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April 8, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Ryan McGee

Ryan McGee
  (2:01 PM)

What's up my rubber marble-covered brothers and sisters, and welcome to the Monday Motorsports Block Party. I'm back from Martinsville, my ears still ringing, and ready to chat. So...to the queries!

Matthew (Pennsburg, PA)

Ryan: What does that show you that the 16 car was down a lap mid way through the race, and managed a 9th place run at a place where he's been mediocre at best?

Ryan McGee
  (2:03 PM)

It's big. And Biffle knows that it's big. It's almost equally big that his teammate, Edwards, finished top 15. Any points that Roush Fenway can get at Martinsville are like bonus points. Now they roll into a pair of their bread-and-butter tracks, Texas and Kansas.

Eric (Oh)

With the Masters this week, i saw that they give double the fed-ex points to the winner, and i was thinking how come NASCAR doesn't have their own set of MAJORS. They have plenty a races to choose 4 from, why not make those 4 extra special by giving double the points to the winner or double the bonus points for the chase. Your thoughts?

Ryan McGee
  (2:05 PM)

This is not a bad idea. At all. Back in the day, we had four "Majors" as part of the Winston Million. Winning one would pay an extra $100,000 and winning 3 of the 4 paid a million. It was Daytona (the most prestigious), the Winston 500 at Talladega (the fastest), the Coca-Cola 600 (the longest) and the Southern 500 at Darlington (the oldest).

Johnny (Alabama)

Why do you think Dale Jr.'s car was so bad at the end of runs? Even before he was in the first accident, he'd slow down so much at the end of the run on old tires. And it became worse later in the race. Was Junior overdriving the car at the beginning of the runs? Or did they just completely miss the setup?

Ryan McGee
  (2:06 PM)

Being wrecked didn't help. And clearly the tire, which wears a lot faster than the one they've had for years now, threw them a curveball. But they certainly weren't alone. A lot of teams just flat missed it. (Tony Stewart, I'm looking at you.)

Ryan McGee
  (2:07 PM)

No need for 88 fans to panic. That's one bad day out of six.

Jamerson (Georgia)

I've heard alot of criticism directed towards Jimmie Johnson for not stopping and giving Dale Jr. a chance to get turned around so he could stay only one lap down. I'm a Dale Jr. fan, but it seems like I'm the only one that doesn't want to crucify JJ. Isn't it true that if Jimmie had not maintained caution speed, Clint Bowyer could have legally PASSED HIM FOR THE LEAD? I don't think its fair to criticize Jimmie for trying to maintain his position.

Ryan McGee
  (2:10 PM)

Yeah, I think that's all been blown out of proportion. The fact that it was Dale Jr has made it worse. DW wasn't wrong. If Jimmie as the leader had stopped to let Junior get straightened out, then he wouldn't have been penallized for it. And NASCAR Race Control wouldn't have taken that spot away from had Bowyer kept going around it.

Ryan McGee
  (2:10 PM)

But the question I have been asking Dale Jr fans is this...do you think Dale Sr would have stopped and helped a guy he expects to be battling for the title all year? Nope. Not even a teammate.

Ryan McGee
  (2:11 PM)

That being said, I don't think the 48 was being malicious.

Dave (WI)

Top 10 for Chase Elliot, is he Joey Logano potential or Jeff Gordon potential?

Ryan McGee
  (2:12 PM)

I think Chase Elliott is a future star. He's the total package. Smart, well-spoken, has the bloodline, super-talented behind the wheel, and has backing from Hendrick Motorsports.

Ryan McGee
  (2:13 PM)

But spare me the "Logano is a bust" stuff. Dude is 11th in points with a couple of career wins...and he's still 22.

Eli Walden (Memphis, TN)

What were you more surprised by on Sunday (a) Bowyer's decision not to retaliate against 24 or (b) Danica's impressive run through the field after her spin? A side note, it seems like Ken Schrader causes a wreck every time he's in the field at M'ville.

