What's up my glitter covered brothers and sisters and welcome back to the intrweb's biggest and baddest Monday motorsports block party!
Coming to you live from the ESPN newsroom where I'm prepping for tonight's NASCAR Now (midnight ET, ESPN2) with Bestwick, Craven, and...Schrader! Love me some Kenny Schrader. To the queries!
Hi Ryan, I read where Dale is disappointed with his 8th yesterday. He doesn't really think he can run with Edwards, Rowdy, Kurt, Jimmie and those guys does he?
Disappointed, really? Maybe a little, but I didn't get that sense at all from his postrace comments. The good news for Junior Nation is that he isn't merely sasitified with 8th place finishes. The better news is that he's actually getting eighth place finishes.
Your doing a great job coaching Danica!
(In my best Johnny Benson voice) Thanks!
Do you think Rowdy can come back from the Vegas disappointment to win at Bristol?
There is no dobut about it. People have asked me why I didn't drop him further in the Power Rankings. Why? Because his Bristol numbers, especially over the last three years, are nothing short of ridonculous.
Ryan, what is up with RCR? Thought after last year they were heading in the right direction. Thank you for answering.
Great question, Vita. What should be encouraging to RCR fans is that most of their issues so far have to do with issues that have nothing to do with the actual building of the cars. Yes, Harvick had his first blown engine in five years, but mostly it has been wrecks - like Bowyer at Phoenix - and errors such as Harvick's pit road speed penalty yesterday. By the way, I'm with Happy. Not sure how you can be the one speeding when the guys in front of you are visibly running the same speed and none of them were penalized.
Do you think Burton has a chance to make the chase or is his season basically over?
It's not over. But it's close. Three races in he's 41 points, nearly a full race, outside the Chase. And who is tied with him? Greg Biffle. Crazy, right? They aren't done. Ryan Newman showed up that two years ago and nearly did it again last year. But their margin of error is pretty close to zero.
what up McGee? Season early two straight top tens for JR and the SHR cars are out running the Hendrick cars. Can they both keep it up?
We just discussed this at our NASCAR Now pre-show meeting/lunch. You have to wonder how long the SHR cars will be allowed to beat the stuffing out of the Hendrick cars before someone at Hendrick steps on the supply hose. Not saying that will happen. Just saying we were talking about it.
I thought Vegas was Kyles hometown and he had alot of fans there? The crowd went nuts when he blew up and was out of the race. Did they forget to show up to the race?
Ha! No, they were there. The boo birds were just louder. His supporters were plenty loud during pre-race driver intros. Here's the thing about boos - he doesn't care. I wrote a big story about that for ESPN The Magazine one year ago. He (and Kurt) live by the old Earnhardt mantra. As long they're making noise...
Ryan - Last week your brethern in the media had all but given the Sprint Cup to Jeff Gordon. This week we will read all about how now Edwards is the odds on favorite (he at least has the track record over the last 5 races). What will happen if Robbie Gordon wins at Bristol. I can only guess.
That's awesome. And very true. That's just a byproduct of the early season. It's the same in the NFL or college football as the season is getting started. A team loses on opening weeekend and their fans are ready to jump off a bridge. Then they win in Week 2 and everyone thinks they're going to the Super Bowl. I always say that we won't know exactly what we have until we hit late May.
Hi McGee, Kyle Busch seemed really mature with his post race interview while Stewart was whining and crying. Is this a reversal of roles?
Yes, Kyle was more mature. No doubt about it he's a different person. But what Smoke did was not whining and crying. He was crushed that they "gave the race away". Trust me when I tell you that I experienced plenty of the old "whinier" Tony Stewart. That yesterday was not him.
Hey Ryan, How much can we attribute Jr's success to having a crew chief that actually WANTS the challenge of being Dale Jr's CC. If I remember correctly, Lance openly admitted that he was more content with his R&D job, but when Rick came calling he had to help out the company. And if that's the truth, is Jr buying into Letarte more because of his eagerness to pump Jr up and reassure him that their going to succeed?
