What's up my Thunder Valley USA mountain mist-covered brothers and sisters and welcome to the Monday afternoon motorsports block party. My ears are still ringing from Bristol, but as always I am here for you. To the queries!
Hey, Mr. Ryan McGee. I have a question. Do you know who will sponsor Aj Allmendinger.
Hi Mr. Trent from Clarence. Everyone at RPM expects Best Buy to be back on board, at least partially as they were this year.
Newman would be racing "neck and neck" with Bowyer for 12th? Everyone knows Newman doesn't have a neck! How about neck and small area between his head and shoulders"?
First, thanks for reading my Power Rankings. They just went up a little while ago. Second, that just made me do a spit take onto my computer. Funny stuff. Wish I had thought of it!
Ryan, is it me or does Denny Hamlin come off as a spoiled child? The only time he doesn't complain about his crew or equipment is when he wins. Never stays positive even after a good, non-winning finish.
Hi Emily. Yeah, I wrote about that in this week's Power Rankings too. Chatting with some folks who work at Joe Gibbs Racing, it's not sitting too well with them either. They have no problem with him bringing concerns to their attention, they just don't like hearing about it on TV and radio and Twitter first.
Why does everyone keep saying that Jr. needs to get out of his car and let someone else drive when he is only 18th in points? There are alot of other good drivers lower in points than he is.
Yep. And he's certainly run better this year than last. I say it here every week, he's not getting out of that car anytime soon. And the theory that Hendrick would take him out of the car is laughable.
How many more years of racing does Jeff Gordon have left? Will he be able to reach 100 careers wins before he hangs up his steering wheel
He says he's in for at least four more years so I think 100 wins is certainly reachable. I thought he'd already be there by now...and so did Jeff! Frankly, I was a little surprised that he has started saying he wants to keep going into his 40's. It wasn't so long ago that he used to swear he'd never "be Kenny Schrader" and that he couldn't see himself racing past 40. Clearly he's changed his mind. Hitting 100 wins and getting at least one more Cup probably has a lot to do with that.
Where does Kyle Busch's sweep sit in the history books? What other professional sport event could it be compared too? A pitcher's perfect game or no-hitter in baseball?
That's a great question. To put it in a little perspective, think about how old NASCAR is - 60+ year - and how long the Trucks have been in business - since 1995. It's amazing to think no one had swept a weekend like this before.
As for a stick-and-ball comparison, my first thought was hitting for the cycle - a single, double, triple, and homer in the same game. But that's been done in the neighborhood of 300 times in MLB history. I guess the more accurate comparison is a perfect game. Good for Kyle. Love or hate him, that's pretty amazing.
I'm still a little hazy on team switches coming up next season. So far we have: Kahne to Red Bull, Menard to RCR, Ambrose to RPM, Labonte to the 47 car? Who am I missing? And Kasey will be in the GoDaddy/Carquest car for Hendrick or a new sponsor?
You're pretty close Ken. Kahne to Red Bull for one year before taking over the #5 at Hendrick (with Vickers coming back to Red Bull they either expand to 3 cars or boot Scott Speed). Ambrose to #9 at RPM with Stanley Tools. Labonte to 47 car at JTG Daugherty. Menard and his money to a new 4th RCR car.
With JJ being 9th in points and there is a possibility he could miss the Chase, is this the year we finally see someone else win the title and JJ finishes out of the top 5?
Nah, it's nearly impossible for him to drop out now. The spot still in play in the 12th position. Bowyer holds a 100-ish point lead over McMurray, Martin, and Newman. As for someone else winning the Cup, I think that's happening. They are in a freefall right now. They've had good cars, like Bristol, but the "golden horseshoe" that Harvick joked about seems to have vanished.
How great can the sweep be when no one else has ever attempted it? Cup is the only victory that matters.
I agree about Cup meaning so much more. And I get your point about few people even attempting it. But it's still pretty amazing.
The truck race at Darlington a week+ ago was really great - glad to see them back on the Lady in Black. 2011 schedule is short by at least a race due to Gateway canceling what chance do you think there is trucks could return to the Rock or even No. Wilkesboro?
Hi Diane! I am all for that. I actually wrote that as one of my 12 Steps To Fix NASCAR in ESPN The Magazine last month. That being said...
...both tracks need some work to be ready to host a big league event. Rockingham could do it tomorrow, but they have to install the SAFER barrier, which will cost about a million bucks. If they ever got that put in I think they'd get a Truck race.
