Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

June 18, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Ryan McGee

Ryan McGee
  (2:01 PM)

Free at last, free at last...Dale Junior has finally won a race! So, what in the world will today's chat questions be about? Honestly, as long as I've been doing these chats - more than four years - most of the queries have centered around that one worry! So let's delve into the great unknown, shall we?

Travis B. (Kissimmee, FL [via mobile]

Will Mark Martin ever win another Cup race?

Ryan McGee
  (2:02 PM)

Well, okay, same question, different driver. I say yes. Honestly I thought he was going to be one of the favorites at Michigan. I still think he'll be one when we go back there in August. Or when we go back to Dover in the fall.

Fred (WV)

I am a big JGR fan...please tell me the Kurt to JGR rumors are false!

Ryan McGee
  (2:03 PM)

I put nearly zero faith in those rumors. Too many moving parts. I still say that his best chance to land a semi-decent Cup ride is if his brother moves up to become a Cup owner, and that would essentially be a JGR spin-off. But I think that's still a long walk for KBM.

Andrew (NJ)

As a Paul Menard fan, I'm also baffled how he's 14th in points, and he would be 13th if he didn't run out of fuel on the last lap yesterday. I think he's 14th in points because his only finishes outside the top 20 are 22nd yesterday, 26th at Martinsville and 31st at Phoenix

Ryan McGee
  (2:06 PM)

First, thanks for reading the Power Rankings. Second, I agree and my comment was a little facetious. But at some point the guy has to start picking up top fives on at least a semi-occasional basis to stay that high in the standings, right? Right now I have the same number of top fives that he does.

Zack la [via mobile]

JUUUUUUUNNNNIIIIOOOORRRRR!

Ryan McGee
  (2:06 PM)

Indeed.

derek dothan al. [via mobile]

Hi ryan, good to see jr back in victory lane. I was one of his biggest critics but he has won me over. I predict 2 more wins daytona and 1 chase race. Thanks for the great chats

Ryan McGee
  (2:08 PM)

Thanks Derek and I am with you. I said before the season started that I thought he'd win at least twice. I think he can get at least one more before the Chase. I have my eye on that late summer stretch that includes some of his wheelhouse tracks - Bristol, Atlanta, Richmond, and oh yeah, Michigan.

Cory, Geneva, il [via mobile]

Its been 18 hours! When is Jr. Ever going to win another race?

Ryan McGee
  (2:08 PM)

I know, right?

Kevin (Indianapolis)

What is the problem with Tony? Does it really bother him that much that Jr. has a strong fan base? He seems like he is slipping back to his old self based on his comments to the media the last month or so. Have you noticed that or are we just seeing a small glimpse of his overall attitude?

Ryan McGee
  (2:10 PM)

He's kind of playing the role of pissed off Tony right now. That kind of glides in and out as the year goes on. When he said it I really don't think he meant it as a slight to Earnhardt. But he certainly meant it as a slight to the people asking the question. That's fine. In the end, he gives the media as much good stuff as he does bad. It all evens out.

Ryan McGee
  (2:12 PM)

I started covering Smoke in the earliest days of the IRL when we had 20 cars and about that many fans as places like Loudon and Dover. It would be me and an RPM2Night camera crew and maybe one other camera from TNN or a local station. He'd come out cussing us after he'd blown an engine and then the next week he'd apologize. So he doesn't do a whole lot that shocks me anymore.

Frank (Cleveland, Oh)

Why are you ESPN reporters literally baiting Kurt Busch now at every chance you get? What Marty did on Saturday was pathetic and so unprofessional it was amazing.I know you will just ignore this but the fans (and drivers now it seems) can see it pretty clearly and are getting tired of it.

Ryan McGee
  (2:14 PM)

Marty posted a very detailed explanation of what happened on his Twitter account this morning. I've known Marty for a long time. Baiting is not the way he does things. Unless you were standing there listening to it I don't think you can go off about it one way or the other. I wasn't there either so neither am I.

Ryan McGee
  (2:16 PM)

Just once I'd like for these racers who say we're all out to get them to spend some time being covered by the media corps that travels with the Yankees or the Phillies. Some of those guys practically set bear traps up in the clubhouse and wait for a player to trip over it. We're downright Sunday School teachers in comparison.

greg, from pa [via mobile]

Not looking good for Dodge next year.still no news

Ryan McGee
  (2:17 PM)

Not good at all. No news is bad news at this point. It's a shame too. As I said in last week's Turn 4 roundtable with the other ESPN.com writers, I think that Charger is a wicked looking racecar. It'll be shame if we never see it race.

Dee (Vegas)

The best thing NASCAR has done with the chase has legitimized the guys between 10th and 20th. With all the drivers with a win or two, and all those with the potential still get a win or two (Gordon, Abrose, etc), the Chase for the wild card spots could be the most exciting storyline of the summer. And congrats Junior!

Ryan McGee
  (2:18 PM)

I agree with that. I was very skeptical at first about the wild card, but last year it added a whole other layer to the points race and this year looks to be even wilder.

