What's up my desert dust covered brothers and sisters? Welcome to a special early, abbreviated version of the internet's biggest and best (only) Monday afternoon motorsports block party. I'm in the ESPN newsroom with Boris Said and Ricky Craven getting ready for tonight's NASCAR Now (5 PM ET, ESPN2). But right now I am all yours...makeup and all.
Do you think 2010 will be another #48 year?
Yes. I think that as long they keep the nucleus of that team together, and no one shows any signs of leaving, then they will be right there. At some point the slow decline will come, it always does, but it won't be next year.
McGee, since the 48 team is at Lowe's, buying some metal polish, how about you folks in the media go ahead and pick JJ and Co. to win it all next year. Maybe then he'll go winless. Seems like the media put a hex on Cousin Carl when everyone picked him to win it this year. I think a witch doctor is the only thing that could slow JJ down. That group is unbelievable, even though this is the 4th time they've done this.
Yeah Yar, you know I think the media should get credit for an assist on JJ's title this year. Not so much because we put a curse on Carl by picking him to win it all, but because the fact that we won it all was no doubt turned into bulletin board material over at the 48 shop. Back in January, Jimmie expressed disbelief that he hadn't been picked to repeat. He downplayed it then, but has since admitted that it really motivated him. Moral of the story, boys and girls, don't slap the bear in the face.
What warning do you think Brian France gave to Brad in the Nascar hauler?
I wish I knew, but based on conversations I've had with drivers about those Big Yellow Hauler talks (Ricky Craven and I talked about it on the way up to Bristol, CT today), they likely told him to watch his aggressiveness...but not to dial it back completely. They don't want racers out there wrecking people, but they do know a good show when they see one. And right now BK vs. Denny is the best show they have.
Do you think that Denny Hamlin will cash his chips on Brad at Homestead or are Denny, Carl and all the other guys gonna rough up Brad next year?
This year. If Denny's Tweets since Saturday are any indication, he hasn't cooled down yet.
The curse on the 25 continues.
Man, it sure looks like it doesn't it? I can't for the life of me figure out how Dale Junior keeps breaking stuff while his teammates' cars are bulletproof. (I have to whisper because Ricky Craven is in the cubicle next to me right now and he drove that car.)
Is there any truth in the Enquirer story about Dale jr?
Yes and no. Yes, he is having a hard time dealing with his struggles. No, he is not "on a death spiral".
Ryan, Rick Hendrick is saying there's no kind of deal to bring Danica to NASCAR next year, and that she might not even set foot in a stock car in 2010. Have you heard anything new or to the contrary from your sources?
My sources - and Marty's - say everything is still where it was when we reported it. She's coming, trust me. Would I lie to you?
As Dale jr fans we have basically thrown in the towel. Is there any reason to believe Dale's 2010 will be any better than this year?
Yes. But only if he does what I have long suggested, which is vanish this winter, get the hell out of North Carolina - and out of the United States - and clear his head.
Why do yo think parts and pieces keep failing on the 88 car? Hendrick supposed to be the best "team" in NASCAR but 88 continues to have part issues.
Talking to other drivers and crew chiefs, they talk about "pressing" to break a slump, like you see hitter do in baseball. You push harder to try and fix things, when you need to be doing is taking a deep breath and relazing. A guy who trying to bust a slump on every lap and every pit stop is going to rip up transmissions and burn tires off of cars.
What did Tony Stewart have to say about what Dale jr did to him at Phoenix?
I think his exact words were "No talent piece of @#$*!"
Ryan, see if you can get that Indian that took the spell off Talledega and see if he can remove the spell someone cast on Junior. Please. With regard to the Enquirer article, I think it was a result of you saying Junior needed a hug!
Well, if I have that kind of effect in swaying the editorial decisions at The Enquirer, can I say, Hey guys, please get off Jennifer Anniston's back!
Why did the performance of Stewart-Haas drop off so much since the win at the Glen?
I think, on a much less drastic level, they've been in the same boat as Brian Vickers and Team Red Bull. I think they worked so hard to get into the Chase that they ran out of steam once it started. Still, as Tony stated over the weekend, they have FAR exceeded expectations this season.
BTW, in case you were wondering...if the old points system was still in place, Tony Stewart would be 8 points behind Jimmie heading into Hometead. But don't bring that up with Smoke, he hates talking about the old points system.
Will Nascar penalize Denny if he wrecks Brad this week?
Yes. But if you're Denny, there is no better time to get penalized...heading into the winter.
How much does Robby Gordon want per race for sponsorship?
No idea specifically, but I just asked Boris Said, who does one-off deals and he said it's in the $400K-500K range.
How long will Penske put up with Brad K wrecking out other drivers?
So far it hasn't been The Captain's problem. Most of BK's issues have been in Dale Junior's Nationwide car. Besides, he's put up with Stremme and Hornish so far...
Where was the love for the 88 team at Phoenix compared to love shown for the 48 at Texas?
When you're 25th in points, you never get much love.
Hey Ryan, Will all of the Ford teams be running the new Ford engine next season??????
If they can get them built, yes. At the very least we'll see Roush running them all season.
Do you think Kyle should have been unhappy with the way Gordon pinched him down on that re-start?
Looked like Kyle had a pretty legitimate beef there. Gordon really raised hell about it on the radio, but after watching the tape it looked like the 18 had nowhere to go. Both the 18 and the 88 proved that you can't put wheels on the apron, even on a flat track like PIR. That paint is no fun, either.
What do you say to those who think alot of the races this year have been boring?
I think there have been some good ones and some bad ones, just like we have every year. I thought yesterday's race was a snoozer and, I know NASCAR gets mad when people say this, but Talladega was brutal unless we were a few laps from pit stops. The last segment was awesome, but the rest was totally forgetable. But all-in-all the racing has been pretty good and I like the new car. I just think the scrutiny is greater because the coverage of the sport is so much more saturated than ever before.
And oh yeah, I still say we have to shorten all the races. The length we ran on Sunday - 500 kilometers - is perfect. You can have Daytona, Charlotte, and Darlington. The rest need to be shortened. (Pocono and Texas, I'm looking at you.)
I know you wouldn't lie -- that's why I asked! Thanks Ryan. And if Dale Jr needs to get out of NC and relax somewhere, there's Pa. There's ample areas for him to hunt, roam the casinos, etc. He has some willing tour guides here!
I will let him know! And thanks. Love PA.
Alright folks, gotta go. Catch me and Ricky Craven on ESPNEWS at 3:40 PM ET and we'll be with Boris Said on NASCAR Now, ESPN2 at 5 pm ET. See you back here for the block party at the normal time, 2 PM ET. As always, tip your wait staff and enjoy the music of Tall Paul.