserve and stop bragging about a guy who finishes 15th or worse every week

Ryan McGee
  (2:55 PM)

Yo Ryan (awesome name by the way), I think there's already been a bit of Junior Nation migration going on. The only gauge we have is the amount of noise during driver introductions and it certainly isn't the thunderous ovation it was earlier this year and certainly last year. But I still contend that if he wins one race they'll all start flocking back.

Jake (Indy)

Is my boy JJ going to win next weekend at m home track? I will be there cheering him on, that's for sure!!

Ryan McGee
  (2:57 PM)

He has to be on everyone's short list. His mentor/boss Jeff Gordon has easily been the best at Indy since we first went there in '94, but over the last three years no one can touch JJ. Two wins in three tries is pretty dang good.

Craig G. (Fairfield, California)

Hey Ryan, can you give all the outlets where fans can read/see your work?

Ryan McGee
  (2:59 PM)

Yeah man. Right here at ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine (I have a feature in the current issue about the rebirth of Rockingham as a race town) and you can follow me on Twitter - RyanMcGeeESPN - thanks for asking. My Mag stuff is online now under the Insider section. If you subscribe to ESPN The Mag (it's only like ten bucks a year) you get Insider access for free. Thanks for asking...

Rich (LA, CA)

Ryan, do you think elliott sadler will be at Petty next year?

Ryan McGee
  (3:00 PM)

I originally thought no and I still think he could end up at Earnhardt-Ganassi, but the sponsorship market is so thin right now if I were a driver with a solid ride I'd stay right where I am.

Russ (Santa Maria CA)

One of the big reasons that Johnson doesn't get tremendous credit is because he has one of the five best crew chiefs of all time. It's not fair or correct to Johnson, but Knaus really makes it look easy

Ryan McGee
  (3:00 PM)

True. And they said the same thing about Richard Petty with Dale Inman, Gordon with Ray Evernham, and even David Pearson with the Wood Brothers.

Ed (Fort Worth)

Any odds on Mayfield turning up at the Brickyard? I'm starting to get a sense of Barnum and Bailey here.

Ryan McGee
  (3:02 PM)

Ed, you don't even know how big of a circus that it is. If Marty, Newt, Hinton, Blount, or myself wrote all the goofy stuff we hear about that deal it would make all the Michael Jackson media mess look like the wedding section of your local newspaper. Be glad we bring our journalistic filters to work with us each day. I don't expect him to be at Indy or anywhere else this year...or maybe ever.

Ryan McGee
  (3:04 PM)

Alright folks, the bell just went off, which means either I have to get offline or my ribs are done grilling. See you back here next week. I'll be coming to you live from the Death Star in Bristol, CT getting ready for my appearance on the NASCAR Now Monday roundtable. Don't forget to tip your wait staff and enjoy The Knack.