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August 20, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Ryan McGee

Ryan McGee
  (1:59 PM)

What's up my Frosty Joey soft serve covered brothers and sisters and welcome to a post-Michigan edition of the Monday Motorsports Block Party chat. Heads up, I've been in travel hades all day so I may have to bail if they suddenly decide to call my flight. But in the meantime...to the queries!

cornelius (ks)

The best thing nascar has done recently is change the points system. what are the chances we have 3 guys with 2 wins going into richmond for the wildcard? thanks for the great chats!

Ryan McGee
  (2:01 PM)

I agree. At Michigan this weekend I was actually working on an upcoming ESPN The Magazine piece on this very topic. My favorite part - and I realize this has a lot to do with the top 10 breaking away like it has - is that no one is talking about points racing.

Ryan McGee
  (2:02 PM)

If we end up with a scenario like you are talking about, then we'll certainly start discussing points in relation to the wild card hopefuls, but it still won't be guys saying "we had a good points day". I literally haven't heard a driver say that in months. They are all talking about winning races. That makes me very happy.

Jimmie Johnson (NC)

Hey Ryan .. You've got to be kidding me !!!!

Ryan McGee
  (2:02 PM)

Dude, that was rough.

Ryan McGee
  (2:03 PM)

Let me say this though. I get why Jimmie left without talking to the media. Heck, I was standing right there when he got out of the car and slipped out to the motorcoach lot. And I'm not treating him differently than I did Kyle Busch. I said I understood that too.

Ryan McGee
  (2:05 PM)

As a media member, it isn't good to leave without hearing from the guy who was the biggest non-winner story of the race, but I think we get spoiled in this sport because we do have access that we simply don't in other big league sports. Trust me, I know.

Ryan McGee
  (2:05 PM)

I know this, too. This weekend at Bristol, Jimmie will address it all during his media Q&A session and it will be good stuff. We'll just have to wait to hear it and that's fine.

Russ (SC)

Is it time for Brad to look for another option in the 47? Bobby has been the key player two weeks in a row in the race-changing incident and not in a good way.

Ryan McGee
  (2:07 PM)

Right now that team has much bigger issues than Bobby. There's definitely a change coming in the cockpit at some point. Not saying this year, but I don't think Bobby's in that car for the long haul. But they are really behind right now and new GM Bobby Hutchens needs time to get stuff turned around in the shop before they'll be in any position to go get a better driving option.

Ryan McGee
  (2:07 PM)

I hate watching Bobby look like this. He was so good for so long, but he hasn't been a factor in a loooooong time.

Ryan McGee
  (2:07 PM)

At least not in a good way.

Joe Gibbs Racing Fan (Moorseville, NC)

Do you think the last 2 weeks have convinced Joey that he will get better equipment at Penske?

Ryan McGee
  (2:09 PM)

JGR is in funk, there is no doubt about it. But you knew some sort of slump was inevitable when they made this move to being more involved with Toyota Racing Development. Once those two groups hit their stride together it will be huge, but right now they are still having some marriage pains.

Jay (GA)

Just when I softened my stance a little on Jeff Gordon, he goes back to his whining ways . Is he starting to feel the pressure of the strong possibility of missing the Chase?

Ryan McGee
  (2:11 PM)

I wouldn't call it whining. It was flat out anger. But yes, there is no doubt they are feeling the pressure. The whole team is. They managed to play it cool for a while, but losing all that momentum at Watkins Glen and then the engine issues yesterday have kind of pushed Jeff over the edge a little.

Ryan McGee
  (2:12 PM)

I remember when Mark Martin had to scratch and claw his way into the Chase and declared that it was the hardest thing he'd ever had to endure in racing. That's all I needed to hear to realize how grating it can be. Even for the biggest pros in the sport.

Jason (Palo Altp)

will joey pay montoya back at bristol. And also who would throw a shoe on the race track.

Ryan McGee
  (2:12 PM)

1. I doubt it, but JoLo is getting to the point where he has nothing to lose. 2. An idiot.

Katie (WY)

It seems like in other sports, they stick a mic in the nonwinner's face right away.

