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September 26, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Ryan McGee

Ryan McGee
  (2:01 PM)

What's up my maple syrup covered brothers and sisters and welcome to a post-New England edition of the one-hour Monday Motorsports Block Party. Sunday was pretty nuts, so let's so if we can make it the whole hour without running out of fuel. To the queries!

Jordan (Lubbock, Texas)

Is it me, or has the NASCAR world been turned on its ear. Tony Stewart suddenly looks like '05 Smoke, Brad Keselowski might be the most consistent driver in the sport, Jimmie Johnson seems legitimately rattled....My little brain doesn't know what to think anymore....

Ryan McGee
  (2:02 PM)

I know, right? What's next, the Big 12 breaking up and then getting back together? Oh, wait...

Stew (RI)

Next year delana will no longer be in charge of KHI since it is merging with RCR. Will she finally stop wearing the firesuit?

Ryan McGee
  (2:04 PM)

No. And it's never had anything to do with her co-owner job. It's a safety issue for her. That's not an uncommon practice in other forms of motorsports. When I covered the IRL in its formative days nearly all the wives wore firesuits in the pits. And DeLana comes from a racig family. Her Dad was legtimate North Carolina short track bad ass, so I say she can wear whatever she wants.

Steve (Chicago)

Do you see Elliott Sadler returning as part of the new-look KHI Nationwide operation next year?

Ryan McGee
  (2:04 PM)

Yes. He'll be in that car, even though it's coming out of RCR.

Jesse (San Fran)

Ryan, What do you think is the better path for guys trying to make their way back to a decent ride --> the start and park, underfunded team route like Scotty Speed, Stremme, Mears etc., or moving down to Nationwide and running well, like Sadler and Sam Hornish jr. have done?

Ryan McGee
  (2:07 PM)

I've always thought it was better to go down and run well in Nationwide. But the problem that former Cup guys have, particularly the ones you've listed, is that they haven't been offered that situation. If they were I think they'd do it. But there's also something to be said for being in the Cup garage all the time. The Nationwide garage might just be a couple of hundred yards away, but sometimes the distance feels like light years. And from what I hear those start-and-park gigs pay pretty well too.

Alan (Columbus, Ohio)

Hi Ryan! What is the biggest shuffle in points that you can ever remember in a Chase weekend? Just curious what kind of variances you can see from one week to the next.

Ryan McGee
  (2:09 PM)

Hands down, I always think about the Talladega race of '05. Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson were in control and were lined up side-by-side for the green flag. Then they inexplicably wrecked coming to the green flag. That opened the door for Tony Stewart and he never looked back. You know what, that might have been 2002 before the Chase. Still, never seen one moment change the entire title picture that late in the season that wasn't at the season finale.

Danny McCoy (LV)

Hi Ryan! Having been a 4-car team just last year, I assume RPM already has the requisite facilities to house another car. But how much can a parternership with Dougherty's 47 team really help RPM? Marcos left for a reason.

Ryan McGee
  (2:11 PM)

They absolutely have the space. Remember, they started last year fielding four cars. And their shop sits suquarely in the center of the massive Roush Fenway compound, so resources aren't a problem. I don't think it's as much about the 47 helping RPM as the RPM (and Roush) helping the 47. Their current arrangement with MWR had grown stale, all sides seem to agree on that. JTG-Daugherty is at a critcal stage. They're either going to grow or die. This move feels more like a move toward growing.

Mike (LV)

I've become a big fan of the Dinger and the 43 team over the past couple seasons. I've read that AJ's contract is up after next season but do you think it is safe to buy some gear?

Ryan McGee
  (2:12 PM)

Yeah, you're good. I wrote this in today's Power Rankings and I've been saying it for a few weeks now - he could win at Dover.

Clint (Dallas, Tx)

Do you think All 4 Hendrick Cars will make the Chase next year? Kahne can still drive...

Ryan McGee
  (2:14 PM)

We'll see. Honestly, there has always been one of the four Hendrick cars that lags behind the other three. And even when they ran three cars there was always one that seemed to be off the pace. But I also think there's no question this is the most talented top-to-bottom lineup HMS has ever had. No slight to Mark Martin, but Kahne has more future left in him.

