What's up my sunshine covered brothers and sisters and welcome back to the Monday Motorsports Block Party. I'm running a few minutes late, so let's cut the hi/hello short and get to it!
Hey Ryan, thanks for the curse on Junior! j/k. I have to say Saturday's race was a snore...which more often than not seems to be the case at TMS, and it's my local track! Any ideas on how the quality of racing could be improved? More often than not it seems a few cars kill it on their setups, and leave everyone else in the dust.
Yeah, the McGee Curse lives! But hey, he did get another top 10. It has to be nice for Junior fans to be bummed about a top 10. You've come a long way, baby!
I think issue #1 at Texas is they need to shorten the races. 500 miles is too long for anyone not named Indy, Daytona, Charlotte (May only), or Darlington. Issue #2 is that we could use a little more tire wear. Not a lot. Just a little.
Past that, there's not much you can do about 30 mph winds moving the cars around.
Do you expect Mr. Hendrick to penalize the #39 team for the way Newman dirty drove Jimmie at the end of the race when he was 2 laps down?
Nah. Newman has always been known as someone who is hard to pass, no matter where he's running.
Hey Ryan, It seems like the Waltrip cars are ahead of the Gibbs cars in performance as a whole. Is there any chance Toyota already knows Gibbs might leave for Dodge?
No, I think JGR is just still searching for it a little right now following big crew chief changes and shutting down their engine department. As for a move to Dodge, I don't see it. Despite MWR's great year, Gibbs is still the Toyota flagship. A year ago adding JGR would have been perfect for Dodge because they desparately need a team that is capable of building its own engines. I can't see Gibbs reopening his shop after going to all the trouble of downsizing and making the switch to TRD.
Kurt's 13th was an amazing run for a small team and I wondered if you think an anology would be a superstar NFL QB like Tom Brady playing for the Rams?
Let's go with A-Rod playing for the Pirates.
My old ESPN college football coworker Bill Curry, who played for the Packers under Lombardi and coached Alabama, Georgia Tech, and Kentucky is running a the start-up football program at Georgia State. I talked to him a few weeks ago (he's a race fan) and he said he knew how Kurt felt. But he also said it makes it all more rewarding when you finally do have some success.
That being said, Coach Curry chose to take on his challenge. Kurt did not.
So, 27,500 people at the Rock for yesterday's race. Success, failure, or somewhere in the middle? And what are the odds that Andy picks up that Nationwide race he turned down this year?
I was there and I would rate it a huge success. The atmosphere was really amazing. Everyone there, from the track ownership to the Truck Series folks to the citizens of Richmond County to even Kasey Kahne were deeply appreciative of how special the day was.
I think the Trucks definitely come back and I think NASCAR will take a hard look at adding a Nationwide race. Andy Hillenburg told me it would take a few weeks to go through the books and see how much of a success it really was, financially and logsitically, but at the very least I think they believe they'll get Trucks back. And if they do I think a lot more Cup guys will show up. They were all but pouting on Twitter.
I liked what you said about it being nice for Earnhardt fans to be disappointed with a 10th place finish. I think its equally nice that Junior is disappointed with that finish. As he pointed out, they would've probably ended up 15th-20th in that situation last year.
No doubt about it. I was the first guy on the scene when he got out of the car at Martinsville two weeks ago and the look of intensity on his face was striking, certainly compared to just two years ago. It was the look of a racer who knows he's onto something.
Ryan, I thought the Trucks put on a good show yesterday, but there were a few things that they could have done to make things better for the fans (better parking setup, sell programs). How did the track do in NASCAR's opinion?
Like I said, Andy and NASCAR both are going to look into all that over the coming weeks. Having been there for the new Rock's first race back in '08 I can tell you they've come light years from that day. Considering how tiny the full-time staff is I thought what they pulled off was pretty amazing on Sunday.
I will say this, shoot them an email or even ride down there from The Gate and chat with them. They were very up front about wanting feedback from fans.
