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September 7, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Ryan McGee

Ryan McGee
  (1:59 PM)

What's up my tropical depression rain-covered brothers and sisters and welcome to a special midweek live from Rockingham edition of the one-hour motorsports block party. I'm sitting in the old school media center at the Rockingham Speedway, where (as we told you Friday) NASCAR will announce its return to The Rock.

Ryan McGee
  (2:01 PM)

The Camping World Truck Series will be racing here next April. Announcement comes at 3 pm ET. Very big deal. First time I can ever remember NASCAR leaving a track and then coming back with any of the three national series.

Ryan McGee
  (2:01 PM)

To the queries!

Ryan McGee
  (2:01 PM)

To the queries!

Roger (Canada)

Ever thought of having two twitter IDs? One for racing and one for that other stuff?

Ryan McGee
  (2:02 PM)

As in college football and baseball? Hey, double-dipping between racing and football has been good enough for Eli Gold, Jack Arute, and Dr. Jerry Punch. I'm honored that I get to to do it and that ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com let me do it.

Beth (NJ)

Hi Ryan, do you think it is Danica's fault with all her distractions that has caused so much stress on Jr. and keeping him from winning races and being champion?

Ryan McGee
  (2:04 PM)

No. He doesn't even deal with any of that. He told me he's seen Danica all of like five times this year. His sister handles all of that.

Baseballman387 (MD)

Who should be my new favorite driver, since Smoke isn't any good any more?

Ryan McGee
  (2:05 PM)

Really? Dude went from 9th to 3rd at the end of the Atlanta race driving a car that was fishtailing like he was running a Finnish ice rally race. Looks like he can still do it to me.

Walt (Bridgeton, MO)

I liked how Montoya said Bowyer was racing like a jerk because, "he's looking for a ride". Does that mean RCR has already told him he won't be back in the #33 next year?

Ryan McGee
  (2:06 PM)

I noticed that too. And yes, if I had money to put on it, I'd say he knows he's going somewhere else. And I think that RCR goes back to three teams.

Chris (Crestview, FL)

So basically Junior has to run 20th or better at Richmond to get into the chase. Should they be worried? A flat tire or a run in with JPM and they will be out of it. Do you see the fact that they played it safe the last 2 months possibly biting them in the end?

Ryan McGee
  (2:08 PM)

I don't think they were playing it safe. I think they genuinely struggled late summer and now they're a little behind. On Tuesday he was just bad. Yes, it is closer than they want it to be, but I think they get in. Just not how they wanted to.

Tracy (CT)

How many races do you think Kyle wins in the Chase?

Ryan McGee
  (2:09 PM)

My initial reaction to that question was 3. But honestly until he proves to me that he can do anything other than vanish once the Chase starts, I'm reluctant to say. I think he can. And I think he's certainy a better racer than he was those years that he faded so badly, but again, would like to see it first.

Daniel (Charlotte )

Hi Ryan. Who you got winning this sat? And top 5?

Ryan McGee
  (2:12 PM)

I say Kyle is the favorite. Top 5: 24, 28, 29, 33. Darkhorse: 20

Diane (Los Angeles)

Todd Bodine on the radio this AM said he'd love to see the trucks go back to Watkins Glen to fill one of the vacancies in the 2012. Do you think there's any chance of that or any road course for the trucks?

Ryan McGee
  (2:13 PM)

I just had that conversation with Ron Hornaday here at Rockingham. (I hear Todd will be shortly.) The Glen makes sense to me.

Jeremy (Port Angeles, WA)

When you think Stewart Haas Racing will announced what Sprint Cup races Danica will race in 2012?

Ryan McGee
  (2:13 PM)

I would say Phoenix weekend. That's her hometrack and also the home of GoDaddy.com.

Zach Cross (Church Hill TN)

Who do you think Clint Bowyer will race for next year?

Ryan McGee
  (2:15 PM)

How about JGR? RPM is a possibility but I think their financial legs are still too wobbly. They're getting stronger, but you know that JGR isn't going anywhere. I have always maintained that part of the reason JGR is doing the engine deal with TRD was to save money to the bottom line to try and sign Edwards. That money is still there. So are the expansion plans.

Tracy (CT)

Why is there not such a big deal that Gordon has 84 CUP WINS. ESPN practically anointed Kyle as God with his 100 wins mith 80% in the minors.

Ryan McGee
  (2:16 PM)

You can't possibly be serious. They did a whole segment of it on the postrace show last night, ran a feature about it on SportsCenter, and we've got a big piece up on ESPN.com today.