JR (Denver)

What's the back story on the nickname "The Clam Prince of New Jersey"

Ryan McGee
  (2:17 PM)

I call Martin Truex Jr. that, usually in the Power Rankings, because that's literally what he is. I wrote a big feature story on Martin in ESPN The Magazine in '07 (you can read it here http://sports.espn.go.com/rpm/news/story?series=2&id=2980598). I spent a lot of time with his father, Martin Sr, on his clam boat. Turns out the Truex family has made their moderately-sized fortune with one of New Jersey's largest clam-fishing businesses.

Ryan McGee
  (2:17 PM)

And yes, Martin Jr. did try his hand at the family business. But he said that it took him about one day out on the sea to realize he needed to work on his racing skills.

sue (chicago)

Any gossip in the garage about Tony's dead weight?

Ryan McGee
  (2:18 PM)

All signs points to his ex-girlfriend.

qasqas (dark side of the moon)

how many of tte chase drivers will end up in the HOF

Ryan McGee
  (2:21 PM)

Johnson, Gordon, Stewart, Kenseth, and Kurt Busch all get in because of their championships, though it will take some much longer than others. I think Harvick and Dale Junior have HoF numbers, thanks to multiple N'wide titles and their big stage race wins. The others have the potential for sure, but need more years and more titles before they are HoF worthy.

Clint (Dallas, Tx)

Martinsville is going to be the Best race in the Chase with all the temps flaring.. JJ has both Busch brothers pissed, and smoke doesnt seem to like anybody right now. Saying they race him to tough, man CAN'T WAIT!!

Ryan McGee
  (2:22 PM)

Totally agree.

Aaron (Bath, ME)

Good run for Jeff Gordon, but it should have been another win. Was Chicagoland a fluke for the 24 team?

Ryan McGee
  (2:23 PM)

Yes. His run at Loudon (once again he may have had the best car on the track, though he didn't win) was much more in line with what we'd seen before Chicagoland. Even then he'd gotten a bad run worked into a decent before he ran out of gas. I actually saw Jeff here in Charlotte this morning and if he's stressed out he sure didn't look like it.

Don Juan (TX)

I say we eliminate all debris cautions since so many are bogus. Only throw the yellow for a crash or rain. If there's fluid or debris and someone runs over it, they will eventually spin or crash. The better drivers should be able to drive around it.

Ryan McGee
  (2:25 PM)

All of my Baja 1000 buddies say the same thing. Ivan "Ironman" Stewart said to me once, "They throw a stick out onto the track and they completely shutdown the Dayton 500. Hell, your car weighs a couple of tons. Just drive through it or around it."

Jolt (kcmo)

Can JR come back from the 26 point deficit to win the Cup? Is anyone truly out of it except Denny?

Ryan McGee
  (2:26 PM)

He can. I do think that anyone other than Denny is still in it. History says that everyone will have at least one horrible Chase finish during the ten final races. So those who are 20-30 points, essentially half a race worth of points, are still okay. But you can't have two terrible finishes and still be there at the end. Denny's had two terrible finishes.

Bobby (Nj)

Ryan may be ahead of my self here but Chad and Jimmie the end of line is near

Ryan McGee
  (2:27 PM)

Nope. People are reading too much into their recent radio exchanges. They've been there before and it all worked out fine.

Shannon (Houston)

Could you give me your top 5 for Dover and a darkhorse?

Clint (Dallas, Tx)

Who ya got? and a darkhorse..

Ryan McGee
  (2:29 PM)

Give me 99, 48, 16, 17, 18...and for a darkhorse the 43.

Chris (Crestview, FL)

How much longer can this cinderella story of Keslowski last? Do you see him making a serious run at this title for the whole chase or do you see him fading?

Ryan McGee
  (2:30 PM)

Well, I keep waiting on the fade, been waiting for it since July, and it isn't happening. I think he stays in it all the way to the end. Maybe not the Cup but certainly in the top 5. His numbers since mid-summer have been ridiculous. And they have a real handle on this no-caution fuel mileage stuff.

Diane (Los Angeles)

Ah the joys of multimedia. Chatting with McGee on one page, setting up to watch brother Duke on Nascar Now on another.

Ryan McGee
  (2:31 PM)

That's right! NASCAR Now just hit the air on ESPN2.

