How's it going my brick dust covered brothers and sisters and welcome to the worldwide interweb's biggest, baddest, and (far as I can tell) only one-hour Monday motorsports block party. Big shoutout to my top-shelf chat lead-in today, Mr.Paul Menard. He just did a very entertaining half-hour chat. Now he's doing for me what he refused to do for Jeff Gordon on Sunday...he's giving up the lead! To the queries!
How much more time do you think Jeff needed to catch Paul, and most likely move him out of the way, to win? And how much momentum does Jeff have now going into Pocono since he won there earlier this year, and should have won Indy?
Your top 5 drivers for Pocono?Any dark horses?
I think Jeff needed two more laps. I said in today's new Power Rankings that if it had been the Brickyard 405 that Gordon would have won. As for momentum, I think he had a ton. And there's no reason to think that he won't be one of the favorites this weekend at Pocono. And he'll also be good at Watkins Glen and Bristol. There's a swagger right now with that team that's hard to miss.
Why are people talking so bad about the race yesterday, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in general? ( Ed Hinton's article) I thought yesterdays race was one of the best races I've seen at IMS! And i think the Super Weekend next year will be awesome...what do you think about all this?
I think there was a negative build-up to this race that created a no-win scenario for IMS. But I agree with you, I thought the finish was great. I know people don't generally dig fuel mileage finishes, but that wasn't the typical fuel mileage race.
Last week I wrote an ESPN.com story ID'ing my top 5 Brickyard 400's of all-time. The '97 win by Ricky Rudd was on that list and that race was very similar to Sunday's. If I had to do the list over again, I think Sunday's would have to be considered.
As for the Super Weekend, a full schedule at IMS doesn't bother me. But it does bother me that NASCAR and Lucas Oil Raceway can't get a deal together to keep the Trucks and Nationwide on the short track. I don't see why they couldn't do both. Have a Nationwide race at IMS during Brickyard weekend and another race at LOR earlier in the year.
Ryan, isn't Dale Junior a child of privledge, born with a silver spoon in his mouth, son of a wealthy father, had the NASCAR red carpet rolled out for him, just like Paul Menard?
Nothing about Dale Jr's upbringing was about being a child of privilege. Unless you consider living with your Mom until her house burned down and then going off to military school being privilege. And I'm not naive enough to believe that Dale and Paul didn't get their opportunities because of their family's resources. But I also know that their Dads weren't behind the wheel when they won their races.
Great to see another first time winner yesterday, although I had to call my buddy to talk about how Paul was the most unexcited first time winner ever. Guy doesn't show a lot of emotion does he!? So assuming we will see another first time winner this year, who would be your guess? I see the dinger breaking through with Erwin.
That's kind of his thing, being chill. From what I understand, when he returns home from going through the ESPN Car Wash today in Bristol, CT (on NASCAR Now, ESPN2, 5 pm/1 am ET) there will be nothing chill about the party that will be taking place back home in NC. He and Regan Smith are close buds and I know they had a helluva time after Regan won at Darlington in May.
As for another first time winner, yes, the Dinger is a good call. Keep your eye on Atlanta and Talladega. Or maybe even Watkins Glen.
Hey ryan great rankings as usual, so pumped to see jeff gordon drive like an animal yesterday..Do you see him picking up one more victory before the chase and how do you like his chances in the chase?
Thanks Joe. I appreciate it. And yes, I think he wins once, maybe twice, more before the Chase. As for when he gets to the Chase, there's no reason to think he can't keep it up. There's a mysterious lag that seems to bog down some teams when the Chase starts. If he avoids that, look out.
Do you think Ford's latest offer will be enough to keep Carl at Roush? Also, it sounds like the rest of Roush's drivers won't be missing Carl that much considering his past history with them.
First, awesome name. Second, awesome town. My wife's a Knox-vegas girl. Third, I have said all along that Ford would be the key in this deal. Roush Fenway will not be able to pull back on Toyota's golden rope on their own. They need Ford. And Ford has made Carl the face of their program over the last several years.
As for his teammates, that's always been a weird relationship. Kenseth and Biffle are close and it feels like they've never gotten past that bizarre post-Martinsville thing between Carl and Matt in '07.
Ryan, how did Junior manage to go from leading the race to 16th while Rowdy Busch goes from 32nd and disaster to a Top 10?
Track position. Like everyone else, they were either in the right place or the wrong place when we got down to the end.
Okay Ryan was NASCAR trying to manufacture a finish again (They seem to have). It does not take 6 freaking laps to clean up grass and get in line on a track the size of Indy! This is getting disgusting to watch. NASCAR should be ashamed.
I hear you, but in this case I think it was pretty innocent. Grass is a total disaster trying to get off the track. (It seems like the Indy grass always ends up playing a role in the 400, doesn't it?) And the IMS cleanup crew, as anyone who has ever attended an Indy 500 knows, is notoriously meticulous.
