Hello my wine-covered brothers and sisters and welcome back to the worldwide interweb's biggest and baddest (pretty sure only) one-hour Monday motorsports block party!
Thanks to my man Ricky Craven for the sweet lead-in. Been a rough week for Ricky. He's a good man. One of the best.
To the queries!
Hey Ryan, can Jeff Gordon expect some payback next week from Martin Truex, Elliott Sadler among others?
Um, yes, especially Truex, who never gets that mad and is from New Jersey, so we know he's probably got no problem putting a hit out on someone. This week's edition of the ESPN.com Power Rankings (http://tinyurl.com/2dn4xes) was "co-written" by my 6-year old daughter on Father's Day and her line was "I thought Gordon was one of the good guys. He's driving like a bad guy."
Seriously, when is Jeff Gordon gonna win? He had a car that was better than 5th place, and had to drive his butt off just to get back there after on-track incidents. Now, the 48 is just 31 wins behind the 24 on the wins list, and Gordon still can't find Victory Lane...
It's getting crazy isn't it? It reminds me so much of Dale Earnhardt's post Daytona 500 win hitting slump. Not early on when he and Larry Mac were totally lost, but later in '99 when he was drivinng like a maniac to get that slump-busting win out of the way. He finally got it in the infamous Terry Labonte "rattle his cage" race at Bristol. Maybe Jeff has one of those coming soon...
Do you think the Cup garage should be shown Jeff Gordon's post race interview? Alot of drivers could learn how to be a man from him and not cry about everything during an interview. How refreshing.
I think they have seen plenty of Gordon's interviews. And I know for a fact that his stuff is shown to young drivers during their media training sessions, not by NASCAR but by marketing companies and sports agencies.
ryan, i don't know what caused you to write those comments for the rankings this week. but all i can say is thank you. as sports fans we get so caught up being pissed off and angry and we loose sight of loving and teaching sports & sportmanship. am as guilty as the next sports fan putting a huge emphasis on winning that i forget about teaching others about the sports i love.thank you.
Thanks! That was a lot of fun. My little girl was a real sweetheart and sat there and watched racing, college baseball, and golf with her old man all day on Fathers Day. So glad you enjoyed it. I know I did.
McGee, place bets on how many conspiracies we are going to hear on here because of that last caution yesterday. Ambrose made a mistake and the champ took advantage! Oh and jr had an alright day , but he still sucks guys!
Well...good luck with that last comment there, Josh. Junior Nation is everywhere, even San Diego, so they might come after you. As for conspiracy theories...
I have been getting them emailed and Tweeted to me since the moment he stalled out. To Ambrose's credit, he handled it pretty well. His quote was "It's NASCAR's house and I'll always play by his rules. I don't agree with it. I don't like it and that's only because I lost the race."
My biggest question, and I can't wait to see what's said about this on the NASCAR Now roundtable tonight (midnight ET, ESPN2), is why he was working so hard to save fuel. He seemed to be well inside the window and I don't know why they'd be concerned about a potential green-white-checkered overtime finish that might or might not happen.
Hi Ryan, Am I the only one who found yesterday's race extremely sloppy and frustrating? The lack of experienced road-course drivers in NASCAR really shines through at Infineon, and makes me think that the field should be limited, single-file restarts should be implemented, and black flags should be waved far more often to avoid people like Keselowski playing bumper cars with legitimate contenders all day. Thoughts?
It was pretty sloppy. Even the highlights on the highlight shows were hard to watch. What's amazing is that they are still so much better at it than they were just a few years ago...at least the guys up front are. I like BK a lot, but he was brutal. And NASCAR did park him.
Single file restarts on the road courses is not a bad idea, but honestly it's about the most exciting thing they have going on the left-and-righty tracks.
Just wondering.....after Montoya punted Logano, was Logano overheard saying Montoyas wife has the accent in the family?
Marcos made a mistake. Jimmie got a golden U-shaped gift. It doesn't make it right. I'm sick for Marcos and his team and I imagine the governing body didn't have a course with hills in mind when they made that rule. Did Jimmie deserve to win more than Marcos? No. Had there not been 2-3 cautions at the end, seemingly caused by the same 3 cars as the first few cautions, Marcos would have won by 15 seconds. Sick, I tell you! Sick!
Yeah, but here's how you win 51 Cup races (which is Jimmie's amazing career total now). By being position to win late in the race. Thinking back on all 51 wins, and I've covered them all, there haven't been nearly as many just total butt-whippings as there have been "where did he come from?" finishes where he was in the right place at the right time. That's part of it. That's how the old guys used to do it too, especially Lee and Richard Petty.
By the way, Lee is next on Johnson's hit list. He has 54 career wins to JJ's 51.
