What's up my upside down and on fire brothers and sisters and welcome back to the Monday Motorsports Block Party!
Let's not mess around and get right to it.
Have you seen evidence that Rowdy has matured and learned from the tragedies of last year and is ready to win the Sprint Cup?
It's too early yet. I am really watching both of the Busch boys to see how they handle the early season, especially Kurt.
I will say this. I've never seen anything like what Kyle did on Saturday night.
It seems to me that trying to eliminate the tandem racing has made it more dangerous. I really hope no one gets hurt...I think about what the Indy Racing League did in Las Vegas in an effort to put on a good show...
It's a tough spot, Ted. The two-car racing never bothered me. But I was clearly in the vast minority. The fans - many of the same ones who raised hades about pack racing for so long - were pleading with NASCAR to go back to it. So they did. And the drivers, even the ones who were wrecked, were overwhelmingly supportive over what we saw in the Shootout over the two-car tandem.
Hey Ryan, I saw Kurt's interview where he said he has a Hendrick Motorsports pit crew and wondered if that crew comes out of the 48/88 shop or 24/5? Thanks.
Hendrick has a very well-structured pit crew talent ID & development program. I wrote it about extensively in ESPN The Magazine's NASCAR preview last year. They help supply crew guys to their dependent teams if they want it. Benefits the lower-level teams but also trains future HMS crew guys in real-race situations.
does the way that rowdy owned stewert in the shootout make rowdy the favorite to win the 500?
I don't know if I'd call winning by .013 seconds owning anyone, but yes, I do think he's a favorite to win the 500. Not THE fave, but on the list.
Does this latest C pillar incident on the #48 show the Chad-Jimmie relationship is deteriorating?
No. How is this any different than the siuations before? Like 2006, when it was even worse. Chad wsa suspended, they won the 500 without him (Darian Grubb was interim CC) and then they went on to win their first Cup.
I think the psychoanalysis of the Jimmie-Chad relationship is way overplayed.
How do you think Kurt Busch will fair with his new team?
I have said this ever since he signed with Phoenix - they can win the Daytona 500. They really can. But once we hit the "regular season" I think they'll fade. That's when we'll really find out about the "New Kurt".
With NASCAR listening to the fans on the Shootout eligibility, and breaking up the tandems do you see them adding more short tracks such as Iowa or even giving the Nationwide series another chance at ORP after this year?
Maybe. I hope so. I think the fact that the Trucks are going to Rockingham on April 15 is a pretty good indicator that NASCAR - partcularly racing VP Steve O'Donnell - is willing to look at it. Now people need to show up.
I think the ORP deal might be a PR nightmare when we get to Indy in August.
What do think the chances are of getting a road course in the Chase?
As a huge Gordon fan, thought it was awesome seeing him upside down. Before he wrecked, dude was putting on a clinic on how to plate race! Do you see him as a 500 favorite?
That was awesome to see as a Gordon fan? I was racking my brain trying to remember if I'd ever seen him get on his roof before. It's never happened in a stock car. I know he rolled as a passenger at the Race of Champions a few years ago. And I'm sure he did in sprint cars.
I do see him as a 500 favorite. Though it's crazy to realize that the last of his three wins was seven years ago.
Now there is talk about Chevy using the holden commodore for the 2013 car? Why not just use the camaro?
They continue to say they can't make the Camaro work, that they can't retain it's classic lines. I think the issue lies in the fact that it does have very hard lines and flat surfaces. The common areas on the new cars still make that hard to pull off.
I will say this, though. Several people who have seen the new '13 design are very confident that when it is revealed the Camaro complaints will go away. One exec told me, "Don't worry about us. It's going to be pretty bad a--."
Who do you think will get a win 1st in 2012 Danica in the nationwide series or Dale Jr ending his winless streak in the sprint cup series?
The 48 team has been caught cheating yet again. Given the repeat / repeat / repeat offender status, as well as NASCAR being displeased with Knaus' "if you win wreck the car" comments last year, what kind of penalty do you expect to be handed down?
I really don't know. They clearly aren't happy about it, but they also clearly aren't as mad as they were about '06. Knaus was escorted off the property that year. I suspect there will be a fine and probation, but if there is a suspension I would be surprised if it was very long.
Hey Ryan! Why does Nascar still have the Past Champion's Provisional? It seems to benefit no one but Terry Labonte and Bill Elliott (and before that, DW).
That's a fair question, but I think it is still in place to ensure that the most stars are in the field on Sunday. That rule was put into place when Richard Petty started missing races back in the day and fans nearly rioted. With the top 35 rules, it has kind of become the Old Timers Clause. Though we might have a time when Kurt Busch is glad it is in place this year!
Do you think in hindsight, Mayfield should have gone to the rehab program and perhaps returned to driving? Do you think anyone would have him back if he had?
I said that from day one. Just this month NASCAR reinstated a crewman who underwent their "road back" program. To me Jeremy's refusal to do that, coming up on three years now, doesn't say much to his innocence.
But to your second point Jerry, I don't know who would have him back. People forget this now, but he couldn't find a ride in '09. He was in his own car because no one would hire him.
Of your four "watershed year" drivers (Truex, Montoya, Biffle, Kahne), how do think they'll rank in points at the end of the year?
I think Kahne will top the group, followed by Biffle (who looks crazy strong so far in Daytona). Truex and JPM will be bunched up all season long in points. I don't see them making the Chase. They need to start winning or their rides will be vacated to make room for this glut of young guys that are coming up.
I think NASCAR should use the smaller spoilers on the 2013 car. It's probably too late to run them for all the tracks this year, but decreasing downforce should alleviate aero push at least a little and make it a little easier to pass, especially on the intermediates.
