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April 5, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Ryan McGee

Ryan McGee
  (2:01 PM)

What's up my plastic grass and eggshell covered brothers and sisters? Welcome to the post-Easter edition of the Internet's biggest and baddest Monday motorsports block party. I have a bag shaped like a carrot that's full of Reese's Pieces (seriously) and I'm ready to resist the urge to watch the Tiger Woods press conference and let's talk racing!

Ryan McGee
  (2:01 PM)

To the queries!

Fred (Al) [via mobile]

Who was kurt bush cc when he won the cup

Ryan McGee
  (2:03 PM)

It was longtime NASCAR vet Jimmy Fennig. One of the really good guys. You folks in Alabama are about to have a heckuva racing month. Indy Cars down there this weekend and NASCAR rolls into Talladega April 23-25.

Anonymous (Somewhere)

I just read Marty Smith's article about "Getting the Message" and thought it was great. Why can't we get a Chat with him!?!?!? j/k

Ryan McGee
  (2:04 PM)

What?! Yes, that is a great story. I was with Marty at Bristol when he was putting that story together for NASCAR Now, but there was so much good stuff that he banged out a great pre-Easter column for you guys. As for chats, my Duke Boys brother (Hazzard, not Blue Devils) pops up from time to time. Thanks for slumming it with me today :)

Smoke (IN)

How are things looking for me in the upcoming weeks, cause other than bristol, I'm looking slightly better than mediocre.

Ryan McGee
  (2:06 PM)

True that, "Smoke", but we all know you don't really get warmed up until summer. If we get to Bristol next August and you're still struggling it'll be time to panic. Hey, you and your guys did go out of your way to warn us that a sophomore slump might be coming at Stewart-Haas Racing.

Jim (ct)

Do they have ham pie at easter time in the south?

Ryan McGee
  (2:07 PM)

Never had a straight-up ham pie but my Mom always made what she called Breakfast Pie, which was delicious. We had a giant Honey Baked Ham yesterday and I'll be eating off of that for two more weeks...and so will my dog.

Nick Rolando (Orlando)

Ryan, hope you and the family had a great Easter! My opinion is the best drive of the year and maybe the last 5 years was Alonso at Malaysia driving with a messed up gear box and no clutch and almost finish in the points until the engine blew up. Dude can wheel.

Ryan McGee
  (2:09 PM)

Yo Nick...yes he can. And it doesn't seem to matter what team he's with. He's still so young I'm hoping he comes over here to try out stock cars like Montoya and Piquet Jr. But he has more business to take care of over in F1 first.

andrew wyatt (New Canaan, CT)

Will joey logano make the chase this year?

Ryan McGee
  (2:11 PM)

I dunno Andrew, it's going to be close. He has to survive summertime. I'll say this, he's way ahead of where he was last year. His next Cup win won't be a pit call "fluke". It'll be legit.

Scott (BALTO)

how much do teams spend on tires each week, and why aren't they free like the Sonoco fuel? Seems like if you don't get a choice of what tires to buy, then you should get them for free. And why do the pit crews melt off the rubber once the tires come off the car? I've always wondered that.

Ryan McGee
  (2:13 PM)

A set of four racing Goodyears is roughly $2,000. So during race weekend, depending on wear, a Cup team can spend as much as $30,000 on tires. Talking to tire specialists with teams and with Goodyear reps they tell me that there's no way they can supply tires for free like Sunoco provides fuel simply because the overheard is way more. Making gasoline is pretty cheap. Making tires is not.

Ryan McGee
  (2:16 PM)

As for the torch and scrape deal you see in the pits, they are heating up the tire and scraping away all of the excess rubber that has been picked up out on the track. They scrape away the excess stuff to get a true reading on how much wear there has been.

CJ (Iowa)

Now that Kyle has won the first Nascar race for KBM is the pressure off Kyle so he can now focus on getting the #18 back in victory lane?

Ryan McGee
  (2:17 PM)

I think so. He even admitted after his win on Friday night at Nashville that we could probably expect to see him behind the wheel of his own trucks less and less.

EyrishEyes (NY)

Hi Ryan! Are you wearing your Ted Williams hat today?