Ryan McGee
  (2:14 PM)

In other sports it is all much more controlled and orchestrated. You might see the QB or the MVP of the game or maybe even the coach, but that's it. All others go back to the locker room and then there is a "cooling off" period, usually like 20 minutes, before we're allowed access. Even that is becoming less common. More often now we're sent to a conference room and whomever the league brings and sits in front of the microphone is who we get.

Ryan McGee
  (2:15 PM)

We certainly have more structure to post-race access now than we had just a few years ago, but this is still the only sport where nearly every athlete has a reporter waiting on them literally the second they come off the "playing field".

scott (denton,tx)

i have a really really big problem with jeff gordan on what he said on the radio about dale jr on trying to wreck him on that last restart of the race if gordon does not move out of the way jr would have would have wreck any of your thoughts about what gordon said on the radio from yestreday race...

Ryan McGee
  (2:17 PM)

I think we should always take what we hear on the radio with a grain of salt. Again, we're the only fans/media that get to listen in on team strategy and conversations while they are going on. I'm willing to bet some heat-of-the-moment stuff is said in an MLB dugout or in an NFL QB's helmet radio earpiece that would shock us too. But we'll never know!

Ryan McGee
  (2:18 PM)

Even when Jeff was out of the car a lot later he was still mad. But what he said was toned down because he knew he was talking to the world...on purpose this time.

Jay (GA)

With Sam Hornish Jr running so well, is he now ahead of Joey Logano as the canidate for the 22 next year? If it becomes Sam's ride, where does Joey end up? the 43? Furniture Row? back to jgr nw series?

Ryan McGee
  (2:20 PM)

I would have never believed that Sam would emerge as the leading candidate for the 22. Honestly, I don't think the people at Penske thought he would, either! But based on conversations I had with people within the team this weekend, he absolutely is. And good for him. Doesn't mean he will get it, but he's a lot closer than any figured.

Ryan McGee
  (2:21 PM)

If that happens, I think you see Joey go on what was, ironically, the Hornish Plan at Penske. Move him down to Nationwide until there's another chance for him in Cup. And like Hornish, he should have spent more time down there before he was thrown into the deep end anyway.

Mark (MD)

Hey Ryan, Do you think Kahne can make it to the top 10 and collect the bonus points from his two wins????? He is running very strong right now.

Ryan McGee
  (2:22 PM)

It'll be close. Hamlin kind of stopped the bleeding this weekend. Not a lot, but enough. Kahne has to make up 33 points in 3 races. Based on how far away he was from 10th just two months ago he can certainly do it, but he'll still need some help.

Ryan McGee
  (2:23 PM)

If I'm the Chase guys I have my eye on that 5 car and I'd be worried. He's wicked fast right now.

Alan M (Columbus, Ohio)

Hi Ryan! Is there any reasonable chance that Kyle could work his way into the top 10 on points rather than relying on wins?

Ryan McGee
  (2:23 PM)

No.

scott (denton,tx)

do you think that with bristol coming up do you see that gordan get he's revenge on jr this weekand and if i would be really really pi@@ you thoughts.....

Ryan McGee
  (2:25 PM)

Not a chance. Gordon has too much at stake right now to risk wrecking himself out of the Chase. When Hendrick Motorsports has its big competition meeting, Mr. H will make sure this is either ironed out or make everyone promise they won't do anything stupid at Bristol or anywhere else.

Ross (FL (Go Noles))

Do you expect Couch and JD to fire the CC on the 18. He is not giving Kyle the equipment to win

Ryan McGee
  (2:27 PM)

It's not an 18 thing. All three cars are off right now. And it isn't the fault of Dave Rogers that they've blown two engines and got knocked out of the lead at Watkins Glen by oil.

Katie (WY)

I'm not a fan of graffiti but I noticed that fans were allowed to sign pit wall and the start and finish line @ MIS. They must have to repaint it for every race then?

Ryan McGee
  (2:28 PM)

Several tracks do that now. Or at least let fans sign the start/finish line. It's so common that the tracks that don't do it have to post big signs saying not to sign the walls!

Jimmy (STL)

Can you see the MWR boys makin some noise in the Chase? The 55 was miles ahead of everyone else and Bowyer and Truex both lead at times. How is JGR having mechanical issues and MWR dodging the bullet?

Ryan McGee
  (2:28 PM)

They are so good right now and we're going back to (albeit reconfigured) track where they just romped back in the March.