Jon (Tampa, FL)

I must have heard at least 5 coworkers that told me Jr's win was fixed, I said why would NASCAR let Dale Jr go 4 years without a win if it was fixed and his car flat dominated the race. He is stable mates with Jimmie Johnson whos cars look like that alot. What do you say to all the nay sayers?

Ryan McGee
  (2:20 PM)

The single biggest piece of evidence that NASCAR doesn't fix races is the fact that he's won only two races in six years. Every bit of marketing research shows that he's like Tiger Woods. If he's relevant, more people pay attention. The fact that he's been Page 1 on ESPN.com all day is proof of that.

Ryan McGee
  (2:21 PM)

So during a terrible time of sagging attendance and sponsorship woes they didn't fix a race in his favor...but did yesterday? Child, please.

Cole Trickle (Kansas) [via mobile]

Would NASCAR ever consider to have the All-Star race at Rockingham? I think the fans and teams would love it...

Ryan McGee
  (2:22 PM)

It would rock. But it won't happen. The Rock, my hometown by the way, needs to concentrate on keeping and growing the Truck Series they have and potentially a Nationwide Series race. I think the All-Star Race will remain in Charlotte for a while yet.

Jack (San Diego)

Why isn't Steve Letarte getting more credit in the press for Jr's win? If he hadn't made the call to insert that spring rubber we would be talking about when Jr will win again still

Ryan McGee
  (2:24 PM)

Oh, I think he is. We had him all over ESPN last night and I've heard him on at least two different radio shows today.

Ryan McGee
  (2:25 PM)

But no matter what the crew did, this first win was always going to be about Dale Junior first and foremost. Even Stevie could have told you that. And be perfectly with it.

Eric (Tampa, FL)

What the heck is going on with Stenhouse's cars right now?

Ryan McGee
  (2:26 PM)

Great question. I was just working on some script for this weekend's Road America race on ESPN and it's pretty shocking how he went from winning every other week to three straight 20-something/30-something finishes. Now we'll find out where his head is.

Ryan McGee
  (2:27 PM)

It's hard to remember this now, but he was about to be fired not so long ago because he was so bad. He bounced back from that. Now we'll see how he bounces back from this.

Lee (Akron, OH) [via mobile]

Any word on Trevor Bayne's for the rest of this year and next? Would he consider leaving Rush and Ford?

Ryan McGee
  (2:29 PM)

None at all. And I can tell you that he's putting on brave face but he's getting pretty frustrated with it all. Right now the only Nationwide plans on the board are Bristol in August. There's no bigger testament to the crazy-difficult sponsorship market out there than the fact that no one can sell Trevor Bayne.

Scott (Charlotte)

Hey McGee, if you ask Mike Helton "was the fix in?" Will he ask you if you "still beat your wife!!"

Ryan McGee
  (2:30 PM)

If it's good enough for the NBA commissioner...

Justin (Northern Virginia)

Could there be something else going on with Kurt? Prior to last year, the last time he got into trouble was back in 2008 when Tony and he were wrecking each other. Now it just seems that Kurt can't stop destroying himself.

Ryan McGee
  (2:33 PM)

I think he probably has some personal issues he's fighting through. What they are only Kurt probably knows for sure. I just know it's painful to watch. And I know he's not the same kid that I first covered back in 2000. None of us are the same person we were 12 years ago, but this is different.

Joe (Troy, NY)

Ryan, Can you foresee any of the Chase drivers struggling in the next eleven races prior to the chase?

Ryan McGee
  (2:34 PM)

I am little worried about the direction that the 99 car is taking. I felt like when Carl hit the Dover-Pocono-Michigan stretch he would pull out of this funk he's in. So did he. But it didn't happen.

Spade Racing (formerly "Mack from the chats") (Wilmington DE)

Ryan! Of the drivers outside the top-20 at the moment, who do you think is most-likely to make the Chase?

Ryan McGee
  (2:37 PM)

From outside the top 20? Right now I would say Gordon and that's it. I would have had Montoya also, but he jumped into the top 20 this weekend. I think with the two road courses, Indy, and Atlanta still out there he could win multiple races. Could.

Timmy Jay (North Carolina)

I was listening to the MRN radio scanner at the track yesterday, and they were joking that if Jr. won, that the roads would be empty and traffic from the track would be a breeze. DAMN IF THEY WEREN'T RIGHT!! We breezed away from the parking lot in all of five minutes yesterday! I have never gotten away from any track faster, ever!

Ryan McGee
  (2:38 PM)

No one left!

Scott (Charlotte)

I know she is taking her lumps now, but I like the fact that Danica is starting to push the limits to her car. She might wad up a few cars, but thats the way you learn

Ryan McGee
  (2:39 PM)

Her results haven't improved but her tone on the radio certainly has. She's getting more assertive and comfortable with her questions and car analysis. But I really, really think she should run at least one more year in Nationwide before going to Cup. That might be a total mess.

Nick (savannah) [via mobile]

McGee, as a reporter, do you prefer being on tv or writing and doing chats? I think all of the writers for NASCAR on espn are great, I just wish there was more.