And funny you should bring up North Wilkesboro. I stopped by there yesterday to see how preparations were going for next weekend's grand reopening. Compared to a year ago, the place looks great. But they are a looooong way away from being ready for a big league race. I'm working on an ESPN.com story for late this week or early next about that.
Are Jr. fans more upset at him than the non-fans?
Yes. Though I will say this, they have gotten much quieter here and in my email/Twitter inboxes as summer has dragged on. I think apathy has set in.
Which new or existing driver do you see breaking out in the next year or so? Anyone from NNS or currently in Cup? And is not being able to test like they used hurting newer drivers?
In Cup, I think Truex is rediscover his stride. As for Nationwide, I have my eyes on Justin Allgaier and Trevor Bayne. Their teams - Penske and MWR - are bringing them along at just the right pace. Oh, and Martin's little brother, Ryan, is also going to be pretty dang good.
As to the testing rules hurting younger drivers, it has definitely slowed them down compared to when we'd see rookies like Stewart, Earnhardt, Kenseth, Johnson, Newman, etc. come blowing in and start winning Cup races right away. But don't think the rookies aren't testing all the time. Just not at official Cup tracks. I bet I personally saw Logano testing at Rockingham six times last year.
Which races is Danica Patrick going to race (to use a word loosely) this year?
The next time we'll see her in NASCAR is at Dover on September 25. Then it's Charlotte, Gateway, Texas, and Homestead. She may have added another in there, but I can't remember...which is amazing when you think about how we were all scrambling for her every move earlier this year.
I think JPM knocked the golden horseshoe out rather than it vanished.
I haven't heard one rookie's name mentioned for 2011. Is it possible there will be NO rookies in the Cup field? And what does that say about the state of NASCAR's "development" series?
Yeah, right now it is zero. I don't know if that speaks so much to the lack of driver development as it does to people hanging onto rides. There are plenty of young guys in the development pipeline with the big teams, I just named a few earlier. But teams are firing guys much and they aren't bringing young guys up too fast anymore. The Young Gun thing got so out of control a few years ago they kind of burned the forest down and burned some guys out. Now the pace is slower and I think that's smart.
But we have the real possibility of two horrid classes - or more accurately, non-classes - of Cup rookies this year and next.
We were proud of Rowdy for doing his talking on the track and disappointed in what the driver of the Penske 12 said on tv. Will Nascar penalize him and what do you think Mr. Penske thought of that unprofessionalism?
First, there won't be any penalties. He'll get a talking-to from Penske and likely from NASCAR, but no real penalties. Besides, it was the most memorable moment of the night!
As for Kyle only doing his talking on the track and not off it...um...are you serious?
Since Dale jr is a non-factor but Bristol almost sold out are those ex-Dale jr fans now fans of Rowdy Busch or Denny? Who did they switch alligence to?
No one. They're still Junior fans. And judging from the boos I sure don't think they are big Kyle fans now! As for the near sellout, I really think that the Brad-Kyle stuff on Friday helped push that crowd to those numbers on Saturday. There was a big walkup line at the ticket office on Saturday afternoon. I even wrote a story about it! http://sports.espn.go.com/rpm/nascar/cup/columns/story?columnist=mcgee_ryan&id=5482266
IRL Sonoma. Do IRL Drivers retaliate like NASCAR drivers? The #4 is taken out, flippled on it side at the Start. I dont know who fault it was or if is just racin...? What is your take?
They do retaliate, but not with their cars like the NASCAR guys. Not directly anyway. They can't. You've seen what happens when open wheels touch. Someone always ends up airborne. But they are certainly not above blocking, making it hard to pass, or riding in someone's rear view mirrors so long it drives them nuts. And I have seen more post-race pit road shoves in IndyCar over the last 15 years than NASCAR.
They have to. If they do with their cars someone will get killed.
With the COT and the spoiler combo, it is just the bulkiness that makes it hard to drive? I've been trying to figure out what the 48 teams needs, it almost as if a whole, they haven't figured it out setup wise in the latter parts of the race. I know JJ won with the COT and the old car and spoiler I just can't figure out why he and or the team is having such a hard time?
I was talking to Carl Edwards about this and he said that fans should have learned a lot about this car - more specifically the car with the spoiler and not the wing - at Michigan. He said the reason you saw cars riding the top instead of the bottom is because that's where the edge is with the spoiler, whereas it was much lower with the wing. Those sidepod deals on the wings were a much bigger deal than some teams realized when it came to finding the edge out where the car can ride the fastest. The 48 seems to have been one of those teams.