Sam (UT)

Given the finishes JJ has been putting up think he gets the w this saturday night?

Ryan McGee
  (2:17 PM)

He's certainly headed in the right direction. All the talk about him "struggling" this year and now that September has arrived they are in Cup form. Imagine that.

Jeremy (Talent Oregon)

Hey Ryan, what happens if there is a tie for 10th in points, would both drivers get in?

Ryan McGee
  (2:18 PM)

No. It goes to all the regular tie-breakers. Wins, top 10's, etc.

Greg (South Bend, IN.)

Hey Ryan, Love the rankings today as usual. My daughter personally likes Ole' Blue Eyes. People were talking in the chat yesterday about Zippy coming over to SHR. Is that true?

Ryan McGee
  (2:20 PM)

Thanks. This week is my annual "What My 6-Year Old Daughter Said While We Watched The Race" edition. I think Zippy is a possibility, but I honestly don't know what the expiration date is on the "you can't hire anyone from JGR" clause in Smoke's agreement that got him released from his contract early. Or if there even is one.

Turk (Michigan)

Kyle won a go kart race. That should be added to his win total. Thank you for your time.

Ryan McGee
  (2:20 PM)

Let it go.

ChrisC (Memphis)

Who drives the GoDaddy car next February at Daytona, Danica or Mark Martin?

Ryan McGee
  (2:21 PM)

Probably Danica. Though I have said and will continue to say that throwing her into the Daytona 500 is a mistake. I'll say this, if we see her as a late add to this fall's Talladega race then you can 100% expect to see her try to make the 500.

Jamerson (Georgia)

If JGR signs Bowyer, what does Richard Childress do with the #33? Seems to me he could just move the whole team down to Nationwide with Austin Dillon, and then move the whole thing back up when Austin's ready for Cup.

Ryan McGee
  (2:23 PM)

I think RCR contracts back to three teams. Austin is still at least one year away from Cup. He could replace Jeff Burton when Burton retires or they could expand back to four cars when the time comes. I think RC will get back into the Nationwide Series just long enough to get both Austin and Ty to Cup.

Tim (Colorado)

Have you Heard when NASCAR might announce 2012 Cup, Nationwide, and Truck Schedules? Seems like it might be a tad late since many of the tracks are making their own announcements.

Ryan McGee
  (2:24 PM)

Typically comes around this time of year. There are still some kinks that need to worked out of the Natiownwide and Trucks schedules, primarily caused by the closing of Nashville. One of the big pieces will be announced right here in front of me in about a half-hour, Trucks to Rockingham next April.

jeff (iowa(GO HAWKS))

Tony said he wants Mark for a part time schedule next year. Can he make it happen?? Hopefully because this year has really STUNK!!!

Ryan McGee
  (2:25 PM)

I think it would be the perfect fit. He did a great job in the part-time role with DEI. I'm not surprised he has struggled this year. There's always one of the four cars at Hendrick that seems to be behind. As lame duck driver, you had to figure that would be Mark this year.

Jamerson (Georgia)

Brad Keselowski took a car that was "off", and finished 6th with it. Can we consider him to still be on his hot streak?

Ryan McGee
  (2:26 PM)

Without question.

Ryan McGee
  (2:26 PM)

Without question.

JL (SC)

Well now its official. The only 3 people in the US that think Montoya is worth a darn in Nascar are the 3 Espn writers. Bowyer should have slapped him up side the head with the big hamburger helper hand.

Ryan McGee
  (2:26 PM)

Which three? Because I gave up on him at about the halfway point of the Watkins Glen race.

Justin (Lancaster, SC)

Is there anywhere we can watch the press conference for Rockingham? Looks like I'll be camping there in April. Everyone else, PLEASE SHOW UP!

Ryan McGee
  (2:30 PM)

No, but I will be Tweeting it up and I see a handful of other writers starting to show up. And yes, one of the great frustrations of my life as a Rockingham native has been people who keep telling me that they will support The Rock and will be there...and then they don't show up.

Ryan McGee
  (2:30 PM)

So show up!

Ryan McGee
  (2:30 PM)

So show up!

Thomas (MN)

First off, your daughter's comments on the power rankings were great! Now that we're practically at the end of the regular season, what do you think about the new points system? The race for 10th in points would be even better under last year's system. Keselowski would be only 14 points behind Jr. for 10th and 19 behind Stewart in 9th. Hamlin would also be only 96 points behind Jr. going to his best track. Of course, this is assuming they would have added the wild cards to the Chase anyway.