Ryan McGee
  (2:19 PM)

I am! It has Trot Nixon's autograph on the bill. Number 7 and number 9! I bet Regan Smith would like it.

dustin (lynchburg)

timothy peters is running really well in the truck series...whats his future in nascar? He seems to be one of the nice guys in nascar..hope he continues to do well!

Ryan McGee
  (2:21 PM)

He is one of the good ones and I really thought that early-on he had a truck that could've won on Friday night. I haven't been around a victory celebration in a long time like the one at Martinsville last October when the hometown hero and his hometown crew chief won that race. I know there is a lot of buzz about him in the Cup garage, it's going to be a matter of shoehorning himself in with all of these teenage racers who are already in the development pipelines of the big teams. Stay tuned...

Tony (Keizer Oregon)

how long before hendrick gets tired of jr. not winning and hires someone else.(soon i hope)

Ryan McGee
  (2:22 PM)

Won't happen. If you compare where the 88 is now vs. where it was one year ago I think Mr. Hendrick is plenty happy with where that team is headed. He's 10th in points. One year ago his season was already over.

Scott (Atlanta)

Are you, and others in the media, starting to give Paul Menard a little credit yet as a driver? It seems the media is quick to dimiss drivers who are routinely in inferior equipment as untalented. I think he can drive and now he has some equipment that can shows his skills. Thoughts?

Ryan McGee
  (2:23 PM)

I am willing to do it. I even wrote in last week's Power Rankings that I've been waiting on him to fade and he just hasn't done it.

Trent (SC)

Since Jeff Gordon is listed as owner of both #24 and #48 how come the media never refers to Jeff as an owner-driver?

Ryan McGee
  (2:24 PM)

I can't speak for the other folks, but I do all the time.

Tim (AZ)

Ryan, I have that same Reese's Pieces carrot, what a great idea that thing is! How do you see those Roush Fords running this weekend? Any have a legit shot at the win?

Ryan McGee
  (2:27 PM)

Well, it doesn't look great, does it? The last win Roush - or a Ford of any kind - at PIR was Kurt Busch in the spring of '05. Wow. Of all current drivers, Carl Edwards ranks 8th in average finish with a (yawn) 13.3. But as well as Kenseth and Biffle have been running, I think they could do it, especially Kenseth. Best bet to expect it at Texas, though.

William (NJ)

How come Addington only got 1 top 5 in 72 races as cc on the #18 with JJ Yeley and then when Kyle took over #18 immediately became a success?

Ryan McGee
  (2:27 PM)

Talent behind the wheel.

RedChevy14 (Georgia)

Do you think there's a chance Harvick will remain at RCR or do you think his mind is already made up to look elsewhere, regardless of what this season brings?

Ryan McGee
  (2:29 PM)

I really don't know. My opinion on this changes every week. I think if he wins the Cup he stays put. But he needs to win a Cup race soon. It can't possibly send the right message to Harvick when he dominates in his own stuff on Friday and Saturday but then can't win in RCR's stuff on Sunday. If I'm him I stay put. But I'm not, so...


Ryan, did you read the story about lightning striking the plane carrying JR motorsports and Rusty Wallace pit crews. Pretty scary.

Ryan McGee
  (2:30 PM)

It was indeed. I talked to a couple guys that were on that flight and it really freaked them out. I am always a little nervous on Thursday evenings, Sunday mornings, and Sunday nights because the NASCAR community has so many planes in the air at once.

Robert (MA)

Can you start a petition to have Jeff Gordon regrow his mustache

Ryan McGee
  (2:31 PM)

Wouldn't that rock? And I'm thinking it'd be easier to grow it these days than when he was the little kid that was trying to squeeze out that peach fuzz back in '92.

Howard (IL)

What company is manufacturing the fuel injection units Nascar is going to use?

Ryan McGee
  (2:33 PM)

Good question Howard. I do know that NASCAR has delivered the parameters for fuel injectors to the teams and told them to have at it. It may be a case where they don't hire on manufacturer to do it. They may leave it up to teams to and car makers to figure that out. I'll find out for you.

Gene (Ohio)

Did Brian France come up with the Chase format because Nascar was embarassed in '03 when they had to give the cup to Kenseth who only won 1 race while Newman won 9 races?

Ryan McGee
  (2:34 PM)

No doubt about it.