Assuming that Kurt wins Atlanta and Rowdy triumphs at Richmond do you see The Busch Brothers as the 1-2 favorites to win the cup?
If that happns, they'll certainly be in the top five. But it'll take a lot for me not to keep believing that the 29 is still the favorite.
It comes down to the last race before the chase, Richmond, and Jamie Mac or Newman or whoever is in 13th is side by side with Bowyer, what are the odds, they put him into the wall just for points?
I would pay extra money to see that. We're gonna need some drama to materialize at Richmond. Right now the race for 12th is looking like a snoozer.
Ryan... I am ashamed to admit it... 2 seasons ago, I booed Kyle Busch. Last year, I kept quiet. This year, he's starting to grow on me. I feel that I may be witnessing true greatness, and I should respect that. Am I becoming a KB convert? I booed Jeff Gordon many years ago too, but now he can count me amoung his fans.
I think you are not alone John. And I have said for years that Kyle will eventually grow on people. They booed the hell out of DW, Earnhardt, Rusty, Gordon, Bobby Allison, even Mark Martin. But eventually all of those guys at least won the respect of the grandstand because of their success. Kyle still has a long ways to go to be among the guys I just listed, but people love winners. At the very least they respect them.
I feel sort of bad for BV but is it fair to the safety of the other drivers to let a man who has had open heart surgery on the track?
I hear you James and totally understand your concern. But he had the surgery in early summer and won't be back in a racecar again until January at the earliest. That's plenty of time to recover. Hell, he did some giant mountain bike ride in the Rockies just a few weeks after his biggest heart surgery! If Ernie Irvan can come back and win races after his eyes had popped out of his skull then BV can come back from this. My bigger concern is about the blood thinners. If he's still on them next spring he won't be able to race.
So you think we're apathetic? Not so. And we're not upset with Jr...only the CC. We're disgusted with the media and tired of participating in the crucifixtion. Don't confuse apathy with our disgust at those who trash him.
Well, there you have it. I'm just judging it on the amount of Junior traffic I see here in the chat and email and Twitter. It's half of what it was in the spring. And if you think I'm a Junior hater then you are in the minority. I'm usually accused of being in love with him.
If you think driver introductions were most exiting part of night ...maybe you should quit being Nascar reporter. Thats the dumbest thing you have ever said.
Man, you guys are in a crappy mood today. Were you there? Because the half-hour leading into the race and the first half-hour of the race made the rest of the night feel like it was in slow motion. Maybe it was just me...
Is it wrong that I'm a quiet JR. fan for the sole reasoning that I feel so bad for the guy? Honestly, how tough is it to win in a Hendrick Motorsports car?! I was really pulling for him to pull the upset on either Friday or Satruday, but once agian he let us down.
Not wrong at all. I know it hurts. And he knows that it hurts you.
Ryan McGee this is a great chat and Ima let you finish, but I gotta say that last week Ed Hinton had one of the greatest chats of all-time
Ryan, who is more likely to break their winless streak at Atlanta on Labor Day weekend, Carl or Jeff Gordon?
Who owns the #4?
That was our old friends at Morgan McClure Motorsports! Remember the Kodak Chevy with Sterling and Ernie? They are local, just up the road in Abdingdon, VA and brought the team out of mothballs to try and make the race with Kevin Lepage. Didn't get in, but it was great to see them back at the track.
Will Paul's dad continue to be the only sponsor for him when he switches to RCR? Is it still going to be the number 98 car?
Won't be #98, but yes, Menard's is on the car.
Ryan i've asked to Jr ?s and no response do you think Jr Run with Eury Sr And Mcgrews poor Adjustments will make rick wake up and see that Eury is the man
Perhaps. But I could never see a Eury coming back over to Hendrick after the way Tony Jr's tenure ended. But you certainly aren't the first person to propose that idea.
Go work for TMZ so you can cover the pre-race trash talk and gossip. Espn is getting more TMZ like everyday.
Good idea. It's time for the chat to end anyway, so I'm going to grab my camera and spend my off weekend standing outside the Palm trying to get some pictures of Miley Cyrus.
That'll do it for this week folks. If I missed your question - and I missed alot - hit me up via email (email@example.com) or Twitter (@RyanMcGeeESPN). As always, thanks for stopping by, tip your wait staff, and enjoy the music of Government Cheese.