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October 18, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Ryan McGee

Ryan McGee
  (2:01 PM)

What's up, folks and welcome back to the Monday Motorsports Block Party. Not really in a party mood today because of the death of my friend Jeff Byrd, president of the Bristol Motor Speedway. He was a good man and built Bristol from a quaint little short track into NASCAR's grand palace of speed. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

Ryan McGee
  (2:02 PM)

To the queries!

KarenL (Santa Barbara, CA)

Scott Speed said on Twitter last week that he resigned with Red Bull for another year. Soooo??? Be a 3-car team for a year? (I don't have or want a twitter account, but like to check out few drivers at: http://twitter.com/NASCAR/drivers)

Ryan McGee
  (2:04 PM)

I chatted with Scott for a few moments and Charlotte and, has been the case for a while now, he still believes he is good to go. I still say there is a chance that RBR will expand to three cars in 2010. People don't think they have to money to do that and they migth not on their own, but keep in mind that some sort of arrangement was done between Rick Hendrick and RBR to do the one-off Kasey Kahne/Kenny Francis season before they move to Hendrick Motorsports. Gotta think some cash was involved in that.

KarenL (Santa Barbara, CA)

Ryan, for those of us who don't use Face Book, wish you would please try to keep us updated on Shane Hmiel's condition. My son to check face book this a.m. and learned Shane now has pneumonia and has been put on a papoose bed that flips him so he's face down couple hours and then on back. My heart goes out to Shane and his family. He needs all our prayers. Note to Ryan: My son had 8 vertebrae fused and steel rod placed along spine to correct scoliosis 25 yrs ago. That was a difficult surgery in itself. Shane has so many other complications along with compression fractures.

Ryan McGee
  (2:05 PM)

Hi Karen. First, I have good news. You don't have to be a Facebook user to follow the updates on the Shane Hmiel Facebook "Road To Recovery" page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shane-Hmiel-Road-to-Recovery/156856564346848). You can read the status updates even without a Facebook account.

Ryan McGee
  (2:08 PM)

Second, your son is right. Shane did have to postpone a surgery to repair a torn artery in his neck. It was originally scheduled for Friday, but was moved to Monday because of an irregular heartbeat and "a buildup of yuck" in his lungs. He has contracted pneumonia and is in the "flip bed" but it has worked very well today in loosening up the yuck. Looking like surgery tomorrow.

Derek (NC)

Hey Ryan, love your chats...What is Hambone's chances of winning the title this year? What JJ and that team do week in and week out is amazing

Ryan McGee
  (2:09 PM)

Thank you sir and, as always, I thank everyone from showing up. Denny's chances are still good. I think we're realistically down to the top three and that's it. The good news is that he's wicked good at Martinsville. The bad news is that the only guy who has been as good as Denny over the last four years is Jimmie.

Ryan McGee
  (2:10 PM)

In case you're wondering, Harvick isn't very good at Martinsville, which is surprising. But he just needs to stay close because he is ridonculously good at Talladega.

Ryan McGee
  (2:11 PM)

And yes, you are right. What Jimmie keeps doing each week is crazy. I said this in the Power Rankings: What must it be like for the guys chasing him to see him spinning and think "We've got him!" and then see that he came back and finished top three. That's nuts!

Matthew (Columbia, NJ)

Hey Ryan, can we expect a wild race on Sunday at Martinsville?

Ryan McGee
  (2:12 PM)

Without any shadow of a doubt. Over the last three years every Martinsville race has seemed to come down to Jimmie vs. Denny. This year that could very well determine the championship. And this is also the last real chance for guys to "accidentally" exact revenge for altercations earlier this season.

KarenL (Santa Barbara, CA)

See that "Nascar's chief marketing officer, Steve Phelps (never heard of him) will be doing undercover jobs at the track next Sunday, 10/24/10, on "Undercover Boss" program on CBS. Hmmm. Why couldn't it be Mike Helton? or Brian France? Guess be hard to disguise their identities. Thoughts?

Ryan McGee
  (2:14 PM)

Yes. Impossible to hide their identities. Phelps is a good guy but he's a numbers guy and not a mechanic by any stretch. Should be pretty funny. That's a good show. I enjoyed watching the CEO of Frontier Airlines empty out an airplane toilet last night.

Courtney (Rancho)

Is it logical for RPM to release Kasey Kahne 5 races early?

