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November 1, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Ryan McGee

Ryan McGee
  (2:02 PM)

What's up my candy corn-covered brothers and sisters and welcome to the Monday motorsports block party. Before we get started, a quick moment to remember my friend Jim Hunter, who passed away over the weekend. There's not a person in the garage, especially the media center, who doesn't have a "Hunter helped me" story. As sad as it is to lose him, it's amazing seeing all the tributes to him. I already miss him.

Ryan McGee
  (2:03 PM)

To the questions!

becka (virginia)

omiting the fact that brian vickers is normally in the 83 car why can't they put kasey's name on the car till then

Ryan McGee
  (2:04 PM)

Becka, they have ketp Brian's name over the door ever since he was forced out of it with his health issues. No way they'd stop doing that now with just a few races remaining in the season. And I know Kasey has zero problem with it. It's Brian's car and Kahne's just borrowing it.

TG (PA)

I liked your family halloween costume photo. Up here in PA kids have to wear their winter coats under their costumes for trick or treat. Brr. it was cold.

Ryan McGee
  (2:05 PM)

Yeah, we went all Scooby Doo. We got luck this year with the weather in NC. Always sucks when you have to sacrifice cool for the cold.

Ben (Minneapolis)

Is there any inkling of truth to the EGR to Ford rumors? It seems absurd to me that a team as successful as EGR has been would ditch the best engine package in NASCAR to go to arguably the worst.

Ryan McGee
  (2:08 PM)

There is an inkling, but I'm still not buying it. The one factor that has transformed EGR from an also-ran into a weekly contender has been the engine deal with Childress. Leaving Chevy would blow that up. I totally get the logic that says they will receive more attention from Ford because 1. Ford's numbers are down (and may be down a lot more if RPM goes under) and 2. They will never be on par with Hendrick or RCR when it comes to Chevy's pecking order (that's why Gibb left for Toyota).

Ryan McGee
  (2:09 PM)

BUT in the post-buyout age factory support isn't what it used to be. So I think they'll stay.

Kathi (NY)

Hey Ryan...I thought you might enjoy a Jim Hunter story.Two years ago, my mom and I made our annual trip to North Carolina for the fall race at Charlotte. Mom is a huge Tony Stewart fan and she was still happy with Nascar declaring him the winner of the fall Talladega race a couple of days earlier. We were out to dinner and I notice Jim Hunter walk into the restaurant. I pointed him out to my mom and told her who he was. As he walked by our table, my mom said as she pulled her Tony Stewart shirt so he would be able to see, "Mr. Hunter, I wanted to thank you and Nascar for making the call that you did on Sunday." Mr. Hunter looked from her to me and said, "That was a hell of a race wasn't it?" He proceeded to spend 15 minutes talking to the two of us and made us feel like we were part of an inner circle of Nascar. As he walked away, he thanked us for being Nascar fans and said he hoped we enjoyed the remainder of our trip. My mom and I never forgot how he took the time to make 2 fans from NY feel like they were important. I am sure the Vice President of Corporate Communications had other things he could have done with those 15 minutes, but he took the time to talk Nascar with us. Rest In Peace, Mr. Hunter.

Ryan McGee
  (2:11 PM)

Great story. Totally illustrates the man we all loved. Fans will never know how much he did behind the scenes to keep our sport from completely falling off the edge of the Earth...and he did it all the time.

Ryan (Reynoldsburg,Ohio)

Will hendrick motersports ever become like petty motersports.

Ryan McGee
  (2:12 PM)

Nope. Because Rick Hendrick is real racer. And clearly he is also ten times the businessman that George Gillett is.

Charlotte (Selma, CA)

I hate plate tracks. You can restart on the front row with 4 to go, and b/c everyone doesn't want to see you win a 5th title, you get hung out to try and drop like a rock. That's not racing. I know I'm in the minority. Thoughts?

Ryan McGee
  (2:15 PM)

First, yes I believe you are in the minority, though the majority isn't as big as you might think. Second, I LOVE that kind of strategy. Keep in mind that plate racing is also what allowed Jimmie and Jeff to make that dramatic push to the front to set up that restart. And third, he finished seventh and kept his points lead! What else do you want?!

Matt (ATL)

Ryan - Thoughts on Harvick's chances with 3 to go?

Ryan McGee
  (2:16 PM)

I like his chances. A lot. He did exactly what he needed to at Talladega, even with a wrecked racecar. He's solid at Texas and LOVES Phoenix. So there's no reason to think he won't still be headed into Homestead with a real shot at the Cup. That's all he can ask for.

FRED (AL) [via mobile]

So are the rumors true dhat Ron Malec could be moved up ta crew chief of the 88?

Ryan McGee
  (2:17 PM)

Yes he could. But if and when they come looking for him I fully expect Chad Knaus to have chained and booby-trapped the door to the 48 shop.

Cale (Boston)

Wow, removing the wing has totally stopped cars from flipping at Talladega. That decision had nothing to do with aesthetics whatsoever.

Ryan McGee
  (2:18 PM)

Um...

