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February 25, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Ryan McGee

Ryan McGee
  (2:00 PM)

Hi folks and welcome back to the Internet's biggest and baddest (perhaps only) one-hour Monday Motorsports Block Party. I'm back from Daytona and, wow, what an emotional roller coaster of a Speedweeks. Never fun doing live TV reports from a hospital, but at least the news I was able to help deliver on Saturday night and Sunday morning was good. Certainly better than we'd feared. But enough about me. Let's get to the queries...

Joanne (Ft. Myers)

How can Hendrick claim the fence did it's job when and engine and body parts entering the fan area proves otherwise?

Ryan McGee
  (2:02 PM)

I think that what Mr. Hendrick said is true, but has to be qualified. Did it keep the car inside the track? Yes. Did prevent the engine from going any further than it did? Yes. But did it do it's job perfectly? No...

Ryan McGee
  (2:03 PM)

I have never thought these fences are tall enough. That was the biggest issue. The tire and suspension parts that went over the fence. And it was worst case scenario with the location of the gate, which is what caused most of the damage and debris...

Ryan McGee
  (2:04 PM)

I agree with Dario Franchitti, and have for a long time, that people much smarter than me need to tackle the idea of an alternative to cable fencing. Just as they tackled concrete retaining walls...

Ryan McGee
  (2:05 PM)

But until that exists, the fences need to be taller and the fans HAVE to move back. I know that sucks. Standing at the fence is coolest part. But it's also insane.

Ryan McGee
  (2:05 PM)

I couldn't believe how, on Sunday, the fans were still right up against the fence, particularly as the cars rolled off Turn 4.

Bob (Wyoming)

Why isn't Regan Smith listed as seventh in the points standings?

Ryan McGee
  (2:07 PM)

He's not running full-time in the Cup Series. Now drivers have to declare which of the three major championships they are racing for and he's running for the Nationwide Series title with JR Motorsports. He'll still be running a decent number of Cup races, but not full-time.

Dave (WI)

Is it possible to have different body packages for this car? The configuration you would run at Martinsville seems like it should differ from Talladega due to the completely different style of racing.

Ryan McGee
  (2:08 PM)

Car will be the same - for now anyway - but the chassis setups will be way different. I have no problem with that. Prior to the CoT the specialized car construction was totally out of control.

KB Nation (Global)

How concerned is NASCAR that the TRD motors are again letting down Kyle and the #18 team just like last season?

Ryan McGee
  (2:09 PM)

I don't NASCAR is worried about it, but Kyle and his corporate teammates probably are. I would say, though, it's only one race. I wouldn't freak out unless - like last year - after a handful of races we start seeing another trend.

Ryan McGee
  (2:10 PM)

I know I can be hard on Kyle's attitude, but I totally understood why he was so angry on Sunday, because of the issues last year and no doubt some "Oh no, here we go again" in his mind.

Jim (Bayala)

Do you think Mr. France ordered Brad to the hauler after his USA interview to remind him that NASCAR doesn't need him but he needs NASCAR?

Ryan McGee
  (2:12 PM)

There was certainly some of that. Brian does have enough of his grandfather and father in him to pull that talk out of his pocket if he needs to. But talking to NASCAR reps, the conversation was more of an education on how things like purse payments work. He was very specific about some ideas that NASCAR (and quite frankly, some track operators) felt like maybe he didn't really understand.

Ryan McGee
  (2:12 PM)

But I am not concerned in the slightest that Brad is going to tone it down. That's just not how he's made.

Ryan McGee
  (2:13 PM)

By the way, kudos to my bud Nate Ryan at USA Today for the piece that started all that.

Craig (San Jose, CA)

Are you into numerology? In '06, JJ won the 48th running of the Daytona 500. He started 9th in '06. He started 9th yesterday. Just sayin'.

Ryan McGee
  (2:14 PM)

Hmmm.

Jake (Irving, TX)

Were the no tire or 2 only stops a result of the weight loss reducing tire wear?

Ryan McGee
  (2:15 PM)

Yes. Plus the still-new surface and still very hard tire compound. And it helped that conditions on Sunday were nearly 20 degrees cooler than they'd been earlier in the week.