Ryan McGee
  (2:16 PM)

Yes. But I'm thinking Budweiser won't let that happen. If you saw Kahne's comments from his charity 5K on Sunday morning then that's all you really need to know about how bad he wants to get out of there. He says he won't name names but he was told Saturday night that he needed "to start doing his part". Like it's his fault that his brakes went out at Charlotte.

Andy (Atlanta)

Will Danica be running the K&N Pro Series East race at Phoenix in a few weeks? And will Danica be running the ARCA race at Daytona again in February?

Ryan McGee
  (2:19 PM)

I do not know if she'll be in the K&N race, but she is entered in the Nationwide race. And she just announced that she's running the first four N'wide races of '11, which will include Daytona and Phoenix. I would be very surprised if she didn't run the K

Nick (Fontana, CA)

Got an idea for a column by ESPN's NASCAR media group; How about analyze the affect of technology on the declining attendence figures of race events? The econonmy definitely has its effects but what about HD TV, DVRs, added coverage features like DirecTV's HotPass....ect. You could maybe get a track or two to poll past attendees and ask them to cite reasons they are no longer buying tickets with the same regularity. For me, I've cut my own attendence in half mainly due to the convienences today's technology affords me where I can watch on my terms. Just look at how much technology has changed the media's ability to connect with the fans in the past 10years!

Ryan McGee
  (2:22 PM)

Totally agree with you Nick. I know that NASCAR is compiling those numbers. And I can tell you that I know a lot of people are on our ESPN.com Racecast during that time as well. Marty Smith ad I were bragging on how great the Sprint NASCAR mobile stuff is too. I compare it to you what you see in the NASCAR media center/press box during Cup races. On Saturday night we were all covering the race, but we were all also tracking our favorite college football teams on ESPN.com's Gamecast or ESPN3.com. Those numbers won't be reflected in the TV ratings for those games, but people were certainly "watching" them.

Fred (MD)

Riddle me this Bat Man...NASCAR tells Verizon they can't sponsor a car because of Sprint. Yet they let Shell sponsor even with Sunoco....please splain!

Ryan McGee
  (2:24 PM)

If you'll remember, Harvick won the Daytona 500 in his very first race with Shell and it really angered Sunoco. But Shell's loophole is that they aren't just Shell, they are Shell-Pennzoil and claim that the car is advertising the Pennzoil oil brand, not the Shell gasoline brand. But you tell me what you think they're actually advertising. Smart people those Shell-Pennzoil people.

blaine (ms)

Ryan, are we gonna see Johny Benson back in a truck next year or what man? Hard to believe someone that's been so good in the truck series can't find a ride!!

Ryan McGee
  (2:26 PM)

Totally agree with you Blaine, it's a crime that he's not racing. And I'm not just saying that because people always tell me that I look like him. He had a deal done with Kyle Busch to drive a KBM truck this year, but sponsorship never materialized. Sad, but that's just the way that it is.

Chuck (Cleveland)

Hope everything's great with you Ryan. Kyle Busch was about to give his concession speech on Saturday night, for everyone in the Chase. Is that the feeling with most of the Chasers that Johnson has it locked up and that it's over?

Ryan McGee
  (2:28 PM)

You know, he kind of gave his "we're out of it" speech the week before. Had he won at Charlotte he might have been singing a different tune. But yes, I think you are right about everyone's feelings on the 48. On the NASCAR Now roundtable after his win at Dover I quoted Jack Nicklaus, who says he knew he had 90% of the field beat just by walking into the clubhouse because he knew they were thinking about him and not their game. Same goes for Jimmie and the Cup garage.

Roberto (Miami)

Do you think Teresa Earnhardt gets some satisfaction seeing her team winning races with Jamie while Dale jr has become a has-been, also ran?

Ryan McGee
  (2:29 PM)

Without a doubt.

Diane (Los Angeles)

Listening to the TV broadcast booth on scanner during the "fire" delay on Friday Brad and Allen had an interesting lengthy conversation about Marcos telling Brad he was really beginning to think he had made a huge mistake. That with KKs obvious displeasure over parts and pieces at RPM - do you think there is a big problem at RPM or is it a matter of not enough resources so they get direct in a pecking order and AJ is heading up that order at this point?

Ryan McGee
  (2:31 PM)

Yep. A lot of people (incuding me) wondered aloud about Marcos taking that deal in the first place. A common complaint during the final years at Petty Enterprises was that its limited resources were poured into the 43 at the expense of its teammates because that car was team prez Robbie Loomis's first love. Kyle was the chief complainer about that. The situation at RPM seems to be very similar. And guess who is in charge? Loomis.

kimberly (new hampshire)

I know Kasey Kahne is leaving RPM but shouldnt he be treated with more respect after all that he has done for that team. are they that bitter or what?