There's no doubt that Steve's "cheerleader" approach has spurred a positive change in Dale's attitude. But are we really still going after Lance McGrew even though he no longer has the job?
Nice job by RPM so far ah? I am lovong AJ and Marcos together.
It is truly amazing. Amazing what you can do when you know that your team isn't going to fold like a cheap pup tent at any moment.
You deserve to eat some crow for bailing on us last week and no apology
You're right. But it wasn't my fault. And I did issue a Twitter apology. Last week Ricky Craven and I were breaking in this new fancy schamcy touchscreen to do the Power Rankings on NASCAR Now and it was being a little ornery. We got it worked out though.
I just have a comment for Carl Edwards: #winning
Thanks for checking in Charlie. Now about that new Major League movie...
Danica has improved this year and her results say so. Do you think that she can get even better?
Yes. I think this is the second go-round and the results show that. And we made a crack earlier about my twin Johnny Benson being her driving coach, but it really has been a great influence on her. Johnny and I talked about it at length last week when we were doing NASCAR Now together. The big difference this year vs. last year is now she actually knows what questions to ask. On Friday in practice they worked on long runs and low fuel loads. At first she was lost, then came around. And guess what? She got a top five thanks to her ability to make a long run with a light fuel load!
Do you think Knaus and Alan are unhappy getting beat by customer cars at SHR and will they make sure that stops?
Alan's okay, he just won. Chad's probably not.
How about some love for my driver JPM. 2 top 10s so far, tied for 4th in points I think this new point system might actually benefit Montoya more then most.
I am totally impressed, but not entirely surprised. I thought having this opening combo - Daytona, PHX, Vegas, and Bristol - would benefit him. So far it has. He's surprisingly good at Bristol. You know Thunder Valley isn't much like Monte Carlo or Nurburgring.
Ryan, which is the better feel good story yesterday - Ambrose or Vickers?
Pretty close. I'll go with Vickers because he had heart surgery barely three quarters of a year ago. But a lot of people were calling Marcos nuts for making the move that he did. He ahs to be loving it.
What do you know about the Robby/Conway "fight". I hear eXtenze and Conway owe Robby and front row major money. If I was Robby I wouldn't pay Kevin either.
Stay tuned to ESPN.com tomorrow.
Wasn't trying to attack McGrew. Merely pointing out that If I remember correctly, in May 09 he was quotes as not exactly wanting the job, but would do whatever was needed to help the organization. No one reaches their full potential when they are doing something they don't want to do. Steve Wants this job, and he should help Jr more for that...
Gotcha. And I don't disagree with you. I just get a little sensitive about Lance because he's a genuinely good guy and I hated watching him take the abuse he took last year. Dude couldn't even go out to eat without people giving him crap.
Don't worry I heard crow was tasty with hot sauce.
Is Smoke a real contender for the cup with this early season start? He usually doesnt get hot till the weather does.
If I am a Stewart fan I am very, very encouraged by what I've seen so far. Much moreso than disappointed with the 2nd place finish. You're right, he usually gets off to terrible starts and makes his move in the summer. Now he needs to make sure he can sustain it through the fall.
Ryan, want to bring in a Nationwide question. In the beginning of the year, everyone said that Sadler, Bayne, Almirola, and the Turner drivers were favorites for the title. Nobody mentioned Stenhouse, yet he is the only one with 3 top 10s and is running great. Why no love?
He got little love in the preseason, no doubt about it. But he's getting plenty now. I am very encouraged by the young guys getting it cranked up right now. Stenhouse, Bayne, Wise, Allgaier, even Landon Cassill (someone give that dude a job!)
Alright folks, gotta go get makeup put on. For real. See you on NASCAR Now tonight at midnight. And I'll see you back in my normal Monday chat slot next week at 2 pm ET. In the meantime, hit me up on Twitter (@ryanmcgeeespn) or via email (email@example.com). Please tip your wait staff and enjoy the music of Government Cheese.