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July 23, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Ryan McGee

Ryan McGee
  (2:00 PM)

What's up my sweat-covered brothers and sisters and welcome to the annual "Live from ACC Football Media Days" edition of the Monday Motorsports Block Party. No ESPN.com NASCAR Power Rankings today, but if you get a chance check out my story on the pre-Brickyard history of NASCAR racers at Indy. Good stuff in there from the big time NASCAR legends.

Ryan McGee
  (2:00 PM)

To the queries!

Ron (OH)

I guess Edwards can and did change CC a few months after tying for the championship.

Ryan McGee
  (2:02 PM)

No joke. As you already know, I didn't see that coming. I really thought they would stick it out with Bob Osborne and Carl Edwards, but clearly I was wrong. It's just the nature of the Chase. And give them credit for what I think it some seriously smart timing, going on and making the move headed into the off weekend with still a good bit of time before the Chase starts.

Ryan McGee
  (2:02 PM)

No joke. As you already know, I didn't see that coming. I really thought they would stick it out with Bob Osborne and Carl Edwards, but clearly I was wrong. It's just the nature of the Chase. And give them credit for what I think it some seriously smart timing, going on and making the move headed into the off weekend with still a good bit of time before the Chase starts.

Ryan McGee
  (2:03 PM)

History says that when a move like this is made there can be a sudden surge of success. If that's the case with Carl, then a Chase berth is still a very real possibility. Even if he doesn't, then at least they get a big jump on 2013. That's a pretty nice conosolation prize.

Tom (Maine)

In addition to 10 points per win, why doesn't NASCAR award 20 points for the driver who leads the points at the end regular season? That would reward regular season consistancy and also reward wins. Right now, the system doesn't value or recognize that significant achievement - being the points leader at the conclusion of the regular season.

Ryan McGee
  (2:05 PM)

I don't disagree with you, but the overwhelming majority of the fans who spoke out in years past said that there was still not enough emphasis on winning races. Now there is. But I do believe if you are the points leader at the end of the "regular season" you should get a bonus. Maybe not as many as 20 points, but perhaps the same as if you'd won a race or two.

Michael (Dallas)

Hey McGee, with all the hype surrounding the Dillon Bros., Stenhouse, and Danica, I think people are overlooking two great young talents in Buescher and Cole Whitt. I believe both will be big time, your thoughts?

Ryan McGee
  (2:08 PM)

I think in the case of Whitt he's hurt by the fact that he's not in that lead pack of title contenders, but I have no doubt about their talent. As Buescher proved this weekend, the best thing you can do to solve that problem is win. That makes it mighty hard to ignore you.

Dave (WI)

How sick is too sick to drive? I've always believed in the tough guy mentality, but if you pass out on the field, you fall down, if you pass out in a racecar it could be really bad for everyone. Aren't we talking about the same physical inabilities that also cloud banned substance users?

Ryan McGee
  (2:10 PM)

You raise a good point, but it's also important to note that this isn't the old days when guys went out there totally ailing and without suepervision. There are now doctors on site. NASCAR has a medical director and I know that Elliott Sadler brought his personal physician to Chicago with him. Those guys aren't going to let him go out there if he's a threat to himself and everyone else out there.

Jim (Riverside Pa.)

When will you and you colleagues quit hyping Danica? What has she shown so far? She is a consistant mid pack runner.

Ryan McGee
  (2:13 PM)

Me? Nope. I never address her unless asked. I don't argue with your point about her being midpack, but it's simply a fact that people want to know what she's doing, whether they love her or hate her. For every email/Tweet/question I get bashing her - and there are a lot - I receieve an equal amount praising or pulling for her. For example...

Eli (Memphis, TN)

With Danica?s experience/track-time at The Brickyard, one would think that would give her a slight edge over her Nationwide-only counterparts. Albeit she was in a different car that was sucked to the ground like a vacuum cleaner? I think we see her breakthrough and battle for the ?W?, how well do you see her doing Saturday?

Ryan McGee
  (2:15 PM)

I don't know if she'll win, but I do expect her to have a good showing. Even when she wasn't in top 10 equipment in the Indy 500 she usually found a way up near to the front. A lot of that is rooted in her confidence surrounding that place. As Benny Parsons used to tell me, confidence is worth about ten extra horsepower.

