What's up my Bondo-covered brothers and sisters? Welcome to the Internet's biggest, baddest, and well, only one-hour Monday afternoon motorsports block party. I am back in the CLT from Daytona Speedweeks and I know y'all have got a lot on your minds, so...to the queries!
McGee, I've been talking with a few casual NASCAR fans who are upset with yesterday's race. I asked why. They said "pothole repair." I asked about the racing. They said it was "okay." Liars! That was great racing yesterday. Do you think there's a lot of backlash from the pseudo-NASCAR fans since there wasn't a "Big One?" I do. I'm glad they didn't pile'em up.
I posed that question on Twitter last night (as did my NASCAR Now cohort Nicole Briscoe) - What will we remember more one year from now, the pothole or the great racing? The response was about 50/50.
When they were racing it was crazy good. When they weren't it was crazy boring. But fixing the track and getting the entire 500 miles (it was actually 508) was the right thing to do. As for the claims of no "Big One"...we had enough Little Ones to sastify the sadists.
what are your thoughts on the truck race? to me it was the best race all weekend....with that being said what are your thoughts on timothy peters...he's very well respected in the garage by his peers and he's shown a lot of talent over the last year...is his time to move to the top two series two late...i know he already had one shot but it was only a partial schedule
Yo Dustin...the first half of the Trucks race was unwatchable. I was in the Daytona press box and it was truly painful. As one point we writers started openly speculating if we'd have enough trucks left for the finish. THEN...when it got good it was great. And the finish was crazy good. So happy for Peters. I joked with him that I have covered two Trucks races in person over the last six months and he's won both of them. He's not ready to jump to Nationwide or Cup yet, but he's on his way.
Having Jimmy Hensley's kin on top of the pit box doesn't hurt. They are good people those Hensleys.
Hey Ryan, Im having a tough choice on making my B driver selections for my yahoo fantasy picks at Fontana. Which 2 of the 3 Childress drivers should I go with?
Harvick and Bowyer, though you can't lose with any of those three.
Don't get me wrong, huge Bass Pro fan here. But isn't there anyway we can take the 500 win away from them for the stink they put up about not wanting JMac? They try to put their foot down and tell Ganassi they do not want him, and all he does is go out and win them the biggest thing in NASCAR. Good for Ganassi and most of all good for Jamie. They should just strip the logos off the car for the next year. I'm just saying.
I can tell you this, all of that mess had been erased long before he won the race on Saturday night. I talked to Johnny Morris, owner of Bass Pro, on the grid yesterday before the race and he was super-thrilled with Jamie. They had a tremendous relationship with Martin Truex because of Martin's family background in the fishing industry (his father is the "Clam Prince of New Jersey"...seriously). But as soon as they got the chance to meet Jamie they had the same reaction that everyone else does when they meet Jamie...they loved him.
And all this talk about "Jamie doesn't hunt or fish" is B.S. On Friday in the pouring rain drag racer Darrell Gwynn had his annual charity fishing tournament on Lake Lloyd in the Daytona infield and Jamie Mac cleaned up.
I know it is way too early but when will you see Danica Patrick race in her first ever Sprint Cup Series race?
She has hinted - and so have her bosses - that if things go well she could be in a one-off Cup ride at Homestead to end the season. But that's a looooong way away.
Hey Ryan, can everyone officially consider McMurray a legitimate contender at all plate races?
No doubt. He's won the last two and did with two different teams in two different car makes. Sounds like a contender to me.
Ryan what do you think about the ECR motors and EGR.
I said it all week long and they proved me right - Childress brought the biggest, baddest engines to Speedweeks and it showed from the time they unloaded for the first practice until the checkered flag fell. RC told me they had 42 Cup engines at Daytona for his three teams and his clients. He swears that he gives his customers the same engines that he has in his own cars and I think we saw that's true. ECR engines were in 5 of the top 11 cars. And it's hard not to like where Earnhardt-Ganassi is headed.
Yo, bro...did "Diddy E" show up in that 88 last night or what? I know the team will be stronger with Rick's changes, but, will Jr. continue to drive it like he stole it?!
Ryan, the driving Jr didyesterday on that last restart was really unbelievable. Is this a sign of good things to come for the 88 or just a guy making desperation moves to win the Daytona 500?
how cool was that watching JR. come through that pack like a greesed cheta.... awesome!!
Hi Ryan!! Junior Nation was thrilled with a 2nd place finish yesterday. How do you think he'll do at Fontana?
Let me tell you something, the noise that came thundering down from those grandstands when that 88 came up the middle on the backstretch was the craziest damn thing I've heard. Whether you love the 88 or hate it, it had to give you chills. On the last restart I told the folks I was with, "Hey, the 88 is up to 10th, look out!" They all kind of rolled their eyes like "yeah right". When it was over I said, "Hey dummies, this isn't my first race."
the race went 8 laps over schedule and was 20 miles over schedule. how can you strategize when there are 20 miles that may or may not happen in a race?