Ryan McGee
  (2:30 PM)

Keep in mind that MWR has been a full-on TRD team since day one and JGR is just now getting onto the deal. MWR and TRD have kind of grown up together and as Andy Graves and his team are getting that program up to full song, MWR already knows the inner-workings. I always figured it would take JGR a little while to give in to this new life.

Ryan McGee
  (2:30 PM)

And again, once it starts hitting on all cylinders - literally - it should be scary good.

Jake (Las Vegas)

Funny to see Villenueve's comments before Montreal about Danica being "protected", yet he dumps people race after race intentionally and only gets rides in Nascar these days because of name/past accomplishments (15-18 years ago, BTW)........talk about protected, eh?

Ryan McGee
  (2:32 PM)

I made a comment on Twitter (@ESPNMcGee) about the irony of a "universally disliked" guy like JV losing while a "universally liked" guy like Justin Allgaier won the race. Immediately I was crushed by folks in Canada for using "universally" for what they said was really only "in America". Well...

Ryan McGee
  (2:33 PM)

I also know a lot of Germans, French, English and South Americans that don't like him much either. And I'm willing to bet his treatment of Alex Tagliani didn't sustain the love from all his Canadian fans either.

Troy (Michigan)

Everybody says Joey was thrown into Cup too soon, but nobody ever brings up why. Smoke left and the 20 seat was open, Joey had early success in the Nationwide car, which convinced Gibbs to move him up......I understand it.

Ryan McGee
  (2:35 PM)

I do too, but that didn't make it the right thing to do for him. Kenny Irwin was moved into a Cup car too soon because Texaco wanted another Jeff Gordon. Casey Atwood was moved into a Cup car too soon because Dodge wanted a Young Gun. The list goes on and on and there are a lot more damaged careers than good ones.

Ryan McGee
  (2:36 PM)

I get it too, but it was a mistake.

scott (denton,tx)

any of you comment on why in that jj was not to talk to the media i know he was upset but at least give about 5 mintues of you time to talk about the engine blew your comments...

Ryan McGee
  (2:37 PM)

You need to use that bar on the right side of your browser windown and scroll up.

scott (denton,tx)

so where are you flying to today LOL.......

Ryan McGee
  (2:37 PM)

I'm all over the place dude!

Bill (SC)

Joey may have been moved to Cup too quickly, but shouldn't he have it figured out 4 years later. Seems he regresses more than anything each year.

Ryan McGee
  (2:40 PM)

History says that once these guys get started behind the eight ball they rarely recover. Back in the day it was different because they'd drive for a junk team for years, wreck stuff, and then graduate into good rides. Now they get in crazy good stuff on day one and if they aren't winning right off it crushes their self-confidence. A driver without self-confidence is not a good driver. Ask Dale Junior about that from not so long ago.

David (Oklahoma)

Is it right to consider Richard Childress Racing a top-tier team? It seems that they lack the consistency of a Hendrick, Roush, or JGR. Were they ever top-tier or did Dale Sr simply make up the difference?

Ryan McGee
  (2:41 PM)

They were the standard for a long time. Dale certainly didn't hurt! But he always said that he was just part of the equation. Yes, I believe they are top tier. But yes, the roller coaster they seem to always be on is a little maddening.

Ricky (Yuba City)

Guess who??!! Biffle. Do you think The Biff can go to the slate with power and continue to hold his lead in the standings for the remainder of the season, or will he be distracted by soap battles and lose the top spot? Thanks, oy vey, and good luck.

Ryan McGee
  (2:42 PM)

I think he can certainly hang until Homestead. Without a doubt.

Ryan McGee
  (2:42 PM)

By the way, who was that dashingly good looking reporter that went on SportsCenter yesterday morning and said that Biffle would be the guy to beat?

Ryan McGee
  (2:42 PM)

No, not Johnny Benson! Me!

Bryan (Pacific NW)

Almirola...still w/RPM in 43 next year?

Ryan McGee
  (2:43 PM)

I say yes.

Ryan (Va Beach)

The other factor in moving guys up too fast is the testing ban that's now in effect...makes it harder to get enough "seat time" to learn everything quickly!Along those lines, any idea how much the feel in the cars will change with the 2013 Cup cars? Will it be possible to see newer drivers struggle to get a handle on the differences?

