Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

July 16, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Ryan McGee

Ryan McGee
  (2:00 PM)

What's my lobster juice-covered brothers and sisters and welcome back to the Monday Motorsports Block Party. Or as they say it in New Hampshire: da Munday Mowtahspahts Blach Pahty. I just off the plane from Loudon, so let's get to the queries!

Roger (Canada)

Green to checkered 2:44. Perfect!

Ryan McGee
  (2:00 PM)

I know, right? I have said for years that New Hampshire has long been spot on with the 300-mile idea.

Mark (MD)

Hey Ryan, Is it official that Dodge has bought out the Penske Dodge engine department???? If so, does that make Dodge a more viable option for teams like RPM??????

Ryan McGee
  (2:03 PM)

There has certainly been talk but the deal isn't done. If does get done that's pretty big. I think it's make them a more viable option for a lot of teams. I say you go after the ones who feel like they aren't getting the top stuff/attention/data among their group. Much like Toyota lured Gibbs. Or perhaps convince Michael Andretti to start a NASCAR team.

Ryan McGee
  (2:04 PM)

In a related note, props to the National rental car guy in Manchester, NH. I came in really late Thursday night and he upgraded me to a black Charger. Holy cow did it haul the mail.

Rusty (UTEP)

Hi Ryan, who do you have taking the second wild card spot.

Ryan McGee
  (2:05 PM)

Right now I think you have to point to Kyle Busch.

Dave (WI)

Why is it so difficult for "some" of the backmarkers to get out of the way? Most do a great job, but some drivers can't seem to get out of their own way, much less someone else's.

Ryan McGee
  (2:08 PM)

It's tough in Nationwide and Trucks because you do have racers out there with little experience trying to log laps and get that experience. But the rule is pretty well-known. In the closing laps you do everything short of put in the fence to get out of the way of the people racing for the win.

Ryan McGee
  (2:08 PM)

I can guarantee you this, despite her strong stance vs. Harvick on Twitter, you can bet Amber Cope will get out of the way a lot quicker next time.

Kevin (Nevada)

What does Harvick think he is doing by going down to the lower series of NASCAR and complaining about the lower quality of drivers? Not only is he stealing rides from younger drivers, but now he is complaining about how they drive?

Ryan McGee
  (2:09 PM)

It's nothing new. Dale Earnhardt told great stories about being chewed out by Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, and all those guys when he first came up because he'd done the same kind of thing.

Fred (Bama)

So is Joey Logano talking to Penske ? i think he knows he want be returning to JGR . And when will the annoucement come about Kenseth

Ryan McGee
  (2:10 PM)

I think everyone in the world has talked to Penske. And yes, if Logano has a choice he'd want to stay where he is. I think they want to keep him too, but they need a fourth sponsor to make room for everyone.

Ryan McGee
  (2:11 PM)

To me it would be a shame to shove Logano back into the Nationwide Series at the very same time he's finally getting the hang of Cup. It's not his fault that they rushed him up too early.

Matt (pa)

Chances Martinsville or Loudon get lights in the near future? Ever?

Ryan McGee
  (2:12 PM)

I would expect them at Loudon before Martinsville simply because Bruton Smith likes to put lights on anything and everything. Lights at Martinsville would be cool and I know they've kicked the idea around, but the place is so inherently old school I don't think it needs them.

Chris (Rutgers Grease Trucks (NJ))

Hi Ryan: How about an answered question for a birthday boy (44)? If the caution did not come out when Jimmie pitted, and the flag stayed green, would the #48 have found victory lane? or are there too many unknowns to make that assumption. Thanks!

Ryan McGee
  (2:14 PM)

I think it is a fair question and certainly one that Johnson brought up. But I still think the best 3 cars on the track were Kahne, Hamlin and Kyle Busch. Since we're talking in if's, what if Kyle hadn't had his pit penalty or Denny hadn't had that weird pit miscommunication?

Griffin (Delaware)

Ryan I know we have been back and forth on Twitter a lot but what happens if AJ's independent test comes back negative but the one from Arengis comes back postive...is there room for AJ to fight that ?