TG (PA)

What were you and Mike Davis talking about concerning Junior?

Ryan McGee
  (2:19 PM)

Just the normal stuff. I beg for an exclusive interview, Mike says he'll think about it, Dale begs for a free subscription to ESPN The Magazine, and then Davis gives me hell about Alabama crushing Tennessee.

Dane (NJ)

True or False - Texas and Phoenix are statistically 2 of Dale Jrs best tracks, so the next two weeks will give us an idea of how out-to-lunch that team is?

Ryan McGee
  (2:21 PM)

We're in the midst of a four-race stretch of his best tracks - Martinsville, Talladega, Texas and Phoenix. The good news is he led nearly 100 laps at Martinsville and led the most laps of anyone at Talladega. But yes, Texas will tell us where they are right now.

Bill S. (High Point, NC)

Come on Ryan, Junior Johnson was a great racer and who thought 25 years ago we wouldn't see him as an owner. Just look at how Yates has fallen from the mighty. This sport is ever changing,

Ryan McGee
  (2:23 PM)

Junior sold the team beacause of his divorce, remarriage, and trying to have kids. Yates, a racer to his core, was not a very good businessman and will tell you that. Rick Hendrick is nothing if not a businessman and a racer. I'm not saying his falling by the wayside is a total impossibility, but it's pretty close.

Nick (Owosso, MI)

How was senior on what we now call "cookie cutter" tracks?

Ryan McGee
  (2:27 PM)

Well, the model for "cookie cutters" is Charlotte and he won there five times. He won at Atlanta nine times, including one on the current "new" configuration. He also one once at Michigan. Past that we can't really say because he'd only gotten a couple of starts on all the new wave of racetracks before his death.

Evan (Phoenix)

Why do you think Jeff Burton was all smiles after getting wrecked out by Dale?

Ryan McGee
  (2:29 PM)

Well, he wasn't all smiles when he first got out of the car. He screamed a bunch of cuss words and kicked his ride in the door. But by the time he did his TV interviews he had talked to Dale and knew it wasn't anyone's fault. Well, Dale caused it, but Jeff knew he didn't mean to.

Ryan McGee
  (2:29 PM)

Well, he wasn't all smiles when he first got out of the car. He screamed a bunch of cuss words and kicked his ride in the door. But by the time he did his TV interviews he had talked to Dale and knew it wasn't anyone's fault. Well, Dale caused it, but Jeff knew he didn't mean to.

EyrishEyes (NY)

Saving Private Ryan is so much better than Shakespeare in Love.

Ryan McGee
  (2:31 PM)

It's not even close! And thanks for reading the Power Rankings.

Tom C (Aurora, IL)

Ryan, why did A.J.'s car flip at the end of the race yesterday? I thought these cars with the rear spoiler were not supposed to do this?

Ryan McGee
  (2:35 PM)

I have said this before. There are always going to be situations at Talladega where cars are going to flip, no matter what's on the rear deck lid. A car going sideways at 200 mph, esecially on banking, where one end is higher than the other, turns into a wing. Just how it is. And it never helps when they get help in the form a push or boost from a car behind or below them.

George (Columbus, Ohio)

Did fans start streaming out of Dega was soon as Dale wrecked out Burton and went to the garage?

Ryan McGee
  (2:35 PM)

A big chunk always leaves whenever Junior drops out. Just like they do when Tiger falls out of contention at a golf tourney.

Pedro (Ft. Lauderdale)

Why didn't Burton go after Dale like he did Harvick and Rowdy for wrecking him out?

Ryan McGee
  (2:37 PM)

They talked and sorted it out. In the Kevin and Kyle situations there was more history and attitude from the other side. Dale Jr doesn't have a history of wrecking people, and certainly not Burton.

Mike (Miami)

Is there a F1 Hall of Fame? BTW who ya got this weekend in Brazil?

Ryan McGee
  (2:39 PM)

There is not an official F1 Hall of Fame that I know of, though there are certainly plenty of racing halls of fame that include F1 guys. The International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega is packed with them.

Ryan McGee
  (2:40 PM)

As for this weekend, I like Alonso. Though I did talk to Jensen Button on the phone this morning (story coming on ESPN.com later this week) and he says that McLaren is bringing "some radically different things" with them to Brazil.

Larry (Henderson, NV)

What do NASCAR superstars like Rowdy, Kurt, Denny and Jimmie do on Mondays after races?

Ryan McGee
  (2:42 PM)

Work. Technically, there is a testing ban, but most teams are still going somewhere to test, whether its Rockingham or, as a lot of teams will do next week, the big proving grounds out in Arizona. The winner always has a full media gauntlet to run on Monday and Tuesday and some guys like to schedule any TV commercial/photo shoots on Monday to get them out of the way and free up the middle of the week for family stuff.

Laurie (MD)

Suppose Dale jr never wins another race-sort of like Labonte-will the fans continue to bail on NASCAR?