Ryan McGee
  (2:15 PM)

I don't know if she'll win, but I do expect her to have a good showing. Even when she wasn't in top 10 equipment in the Indy 500 she usually found a way up near to the front. A lot of that is rooted in her confidence surrounding that place. As Benny Parsons used to tell me, confidence is worth about ten extra horsepower.

Andi (Noles Country (FL))

Gordon has always been good at Indy! Do you see him winning and getting into contention for the last wild card?

Ryan McGee
  (2:17 PM)

I keep saying yes, but he keeps not winning. You're right, his numbers are crazy good at Indy. If there's a place that he can break through it's the Brickyard. His career numbers over the remaining tracks between now and the Chase are pretty amazing, something like 30 wins. But the sand it running out of the hourglass and he knows it. I've never seen someone so crushed over a top ten finish as he was talking to me after the last race at New Hampshire.

Ryan McGee
  (2:17 PM)

I keep saying yes, but he keeps not winning. You're right, his numbers are crazy good at Indy. If there's a place that he can break through it's the Brickyard. His career numbers over the remaining tracks between now and the Chase are pretty amazing, something like 30 wins. But the sand it running out of the hourglass and he knows it. I've never seen someone so crushed over a top ten finish as he was talking to me after the last race at New Hampshire.

marion (sc)

ryan, any idea who pettys manufacturer will be and the driver lineup i dont see almirola back and i heard ambroses contract is up also ?

Ryan McGee
  (2:18 PM)

The Dodge rumors won't go away, especially as Dodge is looking into buying Penske's engine equipment. But The King did say earlier in the year that they were working on a re-up with Ford and Roush.

Ryan McGee
  (2:18 PM)

As for Almmirola, I think it is way too early to bail on him. But based on the emails I get from 43 car fans, I am in the rapidly shrinking minority.

Mack (aka Spade Racing) (Wilmington DE)

Awkward question--have you ever been at the track and seen a driver SO sick that you legitimately thought he was a danger to his competitors? And if not, what do you think you WOULD do in that situation?

Ryan McGee
  (2:20 PM)

Not really. There were times - and I've told him this - that I worried about Ricky Craven when he'd been released from Hendrick and was fighting his way back into Cup as he was struggling with lingering concussion-related problems. He just looked like crap all the time. I could tell he wasn't sleeping...

Ryan McGee
  (2:20 PM)

Not really. There were times - and I've told him this - that I worried about Ricky Craven when he'd been released from Hendrick and was fighting his way back into Cup as he was struggling with lingering concussion-related problems. He just looked like crap all the time. I could tell he wasn't sleeping...

Ryan McGee
  (2:22 PM)

I was in no position then to say anything to him about it, but now that we're coworkers and friends, we've talked about it. I know now that he was seeing doctors constantly. He would have never put his competitors in harm's way for his own selfish reasons...

Ryan McGee
  (2:22 PM)

The hope is that other guys are as careful as Ricky was. You like to think they would be.

nick (new york)

what did you think of hornish's move yesterday wrecking kyle?

Ryan McGee
  (2:23 PM)

I didn't see it. I was staring at my hoodpins.

Ryan McGee
  (2:23 PM)

I didn't see it. I was staring at my hoodpins.

Ryan McGee
  (2:23 PM)

I didn't see it. I was staring at my hoodpins.

Kristin (NYC)

I think the main issue with Cole Whitt is JRM's equipment-it's not up to par like it should be. Other than that, he does have talent.

Ryan McGee
  (2:25 PM)

No doubt that's part of it. But it's also experience. He's still new to these cars and he's barely 21 years old.

Greg (South Bend, IN.)

Hey Ryan, You mentioned something two weeks ago in the minute when talking about AJ that I wanted to ask you about. You were talking about the three page list of ban substances in the rule book and you said alcohol? So drivers can't drink beer? But the first thing Brad does in victore lane is pop open a Miller Lite?

Ryan McGee
  (2:28 PM)

The rule book deals with alcohol the same way it deals with over the counter meds. It preaches moderation. Drivers are not allowed to consume alcohol 12 hours before the green flag and can't exceed a blood alcohol level of .02 at the time of a test. Those tests take place during practice and competition days, so that's fair.

