What's up my Easter Egg dye-covered brothers and sisters and welcome to a special Wednesday edition of the Monday Motorsports Block Party.
I am sitting in a coffee shop in Charlotte, looking across the parking lot at the bar which served as The Pit Stop in Talladega Nights (where Ricky Bobby first met Jean Girard)...so I'm feeling good. To the queries!
Hey Ryan, do you agree with your colleague David Newton that if the 20 ride opens up, that Gibbs should pursue 1 of the Young Roush Fenway Drivers over Kurt Busch?
Right now that's a big "if". But if that if were to happen, I'd see them going after one of the RFR young guys over Kurt. Poor Trevor Bayne won't be racing at Texas this weekend because of lack of sponsorship. I like the RFR folks. A lot. But it just flabbergasts me (if that's how you spell it) that they can't sell him or Stenhouse to a sponsor. Perhaps it's more of a Nationwide Series issue than a driver issue. Either way, it just befuddles me.
As a journalist, how sad is that Mike Wallace passed away on Sunday? Also where is the NASCAR media's version of Mike Wallace who could interview a driver and hold their feet to the fire instead of pandering to them as most do?
It is very sad. In fact, I dug out his book "Between You and Me" and started rereading it this week. Aa far as pandering, I think there are more than a few NASCAR journos who aren't afraid to dig when the situation calls for it. I think my colleagues here at ESPN.com certainly aren't afraid. If we were pandering all the time then so many drivers wouldn't be out of sorts with us.
How close are we to seeing a #36 Go Daddy Chevy at Darlington with Dave Blaney in the #10?
That's a fair question, but I think things will remain how they are. Honestly, I have thought Danica running the Southern 500 as her 2nd Cup race has been a monumentally terrible idea from the get-go. If she had to qualify and didn't I think it might actually be a good thing for her.
Does Jr. get his win this week? He is racing really well this year, always seems to be towards the front!
I've been saying that for a while now, Joey. Just a gut feeling I've had since Daytona.
Ryan, was wondering if you see Penske using Roush/Yates engines and having a stake in it? Also, you see RPM staying on board?Lastly, me, my Uncle Paul, my older bro Phil and our friend Drew are heading to the Southern 500 and Darlington for the first time and staying in Charlotte. Stuff do in Charlotte and Darlington while were there?
1. Penske has always done his own engines and cars, no matter what the series, so I don't see him getting in on the Roush Yates deal.
2. I do think RPM stays on board. They are way to ingrained in the RFR empire. Their shop literally sits in the middle of the Roush campus. And they don't have engine building capability. Unless Dodge figures out where their engines are coming from, it would make no sense for RPM to bolt Ford.
3. You HAVE TO go to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. It's amazing. Set aside a whole day. Down in Darlington you need to hit the Joe Weatherly Stock Car Museum and NMPA Hall of Fame. Not nearly as fancy, but there's some awesome stuff in there. The best is Johnny "Mad Man" Mantz's car he used to win the inaugural Southern 500.
Is it true that you get a t-shirt if you get your question displayed on the chat?
Hmmm...I like that idea. I think my daughter has some homemade iron-on t-shirt making kit around here somewhere...
Even though I complain about Octo taking over a chat, I still enjoy being here because you're so awesome Ryan. Got any interesting stories you'll be showing us in the near future?
Thanks Tyler. I have a story that was just posted on ESPN.com's NASCAR page about this weekend's return to Rockingham with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. I spent some time with Red Horse Racing on Tuesday and there's a very cool mix there - and throughout the Truck Series - of old guys who haved raced at The Rock before and young guys who have never seen the place. It's pretty exciting. And that's why I'll be there on Sunday.
Fill The Rock!
Hi Johnny, which series was your favorite to race in?
Hahaha. True story. I was leaving Martinsville and hit a drive-thru in a little town just over the VA/NC border. The guy working the window says, "Hey Johnny Benson! How'd you do at Martinsville today!" I paused for a second and said, "I won!" He goes, "Awesome, man! Here's you order."
Hi Ryan - what do you think the odds are that in 2014 (or 2015) we see a 4 team MWR stable of Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex, Brian Vickers, AND Travis Pastrana?? I couldn't think of a better line up in terms of marketing to a young audience. What are your thoughts?