When NASCAR put that rule in the night before the Duel 150s I asked a lot of crew chiefs that question and they all said you can't worry about it. You have a plan for a 500-mile race and you stick with it. If it goes longer, deal. A lot of Cup crew chiefs were actually going over and asking Truck Series crew chiefs about how they've handled it in the past.
I saw somebody giving you grief on your twitter site about your daughter caring about racing because of Danica. I wished those folks would just shut up and let people root for who they want.
Yeah, the Danica stuff has really become polarizing. I'll be the first to admit that by the time we finally got to Saturday all of us in the media center were DP-fatigued as well. But to me, any attention being tossed toward motorsports, especially during a week where NASCAR had to compete with both the Super Bowl AND the Winter Olympics is great for the sport.
My daughter is five and she doesn't know Danica's name, she just knows there were "girls on the racetrack" over the weekend (including Chrissy Wallace). And because of that she wanted me to get her a toy racecar and a NASCAR Barbie for Valentine's Day. Danica's photo was on the Barbie box and my daughter went crazy over that. Just today she's been pretending like a racecar driver all day long. Can that be a bad thing? I don't think so.
I am a big Jeff Gordon fan but he looked a little shaky during these speedweeks with the shootout crash, spinning kahne and then wrecking himself last night. Should I be worried?
No, because they are headed to his kind of racetracks now. There was something off with those guys all week, yet they still nearly adjusted themselves into a good finsih on Sunday. If I were you I'd be pumped. Jeff looks rested, he's working out hard again (pushed to do so by Jimmie) and there's a focus in his eyes that is all business.
Oh, and I missed Eyrish's question about Junior at California. It's his worst track statistically, so don't expect a whole lot. Just hold your breath next week and start looking ahead to Atlanta and Bristol, two places he loves.
In your opinion, did Harvick leave Bowyer hanging in the draft yesterday towards the end, like Bowyer was screaming about on the radio?
Maybe...but after he'd had a chance to think about it, Bowyer took the blame for that. He said his indecision probably cost them both.
Went to school with one of the hensley girls and spent alot of time at their house. They are great people and Mrs. Hensley was my 4th grade teacher.
One of the greatest moments I've ever witnessed at the track was when Jimmy won the Trucks race at Martinsville in '99 driving for Richard Petty. When he and The King took a bow standing on the fronstretch in front of Jimmy's hometown fans it was just unreal.
what was up with Smoke? pretty much an NF (Non Factor)
No joke. After his win in the Nationwide race he's now the 3rd winningest driver in Daytona history, but he's 0-for-12 in the Daytona 500.
If the 500 ended in the day like it should who do you think would have won?
Harvick. He had the best car on the track and everyone pretty much admitted that in the post-race interviews. The Biff was also pretty freaking good.
Truex called Harvick's move dirty, but it's for the Daytona 500 and if you're going block somebody, don't you have to realize that you just might get pushed out of the way?
You are spot on Wes. It's the Daytona 500. It's every man for himself, especially with less than ten to go.
Who carrys the momentum from last night better and longer, Jr or Jamie Mac?
Great question. Probably Junior simply because I am convinced that his biggest problem has been lack of confidence. But considering that one year ago we were wondering aloud if Jamie Mac would even have a Cup ride this year, it's probably a push. They both needed it...as did most of the top ten when you throw in RCR, Biffle, Edwards, etc.
Was Jimmie being too diplomatic toward the track folks about the sink hole in his post-race comments? The replays FOX showed really looked like he blew his right front becuase of it. Did it also play a role in his DNF?
I think he honestly wanted to go back and watch the the tape and let the crew examine the car...but it looked pretty obvious didn't it? I think there was an obvious effort by the drivers not to come out ripping NASCAR and/or Daytona for the pothole issue. They got a pretty stern offseason talking-to from the league about aiding in the image improvement effort. That doesn't mean they won't call someone out for making a mistake, but I do think they all realized that raising hell last night wasn't really going to do anyone any good at all.
Hey Ryan, who do you see finishing higher in the points this year, Montoya or McMurray? With Montoya's coming from a series (F1) where it is important to beat your teamate, I bet he finds another gear and tries to best McMurray each week. Should be good for EGR as long as they keep it friendly. What do you think?
Yeah, Montoya is still in the best car and with the best team and they did make the Chase last year. McMurray's group will no doubt have some growing pains at some point during the season. And hey, there is that whole Daytona 500 Winner's Curse thing...
I hate watching the Danica circus. BUT if she can inspire some young girls to become NASCAR fans...and even a few to start racing...that is AWESOME.
The problem is that they complain ALL........THE........TIME. Give it a rest already and just watch the race or go outside and get some damn fresh air, but enough is enough.
As usual, Rich and Eyes, I agree with you guys.