Ryan McGee
  (2:28 PM)

The rule book deals with alcohol the same way it deals with over the counter meds. It preaches moderation. Drivers are not allowed to consume alcohol 12 hours before the green flag and can't exceed a blood alcohol level of .02 at the time of a test. Those tests take place during practice and competition days, so that's fair.

Ryan McGee
  (2:28 PM)

There's also specific language that allows a NASCAR official to pull a competitior by way of a sight test. Smelling alcohol on the breath, etc.

Kevin (New Jersey)

Not that I'm complaining, but why didn't more cup drivers race this weekend?

Ryan McGee
  (2:29 PM)

Last off weekend until Thanksgiving!

Chris (Tacoma Wa)

so if jr wins one or even two more races before the chase...will that make him more of a contender for the championship in everyone's eyes...i personally think he is already there

Ryan McGee
  (2:29 PM)

I do too. But those bonus points can come in might handy.

Ryan McGee
  (2:30 PM)

I do too. But those bonus points can come in might handy.

Mark (MD)

Afternoon Ryan, A couple of Penske questions for you. First, what is the status of Penske Dodge engine department???? Second, Will Penske build their own engines when they move to Ford next year????

Ryan McGee
  (2:32 PM)

Dodge is sizing up what Penske has right now with an eye on buying it and starting a centralized engine program, a la Roush Fenway for Ford teams or TRD. That tells me that Penske is working on a deal with Roush to provide engines for his teams. That's a bit of a surprise simply because The Captain has always preferred to do his own thing, but it would also save him millions.

Ryan McGee
  (2:32 PM)

That's why Gibbs got out of the engine building business. The cash JGR freed was a big part of what they used to go after Carl and Kenseth.

Aaron (Bath, ME)

Since you're friends with Ricky Craven, have you ever been to the state where he's from, up here in Maine?

Ryan McGee
  (2:34 PM)

I was there last week! But I have never been way up into central Maine where he's from. He keeps inviting me. I gotta go. Do I want to go in the summer and go boating or in the winter and race snowmobiles? Hmmm.

Bernie (New York)

Do you think that race weekends like this past weekend are profitable for the tracks? There were very few people in the Chicago grandstands.

Ryan McGee
  (2:35 PM)

What track operators always tell me is that to make money you have to keep the doors open, always have events running. So, there's definitely some good to it.

ashley rennehan (shelburne nova sotia)

hey Ryan this is ashley and id like to ask you this do you think that kasey khane still has some wins in him before the chase starts

Ryan McGee
  (2:36 PM)

Sure. History says he's a streaky winner. I would have my eye on Atlanta.

Angry Dude (The Interwebs)

Staring at your hoodpins. Hehe. Good one. :)

Ryan McGee
  (2:36 PM)

I do what I can.

Mack (aka Spade Racing) (Wilmington DE)

Now that you're a coworker with Ricky Craven, could you work to get Ricky "Constant" Craven (a la kd lang) as his on-air nickname?

Ryan McGee
  (2:37 PM)

My wife calls him the Racing Sensei.

Brian (Middletown, PA)

With the STP commercials that have the Challenger that says Dodge by Petty on the grille, is that a subliminal message? Or upset Ford?

Ryan McGee
  (2:39 PM)

Nah. The King has that custom car building deal and he tricks out all kinds of rides. Plus I think that's an older ad.

Mack (aka Spade Racing) (Wilmington DE)

I loved the SportsCenter "My Wish" story featuring Kyle Busch. I've heard that Dale Earnhardt Sr. did stuff like that all the time, but forbade anyone from talking about it, lest it ruin his "Intimidator" image. Was that true?

Ryan McGee
  (2:40 PM)

True. The most legendary story is one David Poole used to tell about a local church in Mooresville that needed a parking lot re-pave. Earnhardt just did it. Didn't even tell the church it was coming.

Ryan McGee
  (2:41 PM)

Years ago I helped Oprah's staff get in touch with Dale to help a Make-A-Wish kid. I told them he was on the go and not to expect much. He ended up going up there, surprising the kid, and then having the whole family in the pits for a race later that year.

Allison (Dallas) [via mobile]

Hey Ryan, how do you think Jr. will do at the Brickyard?

Ryan McGee
  (2:42 PM)

His numbers are pretty bad. His last top ten there was in '06 and he only has 2 in 12 starts. Though last year he did lead 6 laps, but finished 16th.