Ryan McGee
  (2:17 PM)

What AJ is doing is calling on his right as stated in the rule book and assembling his own experts to witness the B sample test. If he does his own independent test then it would have no say in the final decision. It might help him in the court of public opinion, but that's it. Unless he wants to use it as evidence in a lawsuit.

Matt (ny)

Hey Ryan, I never complain about races being boring. I didn't find bristol boring, i found it the best race all year with side by side racing all over the place. Long green flag runs on the 1.5 milers? Some of my favorite racing seeing who can find the right groove as the run goes on. Sundays are my favorite day of the week and i look forward to them all week long because of raceday. But New Hampshire is just a horrible racetrack. It is the only track i dislike, because it's Martinsville but without the beatin' and bangin' and bumpin' which makes Martinsville the great track it is. These two weekend in Loudon are the only I don't look forward to. And that says a lot.

Ryan McGee
  (2:19 PM)

Alrighty, then. I will give you that yesterday was not great. I was admittedly a little relieved when Hamlin had his pit issue because I knew we were setting up for an awesome mad dash through the field.

Tom (Harrisburg)

Just how good is Denny gonna be when he & Darian actually start communicating with each other?

Ryan McGee
  (2:21 PM)

He said that very thing in his post-race press conference. Speaking of which, I thought he really handled the whole situation with a lot of class. I have always liked Denny, going back to when I did an ESPN The Magazine feature where I hung out with him for a week during his rookie year. But back then he simply didn't have the maturity to handle Sunday like he did. He sounded like a team leader yesterday.

Saul (San Diego)

If cousin Carl does not make the chase, do so see changes looming in the horizon?

Ryan McGee
  (2:22 PM)

Yes, but not at the top. I really don't think they split up Carl and Bob Osborne. They tried that once before and it was a mess. Sometimes you just have a bad year. If they have two bad years, then it's time to look into breaking them up. But not yet.

Saul (San Diego)

It's yawning watching Mr. Consistency AKA - Dale Jr running up front buying time to start the CUP Run... What are his chances to run the CUP table

Ryan McGee
  (2:23 PM)

Good. I think he'd rather have some of the races that scheduled for August and September - Michigan, Bristol, Atlanta, Richmond - in the Chase. But they have shown no sign of slowing down.

Ryan McGee
  (2:25 PM)

On Friday I asked him to compare this year to last year. It was during July when he started that slow fade from 3rd to 10th in points. This year he's actually gotten better. He said it finally the payoff for all the "reconstruction" they'd been doing for the last 2 years.

Eric (DC)

Is it just me or does the race for the Chase get a lot more interesting if one of the guys currently not in the top 10 gets to two wins (like Kyle Busch). You've got 15 points separating 10th from 5th, and only Bad Brad and Smoke have more than one win in that group with two having zero wins. There is a safe cushion from 10th to 11th, but if Busch gets a second win (meaning falling out of the top ten likely means not making the chase at all), won't those guys be racing like heck for wins?

Ryan McGee
  (2:26 PM)

I think that's already happening. I was talking to some drivers about this yesterday morning when we were doing NASCAR Now. It's striking how much different the conversations are now vs. two years ago. No one is talking about points. No one. Everyone, whether it be the guys in the top 10 or the guys fighting for the wild card, are all talking about wins.

Ryan McGee
  (2:27 PM)

Dave Rogers, Kyle Busch's crew chief, said it to me point blank after the race. "We could have run 7th and day and finished 7th. But that's not going to do us any good. We're going to be rolling the dice for wins. That's what the 18 is all about right now."

Ryan McGee
  (2:28 PM)

That echoes what nearly everyone was saying too. NASCAR said they wanted more emphasis on wins. Well, we've got it.

Mark (Albany)

How funny is it that the ride that Matt Kenseth is about to inherit would have been Carl's if he would have taken it..I wonder if Carl is starting to regret that decision now..

Ryan McGee
  (2:28 PM)

Yeah, it kind of is. But Carl regrets nothing. He's said as much.

Jack (St. Pete)

"but they need a fourth sponsor to make room for everyone."Do you know something we don't?

Ryan McGee
  (2:29 PM)

Only that if JGR wants to keep all four drivers in Cup cars then they need to find enough cash to do it all.