Did Jack Roush let the wrong driver go at the end of last year? Ragan continues to be unable to get out of his own way (did you hear DW's comment about this being his last chance at a breakout year?) while Jamie Mac went out and won the Daytona 500. I know UPS probably had some say in Ragan staying, but it looks to me like the Cat in the Hat made the wrong choice.
Well, Brian, that's easy to say today after one guy won the Daytona 500 and the other guy finished 16th, but there was certainly some sponsor influence there...and if you looked at what Ragan did two years ago vs. what McMurray had been doing - and that's really when the decision was made - then Ragan looked like the obvious choice. Now? Not so much.
Sometimes I wish the stock cars had brake lights. Kasey Kahne looked real good yesterday until he got caught up in what seemed to be a bad restart...What are your thoughts on Kahne at Fontana? I know never to base a season on Daytona, but do you think he'll have a car worthy on winning on Sunday? I really don't want to have to sit through another season like 2007 again for Kasey Kahne.
This won't be 2007 again! He really had a great Speedweeks, so don't let the mess that ended his day get you down. Their new Roush affiliation has put some serious horsepower under the hood and for the first time in a couple of years the upper management at RPM (formerly Evernham and formerly Gillett) has stabilized. And hey, he won a Duel, almost won the Shootout, and led 4 laps on Sunday...so it's not like the sky is falling. As for Fontana, he'll be fine. Won there in '06, has 7 top 10's in 12 tries.
I can't agree with Ed Hinton's opinion that Danica having the day she had in the Nationwide race on Saturday is a good thing because it lessens expectations. Because of who she is and the amount of attention she gets, she doesn't have that luxury of just having a learning curve.
Totally agree. Ed posed that question to Tony Stewart after the race on Saturday and Smoke totally agreed as well. That's good enough for me. She showed she could pick her spots, be patient, and was much quicker as the race went on before she was turned.
I know plate tracks are not indicative of where a team is at performance wise. Neither of the Stewart-Haas cars seemed to be very good at Daytona. Are you worried at all about that team having a sophmore slump?
Yes, and so are they. During their stop on the January preseason media tour I was totally blown away by the number of times that Stewart and team director Bobby Hutchens mentioned their fear of a second year slump and "tempering expectations". That told me that it's already in their heads. That ain't good.
Kahne had a great Ford debut but will he be a Ford driver next year or Chevy?
That's the multimillion question. If Stewart can come up with the moolah to sign both Harvick and Kahne then KK will be in a Chevy.
Hey Ryan, can I ask a Nationwide question? Now that the Daytona hoopla is over with, I am pretty excited to see Kelly Bires finally get some seat time. How do you think the Danica/Kelly Bires team will do this weekend?
Always! And yes, I think most folks are with you - including Danica herself. I thought her adding the Daytona race was super-smart because it went on and got the hype out of the way so when the "real" season started at Fontana and Vegas she could get on with her business. As for Bires, the problem with getting him on the track more often isn't Danica, as some fans keep insisting, it's cash. I talked to Dale Junior about it briefly during Speedweeks and he admits that he'd be willing to run more Nationwide races if it helps drum up more cash to get Bires on the track more often.
Should Jr nation be worried that McGrew and Jr never did get the car handling good during slick conditions? If Mcgrew and Jr prove they can't make good adjustments during the races, what will be next for that team??
Marcus, they adjusted during the race well enough to have him come out of nowhere to nearly win the race after being a non-factor all day long. Let's see how it goes this weekend at Junior's worst track before we toss McGrew under the train.
Two years ago, Ragan had two more top-5s and three more top-10s, but led fewer laps. Both had two DNFs. Jamie Mac was essentially even when you look at the numbers. In fact, he was coming off a season with a win in 2007, while Ragan has still yet to find Victory Lane. I don't think Ragan was "the obvious choice" in 2008, and in the afterglow of a 500 win, Jamie Mac looks even more like the better option.
Roush had to start formulating his decision two years ago. If you're telling me that in 2008 the perception was anything other than that Jamie McMurray's career was on a downhill slide you're nuts. Meanwhile, the younger Ragan was making a run at the Chase. If you're a car owner you ride momentum. Ragan had it, Jamie didn't. Now it's the other way around, but the decision has already been made. Not saying it's fair, just the way it is.
Ryan, I tried to give Nascar a chance yesterday. I actually sat down and watched the whole race, but came out fully disappointed. Stop and go, stop and go. Crash, potholes. This isn't fun to watch at all, I'm sorry.
I hear you Jason, but that'd be like me watching one football game ever and it ended up being the Eagle-Bears Fog Bowl during the '88 NFL playoffs, where no one could see the field, including the TV cameras. Yesterday was an anamoly, not the norm. Come back and see us for Talladega this April or Daytona in July and see if we can't win you over.
Alright folks...the bell has rung and my time is up. In the meantime, check out my daily blog on ESPN.com and see me on NASCAR Now this Wednesday on ESPN2. Don't forget to tip your waiters and waitresses and enjoy the music of Danger Danger.