Dawn (Ga.)

I was disappointed that Jimmie didn't move over and let Dale win. Do you think Jimmie owes Dale a win for doing that yesterday?

Ryan McGee
  (2:16 PM)

None of these guys is ever going to pull over for the other. Certainly not in the Daytona 500. And whatever Jimmie owes Dale he needs to pay Greg Biffle double.

michael (wilson)

Where do you see Jr winning?

Ryan McGee
  (2:19 PM)

I always have my eye on those two mid-spring and late summer stretches that include Richmond, Talladega, Darlington, Charlotte, Dover, Atlanta, Bristol, and Texas. Those have always been his bread-and-butter tracks, even when he's struggled.

JJD (Seattle)

I feel like yesterday was like the season in microcosm: "points racing" (or in this case single-file racing) just to get to the Chase (or in this case the last green flag run). I'm not sure NASCAR can do anything about the 500 to make it "better" because it is *so* big. And I actually thought the race was fine, though I wish NASCAR hadn't thrown that caution with nine to go because I was already standing up yelling at my TV.

Ryan McGee
  (2:22 PM)

I've always preached about the importance of not overreacting to what we see in the Daytona 500, but we always do it anyway. New car + still-new surface plus aprehension about all the wrecks we'd had all week Saturday's incident the marathon of a 500-mile race = what we saw on Sunday. That's a recipe that we aren't likely to have again.

Troll Master (Mom's basement (I pay rent))

Do you see the makings of a war of the words between Sliced Bread and Hambone?

Ryan McGee
  (2:23 PM)

I think it's already started! But I don't expect it to last.

Craig (San Jose, CA)

Don't you need to cut this chat short, so you can take your little girl to Golden Corrall? Kids eat free thanks to he other JJ!

Ryan McGee
  (2:24 PM)

I know, right! My eight-year old (along with most little girls) was pulling for Danica and then also pulling for J.J. Yeley. Free Chocolate Wonderfall!

Ryan McGee
  (2:25 PM)

In all seriousness, though, I know that plate races are goofy, but it is great to see guys like Yeley, Michael McDowell, and Regan Smith get second-tier cars into the top ten. Those guys are the true grinders of the sport. They deserve a good day on the big stage.

RacingDMP (Charlotte, N.C.)

The word around here is that Budweiser will be going to SHR with Happy. Any conformation?

Ryan McGee
  (2:26 PM)

No official confirmation, but I will say that no one should be surprised if (when) that happens.

Ted (Conway, Ma)

Seem like with these new cars the driver in front now has the advantage on a super speedway

Ryan McGee
  (2:27 PM)

Yep. Just like it used to be. Not 30 years ago with the slingshot moves, but pretty much ever since then, sans the brief two-car tandem era.

Ryan McGee
  (2:28 PM)

The great myth about the slingshot days is that those were great races. They weren't. They were great finishes. Before those dramatic last lap moves was almost always a couple of hours of waiting it out. Try watching the the '76 or '79 Daytona 500s green-to-checkers without itching for the fast forward button.

Carlos (Orlando)

With all 5 of the RCR cars having a disastrous race is that organization in crisis mode?

Ryan McGee
  (2:30 PM)

It's never good to have a pile of wrecked cars at the shop (paging Carl Edwards), but I think that RCR knows that the performance was there. They all just ended up wrecked. Compare how strong they looked over the entire 2013 Speedweeks vs. last year and it's easy to see the improvement.

Eric (OH)

Hey Ryan, I thought the 500 was just ok. I was shocked that not enough drivers tried to make the bottom lane work towards the end, i understand the top was the way to go but wouldnt drivers want a chance at winning the 500 instead of riding around at the end?

Ryan McGee
  (2:32 PM)

The drivers kept telling me that the bottom would work, but only with a fast car and help and not for long periods of time. Before that last caution, we saw the bottom line making a move via all of the above, with Jimmie at the point. I really think we were headed for a two-train finish if it hadn't been for that final caution.

Brandon (San Francisco)

What are your thoughts on Travis Pastrana's run on Saturday, he was able to stay out of trouble, did some drafting, and got a top 10 finish in his first time ever at Daytona.