Ryan McGee
  (2:32 PM)

Lame duck deals never work. Ever.

Ryan Timmel (Ventura CA)

at their worst. Who has a bigger temper the king or Smoke?

Ryan McGee
  (2:33 PM)

Smoke. Not even close. The King could get mad, but ten years ago Stewart was borderline dangerous. Even he admits that.

Clay (Charlotte)

Sooooo, Ryan, any movement on the gaming for charity event on the new big screen in Charlotte? I'm counting on you.

Ryan McGee
  (2:34 PM)

I was working on Bruton over the weekend! The Ryan McGee World's Largest HD Screen Wii Challenge to support Victory Junction Gang Camp. Why not?!

Jeremy (Port Angeles, WA)

With Danica announcing her 1st 4 races for 2011. What do you think the rest of Danica 2011 nationwide series schedule would look like?

Ryan McGee
  (2:36 PM)

I think it will look at lot like this year. She said on Thursday that her IndyCar contract allows for up to 14 races in the #7 car. But my understanding is that she can add as many lower level K&N/ARCA type races that she wants. I think that's the way to go.

Ryan McGee
  (2:37 PM)

Okay...I've been holding back the flood of Dale Junior comments like Dr. Jean Gray at the end of the second X-Men movie. Can't hold them off any longer...

Cory (Geneva, IL)

Now I am not a CC, but if I had an average car, but was running in the top 10 and not losing much time to the leaders and holding my spot in 9th, why in the world would I give up 24 spots of track position on the first two pit stops of the race. I know Jr. isn't the best driver, but I starting to wonder if he is the problem. Jr has 18 wins, McGrew 1. Why do always assume Jr. is the issue?

jason (new hampshire)

Junior was questioning his crew chief again 2 vs 4 tires. cant rick see its time for a change? i dont think he has much respect for lance.

Teri (North Hollwyood, CA)

What happened to Dale Jr. this weekend? He started strong but fell quickly.

Gene (Ohio)

Obviously the Dale jr-HMS experiment has failed. Do you think another top team would ever take a chance on him again or are his only options to take Jr motorsports up to cup or retire?

Christine (Jasper,In)

My other question is why does everyone just assume that the problem with Jr. is all 100% Jr. himself. Why is it not possible that it is a combination of all things on the team. Jr. is not the top driver out there, but you can't tell me all of a sudden he's stopping knowing how to race. I think it's all of them together that's the problem.

Vic (PA)

Do you think HMS is run like a 3 car team (48, 24 and 5) because any information Dale jr and 88 brings is of little or no value?

Ryan McGee
  (2:40 PM)

Trust me folks, that's only about 10% of the complaints about Junior's three-lap down performance on Saturday night. All I can say about the 88 is what I have said all fall: No, I don't think they're going to change crew chiefs. No, I don't think Lance is the whole problem. Yes, I think there will be some pretty significant changes to the team. But no, Rick Hendrick isn't going to be letting Junior go anytime soon.

Emily (NJ)

Ryan, just a fun question to throw out here. If Knaus could pick another driver (besides an HMS driver) to work with, who do you think he would pick?

Ryan McGee
  (2:41 PM)

Gordon. They go way back.

Sue (Bonney Lake, WA)

Any word yet on who will be in the #83 at Martinsville?

Ryan McGee
  (2:42 PM)

No, but my money's on Reed.

Carolina Panthers (Charlotte)

Come on McGee, our lame duck is working out grea...ooops...well maybe not...

Ryan McGee
  (2:42 PM)

Exactly! (By the way, switching back to Matt Moore isn't going to help.)

Clay (Charlotte)

Big screen, lots of big tracks...I have a sneaking suspicion that Bruton is trying to compensate for something.

Ryan McGee
  (2:42 PM)

Um...

Torry [via mobile]

Is the criticism jj is getting fair? People say he wouldn't of won under the old points system but I think under the old points system jj would run the whole season diffrently and wouldn't expieriment with setups and whatnot for the chase. There's a reason he's always in the top 5 when its chase time.

Ryan McGee
  (2:46 PM)

Yeah, the "he wouldn't win Cups without the Chase" argument is weak. I'm with you, I think they have their season structured around the Chase, not unlike Lance Armstrong gearing his whole season around the Tour de France or an NBA resting guys down the stretch to be ready for the playoffs...or the Yankees letting Andy Pettitte do nothing all year and be rested for the playoffs. The numbers are what they are. And no one has won more races than Jimmie over the last ten years. And it's not even close. Since 2001 he leads Smoke and Gordon with 53 wins to their 30 each.