Bill (Reno)

Ryan you said "I think so. He even admitted after his win on Friday night at Nashville that we could probably expect to see him behind the wheel of his own trucks less and less."I will beleave it when I see it. I'm sure I am not the only one sick of Kyle, Kevin, and Carl running in the minors every week.

Ryan McGee
  (2:34 PM)

That's what he said. And you are certainly not the only person that feels that way.

Eric (VA)

Ryan, I'm really starting to worry about Juan Pablo. He has been a hot mess this year and he hasn't tweeted in over a week. What's up?

Ryan McGee
  (2:36 PM)

Don't read into the non-Tweetage. He's on vacation with his wife and kids. But yes, it's a mess. It's interesting to me, because he's basically having the same season as Mark Martin. Bringing a good car to the track, looking like a contender, and then having something screw that up. But the difference is that Mark still looks upbeat and Juan admitted as early as Vegas that he was worried about making the Chase. Not a good sign if you're a JPM fan.

Paul (NY)

Is it looking like Penske and Gibbs will be fielding 4th cars in 2011?

Ryan McGee
  (2:38 PM)

Perhaps. He's going to have too many good drivers and not enough cars to put them all in if he doesn't either expand or cut a current Cup guy to make room for Justin Allgaier, who is too good to keep down too long. Allgaier even participated in the Cup spoiler test at Charlotte. Might not be a good sign for Sam Hornish Jr...

EyrishEyes (NY)

Nice, love it! Go Sox! (Sorry for delay, this chat still sucks on my computer)

Ryan McGee
  (2:38 PM)

No sweat.

Tracy (CT)

It's been a good argument between some posters here on ESPN. Would drivers rather have a great season win wise (Kyle, Carl, Newman, Kahne, etc) or a Cup title???

Ryan McGee
  (2:40 PM)

Cup title. No question about it. There's not a driver in the garage that would feel guilty about winning a Cup with only one or two wins a la Benny Parsons, Terry Labonte, or Matt Kenseth. After Dale Earnhardt won the '98 Daytona 500, easily the biggest win of his career, I asked him if he'd trade it for another Cup title and he said, "Yes. Wouldn't think about it twice."

Jake (Ft Worth )

F1 has a new star in Seb Vettel and IRL has a new star in Will Power. How come Nascar doesn't get any new stars?

Ryan McGee
  (2:41 PM)

Huh? Have you met Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Justin Allgaier, Brad Keselowski, etc? No, we don't have a rookie class to speak of this year in Cup, but there is certainly no shortage of young stars that have arrived in recent years.

Aaron (Bath, ME)

Hey Ryan, hope you had a good Easter. Over or under for Jeff Gordon: three wins this season.

Ryan McGee
  (2:42 PM)

I still say over. But he needs to get on with it if that's going to happen.

caster and camber (bahama, nc)

McGee, how do you feel about harvic getting the "dash for the cash" bonus this weekend? i understand that nationwide loves and needs some cup drivers in their series for publicity and this bonus helps lure them on a saturday but it seems they could find a way to let a driver without a full time cup ride get the bonus. these drivers could use the $25,000 a little more then a cup driver

Ryan McGee
  (2:43 PM)

Totally agree. I think there needs to be a seperate points/money system for Cup regs and the other guys. But I wouldn't want to be the one to have sort all of that out. Say hey to the pride of Bahama, NC, Scott Riggs for me...gonna be good to see him back in a Cup cat this weekend at Phoenix.

Lewis F (NYC)

Didn't want you to think you're all alone. Miss me in the media center. Anyway, watching Tiger. How many fallen race drivers found religion after they were busted?

Ryan McGee
  (2:45 PM)

Ladies and gentlemen, the great racing journalist Lewis Franck is in the house! I am DVR'ing Tiger. As for finding religion, most had it before, forgot it, then rediscovered late in their careers. Injury, not scandal, usually reintroduces racers to religion.

Dan (CA)

Top 5 in PHX this weekend? Do you expect more bumping and tempers?