Who are the drivers that RPM are lookin at for the nine car
Right now no one because they are scrambling to make sure that the team as a whole will be around in the future. Seriously.
I thought they parked Brad for not having a splitter...not for conduct on track...though they should have...
Officially it was because of the splitter. Unofficially it was because he was driving like Mad Max. Not Papis. The guy in the movies.
Larry H. Miller has built a beautiful world class (or so I am told) track out here in Utah. A NASCAR race would be awesome out here have you heard anything as far as any races potentially being held here in the future?
It is a beautiful place. I was out there two years ago. I think that NASCAR should be looking to some of these newer sparkling road courses as potential new adds to the Cup schedule. I love Watkins Glen, but the facilities have never been up to snuff. Infineon was the same way 10 years ago. Dale Earnhardt really raised hell to me about it in '99. But they spent a lot of money and got it in great shape. The Glen needs to do more of that too or its time to look elsewhere.
I was just in Montreal for the F1 race and they are doing a lot of capital improvements over the next couple of years. Would love to see Cup up there too.
Hey Ryan. Fun rankings this week with the quotes from your girl! But yikes, did Bowyer really deserve to be dropped from the top 20, or is just that your daughter didn't comment on him?
Kevin, it was a tough one, but I just have little confidence in those guys right now. Michigan and Sonoma, two tracks where he runs well, he finished 22nd and 31st. He has four finishes of 30th or worse and just feels blah to me, especially compared to the other two RCR cars. He won at Loudon in '07 but has been pretty generic there otherwise.
Plus, I had to get Ambrose in there this week to reward a dominant day.
I'm dang near sure at least 1 driver and maybe 2 currently outside the top 12 will make the chase. Just not exactly sure who will fall out. Any thoughts on who could drop out and who could slide in?
I think Carl Edwards is completely lost, so that's my leading candidate to fall out. And Mark Martin needs to get on with it as well. Two weeks ago I would have told you that Biffle was doomed, but he has run well the last couple of weeks.
I am expecting Newman to start making a move back up soon. I've kept him and Logano in the Power Rankings because I like the way those teams feel right now...and they also both run well at New Hampshire.
Hey Ryan, which current driver(s) do you see as most likely to make the jump to broadcasting when they retire from driving?
You know John I was a TV producer for 15 years before I became a full-time writer and I used to have meeting about this all the time. I would hire Jeff Burton right now, without hesitation. He's is stone cold money.
With Carl, and Brad both having bad days yesterday (I dont remember where Menard finished), is it time for their Cup teams to say enough with this NW garbage? They missed Cup practice and it showed!
Totally agree. And throw in the fact that Carl has a new baby at home and I don't see how dude can hold his eyelids up.
Two weeks ago in the "Town Hall" meetings that NASCAR had with the drivers and owners they threw a lot of ideas out to get reactions. One was limiting the number of points that a Cup driver can score in Nationwide. There didn't seem to be a lot of resistance to that and when Keselowski came on NASCAR Now last Wed. he said he was all for it. So do it!
Any word on if this will indeed be the last June Loudon race?
Not yet. They sure seem to be leveraging this dispute with the local police as an excuse to move one date don't they? But it sure hasn't kept them from adding an Indy Car race to the NHMS schedule, which they are very close to doing.
If I was Bruton (and judging by my ATM balance clearly I am not) I would leave NHMS, which typically sells a ton of tickets, alone and move one of the Atlanta dates to Kentucky.
Love the Atlanta Motor Speedway and the people that work there. But last March was literally the most beautiful weather I have ever seen at a racetrack and the place was half empty.
Ryan - Win Win for you yesterday. You get a day with your daughter and she writes your commentary. Should be your favorite of the year. Even with the Ambrose stumble does this cement JJ's career or does he need another roadrace win to create legitimacy?
Thanks Rick. It is. As for JJ's legacy and the legitimacy of it, if he retired today he'd already be among the top handful of NASCAR racers that ever lived. He needs to do nothing else...and I think he's still got another decade left.
From someone who loves open wheel (F1 and Indy) as much as NASCAR, I can't watch those tanks go through the S curves at Sonoma. Especially since the racing/driving was so bad!
It was a little rough. And mainly back there on the "backstretch".
With a 10th place finish on one of his stronger courses is it all over for Juan Pablo as far as the chase goes this season?
I think so. I said in last week's Power Rankings that if he didn't win at Sonoma his chances of making The Chase were about as good as Marmaduke's chances of winning the Oscar for Best Picture.
Ryan, sad to see Roseblatt go. Harvick runs quiet all day long and leaves with a huge point lead. What does this guy have to do to sign a new sponsor?