Hi Ryan, congrats to Mr. Biffle on winning perhaps the most boring Texas race ever. I was impressed with Mark Martin continuing to be competitive in a P/T ride as well as the 24 being able to cut through the field. Is there any way Martin could make The Chase as a wild card?
He certainly can, but he needs to win races and stay in the top 20 in points, which is going to be mighty hard with his part-time schedule. But as I typed that I glanced at the point and he's 20th in points despite only starting 5 of 7 races. He's ranked ahead of 14 guys who have started all 7. That's crazy.
Last night James Finch said he's like to sell or merge the team and I wondered if Kurt might take it over like Stewert did with Haas and name it Busch-Finch Racing?
Maybe. The problem is that Finch is going to want to make some cash off a team sell. I don't know how much Kurt has to invest. Keep in mind that Tony's deal with Gene Haas essentially cost him nothing up front. And I don't know if Kurt wants to go down the ownership road. It's no secret that Kyle's experience has been a headache.
Ryan #200 for Hendrick will come Sunday from the 24 lock it up!
We'll see. After they lost yet another race late I suggested on Twitter that perhaps they pull those 200th win caps they've been hauling around since last October off the truck and burn them to get rid of the bad juju.
when will you stop answering octo's questions?
I don't have time to sort out who is who. Hell, I don't know, you could be him...or her...or it.
Why isn't Will Power racing in F1?
It's certainly not because he doesn't want to! He just hasn't been given the opportunity.
Watching the Nationwide race on "Race Buddy" (which is great by the way) it seemed Danica really liked Rick Carelli as her spotter. What are the chances Rick replaces TJ Major?
Good question. I don't think so, because she likes TJ too, but you're right, there was a definite chemistry there with the High Plains Drifter. She worked well with another vet, my twin brother Johnny Benson, when JB was acting as her driver coach last year.
Ryan, love your rankings and chats, but where is Marcos Ambrose? He has had two top ten runs runied by fuel/engine failure. At least he has run well this season, unlike Montoya, who you put in your top 20.
He was in there earlier this year. I think just two weeks ago. But he has to start following through with those top tens, equipment failure or not. But he's 24th in points with no top tens and an average finish of 23rd on the season. He finished top ten at Kansas last year. If he does it again this week he could sneak back in there.
KK good weekend...will it help his cup crew members w/moral
It certainly helped his morale! He walked into the media center yesterday and proudly proclaimed he finished the weekend with three clean, undamaged race cars. He said "That's a big deal."
I am not it, but I am starting to think you are. Thanks Bro
Maybe I am Octo, you don't know. Personally, I think it's Ed Hinton.
If Dale would have dominanted and won like Biffle did do you think these people would be calling the race boring?
Ha! Fair question. Today they might not be calling it anything because they'd stil be hungover.
Hi Ryan: #48 stock! Do you buy, sell or hold right now? Thanks!
Buy. Big time.
Ok if you had to choose now, Who wins the Indy 500?
It's early and we haven't run an oval, but it's hard for me to pick against Dario.
Attended the race, SHOCKED Nascar never threw a caution to buncn the field. As much as Nascar gets ripped for manufacturing yellows, one was needed badly saturday night. Good luck with Nascar getting Eddie to bump any race to 400 miles.
Yeah, we were joking about that at Rockingham on Sunday. We had a debris caution and everyone was like, "Oh sure...NOW there's a debris caution!" Funny how people complain about those, but then they also raise a stink when one doesn't show up!
I texted Marty Smith, who was at Texas, and told him to throw his tie out there. He declined.
Why was Kyle Bush let go from HMS . and what really went on with Kurt Bush being let go from RFR
I don't we have enough time to get into all this. But Kyle was allowed to leave HMS because Mr. Hendrick just didn't think it was a good fit. And honestly, neither did Kyle. Kurt's departure from Roush was drama on an epic scale.
Let's just say neither one will be returning to their former teams. They don't burn bridges, they napalm them.