KarenL (Santa Barbara, CA)

Oh! I have a bone to pick w/ESPN. Found it very frustrating to have missed the first 20+ minutes of Nationwide race week before last (Fontana, I think) because ESPN2 was still broadcasting college football and deferred the Nationwide coverage to another ESPN channel. Well, that's fine if one is watching in real time, but totally stinks for pre-set DVR's! This is the one negative I find when ESPN carries Nascar races. They did the same for tennis matches. This is why Nascar needs it's own HD channel, like NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB all have.

Ryan McGee
  (2:49 PM)

I hear you. But it happens to other sports too. Especially college football, which ends up kicking off all over the place before finally landing back on their intended channel. The Saturday sports schedule is just too jam-packed, no matter what network you're on. That being said, the Cup races are rarely if ever jockeyed around like that.

Ryan McGee
  (2:49 PM)

Speaking of which, we were talking about Undercover Boss earlier. My DVR has recorded only the first 15 minutes of it two out of the last three weeks because the CBS NFL game ran over. Just how it is.

Colleen (Canada)

Hi Ryan. I'm always amazed how these drivers can get out of their cars after driving 500 miles, at 200mph and hardly even break a sweat. For people to say these guys aren't athletes, they are crazy.

Ryan McGee
  (2:51 PM)

No question about it. I did a story, working with Gatorade, for ESPN The Magazine a few years ago and even after covering NASCAR for 15+ years was stunned at the toll racing takes on the body. And I'll go you one better than that. Kasey Kahne, after racing, wrecking, and then yacking his guts out still showed up on Sunday morning and ran in a 5K charity road race.

David (Marietta Ga)

What are the chances that Nascar will shorten it's races and the season to attract more fans that can't sit for 4 hours?

Ryan McGee
  (2:53 PM)

Anyone who follows me knows that I am a HUGE pusher of that idea. And I do think its coming when the new TV deal takes hold in a few years. We'll still have some traditional 500-mile events, but I think we'll see a real effort to shorten these races. Saturday night should have been 400 miles at the most.

Emily (NJ)

Still upset that the Silver Fox didn't receive 100% of the vote last week...

Ryan McGee
  (2:55 PM)

Me too. I just don't get it. He was missing from three of the 53 ballots. The official reason I was given was that he considered such a shoo-in that those few decided to cast their votes toward one of the borderline guys. Whatever. Still weak. Biggest slam dunk ever.

Diane (Los Angeles)

I'm beginning to hope Bud Moore doesn't read a lot of Nascar reporters or watch much Speed or ESPN. Between almost everyone saying his selection for the Hall of Fame was a "shocker" and going on and on about who didn't make it instead of really speaking to who did, if I were him I think might be inclined to say - hey folks bite me - I damn well belong in here and at this time (of course I'm sure Mr. Moore is way too classy to do that).

Ryan McGee
  (2:57 PM)

There's no doubt it was a shock. But I think Bud silenced all that talk during his time with the media on Saturday before the race. Whenever a man sits there and tell you stories about being in the Streamline Hotel when NASCAR was founded, fielding cars in the first race, and talking about building Hudson Hornets...that's a Hall of Famer, case closed.

Ryan McGee
  (2:58 PM)

I think Bud's inclusion is a great chance to educate everyone on the earliest days of the sport while we still have someone around who can tell us...instead of trying to do it when he's gone. I'm honored that he's in. And when they announced Ned Jarrett I had to restrain from shouting "Yeew!" in the Great Hall.

Ryan McGee
  (2:59 PM)

Now if we could just get one of the guys who didn't get in to zip it some of all that insulting "Moore shouldn't be in" talk will go away.

Freddy (Houston)

If Reuitman hadn't intentionally wrecked out Rowdy at Kansas wouldn't Rowdy be only a few points behind Jimmie and really challanging for the Sprint Cup?

Ryan McGee
  (3:00 PM)

He'd certainly be in the mix with the top three. I think there might be a Golden Rule sermon in there somewhere...

Ryan McGee
  (3:02 PM)

Alright folks, the horn just went off and I gotta go. Keep an eye out for my story about the Tim Richmond "30 For 30" documentary, which should be posted on ESPN.com soon. And make sure you watch that film Tuesday night, 8 PM ET, ESPN. I've seen it three times already and it really is tremendous stuff. Until next time, tip your waiters and waitresses and enjoy the music of Big Country.