I think that's a real possibility, though I don't think Travis feels like he'll be full-time Cup ready by 2014. The big issue for MWR is the same as it for everyone else, finding that much sponsorship. Hopefully by then the economic recovery will have covered enough ground to make that happen.
If they can keep up this early pace, the problem certainly won't be success on the track.
I've been to 4 Texas Cup races and I didn't like any of them due to the low quality of racing. Should Eddie levigate the track to enhance the action?
The issue there will always be the ridiculous speeds. If you're going that fast in that small of a space, it's going to be hard to go two- and three-wide all the time.
After the Bristol PR disaster - not to mention the levigating mess at Charlotte - I wouldn't expect to see SMI doing a whole lot of messing with track layouts for a long while.
I have always thought TMS might want to shorten the Cup races. 500 miles is a long time. Cut it to 400 and you eliminate some of the admitted "riding around" time.
do you think Nascar would ever adopt a " Push to Pass " buttton like they had in IRL?
Nope. It works in open wheel racing. No place for it in NASCAR.
Is Junior Johnson out of the hospital?
As of Monday, no. He's doing better, but not taking visitors.
When if ever do you see Iowa getting a cup race? who has to loose one for that to happen?
I think it should have a Cup race, but you are right, someone needs to lose one first. I don't know who that would be. ISC isn't going to be messing with its dates and SMI is only going to move theirs around internally. So that leaves Dover and Pocono. And that leaves Iowa out of luck for now.
Does Rusty Wallace or Bill Elliot make todays list of nominee's?
The NASCAR Hall of Fame nominees list does come out tonight at 6 pm ET. I think both should be on the list. Doesn't mean they will be. We're going to have a big group of "next generation" guys coming up now. Rusty, Bill, DJ, etc. It's going to get interesting.
I have said all along that the job of voting guys in was really going to start getting tough in year four. And that's where we are. Personally, I think it's time for the superstars of the 1950's and '60's to start getting their due. Red Byron, Herb Thomas, Tim Flock, Curtis Turner, Joe Weatherly, Fireball Roberts.
I hear voters say, "Well, so-and-so never won a championship or only won X number of races". So what? What was their larger impact? That's why Bud Moore and the Frances are in.
Hey Ryan, Heading down to "The Rock" on Sunday. Are you going to be there????? I don't think the Cup boys will ever return, but a double header weekend of Trucks and Nationwide in the future would be sweet. Any chance of that happening in your opinion?????
I will definitely be there on Sunday. I'm with you, I don't think Cup is in the cards. But a Nationwide race could certainly happen. I'm told they had a chance to host one as early as this year, but didn't want to bite off more than they could chew.
The big thing is that The Rock needs to sell tickets this weekend to make something more happen down the road. Even if you can't go, they are doing an aweome program where you can buy tickets and have them given to the soliders from nearby Fort Bragg. www.rockinghamspeedway.com
Is AUTO UPDATE on or is it just my computer?
I'm told it is on, but you might have to hit refresh to kickstart it.
Been following all my ESPN NASCAR friends on twitter and BTW thanks...you guys are great! One question though, why doesn't Ed tweet? We need to get the whole band together!
Thanks. Marty says I might have a bit of a Twitter addiction. Ed has a Twitter account, but he isn't on very much. I think he's too busy cornering NASCAR officials in the garage and giving them the what-for. Or maybe he's out hunting for Octo.
Do you think Kyle will sell KBM to Kurt when he and Sam start a family like The Harvicks?
No. I could see them going in together as co-owners one day. Maybe. But I don't see Kyle selling anytime soon. Though I do think it is harder than he had expected. When JR Motorsports was first getting going Dale Junior admitted to me at length that it was hard to make money running Nationwide and Trucks. And if it's hard for Junior to make money you know it's not any easier for everyone else.
Will David Reutimann Part Ways with Tommy Baldwin Racing if he doesn't Qualify for the Samsung 500? If he does who will share the #10 Car with Danica Patrick?
Again, that's a big if. Too early to speculate on something like that. I will say this about Reutimann, I thought his candor with Marty Smith about the Martinsville mess was pretty gutsy.