One year, I want to say '96, they had stapled the sod to the new runoff areas and the staples actually started coming up and puncturing tires. So weird...
You mentioned JJ was upset with Chad. Was that after he took 4 when everyone else took 2? Normal in race frustration, or something more?
A little. What I heard was more about the incident on pit road when the 48 came blowing out of the pit stall and hit the 83. Jimmie called out Chad for not spotting that (the crew chief typically has the call on pit stall exit) and Chad was quick to say that he had clearly stated that the 83 was there. By the time 2-tire/4-tire came about I had moved on to other teams' radio.
Don't you think that the grass has got to go and replace it with asphalt in Indy?
It sure looks pretty. But it sure does cause issues. Grass at any track is typically a trouble maker.
I would like to say congrats to Paul on his 2nd NASCAR series win...oh wait is that only a stat that counts for one driver?
Not to me. But it is his first Cup win. I'm the guy that keeps telling people David Pearson has 106 NASCAR - not Cup, NASCAR - wins. He won a Nationwide (Busch) race in '82.
I'm hearing and seeing more and more people refer to Matt Kenseth as "The Silent Assassin", and I'm liking it.
I've always said he's the modern day Terry Labonte. Dude hides on a racetrack better than anyone of his generation. Then, when it's time to make the money...ta da! Top ten.
Now that Jr. has at least slowed the bleeding the last couple weeks...do you think he can get a win or improve his points position before the chase? alos congrats to Menard...now maybe people will show this guy a little respect...
I have said all along that the schedule leading into the Chase is custom-made for three guys: Montoya, Stewart, and Earnhardt. It's likely too late for Juan, but Smoke and Junior are in good shape. Stewart's streak of good tracks is right now. For Earnhardt it begins at Bristol, three races from now. If he struggles then, feel free to freak out.
Why do people act like Gordon could have beaten Menard? Paul and Slugger were faster at the end and flat out beat Gordon.
Is this the new NASCAR? Winning with strategy instead of a faster car?
This comes and goes in waves. We've been through strategy-dominant phases before and we're in one now. I, for one, like upredictable finishes. I don't really care how we get there.
I think Paul Menard might have killed the wild card drama NASCAR was hoping for. The only guys who NEED one win (right now) would be Bowyer, Biffle, and Ragan. Do you think NASCAR is going to be OK with a scenario where a win at Richmond means nothing regarding the Chase?
Really? I see it as the total opposite. I think now he's a real player for the wild card instead of just sitting there like a pretender with no win. I say this every week. Look at the guys sitting in that 9th-21st group. So many of those guys could still win a race, maybe two. I think the two guys who could blow all of this up are Montoya and Keselowski. Imagine if BK won another race sitting 20th in points or if Juan won Watkins Glen and Atlanta.
As for NASCAR worried about Richmond not meaning anything, absolutely they would hate that. But I don't think it'll happen. Not in a year when we've already 14 winners in 20 races.
Hi McGee, do you think David Ragan can make the chase?
He's going to have to win another race to do it.
Do you think that Home Depot is going to put more pressure on JGR going with Edwards for 2012, now that Lowe's and Menards have gone to Victory Lane and they are the only ones that have not. I see a Home Improvement war starting. LOL.
Ha! I think the folks down in Atlanta probably aren't real happy, especially when they used to hammer those other two on a regular basis in the pre-Jimmie title days. But yes, among all the crazy stats we're hearing about the Menard win, the craziest might be that Menard's has a win and Home Depot does not.
That's what I was saying about Menard...he's got a win and is in 14th, which puts him in control of a wild card. Ragan has to catch Menard (which will be interesting for sure) but now the guys 15th back can't count on a win to get them in the Chase unless Menard and Ragan fall down the standings.
I hear you. But Ragan can win again. So can Keselowski. And guys like Biffle, Kahne, etc. can get on a roll anytime. We'll see!
First time, 20 somethings (Menard, Ragan, Baine and Smith) have won 4 or 20 races-20%. Is this NASCAR parity or a youth movement and don't these young guys just make life harder for the older drivers, especially Jr?
No, there's a definite youth movement right now and I like it. A lot. It was just February when Tony Stewart was lamenting the lack of spots to put young guys in cars and the lack of young guys coming up the ladder. Now that is no longer the case. And it goes deeper than Cup. Guys like Stenhouse and Cole Whitt and the Dillons are getting me excited for the future. It's been a while.
Would they ever consider putting the restrictor plates on the cars at IMS? I really enjoyed that one race at New Hampshire with them
Are you serious? The race where Jeff Burton led all 300 laps? You are literally the first person I have ever heard say that, including Jeff Burton.
Think the window has closed on Montoya? He sure seems to have gone backwards in two years.
It's getting close. The window on this year will close if he doesn't win at The Glen.
two more laps and gordon would have been there your kidding yourself if you dont think so
Go back and read the beginning of this chat. And my Power Rankings. I literally said what you just said.