Ryan McGee
  (2:47 PM)

I do expect more beating. Not like we saw at Martinsville, but these guys think of Phoenix as a short track. I'll say: Martin, Jimmie, Burton, Smoke, and Kurt Busch. Normally I'd have Denny Hamlin in there, but I'm not even sure he'll finish the race. He's got Casey Mears on standby.

lynn (flordia)

what does the pace car/truck driver do during the race

Ryan McGee
  (2:48 PM)

Pace the field, of course! Brett Bodine stays parked just off of pit road and springs into action whenver the caution comes out. He sets the speed, helps teams get a feel for pit road speed, and also checks the track for debris, wet spots, etc. on behalf of Race Control high above the speedway. And on race mornings he also gives us media members a ride around the track to get a feel for the circuit.

Cale (Boston)

I'm thinking about taking a vacation this summer to go see some racing I normally don't get to watch up here in The People's Republic of MA. Any suggestions on domestic events I should take a look at? I'd like to avoid Cup races because I go to NHMS already, and if the area was generally tourist friendly it'd be a plus, too.

Ryan McGee
  (2:50 PM)

Riverside, Thompson, Stafford Springs, Seekonk, there are some great short tracks all over New England. Best way to map it out is to visit, go to the map and click on each state you are near. They list every racetrack, complete with links and schedules. My advice - go wherever the Modifieds are going!

Frank (Kingston, Pa)

Ryan - It is now April and still nothing on Knaus's contract extension. Are you hearing anything pro or con on what is going on?

Ryan McGee
  (2:51 PM)

I talked to the folks at Hendrick about it at Bristol a couple of weeks back and they say it's nearly done, just working out some details. He's asking for a lot and they want to make sure he gets it.

TJ (Omaha)

Other than DJ, who is the best golfer in Nascar?

Ryan McGee
  (2:52 PM)

DJ's the only one I've played with and that was a loooong time ago. They tell me that Montoya is pretty freaking good. (BTW, getting psyched for my annual trip to Omaha for the College World Series! Paperback version of my "Road To Omaha" book comes out at the end of the month.)

Tony (Keizer Oregon)

if denny starts the race and casey finishes the race, what does that do to fantasy points?

Ryan McGee
  (2:53 PM)

The driver that starts the race gets the points for that race, even if the backup guy drives it to a win.

Julie (Fort Lee, NJ)

How come the Kyle-Carl haters never complain when Dale, Stewart, Burton, Newman, Kenseth race in Nationwide but only when Kyle and Carl do?

Ryan McGee
  (2:53 PM)

Good point.

colleen (canada)

hey Ryan,,how are you? so, are you going on @dennyhamlin twitter tonight to answer his trivia question to win his fire suit? How do you think he'll do this weekend in Phoenix? I say he starts and gets out. You?

Ryan McGee
  (2:54 PM)

I don't think I'm eligible, but I will look in to see who wins. And yes, I think he'll get out.

Jimmy (Maine)

Who will be in the next HOF class?

Ryan McGee
  (2:55 PM)

My vote would be David Pearson (who should have gotten in last year), Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, and Lee Petty.

dz (phx, az`)

hey mcgee! which team are you rooting for tonight in the duke vs. butler game? wanna make a bet?

Ryan McGee
  (2:56 PM)

My heart says Butler, my head says Duke. It's been fun checking in with all of my racing friends in Indianapolis during Butler's run. They're going nuts up there.

Cathy (Atlanta)

Happy post Easter Ryan!! What tracks do you see losing a date next year? And if you could have a say which would you see going?

Ryan McGee
  (2:59 PM)

The rumor seems to be Martinsville losing a date, to be moved to Kansas, which is getting a big new ISC-owned casino. If that happens I might drive up there and chain myself to a tree. If they need a 2nd date for Kansas, it should come from Pocono. Hate to say that, but it's true. If the Kentucky mess gets straightened out, Bruton will move one of his dates there. If not, he'll move it to Vegas. And I am afraid that your home track of Atlanta will be the loser there. We'll see...

Jack Trae (KCMO)

Hey Ryan, which ESPN Nascar reporter would win in a battle royal?

Ryan McGee
  (3:00 PM)

Having recently seen Marty Smith during a workout with Jimmie Johnson I am willing concede defeat right here and now. Dude is a freak.

Ryan McGee
  (3:02 PM)

Alright folks, the bell has gone off and I have to go. Thanks for ignoring Tiger and baseball long enough to check in. I'll see you back here next Monday, same time, 2 PM ET. In the meantime, you can email questions to me at or on Twitter (@ryanmcgeeespn).As always, tip your wait staff and enjoy the music of the Commodores.