Talking to the drivers at Daytona thus far, they can't get much smaller on the plate tracks. They are all over the place. And the lack of spoiler is a huge reason these cars are looping so easily when there's any contact to the left rear.
On the intermediate tracks, I dunno. But yes, too late to do that this year. When the new cars roll out in '13 there will be plenty of spoiler jockeying going on, so save it for then.
PENALIZE THE 48? WHY would NASCAR consider a penalizing the 48 car when they failed pre-race inspection? It?s the pre-race inspection to make sure it car meets the specs, if it does not the team goes back and fixes the problems. I don?t get why NASCAR is even considering it.
They almost always have.
What are your expectations for Kyle Larson at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing?
I think it is a HUGE signing for EGR. That dude can wheel. His potential is through the roof. And it is a great situation for him because being with Chip keeps the door open for some open wheel racing too.
Think Trevor Bayne or Ricky Stenhouse will be able to secure sponsorship for the season?
Probably not. And they are both - particularly Bayne - keeping a good attitude about it. Just insane to me that the youth sensation of the sport, not to mention defending Daytona 500 champ, doesn't have a full-time ride in either series this year.
Will Vickers be back in Cup later this year or next?
Just this week he told Marty Smith yes. But I honestly don't know where he would go.
What are drivers/crew chiefs saying so far about EFI?
That life is really no different. They expect a little improvement in MPG on the intermediate tracks, but performance-wise it's not a big deal. Aside from a difference in the sound when they start the car I honestly can't see any difference when I am in the garage.
I think there will be some situations where when a car runs out of gas they might need to go back to the garage to "plug up" for a restart, but only in the rarest of instances. They should be able to refire on pit road when fuel is put back in.
Are you married?
Who is the most hyped up driver you've seen come along?
When Budweiser did the "Countdown To E Day" with Dale Junior we'd never seen anything like that before. But as far as buildup to a guy that started years in advance, it's Joey Logano, hands down. I started hearing about him when he was barely a teenager.
Ryan, are we gonna see crashes in practice and the duels like we did in the shootout?
Yes. As long as guys keep making left rear contact then we are going to have crashes. It was the same the last two years with the two-car tandems. The difference is that then we had a bunch of one and two-car wrecks. Now we'll have 10 and 12-car wrecks.
I will say this, and I say it every year. Basing what we will see in the 500 solely on what we saw in the Shootout is always a mistake. Very rarely do they look alike. It's always wiser to wait until the 150's. If those are a mess then we can freak out.
Will the Daytona 500 be a sell out? The Bud Shootout looked pretty empty on Saturday.
From that the track tells me, it's close. And the Shootout never draws a huge crowd.
Ryan, great article on the Budweiser sponsorship. It's amazing they've been in the sport 30 years. In that amount of time, you would think they would've had more championship runs than the ones with DW and Elliott (runner up) the one year. Thanks
Thanks, Jeff, that was a fun piece to do. And that is crazy, isn't it? Aside from Elliott they've finished 3rd in points twice, once each with Harvick and Dale Jr.
How did you get interested in Nascar?
Born in Rockingham. When I was kid my Pops was Dave Marcis's gas can man whenever Dave came south to run the Carolinas tracks. And there you have it.
With Daytona building a 4/10 mile short track on the back stretch do you think NASCAR will move 1 of the Martinsville races to Daytona?
As great as KB saves were, I don't think he would have made it through either one if it were the 500 race. Too many more cars.
Oh, I do. It's not like he was in a thinned-out area of the pack.
Honestly, no nascar fan can deny the fact that they like to see a good wreck. What do you think about the crashes we see in our sport?
You're right. And I don't mind wrecks as long as the cars stay on the ground. I feel a helluva lot more comfortable with crashes now than I did in the pre-CoT days and certainly more than the pre-HANS and new seats days. We killed so many people in the late 1990's through '01, across all forms of racing, that I nearly quit covering it.
There must have been plenty of debate between you and David Newton after you turned in your preseason Chase predictions ballot. Your champion isn't even in his Chase, and his runner-up isn't even in your Chase.
If Newt and I ever start completely agreeing on everything all the time, kiss your loved ones goodbye because all the bad parts of the Book of Revelation are probably about to happen.
I know all teams are having sponsor issues, but doesn't it seem like Rousch has them worse than others and more often. It goes back 10 years to when Burton left because of lack of sponsors.
It's great point Daryl and it's something that has seemingly been around forever. When the Roush Racing/Fenway Sports Group merger happened, the promise of that marriage was that the two sides would be able to share new sales and marketing ideas. Initially, it certainly worked. But now they appear to have settled back into their old struggles.
Will Danica Patrick race in the Prelude to The Dream?
She has said probably not this year. But she also jokes that she knows who her boss is and if he says do it then she'll have no choice!
You report Nascar from an unbiased reporters point of view. With that being said do you have a favorite driver. Someone you root for as a fan?
I have always been unapologetic about my childhood love for Richard Petty. I still love him. But I don't root for anyone now. I root for good stories.
How many race wins are you predicting for Rowdy this season?
I think he'll five races this year. But until he can do some of that damage within the Chase, then I can't take him seriously as a title contender.
Who's your pick to win each of the duel races?
In race #1 give me...Dale Jr.
In race #2 I'll take...The Biff.
Who is your favorite to win the 500? And do you have a sleeper
I will not give my official pick for the 500 until after the 150s, but right now I like Edwards. And for a sleeper, keep an eye on Kurt Busch. Seriously.
Alright folks, gotta go. I'll see you at the track on Wednesday and all the way through the 500. Until then, tip your wait staff and enjoy the music of No Vacancy. Now that we're done here...go watch NASCAR Now on ESPN2 & WatchESPN. It just came on!