Ryan McGee
  (2:14 PM)

B...and it's not even close. I never expected Bowyer to exact any revenge on Sunday. He really believed - and rightly so - that he was going to win the race. He wasn't going to do anything that might potentially screw that up.

Ryan McGee
  (2:15 PM)

And if you could have seen the way that Gordon and Bowyer were yucking it up together during their post-race press conference yesterday, you'd be hard-pressed to believe that there is as much tension there as we've all been led to believe.

demon reading pa [via mobile]

How insane would you be if you saw somebody else drive your car whale you are recovering from an injury?

Ryan McGee
  (2:18 PM)

I was at the Brickyard 400 when Dale Earnhardt Sr. had to get out of the car during the first caution because of a shoulder injury. Mike Skinner jumped in for him. That was the plan all along, had been for a week. But Earnhardt later told me that watching his racecar driven by another guy felt like his wife was cheating on him. I think that pretty much sums it up.

J (NY)

Why was Happy Harvick so unhappy after the race? Is there more to it than Vickers just bumping Danica?

Ryan McGee
  (2:18 PM)

It was the last few laps at Martinsville. Everyone was mad. Hell, I nearly got swallowed by a fight in the garage between Paul Menard and Regan Smith...and they're best friends.

Dave (WI)

Never said Logano is a bust, but the hype doesn't match the talent sometimes.

Ryan McGee
  (2:20 PM)

Agreed. But it's still early. And he never started the hype. I just think he is a classic example of someone that was put in a Cup car way too fast. He's just now realizing his potential. It's no different than when a pitcher is rushed into the big leagues before he's ready. The psychological damage you do them by putting them in the deep end too early can be a hard thing to fix.

Drew (Indy)

Agree or disagree: Ryan Hunter-Reay is the best U.S.-born IndyCar driver of the new millennium.

Ryan McGee
  (2:23 PM)

Sam Hornish Jr might have something to say about that. But RHR is great. So is Hinch. So is Hildebrand. Throw those guys in with Marco and Graham and it's the first time in a long time we've had a large group of good US guys in IndyCar.

Jeremy (South Hill, VA)

I was a Danica skeptic, and even though the jury is still out for me as a fan when it comes to her skills, I really have to admit that she impressed me. I thought she would finish 51st out of 43. She did a fantastic job, and when leaving the racetrack, a lot of folks were impressed with her.

Ryan McGee
  (2:25 PM)

I put her in that same comment I just made about Logano. I have always said and will always say that she needed another full year in Nationwide. But she blew me away yesterday. Finishing 12th at Martinsville after never having run a single race lap there? To me, that's more impressive than what she did at Daytona.

J (NY)

I know there are a lot of young stars in Nationwide and trucks but nobody seems to ever talk about Jeb Burton. What is the opinion of him around the garage?

Ryan McGee
  (2:26 PM)

I think that actually started changing this weekend. He turned some heads at Daytona and did again at Martinsville. Now the Trucks go to Rockingham and will be watched by all the Cup guys on Sunday since they'll be back home from Saturday night's Texas race.

Ryan McGee
  (2:27 PM)

He is very highly regarded in the Cup garage. Jimmie Johnson came and found him on Friday to congratulate him on his pole and on Saturday morning I saw Jeb in the Cup garage asking anyone and everyone for advice.

scott (denton,tx)

how is the short track at Bristol compare to matinville I was hearing some commontaers that some of the drivers where limping out of the race track and you do that here that from Bristol why is that ...

Ryan McGee
  (2:28 PM)

They are working the pedals so hard at Martinsville, just as much as they do at a road course, so that's where a lot of that limping is coming from.

Ryan McGee
  (2:29 PM)

And the two are totally different styles of short track racing, but both are great. What I love about the three short tracks - Bristol, Martinsville, Richmond - is that they have three totally different personalities.