Ryan McGee
  (2:33 PM)

He blew me away. It's kind of forgotten now because of how that race ended, but there was no way that he could have had more madness thrown his way and he handled it beautifully. He was a total middle-lane pinball for a long time and kept his nose in there, never backing down.

Teri (CA)

I have to admit, I felt pretty sorry for Carl Edwards yesterday. He's had a lot of bad luck in a very short time.

Ryan McGee
  (2:35 PM)

Unreal, right? Five cars wrecked going back to the January test and literally none of them were his fault. I said someone needed to follow him over to the airport on Sunday night to make sure someone didn't spin out his rental car. I was only half-joking.

Eric (OH)

Who do you think will be asked more questions about the phoenix incident Bowyer or Gordon? I think Bowyer will cause he's continually avoided questions instead of what Gordon did, which he answered every question.

Ryan McGee
  (2:36 PM)

I think they are both pretty tired of it. Yes, Bowyer has avoided it, while Gordon has taken the comedian's route. I will say this. If I was Jeff, I'd pack a couple of extra mirrors this weekend at Phoenix, just in case.

stump (MO)

Bring back the tamdens, that, or make the Sprint Cup teams build a Camping World truck and race that on Sunday. No matter how the "experts" twist it, that was a boring race.

Ryan McGee
  (2:38 PM)

When the racing was like this before, everyone asked for a package that would bring back the slingshot. That led to tandems. When the racing was in tandems everyone wanted "pack racing" back. I think we all saw on Saturday that these cars don't need to be restrictor plate-free. So, what do they do? Tear down the banking and make the superspeedways flat tracks?

Ryan McGee
  (2:39 PM)

I'm not twisting what we saw on Sunday. I know what it was. But I think you have to take into account all the factors that I listed earlier.

scott (denton,tx)

so now that Daytona is behind us now and moving on to pir this coming week how do you think the cars are going to react now that we are going to kind of like a flat track compare to a 31 degress of banking..

Ryan McGee
  (2:41 PM)

Well, now we'll know what we really have with the Gen 6. But I think we still have to not freak out if it's not the greatest race of all time. I say the same thing about the new car that I say about the Cup title fight. Let's wait until we get through May - through the Coca-Cola 600 - before we declare what we do or don't have on our hands.

Todd (Georgia)

Is this the week that Danica comes back to the real world at Pheonix or will she continue to surprise people with a good run Sunday?

Ryan McGee
  (2:41 PM)

Real world. But she has logged a lot of laps at PIR in her life, so this is a good place for her to make her post-Daytona landing.

Herman (Fort Wayne, In)

With JJ finishing ahead of JG every year except JJ's rookie year, and outperforming JG with multiple car changes, is it time to have a serious discussion regarding who is better? I agree JG has done more for the sport but who is better once they get on a racetrack inside a stock car?

Ryan McGee
  (2:42 PM)

I love this debate. I believe they are both on NASCAR's Mount Rushmore - Lee Petty, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Gordon, Jimmie. That's not just about winning, but also about things done off the track to advance the sport.

Ryan McGee
  (2:44 PM)

I wish so much we could take the 48 team of say, 2007, and run it against the 24 team of 1998. But until Doc Brown's DeLorean becomes a reality, that ain't happening.

Marc (Malden, MA)

You forgot about Pearson

Ryan McGee
  (2:46 PM)

Pure driving ability, Pearson's there easy. But there's a natural progression of eras between those other five. And like I say, I think off-track has to factor in. Pearson never embraced that like the others did, even those that resisted it in the beginning (Lee Petty & Earnhardt).

Ted (Conway, Ma)

Maybe the cup drivers were just using their heads this time? A car that they are aprehensive about and the near disaster on Saturday?

Ryan McGee
  (2:46 PM)

No doubt it factored in during the early stages. But not at the end.

JJD (Seattle)

What are the main difference between the new Nationwide cars and the Gen6 Cup car that would cause two dramatically different speedway races this weekend?

