What's up my TexMex chili powder-covered brothers and sisters and welcome back to the Monday motorsports block party. It's a special half-hour Banzai Lap Edition, so without further ado, adieu, ahem...let's get to the queries!
How awesome was A.J. and Dale Jr. beating and banging? Go Dinger!
Very cool. You know, I always liked the Dinger, but I like him even more now. Over the weekend I Tweeted something about Carl Edwards liking Harry Gant. Then Dinger's mother Tweeted me back to tell me that as a kid A.J.'s favorite NASCAR driver was Handsome Harry. Are you kidding me? A dude that drives the 43 car who also loved the Skoal Bandit? Yes sir!
Smoke seems pretty annoyed lately Grubb on thin ice?
Nope. Yes, Smoke is annoyed. Yes, there were some calls of Grubb's that haven't gone the right way. But Saturday came down to Stweart's pit road speeding penalty and he knew it. Admitted as much over the radio as soon as he did it.
Will Dale Jr. ever come close to his dads accomplishment or even win a cup series championship?
I really do believe he can still win a championship. But he was never going to match his father's records. Think about it. As great as Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson's careers have been, two of the greatest of all time, and they still haven't matched Earnhardt.
Ryan, I know this isn't related to NASCAR, but how awesome was that final round at Augusta yesterday? The drama was comparable to a six-wide finish at the Daytona 500!
It was crazy great. And part - a large part - of the reason that the drivers were excited about night racing at Texas was because they would be home on Sunday to watch it. I'm betting a couple of them probably even made the trip down.
Hey Ryan, without food poisioning, Edwards should have easily won Sat. night so why don't sponsors and NASCAR mandate that top drivers like Carl, Rowdy, Jimmie etc. have catered meals?
Ha! That's a thought. Poor guy. He didn't want to throw his Mom's cooking under the bus during his post-race press conference. But he still kind of did.
Is there any chance that JGR will switch-up crew chiefs? Ford to the 20 and Zippy to the 11?
I don't think so. People keep trying to sell me on the tension between Denny Hamlin and Mike Ford, but it has always appeared to me that the issues are more between Hamlin and the crew than Hamlin and the crew chief.
As for the 20, they might need to think about blowing that deal up and starting over. They are lost. And Joey Logano looks downright depressed.
Will we see JR Motorsports move one of their Nationwide Series Teams to Sprint Cup in the Future?
Maybe one day, but not anytime soon. Junior is pretty open about the fact that it is very hard to maintain that team. Right now I don't think they have the financial means to make that jump. When Cup goes to the new '13 cars that are much closer to the Nationwide cars it'll make that transition easier.
Do you believe the Fords engine programs have stepped up to the plate to give RCR and Hendrick engines true competition in the Cup Series?
No question about it Andrew. I talked to Jimmy Fennig about that in Victory Lane on Saturday night. Horsepower solves a lot of problems. And the FR9 makes a lot of horsepower. And it also runs cooler, which helped the Fords sidestep a lot of the problems other teams had with the trash on the grill.
McGee - with the World's Fastest Wrinkle not fairing too well so far in '11, what's the issue? Is it McGrew or is it that the 24/5 shop is not up to par (and never seems to be) with the 48/88 shop?
I think they're okay. I talked to Mark about this on Friday and he said there was still some feeling out to do with the new team/car/crew chief combination. Gordon said the same thing. But the gap between the two shops doesn't ever seem to go away, does it?
Hi Ryan, do you think Jr's Zero wins in his last 100 races is a more significant stat or Jr's 1 win in his last 176 races?
I think neither one are good! But I guess the second one is more telling.
By the way, Junior already has four top 10's this year. He had eight all of last year.
With the recent announcement that Toyota is cutting production in the US due to a lack of components coming in from Japan, is there any impact to their NASCAR program? (supplying parts/funding to teams)
I asked about that and they told me no. History backs them up on that. Even when business has lagged in the past they kept their racing budget intact.
When Rowdy wrecked in the NW race if was obvious the race was over and Edwards even said so. What can NASCAR do to make NW more competitive?
I have always been a big fan of limiting the number of Nationwide races a Cup guy can run. I think that would help. But yes, you're right. I was in the press box at Texas on Friday night and as soon as Busch wrecked I told the TMS PR guy they could go on and start engraving the trophy with Carl's name on it.
Well, I was going to say it's good to see Matt getting some respect. But, I guess some people still refuse to give the guy any love. Cough..Jake from Irving...cough. Won by 8 seconds and led the most laps, I guess the guy just got a lucky break.
Dude flies below the radar even when he wins! I will say this though, for a guy who is rarely if ever outwardly emotional, that was one crazy happy guy on Saturday night.
Hey Ryan - do you believe the hype around Kimi? I read that he ran the exact same lap times as Rowdy in a CWTS truck. Now there are reports saying he wants to get to Nationwide and Cup on the fast track. Is he the real deal, or would he just flame out like so many other open wheelers?
I always approach these situations with skepticism. And I do believe that Kimi's people are rushing him into Cup and onto the speedways (by the way, Juan Pablo Montoya and Kyle Busch agree with me there). But I can also tell you this - during his Thursday test at Rockingham, on the big track, I called down there and talked to the folks that run The Rock. They are old school, hard-to-impress racers and they were totally blown away at how fast he was and how quickly he got up to speed.
So we'll see...
When are you reporters going to do a story about the CEO at RPM?
I'm actually working on one now. Talked to her on the grid Saturday night.
Finally, some respect!
Thanks for checking in "Matt".
we made a list of the 10 most overrated drivers in NASCAR history: Junior Johnson, Mark Martin, T. Labonte, J. Burton, B. Labonte, Ben Parsons, Bud Baker, Dale Jr, K. Harvick and Ryan Newman. Your thoughts?
I stopped reading after Junior Johnson.
LOVED that NASCAR showed some pit road speeds on TV Saturday night. Is this a case of when Jimmie Johnson speaks, NASCAR listens? Do you think they will keep doing it?
I hope so. I have been lobbying for that years. I was at NASCAR Media Group when we helped the competition department put their Race Control video replay system together. Ever since I saw the way they monitored pit road speeds, and knowing that teams could get a printout of those speeds immediately following the race, I have wondered why they were made public.
The evidence is indisputable. Why you would want to keep it shrouded in mystery and confusion is, well, mysetrious and confusuing to me.
Do you think Matt can carry the momentum to Talladega? I know that isn't one of his best tracks.
Sadly, I don't know that momentum has a lot to do with Talladega. As Mark Martin said over the weekend, "We might as well throw some dice to determine where I'll finish."
Ryan, since F1 and World Rally are being so nice by sending World Champ Kimi Raikkonen to NASCAR shouldn't NASCAR reciprocate and send Dale Jr to race in World Rally?
That's a thought. We did send Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon over to the Race of Champions one year and they whipped everyone.
Hey Ryan, read "Road to Omaha" last year at the beach and it was great. What NASCAR book would be a good one to take to the beach with me this year?
Why, thank you! And now you should read my NASCAR book! ESPN Ultimate NASCAR: 100 Defining Moments in Stock Car Racing History!
Alright folks, gotta go. Have to cut a little short this week because Ricky Craven and Ken Schrader want to sit down and map out our mad airport dash after tonight's NASCAR Now (ESPN2, 6 PM and midnight ET). Until next time, tip you wait staff and enjoy the music of Julie Roberts (met her at the track Saturday, very nice).