Craig (San Jose, CA)

Following up on Jamerson's question...I don't get why some people are so outraged by what JJ "did". If Jr. doesn't get lapped there, he finishes last car on lead lap, two spots better. Talk about making a mountain out of a mole hill.

Ryan McGee
  (2:31 PM)

Yeah, like I said, it's more about who it was. If that had been another pair of teammates, say, Aric Almirola and Marcos Ambrose, I'd have zero questions about today.

Cameron (Palo Alto, CA)

I know the 48 ran away with the race yesterday, but i'm blown away by the 5 so far this year. at 9/1 odds, Ol' Blue Eyes might be the value pick for the championship

Ryan McGee
  (2:32 PM)

He's had a great career, but has never been able to put together a start-to-finish season. It's early, but it sure looks like he's finally gotten over that hump.

Jeremy (South Hill, VA)

To me, Martinsville's hot dogs are totally overrated. Fact or fiction that it's not worth the money

Ryan McGee
  (2:33 PM)

Can a person live in South Hill and type that sentence witout being asked to leave the Commonwealth?

Boston for 15 (Boston)

Serious question? why do the chat personalities constantly appease JR fans by predicting wins, top 5's and championship possibilities? I honestly feel that based on performance in the last 5 years (even now that he has allegedly "broken through" lately) you guys are just getting peoples hopes up.

Ryan McGee
  (2:36 PM)

Okay, let's take that five-year stretch you're talking about. Compare where he is now vs. 2008 and not see the development of a team that has gone from also-ran to a Chase contender is nuts.

Saul (San Diego)

No retaliation, all seemed very hushed on the track.

Ryan McGee
  (2:37 PM)

I was in the garage as the cars rolled in after the race. There was literally one car without any major damage. The 48. Everyone else, including runner-up Bowyer, looked like they had been in a demolition derby.

Ryan D. (Winston-Salem, NC)

What are the odds that Rockingham could pick up a NW race in the next 2-3 years?

Ryan McGee
  (2:39 PM)

I think this weekend will be a huge indicator. There is definitely interest from NASCAR. Multiple sources have told me that The Rock was actually offered a chance to host one this year, but that Andy Hillenburg and his staff felt like they needed to host another Truck race to get some operational bugs worked out. We'll see. I hope people turn out for this year's race like they did for last year. A ticket is a vote when it comes to NASCAR scheduling moves.

Dave (WI)

Point well taken...Casey Atwood.Really appreciate you gentlemen for the chats every week, nice to have a voice.

Ryan McGee
  (2:40 PM)

Oh yeah. And Atwood fell into that brutal "Young Gun" time period where so many young guys were rushed into Cup rides too early, all in the search for the next Gordon or Stewart. If I started listing guys, it would take up the last 20 minutes of the chat. Ron Barfield, anyone?

john (CA)

How about Jamie Mac?

Ryan McGee
  (2:42 PM)

He's getting it turned around. Funny what some Hendrick horsepower can do for you. The flipside of the 1 car's success is that it's making Montoya look even worse.

Kris (VA)

How big was the 3rd place for 24? I know he can probably get a top five there with his eyes closed, and it looked like if it went green he was going to catch the 48, but now he's only 8points out of 10th?

Ryan McGee
  (2:43 PM)

I asked Jeff about that after the race. He admitted that when he screwed up in the pits his first reaction was, 'Oh no, here we go again'. But for the first time this year they managed to take a bad luck day and turn it around. Morale-wise, that's huge.

Virginia (Tx)

FYI Jr's trackbar had come unattached and "was doing its' own thing" per Stevie on THD this morning. Jr kept telling the crew something was wrong on the underside, but I guess they failed to attend to it.

Ryan McGee
  (2:45 PM)

They were kind of writing it off to the earlier contact. Honestly, it might have been a good thing that they didn't try to fix it. He only finished 2 laps down. If they'd brought it in and started reattaching the track bar, that could have easily turned into ten laps down.

Jeremy (Georgia)

What happened between Menard and Smith, were they just kidding?