Ryan McGee
  (2:41 PM)

I like it all. That's the part of my job that I love is that it is rarely the same day-to-day. And as much as all of that you listed I really love doing my feature work for ESPN The Magazine. I am working on a story right now about Felix Baumgartner, this crazy SOB that's going to to skydive from 22 miles above the Earth.

Ryan McGee
  (2:41 PM)

I spent the day with him and most of the time we talked racing.

Kevin (Nevada)

Who is Taylor Malsom?

Ryan McGee
  (2:43 PM)

Malsam with an "a". He's a former USAC and ARCA racer that's been in the Trucks since, I want to say '08-'09.

Chris (Crestview, FL)

What the heck is going on with the 18s engines? I cant remember the last time someone had 3 blown engines in a row, except for maybe Junior in his last year at DEI in 2007. Didnt JGR combine efforts with TRD to be more reliable in the first place?

Ryan McGee
  (2:45 PM)

It's pretty dicey right now. But honestly you had to expect that there would be a rough patch for JGR this year at some point. They disbanded their in-house engine department and started using an outside supplier - TRD - for the first time in a decade. There were going to be issues at some point during such a massive transition.

Ryan McGee
  (2:46 PM)

If you're a JGR fan just be glad those issues are happening now and didn't surface in the middle of the Chase. Now they just have to get them fixed.

Michael (Flower Mound)

Hey MeGee, do you think Marcos Ambrose has a good chance of getting that elusive win at Sonoma?

Ryan McGee
  (2:47 PM)

I do. A lot. With a little luck he could have won that race each of the last three years, certainly two years ago when he led all those laps. And he's in the middle of what is probably the second-best month of his Cup career.

Ryan McGee
  (2:48 PM)

There's a potential perfect storm situation brewing there.

Shannon (Indianapolis)

I wanna do your job looks like fun

Ryan McGee
  (2:48 PM)

I thank the good Lord for it every single day.

Steven (Kingsport)

oh and our long national nightmare is over...GO JUNIOR. Serious question, would have a Sherman Tank sitting in the groove firing shells been enough to bring out a debris caution?

Ryan McGee
  (2:49 PM)

The funniest was after the race when Regan Smith Tweeted how relieved he was that his late blown engine hadn't brought out the caution. He said if he had been the guy that caused a late yellow then he would have needed the National Guard to help him get out of Michigan.

Ryan McGee
  (2:50 PM)

But I don't think the National Guard would have been very happy about it either!

Justin (Northern Virginia)

Oh look Matt Kenseth is the points leader, how is he able to just stay under the radar?

Ryan McGee
  (2:50 PM)

That's what he does. He's the modern day Terry Labonte.

Jason (Palo Alto)

With Joey going to be re signed will home depot come back on board or will be a different sponsor. Personally i think game stop would make a great sponsor

Ryan McGee
  (2:51 PM)

It's still an "if" with JoLo, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a more substantial split-time partnership with the two companies you mentioned and perhaps even another. The days of one company writing one big $20 million-plus check to cover the entire season appear to be mostly over.

Eric (Kannapolis, NC)

Other than Darlington Jr has run in the top 10. Bristol and Phoenix bad luck. Why is Jr not consider the favorite to win the championship after getting the win yesterday?

Ryan McGee
  (2:53 PM)

Who said he isn't? Check out my Power Rankings.

Ryan McGee
  (2:54 PM)

I get the odds from the Las Vegas Hilton every week and this week they moved his Cup championship odds up to 10-1 from 12-1 one week ago.

Ryan McGee
  (2:54 PM)

That's fourth-best on the board behind Johnson (5-2), Smoke (5-1), and Kenseth (8-1). I can live with that right now.

Jeff (Charlotte)

Ryan, do you see any drivers gone from Cup next year similar to the fate of E Sadler, Atwood?

Ryan McGee
  (2:56 PM)

I think there is definitely a youth influx coming. This is easily the most talented crop of young guys we've had come along in a while. The Dillons, Cole Whitt, Bayne, Stenhouse...all the way down to Corey Lajoie, Chase Elliott, and Darrell Wallace Jr. in the K&N East Series.

Ryan McGee
  (2:57 PM)

You can only keep a group like that down so long. And that means some older guys will have to move out to make room. Just the nature of the business.

Joe (Troy, NY)

The over/under on "Not Answered" Junior questions was 57. I chose the over....Did I win?

Ryan McGee
  (2:57 PM)

Yes. By a million miles.

Rich (NYC) [via mobile]

Hey Ryan. Thanks for the chats. Do you think Bobby stays in the 47 next year? If not, where could he wind up?

Ryan McGee
  (2:58 PM)

Unfortunately, I think Bobby's in that group that I was just talking about. He's likely closer to done than moving on to something else.

John (FL) [via mobile]

What's your top five at Sonoma?

Ryan McGee
  (3:00 PM)

Give me the 9, 24, 42, 14 and 48. And I like the 29 too. For sleepers I'll take Bowyer and Newman.

Ryan McGee
  (3:02 PM)

Alright folks, gotta go. Between Dale Junior and Webb Simpson winning the city of Charlotte is one big party right now. I think I might walk outside and see what's going on. Until next Monday tip your wait staff and enjoy the music of Mel McDaniel.