Vinnie (ATL)

Hasn't the lure of NASCAR being at Indy run its course? The racing isn't that good there and the crowds have diminished.

Ryan McGee
  (2:31 PM)

It's an interesting situation for sure. I can tell you that it hasn't diminished in the eyes of the drivers and teams. But I really believe that the event still suffers from the '08 tire debacle. At the very least that accelerated the loss of the bloom off the rose.

Ryan McGee
  (2:31 PM)

And no, I can't believe I just typed that either.

kris (mn)

Nascar needs to change the drug testing policy. Fans, writers, even other drivers are still wondering if dinger was on some hard drugs or if it was just a supplement. This is the only sport that anyone ever questions a positive drug test.

Ryan McGee
  (2:34 PM)

It is not even close to being the only sport where people question a positive drug test. Google "Ryan Braun" and then "Tour de France" and then "Hope Solo" and then "Barry Bonds" and then "Ben Johnson"...

Ryan McGee
  (2:35 PM)

The problem isn't the policy. The problem is that it is still a new policy and this is only the second high profile case. Fans, media, and competitors still have a lot of questions because this is still very new to everyone in the sport.

wilson (columbia)

What is discussed during driver meetings prior to the start of a race?

Ryan McGee
  (2:37 PM)

It's a lot of logistical stuff. Reminders of rules. Pointing out little idiosyncracies of that track. Not unlike the home plate meeting that baseball coaches have with umpires before the game to go over ground rules.

Ryan McGee
  (2:37 PM)

Honestly most of it is pomp and circumstance and clapping for visiting dignitaries. But after the main presentation they open it up for questions and typically one or two drivers will have something.

Jack (Phoenix, AZ)

Is it the cars that EGR rolls off the trailers (i.e. not set up right) or is it the drivers for both teams poor performance week in & week out? It's getting real tired to see the #42

Ryan McGee
  (2:38 PM)

They are just lost. They got so behind with their car construction - geometry, aero, etc. - and they are still catching up.

Teri (North Hollywood, CA)

Hi Ryan -- What was up with the Rousch cars yesterday? Matt's car was disappointing.

Ryan McGee
  (2:39 PM)

Their New Hampshire struggles baffle me. And there's no worse place for them to be bad, what with their co-owners just down the road in Boston.

Andrew (NJ)

With all of the big teams getting out of the engine business, the only manufacturer left with 2 teams that build engines is Chevy. Do you think that Childress and Hendrick might eventually combine their engine shops?

Ryan McGee
  (2:39 PM)

Not a chance.

Nino (Bay City, MI)

Ask Tony Stewart how he thinks of Indy? Almost every driver has it as the top 2 races of the year. It's staying, and it should. racing isn't great, but the fact it is Indy makes up for it. Love your work Ryan.

Ryan McGee
  (2:41 PM)

You are not wrong. The prestige of it has always overshadowed a lot of forgettable racing. Though there have been some great finishes.

Fred (bama)

Whats the hold up on Andretti to Nascar ?

Ryan McGee
  (2:41 PM)

$$$$$

JJD (Seattle)

Do you think if the Mayfield saga had never happened AJ would still be in the car and this whole thing would've been handled a lot differently by NASCAR?

Ryan McGee
  (2:43 PM)

I don't think one has to do with the other, except that the policy was tightened up after some flaws were exposed during the Mayfield mess. In particular, listing the banned substances in the rule book and better formalizing the B sample testing.

Ryan McGee
  (2:44 PM)

The biggest impact that the Mayfield situation has had is that, fair or unfair, Jeremy's very public fight seems to have created a lot of doubt and distrust among fans when it comes to NASCAR and these procedures.

Ryan McGee
  (2:45 PM)

And I even think that some of that doubt dates back to the way they handled Tim Richmond 25 years ago. In the Richmond "30 For 30" documentary on ESPN Bill France Jr. even admitted that it was handled poorly.

Ryan McGee
  (2:46 PM)

But in the end, the process is what it is. And it takes as long as it takes. Speculation before the B sample results come back is kind of wasted breath.

Ethan (Vermont)

Hey Ryan. What is your opinion on the wild card system that makes winning actually MATTER!

Ryan McGee
  (2:47 PM)

Love it. Always have. Even without a great fight to get into the top ten, which it looks like we won't have, the wild card is great all on its own.