Ryan McGee
  (2:46 PM)

Not at all. It happened right beside me in the garage. Menard knocked Smith out of the way in the final turn of the race. It cost Regan several spots after he'd battled back into the top 20. Smith took exception because he says he could have done the same to Menard a few laps earlier, but gave him room...

Ryan McGee
  (2:48 PM)

Their haulers were parked side-by-side in the garage, so Smith walked over to talk to Menard. That's when - as usually happens - some crew guys got involved and the shoving started. I talked to Regan last night and he said "We understand how we're gonna race from now on."

Ryan McGee
  (2:49 PM)

I honestly had a hard time figuring out what I was looking at because those two guys are literally like best friends.

Ryan McGee
  (2:49 PM)

Ah, Martinsville.

Ed (Fort Worth)

I have to say I was impressed by Kurt Busch after the race yesterday. Not a fun day for him at all, yet he seemed really composed and gave his opinion without throwing anyone under the bus. I hope he's finally putting it all together.

Ryan McGee
  (2:50 PM)

Sure seems that way. He acts happy. I sincerely hope it holds up.

Claudia (Western NY)

Are you surprised Logano made it to the finish?

Ryan McGee
  (2:51 PM)

A little. But I guess I shouldn't be. On tonight's NASCAR Now I have a piece running about that. I interviewed Joey after the race. Although he wouldn't admit it, he was visibly relieved to get the last two weeks closed out and move on.

Ryan McGee
  (2:51 PM)

Being at the top of the NASCAR news cycle can be no fun. On Friday he was not having fun.

Drew (Indy)

With regards to your answer to my previous question, I actually rate RHR above Hornish at this point. Hornish dominated IndyCar when it was watered down and all ovals. RHR has excelled in a much deeper and more diverse open-wheel series.

Ryan McGee
  (2:53 PM)

Yeah, I need to give RHR more time and more wins before I'm willing to go there. I agree the fields are deeper, but the races Hornish won and the photo-finish style with which he won a lot of them was some of the ballsiest racing I've ever seen anywhere.

Bill S. (High Point,NC)

It's still early but how many win's to get the 12 spot in the chase? I think at least 2.

Ryan McGee
  (2:53 PM)

I agree.

Jeremy (South Hill, VA)

I live in South Hill but it's right down Hwy 58 from Martinsville! Best track on the whole circuit, including Daytona and Talladega. Actually I live in Brodnax, town of 400, so that makes me an old-school NASCAR fan!

Jeremy (South Hill, VA)

(Does that keep me in the Commonwealth?)

Ryan McGee
  (2:54 PM)

I was at Patrick Henry's Red Hill home on Saturday evening. I should have gotten a ruling on this while I was there.

Casper (DC)

Great turnout yesterday! I'm used to having my pick of practically any seat, but we were shoulder to shoulder in the grandstands all day. I think martinsville has benefitted a little bit from the skepticism around the "quality" of racing at Bristol. What say you?

Ryan McGee
  (2:55 PM)

I agree. I have always believed that Martinsville was woefully underrated. I have also believed that the "Bristol is boring" talk was woefully untrue. But there is no doubt that Martinsville has benefited.

Ryan McGee
  (2:57 PM)

The beauty of Martinsville is that it is the oldest track on the schedule - the only one left from the inaugural '49 season - and yet they have continually spent the money to keep it up with the times. As anyone who has been going there over the 15 years can tell you, the work they have done both in the garage and in the main concourse beneath the frontstretch grandstands is really something else.

Christine (Upstate NY)

Hi Ryan - who do you think will be the top 5 at Texas this weekend?

Ryan McGee
  (3:00 PM)

Give me the 20, 16, 48, 18 and 99. Darkhorses: 55, 31, 1.

Ryan McGee
  (3:01 PM)

Alright folks, gotta go. Check your local listings for my next sporadic chat appearance. Until next time, tip your waiters and waitresses and enjoy the music of Government Cheese.