Steve (Richey)

Ok Ryan. We are 2 weeks into ths chase.Who is your pick.Im leaning on Harvick because he can handle DEGA

Ryan McGee
  (2:32 PM)

Yo Steve, I think Talladega is the key. I am always reluctant to declare a guy a title favorite or not until we come out of there.

Ryan (Ventura CA)

The chase format is finally coming to fruition..The guy in 9th left for dead, is hot leading the points and the wild card is 3rd.

Ryan McGee
  (2:33 PM)

Yep. I think that overall parity in the sport has improved in recent years, and now that's finally edged its way into the Chase.

Ron (OH)

Last fall's Dover race had 105 green laps at the end and only 4 cautions. Looks like another fuel mileage race this weekend. :(

Ryan McGee
  (2:35 PM)

Likely so. And you hit the nail on the head, its all about cautions. The lack of cautions and a tire that consistently doesn't wear out very quickly. The crew chiefs are just backing up the race, F1 style, and calculating fuel mileage. A lot of fans on Twitter and here in the chats have suggested larger fuel cells, but I don't think that would fix anything. And all the crew chiefs I talk to say the same.

Texas A (College Station)

Hey, we actually left. Gig'Em!

Ryan McGee
  (2:36 PM)

Yeah, A&M, and you did it with about 10 laps to got in the Loudon race. That made for a very busy Sunday evening for a guy like myself!

justjay74 (North Carolina)

With Red Bull shutting down and Boywer probably going to MWR, do you see Vickers filling that 33 car next season?

Ryan McGee
  (2:37 PM)

Only if RCR can find sponsorship. That's the big hangup right now.

Bobby (Midland Park Nj )

Bowyer going to MWR Career killer!

Ryan McGee
  (2:38 PM)

We'll see. It's certainly not a move up. I feel like MWR is making more right moves now than they have in a while. Getting Scott Miller from RCR was big. But they're still several steps away from reaching the next level.

Cory (Geneva, IL)

Would cautions have mattered on Sunday? Guys couldn't pass on the track, so they were going to stay out once they were in the fuel window anyway.

Ryan McGee
  (2:39 PM)

A late caution would have completely changed that race. Just like we used to see all the time after the green-white-checker rules were first put in place.

Emily (NJ)

Ryan, all four Roush cars finished in the top 8 yesterday. I have never seen a team with that solid of a day get so little press coverage!

Ryan McGee
  (2:41 PM)

I did my part! It's the first thing I Tweeted when the race was over and I wrote it up in today's Power Rankings!

Phil (Richmond, Va.)

McGee-how many cars will RCR field next year? Is there any chance Sadler runs in Cup if they stay at four?

Ryan McGee
  (2:45 PM)

Looks like three. And I think ES is all set where he is. Now if, as we talked about earlier, RC can get some sponsorship to keep that ride in business, even part-time, while Austin Dillin is warming up in Nationwide, then ES might be a good one to do that.

Ryan McGee
  (2:45 PM)

Sorry about the delay there...the interweb kicked me off for a second.

Saul (San Diego)

Several comments on Camber issue as it relates to the 88 flat tires. Is that man made or mechanical failure?

Ryan McGee
  (2:46 PM)

Man made. Latarte said they were running it out on the ragged edge.

Chris (Crestview, FL)

Better be careful saying Dale Junior has HoF type numbers, the haters will start foaming at the mouth with rage!! Make sure your shots are up to date!! I will be there when he gets inducted, can't wait!!

Ryan McGee
  (2:46 PM)

Yeah, I know. But his strugles of late shouldn't overshadow what he did in the first half of his career.

Zach (Ohio)

Ryan, regarding the Hall of Fame, and looking strictly at drivers at the Cup level, do you believe that anybody that has won a championship should be in the Hall before anyone without one? For example, should Bobby Labonte be considered over Mark Martin (ignoring Mark's Nationwide accomplishments) based strictly on his championship?

Ryan McGee
  (2:48 PM)

Not necessarily. Keeping in mind I don't have a vote but have talked to all my friends who do, that's already been a point of debate in the discussions on ballot day. Does Red Byron, NASCAR's 1st champ, get in before Fireball Roberts, who was without question the sport's biggest star, but never won a title? That's the beauty - and difficulty - of the process to me.

stump (MO)

No 24 for this week at Dover?

Ryan McGee
  (2:49 PM)

If I had been asked for 6 guys, he would have been 6th.

