What's up my crotch-kicking brothers and sisters and welcome to the post-Richmond edition of the Monday Motorsports Block Party. I am back from the Commonwealth and we have a wealth of stuff to talk about. So...to the queries!
Mr. McGee,Respectfully sir, I believe you have missed a better baseball reference when comparing Matt Kenseth to Harold Baines. Robin Yount lead baseball in hits during the 1980's, but no one realizes that because many outside of Milwaukee didn't appreciate it first hand. After winning an MVP playing Shortstop, Yount transitioned to Center Field later in his career and won another MVP. I think this comparison will hold more water when Kenseth wins a 2nd cup title driving for JGR, which I think will happen, possibly this year. And when Matt decides he's done driving, I believe he'll accumulate stats worthy of first ballot induction into the Nascar Hall of Fame, but will be overshadowed by contemporaries (Johnson, Stewart) as was Yount (Nolan Ryan, George Brett). Forgive me for putting way to much thought into this, but I believe Robin Yount is a much more apt comparison.
First, I appreciate you watching. Second, this is a great answer...and exactly what I'd expect from Milwaukee! We're on the same page here. Guys who quietly put up ridiculous numbers that the rest of the world - outside their own fanbase - didn't realize.
Kenseth has won 26 races, a Cup title, Rookie of the Year, 2 Daytona 500s, the Coca-Cola 600, and an IROC title. And when he finally hangs up his helmet I promise he'll be top 10 all-time top ten finishes and probably top fives.
I don't like the week-to-week judgment of the Gen-6 car, with one week of single file racing resulting in bad feedback, and one week of 2-and-3-wide resulting in great feedback. To me it's a great car, period. These cars are faster, so on the narrower, "less-wide" tracks like Texas, Kansas or Vegas, it's not going to be side by side as much. If you look at California and Richmond though, definitely more side-by-side. Kind of like how Daytona and Talladega are night-and-day different despite similar length and shape. Plus new pavement makes a huge difference. I think Michigan, Atlanta and Kentucky will have the best races of the year. Thoughts on the Gen-6 this weekend?
I'm with you. But you could totally see this coming. There was just so much hype leading into the Gen 6 introduction that everyone was going to have total knee-jerk reactions to every race, especially the Daytona 500. To me - and I have said this since January - check back in at the end of May. Even that is too early to declare final judgment, but at least by then we will have run on all types of ovals and will have some sort of decent sample to draw data and opinions from.
To me, it's been great. It looks cool and at the very least it's a step forward from the CoT. All the good parts of the CoT are in there, but all the unattractive stuff is gone.
Have you noticed that Ambrose's performance have dropped since they took Parrott from him and put him on the 43? Now Almirola is running much better? Says alot for Parrott.
You are not wrong. I always felt like Almirola was finally getting his development to where he needed something to get him over the top. Parrott looks like he's just what the doctor, er King, ordered. He's a member of one of racing's great wrench-wielding royal families as far as I'm concerned. One of my all-time favorite crew chiefs was his father, Buddy.
Hey, when watching the race on Saturday Night did you have an unusual inkling for a Redd's Apple Ale as opposed to Miller Lite or was that just me?
I scored some product as I was leaving the track Friday night. It's good stuff. The Red Deuce.
Ryan: Tough race for the 16 team. Is this just an example of just a bad weekend, or is there some concern for Greg Biffle?
If I'm a Biff fan I wouldn't worry as much about Richmond as I would about Kansas the week before. You should never expect much out of the 16 car at Richmond. But for them to totally miss it at Kansas, where he could finish in the top five with a blindfold on, was weird. Still though, it's too early to have too much concern. His good start allows for a slump here and there.
Speaking of which...
Has the 88 short track program gone away? Terrible car at Martinsville and not a very good one Saturday night...what's the story?
The Martinsville deal wasn't his fault. They had a suspension piece come loose. And though he didn't look great at Richmond, he still saved a 10th place run out of it. You think about had this been a few years ago, he'd be in a mental tailspin. Not now. Like Biffle, that big points buffer he built over the first month of the year has come in handy.
Do you think Kurt has a chance of winning races this year?
I do. I didn't coming into the year, but I do now. And I think if it happens it will come at a place like short track or even plate track like Talladega. In the end, he needs a situation where the race doesn't come so much down to his crew as it does the wheel in his hands. His talent there is unquestionable, no matter what car he's in.
Yo McGee, any chance that Nascar could potentially start fining the vendors a la Kenseth's situation? Yeah, I understand the impetus is on the teams, but to expect them to catch something like that seems a little excessive. Plus, TRD has already said it was their fault.
I think this is a huge question going forward and it's the one question we kept circling back around to during our media sessions with both Robin Pemberton and Joe Gibbs over the weekend.
But I will say this. Some might try to paint this as a new issue. It's not. It's a Back to the Future thing. When I was a kid teams still got engines from manufacturers and as recent as a decade ago a ton of teams were still just buying whole chassis from outside vendors like Ronnie Hopkins. And even during those eras, NASCAR still viewed tech inspection as the responsibility of the teams, not the suppliers.