So far only the inaugural class was voted in during the first year of eligibility. With Rusty not even being nominated who do you think will be the next to get into the HOF during the first year?
That's a great question and I think it'll be a while. When Jeff Gordon comes up he'll skate in. So will Jimmie Johnson and I would suppose Tony Stewart. Past that, I think there will be enough debate to keep guys from getting in first ballot.
But again, if the voting panel has been anything it's unpredictable.
With Chevy back in IndyCar, you see any NASCAR driver attempting the INDY 500? Wasn't manufacturer a problem all along?
Manufacturer and schedule. The manufacturer issue - at least for the Chevy guys - would seem to be taken care of. But the schedule still just won't allow for it. If I was Chevy I would be lobbying like a mad man to get the Indy 500 pushed an hour earlier and the 600 an hour later, then I would offer up a pile of cash, charter a plane, and commute those guys back and forth.
But I think the double-duty days might be gone for good. At least they are for a while.
Hi Ryan. Do you know why Matt Kenseth's tweets don't show up on the ESPN website like Sadler, Johnson, and Keselowski's do?
They don't? I'll look into that. He just did a chat for us two hours ago.
The day that Dale Jr. wins another race will officially be the day I drink my first 1/4 keg in one day!! Gonna need a "personal day" on that Monday! I feel it coming soon. Seriously he is competitive everywhere right now. Well maybe not Sonoma, but I think he can be top 5 at The Glen if he keeps this up...He is better right now than 2004, just needs to close that one deal and he will be back on track and win some more...Just my thoughts.
I agree. And good luck with that. (Be ready to call in sick on Monday.)
Is the race to make the chase become too predictable? 8 of the top 10 last year after 6 races made the top 10 for the Chase. 7 out of 10 in 2010.
I think the best teams run up front all year. Nothing's going to change that. The race for the Chase is always going to be close in the lower third of the top 10, not the top half.
I hear every year complaints that only Chase guys win all the races during the Chase. Well...yeah...they're the best teams!
The people at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and INDYCAR have pushed the time back it started at 12:00 now 11:00am again this year, NASCAR and the people in Charlotte need to push the Coca Cola 600 back and hour or two!
I agree. I think it's more a FOX TV issue than anything. No one wants the 600 to end at 1 AM ET. I bet if Humpy Wheeler were still running the show at Charlotte he'd be moving heaven and earth to make it happen. Remember, he's the guy that found out Janet Guthrie hadn't qualified for the Indy 500 in '76 and not only sent a plane to go get her, he found her a ride and a sponsor!
I asked you about Ferrari a few weeks ago, and I agreed with your assessment. They are in trouble. Did Ferrari find another way to throw money at the problem to get an aero or engineering edge with Alonso's win, or was Alonso's win just circumstances?
Circumstances. I was texting back and forth with a friend inside the team and they said, "Win was great. Big for morale. But still big problems."
Who are your top 5 for Saturday night?
Give me Kenseth, Hamlin, Johnson, Biffle, and Dale Jr. For darkhorses take Burton and Martin.
Of course all of that means that Smoke will win since I didn't list him.
I'm wondering if there will be feuds reignited at Texas on Saturday..it's been quiet so far this season
Texas isn't place for payback. Too fast and too scary. But I think back on Biffle vs. Busch and Jeff vs. Jeff and you gotta think something will happen to, as you say, reignite something, or start something anew.
Howdy Ryan, Been going to TMS for a long time and I love the place. Have the other manufacturers caught Ford in their speedway programs? I guess that will be better answered Saturday, but it seemed at the end of last year and a little at the beginning of this one that the FR9 isn't as dominant as it once was.
The Ford still seems to be doing a better job temperature-wise, which has been the biggest issue this year with the pack racing at Daytona and the heat-related EFI issues. As for horsepower, there's always a rubber band effect with these teams. One team figures something out and gets a jump...then the other guys figure it out and snap back up behind them and catch up. Then someone pulls away...and it happens again. The gap has been closed a bit, but yes, that picture will be much clearer on Saturday night.
Alright folks, the timer just went off and I gotta go. Thanks for sticking with me on a Wednesday. See you back here Monday and if you're at Rockingham on Sunday, hollar at me. FILL THE ROCK!!