Me too Matt. Love The Blatt. Going to be saying goodbye in person next week. Writing "The Road To Omaha" was one of the most rewarding experiences of my career.
Yeah, Happy just keeps puttering along and extending his points lead doesn't he?! I've actually spent today working on a story about that for the next issue of ESPN The Magazine.
As for the 29's sponsor search, it's all done but the contract. Announcement is coming very soon.
Hi Ryan, what happened to Kurt Busch at the end of the race? I missed it. He seemed to be running pretty well all day then ended up 32nd. Thanks!
Flat tire late, had to pit.
How in the world can JJ ever being notified as one of NASCAR's best all time. I don't see him having the pure talent of Stewart or Gordon. No way. Can you clarify why he jumped from being a unnoted driver in the Nationwide series to what a 4-time Cup champ? It's all about fitting in a organization, working hard, core people, momentum and a little bit of luck
Well, let's see. Four time champion, which ranks him behind only Petty and Earnhardt. Four in a row, never been done. 51 wins, which ranks him 10th all-time. Team or not, luck or not, if you're in the top ten in every major stat, then you get to be called an all-time great. There's no argument there.
Ryan, do you think Kasey Kahne can come back and make the Chase? He has 2 straight top 5s...
Gonna be tight. His problem isn't as much points behind 12th (151) as it is the number of guys between himself and the Chase, which is six if you include Edwards in 12th. He needs all six of those guys to fall back as much as he needs himself to move up. That's a lot to ask with 10 races to go before the cutoff.
Is time running out on the Sam Hornish era? Especially with Allgaier running as well as he is
Yes. You simply can't keep wrecking cars and keep your ride. And Hornish literally wrecks almost every week.
Ryan, just read your standings with your little's comments. That was priceless!! Should do that every week (if you can get her to sit that long every week that is)
Thanks...and I wish, but not a chance. The fact that she sat there patiently through a race simply tells you that it was Fathers Day. The rest of the year that TV is tuned to Sesame Street and the Disney Channel.
Not to mention NHMS is the only track that covers the Boston market. That is a key one to have.
Exactly. People ask me all the time why Pocono and Dover and Fontana get to keep two races each. That's easy. Look where they are on the map and see what TV markets they pull viewers and ticket-buyers from.
Historically, the 25/88 team has been flat out bad at Hendrick since Tim Richmond. With Mr. H devoting all the resources he can to the 88 to get them caught up, is this evidence of how far behind the team actually is or have the drivers had to shoulder the blame?
You're talking about the "Curse of the 25 Car" and it has been around forever. There's plenty of blame to go around, but if you go back through NASCAR history every four-car team has had one car that can't keep up. It's always been that way. Look at David Ragan at Roush. It was Jamie McMurray, Johnny Benson, Ted Musgrave, and Chad Little before him. Look at Casey Mears at RCR. It's just always been that way. No one can explain it.
Who's the favorite to win the championship: Hamlin or Johnson?
I still Johnson. I think they have hit a hiccup but are regaining ground. And I do think there is something to peaking too early here in the Chase era. And I also think the 29 is legit.
With the exception of running into Truex, I loved what Jeff Gordon was doing yesterday. It's about time we see him being aggressive again, like in the 90's. Good Job Jeff.
I've been getting a lot of that Ian. And it hasn't just been Infineon. He's been racing hard like that all year long.
If I remember correctly the 88 was a top 5 car all day at Loudon in September before he got dumped late, can he be a darkhorse on Sunday?
Yes. But I still say I'd put my 88 eggs in the Daytona basket the next weekend.
Does being the boss hurt a driver? It that contributing to Junior underachieving?
It doesn't help. We saw that with all the disastrous driver-owner attempts in the 1990's - Rudd, Bodine, Elliott, etc. But really he isn't calling the shots at JR Motorsports. That falls to his sister and she makes sure of that so that he keeps focus on his day job. He has the deciding vote, but she's doing day-to-day stuff.
What are the main storylines going into NHMS this weekend. Also, who do you have winning both races?
The future of the track's two dates and settling old scores will be big storylines this weekend. A lof of feelings have been hurt over the last month and NHMS is basically a big Martinsville, so we might see some dumping this weekend.
As for faves. In the Cup race I'll have my eye on Smoke, Gordon, Jimmie, and the RCR cars, especially Jeff Burton, who has been wicked fast there ever since he made his Cup debut at NHMS in '93 and shocked the garage by qualifying 6th.
Alright folks, that'll do it for this week. Thanks for stopping by and if I missed you hit me up on Twitter (@RyanMcGeeESPN) or via email (email@example.com). Until next time, tip your wait staff and enjoy the music of Devo. Their new album rocks.