Aaron (Indy)

Hi Ryan. Do you think drivers like Matt Kenseth and Jr. should start taking more risks to pick up another win or two before the Chase? Once they re-shuffle the points they will be in the middle of the pack among Chase Drivers.

Ryan McGee
  (2:48 PM)

I think they will. They maybe didn't roll the dice at New Hampshire because they were also gathering data for the Chase race. But everyone from Harvick to Logano to Gordon to, well, pretty much everyone, said that it's time to go for broke.

Darren (Scranton)

Hey ryan, can we give some props to brett moffitt, MWR developmental driver for his win this past wknd in the K&N east series..this kid has so much talent, but may never get the chance to show it..

Ryan McGee
  (2:50 PM)

Oh, I think he will. If you keep winning you stay hard to ignore. Especially when other guys in the K&N field with more famous names are bringing some very big brass out to watch those races.

Saul (San Diego)

What is NASCAR going to be like if Dale Jr win the CUP in November?

Ryan McGee
  (2:50 PM)

I fear for the Wal-Marts of America. They might have to fence in all the parking lots to contain the month-long parties in December.

JJD (Seattle)

Sorry I'm late but Amber Cope was in my way on way to chat. I think Kyle Busch is going to rue the THREE INCHES he overshot his pitbox by on that last stop. What a tough break.

Ryan McGee
  (2:51 PM)

Well-played sir.

Paul (Albany, OR)

So unless a big ol light switch goes on and #24 gets 2 wins his team is out of the chase right? Too much ground to make up.

Ryan McGee
  (2:52 PM)

Yes. And he knows it. The good news for the 24 is that he's won nearly 30 races on the seven tracks remaining between now and the Chase.

Chad (St. Louis)

What did you think about some of the calls by the 24's crew chief? He hardly gained any track position by staying out on the one caution and then was one of the few to take 4 tires later on, losing track position. Seemed sort of panicked.

Ryan McGee
  (2:53 PM)

I talked to Jeff about it after the race and he said that they were just trying to be aggressive to get out front in clean air. Again, that rolling of the dice kind of stuff they need to be doing to see if they can sneak up and get a win.

Ryan McGee
  (2:54 PM)

But Gordon was quick to say that the source of his frustration was that no matter what they did he never had the kind of car that get to or stay at the front. He said the pit calls were insignificant because the car wasn't good enough to see what those moves might do.

Griffin (DEL)

Ryan you make a good point ..I am one that does not trust the higher ups in NASCAR..I love the sport ..but it seems lately they are more and more hush hush on things the do need for sure to be come more transparent ..and I dont think that will ever happen...I am not a big fan of Helton either ...for some reason he just does not seem to side with the drivers

Ryan McGee
  (2:56 PM)

See, I disagree. At least from a media standpoint they are way more cooperative than they were 3,4,5 years ago. Before Aaron Fike, the drug policy wsa 54 words long and no one had any answers about how tests were done and who did the processing. Now it is all laid out in painstaking detail in the rule book.

Ryan McGee
  (2:58 PM)

People want NASCAR to say more about AJ. What are they supposed to say? They are waiting until the next test is done. If people want them to be more open on opinions about AJ then they need to blame Jeremy Mayfield, who managed to drag the NASCAR brass into a gross public cross-media debate.

Ryan McGee
  (2:58 PM)

They won't be doing that again because it just made the trials last longer!

David (Florida)

When is the Sheriff gonna get his badge back? And what is your take on him? He appears to be a very stubborn man but one who has a heck of a lot of talent that often goes misplaced. It appears this year the man can drive better than his two lame wins have shown. Is there a new fire in him?

Ryan McGee
  (3:00 PM)

I think having to sit out has certainly had an effect on him. And he's had a chance to talk to everyone he had run-ins with down the stretch in 2011 and that's all good. I'd be signing him up right now.

Ryan McGee
  (3:02 PM)

Alright folks, gotta go. NASCAR Now just came on ESPN2 and I think I'm gonna be on the TV! Come back next week. And in the meantime hit me up on Twitter or email, tip your waiters and waitresses, and enjoy the music of Tall Paul.