Ryan McGee
  (2:43 PM)

No, I think the big bail has happened. We seem to getting back to our "core" fans that were here before the giant surge we saw in the middle of the last decade. But it sure wouldn't hurt if he won...

Jane (SC)

Were you surprised by the number of cautions that there were yesterday? Looks like it really hurt some teams.

Ryan McGee
  (2:45 PM)

By how few there were? Yes. But that seems to be the norm these days. The cautions have taken a bit of a downturn and that's screwing some of the crew chiefs up. They go into races having run history trends - "We usually have three cautions here over the last 50 laps" etc... A lot of those #'s have kind of been useless this fall.

Cory (Geneva, IL)

Let's say I win the $150 million mega-millions drawing tomorrow. Can I just start a NASCAR team, build a car and enter a race with myself as the driver? Are there restrictions as to who has to build cars, who can drive on the circuit etc.?

Ryan McGee
  (2:48 PM)

You totally could field the team. But you have to prove yourself to the league as a driver. They get final approval on who can and can't race. For example, Danica Patrick didn't actually receive approval to run the Nationwide Series race at Daytona until after she'd run the ARCA race the weekend before.

Ryan (Reynoldsburg,Ohio)

Could'nt you say the same thing about richard petty that he was a great racer who had graet sucess

Ryan McGee
  (2:49 PM)

Absolutely. Greatest racer ever. But bad business deals and a refusal to change processes inside the shop nearly destroyed Petty Enterprises in the mid-1980's and did destroy it 20 years later.

Jeff (SC)

Kevin will lose the Championship by 14 points. Its inevitable.

Ryan McGee
  (2:50 PM)

Yeah, that was my first thought when they announced that Bowyer had won. And I'm thinking Richard Childress was thinking that too.

Ryan McGee
  (2:51 PM)

Dunno. Some worked and some didn't. The fact that Denny wasn't very fast all day didn't help.

Daniel (VALDOSTA, Ga.)

Ryan, with the Chase so tight... who walks away with the Cup in three weeks?

Ryan McGee
  (2:52 PM)

My preseason pick was Harvick so I'm sticking to my guns until the checkered flag at Homestead! (But deep down I'm pretty sure Jimmie's gonna win it.)

Jason (Ft. Worth, TX)

When Rowdy was leading late in the race did it seem to you like Denny wasn't helping him very much?

Ryan McGee
  (2:53 PM)

I think it was as much that wasn't as he couldn't. They seemed to work better with the 18 pushing.

Jeff (Florida)

What will it take for JJ to be considered the Greatest racer ever. by you?

Ryan McGee
  (2:53 PM)

He's already pretty close. I wrote a huge feature in ESPN The Magazine about that one year ago...and that was before he'd won four in a row.

Mike (Atlanta)

Does Jimmie get within 30 feet of Hornish this weekend?

Ryan McGee
  (2:54 PM)

Hahahaha! I wouldn't. Love Sam, but he's a magnet for trouble.

Bill S. (High Point, NC)

Yesterday Stewart got 2 laps dpwn and the guys in the booth kept talking about getting the "Lucky Dog" and getting back in contention. He got on the lead lap late and it was like he had a real chance to win.and thats okay. My thing is why didn't they mention that Elliott came from 2 laps down without the help of a caution, or was that just ancient history?

Ryan McGee
  (2:55 PM)

I heard them mention it a couple of times and I know we brought it up a zillion times in the ESPN.com RaceCast chat room. Still the most amazing thing Bill ever did...and the man has done some amazing things.

Lucas (TN)

With the number of laps that he led and the fact that he seemed to be able to go from the back to the fron at will, doi you think the race would have been Junior's race to lose had he not wrecked?

Ryan McGee
  (2:56 PM)

I have no doubts he would have been in one of those pairs that were fighting to the finish.

Branden (Pittsburgh, PA)

Impressive run for the 42 yesterday, 3 top 10s in 4 plate races this year. do you think this team will make the chase next year? I think if Juan gets back to 09 form they can easily be a top 5 team.

Ryan McGee
  (2:57 PM)

Totally agree. And their success on plate tracks and big horsepower tracks/races is exactly why I think EGR won't be going to Ford. And if they do I think it's a bad mistake.

Jeff (Florida)

With the economic issues in NASCAR, especially for the smaller owners, do you think NASCAR will consider repealing the 4 car limit per team?

Ryan McGee
  (2:59 PM)

Nope. And honestly, I don't think it would matter if they did. I'm not sure that Hendrick and/or Roush could afford to field a 5th or 6th car. The look of relief on Rick Hendrick's face last week at the Gordon sponsorship announcement told me how stressed out he'd been. If HMS can't sell sponsors on Jeff Gordon how are they supposed to sell someone on a fifth car with a guy that hasn't won four championships and more than 80 races?!

Ryan McGee
  (3:01 PM)

Alright folks, that'll do it for this week. Thanks as always for stopping by. If I missed your question hit me up on Twitter (@ryanmcgeeespn) or email (mcgeespn@yahoo.com). Until next Monday, please tip the wait staff and enjoy the music of Savanna!