Ryan McGee
  (2:48 PM)

Honestly, I think most of it is just laps logged. Keep in mind these Nationwide cars are now in their fourth year, third full-time. These new Cup cars are essentially based on that template. It's going to take time to massage these cars in.

Racing Monkey (Charlotte)

That wasn't pack or tandem racing so how would you describe it?

Ryan McGee
  (2:50 PM)

It was pack racing. I think people tend to think about Talladega when it comes to pack racing, that constant three-wide, ten-deep stuff. But Daytona has never been like that, not lap-after-lap like bigger, wider 'Dega.

Ryan McGee
  (2:51 PM)

Again, when they wanted to go two and three wide, when it was time to make the money, they did. Just not for long. As the new pavement and the new cars become more broken in, they'll be able to be more aggressive more often.

Geri (Canada)

Ryan, far too much Danica, now when I see her name, I move on. Why did she look so perturbed in the media room after the race even when Jeff Gluck asked her a question, she rolled her eyes?

Ryan McGee
  (2:52 PM)

I think she might have been a little bummed about not winning the Daytona 500.

Brandon (San Francisco)

To kinda of add to Todd from Georgia's question, I think Danica could potential have a decent run at Phoenix this weekend, if you remember back in the fall she was running 12th coming to get the white flag before getting punted by Jeff Burton. I think it will be Vegas that she comes back to earth.

Ryan McGee
  (2:53 PM)

That's fair. She's going to take her lumps. Despite what happened at Daytona, I still say she should be doing another full year in Nationwide while running a part-time Cup schedule, moving up to full-time next year. Has nothing to do with who she is, I'm just looking at where her natural improvement curve has been, just as I would with any rookie.

Terry (Pa)

So if Clint does get revenge on Gordon then how's he any better? He would be a hypocrite

Ryan McGee
  (2:54 PM)

Not saying it's going to happen. Not saying it would be morally right if it did. I'm just saying don't be surprised if it does.

Charlie (Chicago)

Ryan, can you please explain to me why Chip Ganassi is in NASCAR? Yeah Jamie won a couple races a few years ago, but Target & McDonalds deserve much better publicity than what they're paying for...

Ryan McGee
  (2:55 PM)

Their struggles totally baffle me. But not as much as they baffle Chip. They've changed everything over there from how they build cars to engines to the front office. The only left to change is the driver lineup. Stay tuned.

Mike (CA)

Unfortunately I'm pretty sure if a time traveling car were possible CK would have figured it out and snuck it onto the track.

Ryan McGee
  (2:56 PM)

That is an excellent point.

Bryan (PacificNW)

How long before someone looks for audio of CK telling JJ to dump it hard in the grass to mess up the nose?

Ryan McGee
  (2:58 PM)

I have been reading this on Twitter all day. I don't think that was the case, but after Chad was busted saying what he did at Talladega in 2011, they're just going to have to live with the skepticism.

RacingDMP (Charlotte, N.C.)

Ryan, you think that Kyle is lobbying Joe for a return to in-house engines?

Ryan McGee
  (3:00 PM)

No. In fact, it was the drivers who were the most frequent critics of the in-house JGR engine department, so it's on them too. Besides, that egg can't be unscrambled. They let a lot of guys go when they scaled that dept back.

Ryan McGee
  (3:01 PM)

The problems will be solved. There's too many smart people at TRD not to fix it. Besides, the MWR guys didn't have any complaints last year. They had their best year ever. Not even close.

Claudia (Western NY)

Any updates of the conditions of the injured fans?

Ryan McGee
  (3:03 PM)

I was at Halifax Health most of the weekend, where the most serious seven were admitted. By Saturday night five had checked out. Most of them were back at the track Sunday, even a woman from Indiana that I interviewed and she was in a wheelchair. The two that were listed as critical are still there, but upgraded to serious or better, non-life threatening.

Ryan McGee
  (3:03 PM)

We are all SO lucky it wasn't much worse.

Ryan McGee
  (3:04 PM)

Alright folks, gotta go. If you can get to a TV, Outside The Lines just started on ESPN, a whole show dedicated to Saturday's fan injuries.

Ryan McGee
  (3:04 PM)

As always, tip your waiters and waitresses and enjoy the music of Tall Paul.