Do we pretty much ignore this first appeal for Penske on Wednesday and wait until the Chief Justice makes his ruling?
Ha! Maybe. I joked last week in our Turn 4 roundtable on ESPN.com that Penske needs to see if he can't get a former Ford exec to hear the second appeal.
Does Mr. Hendrick need to talk to Stewart and tell him to focus on racing instead of trying be the on-track traffic cop?
I'm not sure Mr. Hendrick can tell Tony to do anything. I'm not sure if anyone can tell Tony to do anything. But if I'm a Tony fan I think his blood getting up is probably a good thing. History says that never really acts a distraction for him, it's actually 180-degrees the opposite.
Allmendinger had a strong run. Does he get a sponsor or get a better ride mid-season?
Midseason, no. But it could open up chances for him in 2014. Truthfully, I think a much bigger audition for AJ is coming next month when he's in a Penske car at Indy.
Hi Ryan, how difficult is it for Rowdy, Dave and the #18 guys to put the devastating 24th finish at Richmond behind them and focus on winning Dega?
They'll be fine. Kyle is in a great mental place right now.
Do you think Kurt Busch has turned a corner as a person? I will admit, I've always disliked him, but I gained a whole lot of respect for him with how he conducted himself with the media after the race.
It's early yet, but so far so good. I'm not usually one to put a lot of stock into off-track relationships affecting on-track demeanor, but he's in a relationship right now with a strong, workaholic woman that does amazing things with wounded veterans. Between her, her son, and weekly interactions with those wounded warriors, I think that certainly hasn't his perspective on the world.
Got to love short track racing. Busch knocks Stewart out of the way and wonders why Stewart is mad. Kenseth knocks Busch out of the way and Busch is mad at Kenseth
Amen. Pass the potato salad.
Any BOLD predictions for the Aaron's 499?
That it will be unpredictable.
I joke, but I do think we'll see an atypical team mixing it up for the win. I have my eye on the Front Row Motorsports guys.
Being from Darlington I'm still not over the fact that Nascar took our labor day away. I understand that money is king in nascar, but I feel like track like Darlington, Rockingham, North Wilksboro, etc. provide the best racing around. I feel more people would watch these races on TV. Are TV ratings not as important as ticket sales?
NASCAR will tell you that both are equally important, but the truth is that TV ratings carry more weight because they ultimately determine a sport's worth in the open market. It's no secret that I'm from Rockingham or how much I love North Wilkesboro and Darlington. And I do - and always will - think that removing the Southern 500 from Labor Day weekend was a massive miscalculation.
But North Wilkesboro is gone. And Rockingham supporters need to step it up and show up for these Truck Series races - and perhaps a future Nationwide date. Othwerwise, they have no argument. A ticket is ultimately a vote.
Is the 24 team pretty much irrelevant at this point?
We're only a quarter of the way through the season, he's 14th in points, and up from 21st just a month ago. Is he running great? No. Is he irrelevant? No.
Since RCR is a better team than SHR exactly why did Harvick quit #29 to become Danica's teammate?
He says it's just time for a change. And Danica won't be his only teammate.
Why do you suppose Stewart ran off and hid from the media instead of talking like Kurt did when he set the record straight about the free-for-all at the end?
He ran right past me in the garage. I tried to stop him. But he was having none of it. Wasn't rude. Just didn't want to talk.
Got to feel for Montoya, he had that race in the bag until Brian Vickers (shocker) wrecked. Do you feel this run can turn things around for the 42 team or was this a one off.
We'll see. I know JPM hasn't exactly endeared himself to a lot of guys in the garage, but during the post-race interviews with me they were all very quick to say how bummed they were for him, especialy since he's been struggling so much. We'll see if it turns things around. There's still a ways to go, but if you've been watching Jamie McMurray's performances this year then you know that there's some hope there for the whole team.
Do you think talladega will differ from daytona with new car
Yes. But no matter what the car has been, those two races have been different. One thing everyone needs to be prepared for: there will be some stretches of getting into line and waiting to go. That's to be expected in any 500-mile race. So let's not all freak out whenever we go 15 laps without anything epic happening.
I asked Ed Hinton this question a few years ago after the 2011 Brickyard race and he wasn't sure: attendance at Indy for NASCAR is downright abysmal, bordering the outrageous. As a proportion of seating capacity it's the worst in Cup. Is there greater than a 50% chance that NASCAR will leave the Brickyard within the next 5 years? If I had to pick one that is most likely to drop from the schedule it's that one, particularly since the Frances and Bruton Smith aren't vested there.
The Frances might not be financially vested there, but I wouldn't say they aren't vested. There's a lot of pride to be lost in an Indy retreat. I don't think they are going anywhere for a while yet.
Do you think Vicker's performance the last few weeks has hurt his stock for a full-time ride next season?
I talked to him about that on Saturday afternoon, before his late wreck. He has certainly shown signs of that talent we all know he came into the sport with. But there's no doubt that he's not happy with his results in the 11 car, one of the most coveted rides in the sport. I still think he's coming back full-time in Cup.