Ryan McGee
  (2:32 PM)

Thanks. She's a star! I don't mind the new points system. I think it's certainly given us a lot more to talk about than we would have had otherwise. It's easy to go in and break down every battle, but overall I think it works. As always, I think race winners should get a bigger chunk of points over 2nd place than they currently do, but that doesn't ever look like its going to change significantly.

Will (San Dimas, CA)

What's all this talk about KHI quitting the truck series?

Ryan McGee
  (2:33 PM)

San Dimas High School football rules! (Sorry, can't ever resist that Bill & Ted reference.) I think they re-evaluating their position in both of NASCAR's lower series. Kevin was pretty frank about that at Bristol a couple of weeks ago and I talked to DeLana last week and she said the same. Stay tuned...might tie in to my comments about RCR earlier.

Eric (NC)

All tracks should repave using Atlanta's asphalt formula. Tires would die before the tank runs empty eliminating BS winners. The best car/driver might then actually win more than 1 of 5 races. Thoughts?

Ryan McGee
  (2:35 PM)

The key is letting it age. That AMS formula is pretty old now. It's a fine line to walk. You want to be worn out, but you can't wait too long or you'll have another Daytona 500 pavement debacle on your hands. And all over the undercarriage of your car.

Ryan McGee
  (2:35 PM)

The key is letting it age. That AMS formula is pretty old now. It's a fine line to walk. You want to be worn out, but you can't wait too long or you'll have another Daytona 500 pavement debacle on your hands. And all over the undercarriage of your car.

Becky (Texas)

Hi Ryan your referee/officials fan from Twitter. Other than your Father..... what other NFL or NCAA Referee/Officials do you follow? Admired?

Ryan McGee
  (2:36 PM)

Gotta love Ed Hochuli and his rippling biceps! I was a also a huge fan of Billy Lovett, who was with my father's crew in the Big East and became a longtime NFL ref. Billy passed away just a few weeks ago.

bryan (va )

Please clairfy yourself on RPM being on shakey legs? This isn't 2010 with Gillette running the show!

Ryan McGee
  (2:39 PM)

What I said was still wobbly, but getting stronger. You're right, RPM isn't even in the same universe as last year's mess, one of the worst I've ever seen. But anytime you are standing on the shoulders of outside investors, you have to give it some time to make sure it is for real. The folks from Medallion Financial really seem committed, but history has shown us that those outsider investors have a tendency to sell and bail, like they would any other investment.

Ryan McGee
  (2:39 PM)

I like those Medallion folks a lot. But compared to JGR, yes, I would wait a minute and make sure its for real over there.

Ryan McGee
  (2:40 PM)

Plus, if you're Clint, you have to go to team that wins Cups and races and build their own cars over the team that's won one race and depends on another team (Roush Fenway) for their gear. JGR would be a lateral move, if not a promotion, from RCR. RPM would be a step down.

Grudge Holder (Everywhere, USA)

Kyle just beat Kurt to the door. Put another check mark in the wins column.

Ryan McGee
  (2:41 PM)

Hahahaha

Baseballman387 (MD)

Man, a lot of paint schemes on cars with US flag on it this weekend. It's going to be cool.

Ryan McGee
  (2:42 PM)

It is. And for those of us who were around in 2001, it takes us back to the amazing paint schemes we saw after 9/11. I don't have a lot of die casts, but I do have one of Ken Schrader's legendary sponsorless flag scheme from '01.

Jared (Phoenix)

now that all the big NASCAR names are locked into long term deals and with few good teams are the days of "silly season" over with for many years?

Ryan McGee
  (2:44 PM)

Nope. Every time I've ever entered a year where I went, "Well, no movement this year!" all Hades breaks lose. All time greatest example was the year that Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray announced their deals a year and half in advance. Chaos.

Jeremy (Talent Oregon)

Hey Ryan, what are Jeff Gordon's chances saturday night at Richmond?

Ryan McGee
  (2:45 PM)

Good. It's been a while since he won there, but over his last 10 he has 7 top 10's and has led more than 650 laps. That's pretty good.

Ryan McMillon (67207)

Serious Question? What do you look for in answering questions?

Ryan McGee
  (2:46 PM)

They come pretty fast and furious, so it's frustrating not getting to answer them all, or read them all. But I start with the ones that don't use cuss words to address me!