Mack (aka Spade Racing) (Wilmington DE)

Do you see Marcos Ambrose (my favorite active driver) winning on an oval this season? He's shown some qualifying speed, but it seems like he gets mired mid-pack.

Ryan McGee
  (2:44 PM)

I think he could be a threat at Bristol and Richmond.

Steve (Audubon, PA)

What are the chances Paul Menard repeats at Indy this weekend?

Ryan McGee
  (2:45 PM)

Not great. But then again, I would have said the same about his chances of winning it last year.

dz (danicaville, usa)

what is the difference between a wedge adj and trackbar adj?

Ryan McGee
  (2:47 PM)

Track bar (some still call it the panhard bar) is all about keeping the rear tires centered with the body of the car. It connects the frame with the rear axle.

Ryan McGee
  (2:47 PM)

Wedge is about applying pressure to the rear springs.

Ryan McGee
  (2:48 PM)

To over-simplify, think about it as wagging your tail vs. squatting.

Mark (MD)

Ryan, Do you agree with most of your colleagues that the current top 10 in points are locked into The Chase????? Who are your Wild card picks??? Subject to change of course.

Ryan McGee
  (2:49 PM)

I do. There's too much separation now. The good news is that the wild card fight is wide open. Right now my wild card picks are Kahne and Busch. Those are the guys who are the biggest threat to win races and win them in bunches.

Bowtie51 (the Old Line State)

If you had to guess right now, where do you think Kurt Busch ends up driving next year?

Ryan McGee
  (2:49 PM)

Right where he is.

James (Miami)

Nascar seems to continue removing "grip" from the Cup cars, but grip in the Nationwide and Trucks is what allows drivers to be aggressive? I think "lack of grip" is the primary reason for few cautions. The Cup drivers can't be aggressive and they know a terrible day hurts worse than a good day helps in the points. Thoughts?

Ryan McGee
  (2:51 PM)

You sound like the drivers! There is a lot of hope within the garage that the new car will have more grip. Then again, there is also hope that it goes the other way, back to a looser ride that slides around like we had back in the day.

Vinnie (ATL)

I know you are a write that follows all forms of racing, so it boils down to one question... AJ or Mario?

Ryan McGee
  (2:51 PM)

I'm an AJ guy. But man, it's close.

Russ (South Carolina)

Is the Nationwide Series in more trouble that is being let on? 10 cars that don't even make 20 laps and another 10-15 that at least make the effort but aren't anywhere near competitive.

Ryan McGee
  (2:53 PM)

We're seeing the effects of issues that were kickstarted several years ago. It's nearly impossible to make money in that series and NASCAR's lack of emphasis on both of the lower series - not now, several years ago - hurt with sponsors. And now with the economic landscape the way it is the good sponsors are being poached by desperate Cup teams.

Ryan McGee
  (2:53 PM)

I think this will level out. But right now, yeah, it's a little tough.

Ryan McGee
  (2:54 PM)

Though I will say that it's never been a series of dozens of strong cars. It's always been very top heavy. Just not this top heavy.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What do yoou think will happen to AJ Allmendinger after Thursday?

Ryan McGee
  (2:55 PM)

I am personally rooting for reinstatement. But the list of B samples that came back different than the A sample, across all sports, is nearly nonexistent.

David (Los Angeles)

Is there anybody in the sport who isn't happy for Elliott Sadler? He seems like a great guy on and off the track, and he has reminded people he is pretty darn good driver.

Ryan McGee
  (2:56 PM)

Not that I know of. He's a genuinely good guy. We talked about this earlier in the year. I'm old enough to remember his first stint in the Busch Series. I would argue that he was never as popular as a Cup driver as he was in these two Nationwide stints. And he agrees with me.

Lenny , Spokane [via mobile]

Who u got in the Brickyard this weekend

Ryan McGee
  (3:00 PM)

Give me the 14, 48, 17, 24 and 29. For dark horses I'll take 1, 99 and Mark Martin, who I am pretty sure ran in the inaugural Indy 500 in 1911.

Ryan McGee
  (3:01 PM)

Alright folks, gotta go. See you back here next Monday. In the meantime, check out my stock car racers at Indy piece on ESPN.com, tip your wait staff, and enjoy the music of Government Cheese.