Dumindu (Vista,California)

Now that Tony has won back to back chase races,what do you think his chances are winning his 3rd championship?

Ryan McGee
  (2:50 PM)

A lot better than they were three weeks ago! I think he's among the favorites now. But keep in mind we've had guys get off to crazy-hot starts before and then fade. I'm looking at yoy Greg Biffle.

JustJay74 (North Carolina)

At the awards banquet for this year, will it still be only the top 10 that get up on the stage so as of right now, there is a chance that Newman and Hamlin wont even be on the stage?

Ryan McGee
  (2:51 PM)

As far as I know, that has not changed.

Steve Spurrier's Visor (The ground...)

What's next for Furniture Row? Do you see them slowly building or do you think Smith will get a shot in better equipment in the future? Good folks who work their tales off, would love to see them have more success.

Ryan McGee
  (2:52 PM)

I'm with you, OBC. I like what I see from those guys right now. A lot. It's really amazing when you think about where those guys were just three years ago and where they are now. They've built it up the right way, taking their time and hiring the right people.

Ryan McGee
  (2:53 PM)

BTW, coolest driver Tweet of last week was Regan Smith's photo of his Southern 500 trophy that had just been delivered to the house.

Cory (Geneva, IL)

Is it just me, or have we seen way fewer on track incidents this season? It seems like if there is a caution, it is for debris. Very few actual wrecks causing cautions it seems.

Ryan McGee
  (2:54 PM)

Not just you. It's a fact. It was pointed out to me by a fan that perhaps a big reason for that is that some - most - of the drivers who brought the cautions over the last few years are now either gone or in start-and-park rides, thus so many fewer cautions. At first I laughed. Then I was like, "Wait...that might be true..."

Ryan McGee
  (2:54 PM)

Not just you. It's a fact. It was pointed out to me by a fan that perhaps a big reason for that is that some - most - of the drivers who brought the cautions over the last few years are now either gone or in start-and-park rides, thus so many fewer cautions. At first I laughed. Then I was like, "Wait...that might be true..."

Jan (Palm Desert)

Is Paul Wolf the next Chad Knaus?

Ryan McGee
  (2:55 PM)

Looking like it, isn't he?

Diane (Los Angeles)

Kurt Busch in one of his tirades yesterday said they might as well start thinking in terms of not getting on stage so only top 10 get there. Speaking of KuBu holding the car to the national anthem the reason for the sucky run yesterday or just one of a multitude of problems for that team?

Ryan McGee
  (2:56 PM)

Hi Diane...and thanks. Yeah, their car being held by NASCAR was essentially them receiving a scolding for being late to pre-race tech inspection. That was only a part of their problems, but it certainly got them off on the wrong foot.

Patrick (Plain, TX)

What's up with the 48? Trouble?

Ryan McGee
  (2:57 PM)

A little. But not time to panic yet. That whole group all wadded up there 20-ish to 30-ish points back is still okay. But they can't afford to have another bad week.

Rob F (Hoboken, NJ)

What's the point cutoff to consider a Chaser out of it? 66, like Denny?

Ryan McGee
  (2:59 PM)

The number gets smaller the more races we run, and as we get down to the end NASCAR will start issuing "magic numbers" for elimiation. But keep in mind that 43 points is essentially a full race. So Denny's a race and a half back with eight races to go. Don't need a magic number to figure that out.

Ron (OH)

Who were the wreck causing drivers? Hornish? R Gordon? Waltrip? Others?

Ryan McGee
  (3:00 PM)

The fan I was talking with about this didn't specify, but I think you are on the same page with him. One guy even had his own Twitter hashtag for a while.

Shane (Eugene)

With 288 on 23 touches and now the nations rushing leader (ahead of an overrated gamecock), can we all expect LMJ21 to get another invite to New York for the Heisman ceremony?

Ryan McGee
  (3:01 PM)

Log onto my college football blog on ESPN.com Insider tomorrow. You will like what you read.

Ryan McGee
  (3:03 PM)

Alright folks, gotta go. See you back here next week. Same bat time, same bat channel. Until then, hit me up on Twitter (@RyanMcGeeESPN) or via email (mcgeespn@yahoo.com). Please tip the wait staff and enjoy the music of Aaron Tippin.