Dave (Ohio)

I know this sounds silly..but if Gordon can race another 5yrs and average 3wins a year that would give him 100 wins..Wht do you think his final win total will be?

Ryan McGee
  (2:47 PM)

I was Tweeting back and forth with DW about this. I think he has a legit shot at catching David Pearson, who sits at 105. But chances are he'll end up where he is now on the all-time wins list. Not wins, I think he'll at least hit the mid-90's, but moving into 2nd is going to be tough.

Ed (Buckeye)

Do you think Harvick choked worse than Denny last year in the chase?

Ryan McGee
  (2:48 PM)

No. If you have the lead going into the final race and lose it that's always worse than any other scenario. But "choke" might be a strong word. That 48 team is pretty good.

Alan (Columbus, Ohio)

What was the overall vibe after the Atlanta race was said and done from the bigwigs in charge of AMS? It seems with all of the promoting they did trying to get attendance numbers up, the last thing they wanted to see was a multi-day rain delay.

Ryan McGee
  (2:50 PM)

They were not happy. No track owner/manager/promoter likes a rainout. But I thought they certainly did all they could to get it in on Sunday. And they also did the right thing by not wasting everyone's time on Monday. There have been plenty days when we all drove into the track knowing damn well we wouldn't get a lap in. Monday would have been one of those days.

Rob F (Hoboken, NJ)

I read somewhere that Gordon and Kenseth were considered among the "second tier" of legit cup contenders. This win for Gordon probably bumped him up to the first tier, but how about Kenseth? In the last few weeks it seems if Gordon is dominating Kenseth isn't too far behind.

Ryan McGee
  (2:51 PM)

Yeah, I didn't write that. I've had both of those guys in the top five of my ESPN.com Power Rankings for a long time now. I think they are both more than legit.

Diane (Los Angeles)

For Justin (and Ryan) I already have plans to fly in from Los Angeles to attend a race a the Rock so the dang locals better show too :D!

Ryan McGee
  (2:51 PM)

See? There you go! The pressure's on, you NC locals!!

Dumindu (Vista,California)

Hi Ryan, what do you think of Elliot Sadler's chances of winning the Nationwide championship this year?

Ryan McGee
  (2:53 PM)

I think it's a two-car race right now between Elliott and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Reed Sorenson is still in the mix, but he's about to lose contact with those two. He's basically a full race's worth of points back now.

Sean (Philadelphia)

Hi Ryan, based on what you are thinking with Bowyer and RCR, how many drivers racing now will be left out next year? Is it possible that guys like Bowyer and Vickers be left without rides at all?

Ryan McGee
  (2:54 PM)

I think Bowyer is okay but I have had concerns about Vickers ever since the Red Bull sponsorship cutbacks were announced. He'll be somewhere, but certainly not at the level he was racing at just a little while ago. The good news is that he had a solid run on Tuesday.

Mike (Nijmegen, Netherlands)

Don't we have to shout to the fans that if they are able to come to The Rock next April they should, to support short track racing and to thank NASCAR for adding a track to the schedule we all like to see come back? Indeed...show up!

Ryan McGee
  (2:55 PM)

Agreed! As I type I'm watching lots of people in suits shake hands in front of the announcement stage at Rockingham. Let's make their efforts pay off!

stump (MO)

How happy do you think Drive To End Hunger is right now?

Ryan McGee
  (2:56 PM)

I think the AARP (the group that runs DTEH) is very happy. They were very happy before Atlanta. Now they are REALLY happy.

Mike (Nijmegen, Netherlands)

I hoped you meant you gave up on JPM as a chase contender after Watkins Glen, not as driver in general.

Ryan McGee
  (2:57 PM)

As a Chase contender, yes. As a driver overall, not entirely, but the clock is ticking. He needs to start winning races.

Ryan McGee
  (2:57 PM)

As a Chase contender, yes. As a driver overall, not entirely, but the clock is ticking. He needs to start winning races.

Ryan McGee
  (2:59 PM)

Alright folks...gotta go. The crowd is gathering around the stage here on pit road at Rockingham and the announcement that NASCAR will be returning to The Rock is just minutes away. Full write-up tonight on ESPN.com. In the meantime, hit me up on Twitter (@RyanMcGeeESPN) or email (mcgeespn@yahoo.com). I'll be back next week at my normal time, Monday at 2 pm ET. Tip your wait staff and enjoy the music of GRITS: The Musical!