Ryan McGee
  (2:44 PM)

Great point on the testing rules. I can tell you for a fact that Logano basically paid rent at Rockingham. They were down there testing all the time during his rookie year. But it's just not the same as testing on the actual tracks like Gordon, Stewart, etc. got to do.

Ryan McGee
  (2:46 PM)

Still too early to tell. There are two camps right now about the new car. Some say it will be crazy different to drive. Others (slightly more) say it won't be any different at all, it'll just look different. That group - and they are loud - is really lobbying for chassis and/or tire changes now so they can all be ready next February. Stay tuned. Lot of testing yet to do.

Ed (Fort Worth)

Ryan, I know no one could have ever imagined a car slamming into the open area in the pits...no one could have imagined a car slamming into a jet dryer either. Couple of questions - 1) would the crush panels have protected Mark had the hit been farther up towards the cockpit (I'm thinking no) and 2) will all tracks now look at possibly putting safer barriers on those entrances to the garages? I was literally sick seeing the replays of that wreck. Glad Mark's okay.

Ryan McGee
  (2:47 PM)

That was so scary, Ed. And it reminded me that we have to be careful out there in the pits, no matter who we are. After all these years I kind of take it for granted. That was a wake-up call about the dangers.

Ryan McGee
  (2:48 PM)

1. Mark doesn't believe they would have. He said a couple of times that had he been just a foot or two in the wrong direction he would've gotten hurt. 2. I think the tracks will definitely look into something there, even if it just a rubber stopper-like triangle barrier.

Phil (upstate NY)

Ryan please tell me that Kurt is going someplace else next year. It seems the equipment can not keep up with the talent at Phoenix racing.

Ryan McGee
  (2:50 PM)

I honestly don't know where. He's burned more bridges than Sherman. I still think his best bet would be if Kyle moved his team up to Cup, but they seem to be a long ways off from that.

Joe (Troy, NY)

Hey Ryan, What caused Jimmie's engine to fail? Are they set up to fix that problem? Is it a Hendrick wide problem?

Ryan McGee
  (2:52 PM)

They are literally investigating that right now. It will more than likely end up being one part. Stewart had trouble with his Hendrick engine and so did Gordon. This happens. Unfortunately for the big teams it usually happens in a wave like that. Fortunately for those same teams, they are big enough and have the resources to ID it quick and replace whatever needs to be replaced even quicker.

Ed (Fort Worth)

Props to the camera guys who caught the incident on pit road btw. I know they had the zoom going but they were still in the line of fire.

Ryan McGee
  (2:54 PM)

There were two guys right there. One was Jason Allson, a former coworker of mine at NASCAR Media Group. He came into the media center, rattled, and pulled me aside to see what he'd shot. Cast iron boy parts on that man. He just stood in, though he told me that like everyone else around him he was assuming the 55 would start slowing down, catch the concrete and stop. It never did.

Ryan McGee
  (2:54 PM)

Jason's a good dude. I'm glad he's still with us today.

Matt (Rochester, NY)

It is funny how the media never wants to say anything bad about Jeffy. Fact is that he was wrong. It was not four wide at any point in time. Nobody seems to want to correct him on that. From the Dale Jr. in car, junior was flying up on Jeff. I guess he should have slammed on the brakes for the 24...

Ryan McGee
  (2:55 PM)

Dang it. Once again, our sinister media center conspiracies have been unconvered.

Rick (Southern New Jersey)

I'm liking Truex's progress a lot, he's finally not a snake-bitten as he always seemed to be. I still think he gets antsy at times if something goes bad, and that causes him track position, but I do think he's getting better. He's not a closer yet, but he's getting there.

Ryan McGee
  (2:57 PM)

The biggest factor is that for the first time he feels like he has cars and a team that he can really be aggressive with. It's good to see. As we were saying earlier, self-doubting is some seriously powerful Kryponite for a racer. But Martin's swagger has come back.

Ryan McGee
  (2:59 PM)

Alright folks, gotta go! Wow! I really thought I'd have to bail early...and I didn't. Finally, something positive coming from airline issues. See you next Monday. Until then, tip your wait staff and enjoy the music of Dixie Dirt.