Do you see Jr winning at Dega. It used to be that he was a for sure pick at the plate races now it seems that a top 10 is great.
He certainly can. His renewed performance + his confidence there Hendrick = a much better than average chance. And I think he showed at Daytona that this new car seems to be back to what he liked in the pre-Gen 6 car on plate track. Oh, and by the way...Go Devildogs.
Due to the RCR team arrests and legal implications does NASCAR wait until criminal justice system finishes before stepping in with penalties and fines?
They don't have to, but they might.
AJ has run 4 Cup races this season and his worst finish is 16th for Phoenix Racing. Is sponsorship the only thing holding him back from a full-time Cup ride?
Not the only thing. There really isn't anywhere to put him. And he's going to need to prove he can stay out of trouble for an extended period of time to fully bleach out a couple of big hits to his rep since 2009.
Many complain about Cup drivers in Nationwide, but I like to see them there. It adds to the show, and enables Nationwide guys to measure how good they really are in comparable equipment. So far, they don't measure up, except for Hornish. Your thoughts?
I like it, but only to a point. I am a fan of limiting the number of races a full-time Cup guy can enter. I agree with you that there's a measuring stick element to a Nationwide guy holding his own against Cup guys, but there's been nothing thrilling about watching Kyle Busch pound on people every week. Unless of course you're a Kyle Busch fan!
Do you have a preference for Talladega? Race up front or wait in the back with 20-30 laps and then its go time and race to the front?
Not to punt, but I like the fact that two different groups use the two different strategies. There's some tension that builds all day when you're sitting in the press box and you can see that lay-back group, which always has some huge names in it, sitting there and everyone wondering when they will pounce.
Being the Star Wars nerd that I am, I always point to them and say, "I wonder what those Star Destroyers are waiting for?"
Since Danica has proven to be one of the best plate track racers do you expect #10 to maybe take Dega pole postion and challenge for the win?
One good Speedweeks does not a best plate track racer make, but yes, I expect her to be a contender this weekend.
To all you Montoya fans...Juan is just keeping the seat warm until Kyle Larson is ready to move up. Don't expect him at EGR for the long haul.
You are not the first person to say that.
I was shocked to see that Ed Hinton thinks Jeff Gordon has lost a step. He has won 5 races in 2 years, and if it wasn't for Chicago and the Phoenix incident he would have finished higher in chase..I'm in agreement with you, they have been fast many times, but they just can't close the deal like the old 24 teams could.
First off, Ed has some historical perspective on all this none of us will ever achieve, so it's hard to argue with him on stuff like this. But I won't say he's lost a full step, I'll say half a step. And a lot of that has less to do with him as it does with the rest of the garage getting so much better, certainly vs. the late '90s.
Will Newman be back at SHR? If not does he wind up somewhere like EGR or with Finch's team?
It's all about $$. If SHR can find sponsorship for four cars, then I think they'd keep him. But I would keep an eye on RCR.
Do you think that Hamlin has a shot at making the chase?
No. Math-wise, he has a shot if he gets back soon. But realistically, I don't see it happening.
I saw you on the TV at Richmond... do I win a prize or something?
Apparently there was a nice shot of me on the grid taking a photo with my phone during the National Anthem. I was totally busted. But I will say, the shot turned out nice.
Ryan, I think Kahne is about to get on a hot streak, some really good tracks coming up for him. Thoughts?
I say you're not wrong. His track record says that he will hit a hot streak at some point of the season. And a couple of times that streak has happened in late spring/early summer.
Bold Talladega prediction: Aric Almirola in Victory Lane.
I can see that.
Is Mikey entered at Dega?
Yes. In an Alabama BCS Championship paint scheme for Aaron's.
That's no moon. It's Smoke.... Do you see any paybacks at Dega?
Exactly. And on on the paybacks. Never at Talladega. Too dangerous.
Do you see Trevor Bayne ever making in in Sprint Cup or has that ship sailed?
I think that ship has just gotten back out of the dry dock. Now that he's back racing full-time again I think his Cup days are coming. When he was having to wait behind Stenhouse I wasn't so confident.
These aren't the droids you're looking for.
We can do this all day, right?
I'm gonna be in the infield for the Southern 500. Do you think 2 cases is sufficient?
If you're talking Goody's Headache Powder, yes. Anything else, no.
So...what is JGR susposed to do if TDR tells them that they can not touch the engines? It seems that NASCAR over did the penalities to that team.
I agree that the penalties were overdone. But talking to TRD and JGR, going forward they will overhaul their whole approach to quality control. Toyota checks it before shipping, JGR checks it again before racing. They do that now, but clearly not well enough.
If Montoya had made your Power Rankings, what would his tagline have been?
If Montoya's first-ever oval win had come on Richmond, he's not the only one who would have needed a Depends.
Alright folks, gotta go. Thanks for showing up. If I missed you, hit me up on Twitter (@ESPNMcGee) or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Until next time, tip the wait staff and enjoy the music of Billy Currtington...because if we don't he will come after our grandparents.