Do you think Rowdy's Indy, going from disaster to a Top 10, shows that the #18 team has learned how to keep it together during crisis and is a serious threat to win the Sprint Cup?
Ever since the New Kyle vs. Old Kyle thing started I've been telling people that most of them missed the point. New Kyle isn't any less intense or pops off at the mouth any less. New Kyle is the guy who doesn't throw in the towel the instant that the race goes bad. Turning bad days into good ones like he did on Sunday is something he simply wasn't doing two years ago. That's why he's a legit Cup contender now.
Ryan, love your comment about the 16 team. Which car will show up this weekend? The top 10 possibly race winning car or a car that finishes 15th-25th?
They drive me nuts.
Assuming Carl Edwards will leave Roush. President of RFR Steve Newmark said the replacement will come from in house; either Bayne or Stenhouse Jr. Between those two who do you think will be the driver of the #99 next year?
If Stewart or Martin or Jr. would have won on a fuel mileage gamble do you think the old fans would be complaining?
Sir Ryan, with a few races before the chase, what is your assement of the new point systems and its impact with fans, writers and teams.
I think it's been pretty positive. We are certainly talking about the Chase earlier and earlier each year. To JJD from Seattle's point earlier, if not for the wild card, we might already be writing that this is a stinker of a Chase countdown. Instead, we're talking about guys going for wins to make the field or to grab bonus points for when the Chase starts. Anytime we're talking about wins instead of points math, I'm all for it.
Ryan, Kyle got lucky on fuel mileage and strategy. Correct? That seems to make him great in some eyes but yet if Jr did the same he stinks. What gives?
The 18 team got lucky at Indy, just like the majority of the top 10 due to fuel mileage. Lets not kid ourselves...
There was some luck, yes. But they also made the calls that put them in that position. And he also raced his way from the 30's back up into the top ten twice.
Do you believe that there was more to the 99's poor run on Sunday than just that? Is all the uncertainty starting to crack the foundation of that team?
When you talk to guys on that team, the Silly Season is definitely starting to wear on them.
McGee!!! I changed my Monday work sechdule so I can attend this Block Party cause your the best! Why do you guys wear suits to the track on Sunday? Isn't it hot? This is Nascar, We don't care what you look like on TV, C'mon Man!!
It is hot, but that's been the ESPN/SportsCenter way for 30 years. Not going to stop now. I did notice that the Baseball Tonight guys and our Nationwide Series guys got to go jacket-less in the Philly & Indy heat over the weekend. I'm going to start lobbying!
Junior raced his way from 22nd to lead 7 laps, nobody seems to remember that when they talk about Indy though. WAY too much Kyle Busch bromance going on from the press this year. All for a guy with only 22 wins and 0 championships.
Give it a rest, Chris. You've been coming to these chats too long to think that I'm in love with anyone, let alone Kyle.
When will Cup teams start hiring F1 consultants? Right now there are two teams in prime position to use a bit of team orders down the stretch and ensure that their drivers make the Chase. Gordon and Newman could both safely back up to 11th/12th and make sure that Jr and Tony stay in the top 10... How likely is this scenario when it gets down to crunch time?
When the Chase started there was a lot of talk about "team orders", especially at Richmond. But thus far it hasn't been a factor. The first time it happens, expect the big yellow trailer to unleash hell. Letting a teammate go up and lead a lap during a race is one thing. But letting a guy win would not be met kindly.
Besides, I haven't met a driver yet who was willing to sacrifice much of his own team to help another guy. Even a siuation where Gordon owns a piece of the 48 car.
I think Jeff Gordon would've beat Paul Menard in two more laps but I also agreed with Rick (TX) that Menard outran Gordon at the end
Well, me, the end was the end and he did outrun him. The end being two laps later is whole different scenario.
Damn...you people woke up on the wrong side of the chatroom bed this morning.
Your top 5 drivers for Pocono?Any dark horses?
Hamlin, Gordon, Smoke, Harvick, Jimmie. Darkhorses: Burton, Martin, Kenseth.
was talking about the press in general, not you Ryan :) I know where you stand
Whew...I was getting worried. You're one of my boys!
Ryan on a serious note, knowing the drivers and bosses, is it diffifuclt to stay objective or how do you prevent from becoming bias etc...
Nah. I don't have a lot of close garage friendships and that's by design. But I will say that when a guy like Regan Smith or Paul Menard wins, am I happy for them? No question about it.
Alright, gotta go. Be sure to check out Paul Menard on NASCAR Now at 5 pm/1 am ET on ESPN2. In the meantime, I'll see you back here next Monday. Hopefully everyone will be a in a better mood...
As always, you can hit me up via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Twitter (@ryanmcgeeespn). Please tip the wait staff. And enjoy the music of Government Cheese.