Do you have any explanation for the decrease in cautions this year? 40 after 7 races in 2012. 61, 65, and 65 the 3 previous years after 7 races.
I think these Sherman Tank-ish cars have something to do with it. Guys are popping the wall hard and still going. And the fact that the tires aren't falling off certainly has something to do with it. And I also think we've got a good group of racers out there now. Top to bottom, there aren't really any guys you look at and think, "Damn, that dude wrecks all the time." That's a relatively new development.
Hey Ryan. Thanks for the time. What do you make of Martin Truex, Jr's fast start? As a diehard Truex fan, I'm thrilled that he's running in the top 10 every week. But I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop and the inconsistency to return. Has he finally turned a corner and is he ready to contend for wins, a chase berth, and ultimately(down the road) a championship?
I have always said that when we get to Charlotte in May then we really know what we have in these teams. That being said, I think they have shown that this is no fluke. The funny part has been how Martin has reacted to it. On Sunday at The Rock I was telling Krista Voda about him admitting he hadn't gotten used to the post-race media procedure for finishing in the top 5 and top 10 because "It's been a while". She said he said the same thing to her at Texas.
He's a great guy and it's been hard to watch him struggle. So seeing him run up front - and like you say staying there - has been good to see. The reaction from the whole garage has been the same.
So where do you see Kurt Bush next year . JGR in the 20 or 4th car . or at MWR in the 56 or 4th full time car
Neither. I think Logano is hanging in there and JGR has other young guys under contract. And I think Vickers would get a 4th MWR car.
Why has our operation struggled so mightily the past two seasons? Is it due to the equipment or me and McMurray?
Good question. And this is one of our questions in this week's Turn 4 ESPN.com writers roundtable. EGR has completely overhauled their front office management team and their car development processes. So at what point do they have to start looking at the driver lineup? If this genericness (is that a word?) keeps up, then I think it has to be soon.
How did Rockingham continue to host Cup races until 2004, when it only has 31000 seats? Don't most Cup races attract 3 - 5 times that number of fans?
It used to seat more than 60,000 but what used to be the backstretch grandstands were pulled out by former Rock owner Bruton Smith and are now the grandstands at Charlotte's zMAX Dragway, which was hosting the NHRA on Sunday too.
Jimmie seemed really ticked off about Newman costing him the win by racing so hard when #39 was lapped and I wonder that will negatively impact the SHR-HMS relationship?
Not the relationship between the two teams, but perhaps the relationship between the two drivers.
Harvick took the M'ville truck race and now Kahne poached the trophy at the Rock. Why is NASCAR allowing cup regulars to ruin CWTS?
The answer to that was pretty obvious on Sunday at The Rock. They did a driver autograph session on the frontstretch before the race and every driver had a line in front of his truck. Kahne's line was twice as long as anyone else's...and he wasn't even there yet. Star power is what it is.
For what's it worth, he was almost apologetic about winning because he said he's such a big fan of so many of the Trucks regulars.
How far-fetched is it that the Cup series would consider the new Circuit of Americas in Austin as a potential road course stop in the future?
I would like to see that happen and have suggested it before. But politically, I don't see how it happens. ISC, NASCAR's track ownership group, isn't ever real thrilled with any big new facilities that they didn't build. And you know the folks at Texas Motor Speedway will lobby like crazy against it. Right now, those guys just need to make sure they get it finished before November!
Which reminds me, F1's decision to hold the Austin race on the same day as NASCAR's season finale hasn't been real popular with the bosses in Daytona either.
Top 5 at kansas will be.......? Thanks ryan
Biffle, Johnson, Gordon, Edwards, and Harvick. Darkhorse: Jamie McMurray.
Alright folks, gotta go. Man, that flew by! See you next week and in the meantime hit me up on Twitter (@RyanMcGeeESPN) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please tip the wait staff and enjoy the music of Little Texas...I met them at Rockingham.