What's up folks and welcome to the post-road rage edition of the sometimes-on/sometimes-off Monday Motorsports Block Party.
We don't have time to waste, so let's get to the queries!
I heard some more about Newman to RCR this weekend. How likely is it to happen, and when would an announcement happen
It's very likely, but an interesting twist in that soap opera is RCR's hiring of Mark McArdle as director of racing operations. He was serving as the go-between for RCR and Furniture Row Racing. Could this mean a move for Kurt Busch as well? Either way, an announcement will be coming sooner than later.
Do you think Lebron James would be a good race car?
If they can fit him in one, yes. I've seen cars built for John Salley, who is 6-11, and Shaq, who is 7-1. So it can be done.
Ryan, why does Dale Junebug seem to choke every year late in the season or during the Chase? Is it a lack of fitness or just bad luck?
Bad luck. But let's not act like his world is falling apart. Until he was wrecked on Sunday he hadn't finished lower than 14th since mid-June and had three top tens in the four races leading into Watkins Glen. Now we're headed to Michigan, Bristol, Atlanta, Richmond, Chicago. He could win at each of those places.
And hey, at least he's in a position to choke now, right? Not so long ago he was finishing 20-something in points. Hard to choke from there!
Was Robby Gordon given any consideration in the 14 at the Glen? In top equipment seems like he could have been more of a factor than Papis, who was invisible all day except when he ran over Ambrose.
With the Jose from Baja, I could have predicted you were a Robby fan! I don't think there was a ton of consideration given to calling Robby. It's hard to believe now that he hasn't run full-time in Cup since '09. Personally, I would love to see him back. But right now I think he's busy working to keep his other non-NASCAR efforts afloat.
Why are so many predicting Kenseth as a championship contender when the last 11 races has has a 18th average finish?
That's a great question and one I asked in this week's Power Rankings. In fact, I dropped him four spots down to 8th. Three of his past four finishes have been 22nd or worse and six of his past 10 have been 19th or worse. He needs a momentum shift soon or his Chase could fall flat.
Ryan, we've seen drivers rally from seemingly insurmountable holes to sneak in the Chase before, but on the chance that Kurt Busch barges his way in, can you recall there ever being an "upset" Chase qualifier previously, where someone and some team that nobody expected to contend actually made it in?
I think the MWR cars last year would qualify. I think there was some feeling that Bowyer would sneak in, just on talent. But the idea that he would be a title contender and Truex would be in the top ten all year...anyone who tells you they expected that, including Michael Waltrip, is fibbing!
And Montoya in '09.
With Stewart likely missing the rest of the season do you think SHR might reconsider firing Newman and put Ryan in the #14 for 2014 as teammate to Danica and Harvick?
No, I think the Newman ship has sailed. And I think Tony will be back. Too many sponsors have too much tied up in Tony personally for him to bail right now.
To your point, though, there's a part of me that hopes he doens't come back this season. I always want these guys to take the time and heal right, especially when the Cup has become a lost cause.
Looks like BV will be named the full time driver for the 55 next year tommorow... How soon do you think the other silly season dominos will fall?
How good was Tim Richmond Ryan? No doubt he lived as hard as he raced....rip
He was ridiculously good. Marty Smith and I had this conversation a couple of weeks ago during our Marty & McGee podcast. (Download now at iTunes or ESPN.com/podcenter!) He was so talented and still so raw, had he had a little more time to hone stock car craft I think he was a champion.
The question we discussed was, if Richmond, Allison, and Kulwicki had lived on, would Earnhardt have won seven Cups? I think the answer is probably no. And Earnhardt himself admitted that it would have been a helluva lot harder.
Hey.. Surprise... I think your rankings are spot on. Not a fan, but JJ did a fabulous job on Sunday, don't ya think?
You're my new best friend! He did, especially considering that they were just off and the rest of the team struggled so. You know you're good when you have a couple of "off" weeks like the 48 had at Pocono and The Glen and you still open up your lead on the field.
Ryan, were you surprised that Boris didn't put that wuppin' on Scaredy Cat Biffle like he promised you at the Glen?
Still my single most favorite post-race moment ever. http://youtu.be/dcuLaUwlphY
Hey Ryan "Willis" McG(ah)ee- what's your favorite NASCAR nickname?
Oh man, there are so many. I still love the classics like Fireball. You can't lose with the Silver Fox, The King, Pops, Cannonball, any of those. But it's hard to top Fatback McSwain.
If I hear someone from the media call Marcos Ambrose "Marcus Ambrose" one more time, I just may drink this beer in front of me....
Yeah, imagine if he ever drove for Rick HendrickS.
McGee- gotta rap with you about Smoke's injury on the dirt track. Hate to see a crowd favorite miss the playoffs due to an extracurricular activity. Will we see Brian France crack down on some of this?
No. I think that once he's able to sit down with his sponsors, they're the ones that might have something to say about it. That being said, they also knew the deal when they signed on with him. Heck, it's a huge part of his appeal to companies and fans, the whole man-of-the-earth short track thing. But NASCAR won't ever make a formal policy about it. They still like to treat everyone as the independent contractors that they are.
How scary is it that Kyle Busch just turned 28 years old in May...ryan, he's only 28!!!!!
I know, right? Same with guys like Logano and Vickers. Just because they've been around a while doesn't mean they're old. When people start hammering on Logano's maturity, I remind them that if he was in the real world, he would've just graduated college!
Has TRD figured out their engine woes? Or did they just scale back pushing the envelope, if you will.
I think they took a pause. Whatever dialing back they did, they are ramping back up now. Keep in mind, the struggles have really been mostly with Joe Gibbs Racing, who are still getting used to the outsourced TRD engine processes. If you look at MWR, who have been with TRD since day one, there's more consistency there.
It's been a pretty quiet silly season so far. At this time last year it Kenseth had signed a contract with JGR. How much longer till the dominos start to fall? Also will the Hokies be better this year than the 7-6 record from last season?
Like I said earlier, I think it'll start moving soon. The biggest name was Harvick and we've known about that forever. We kind of knew coming into this season that the Silly Season would be relatively tame.
As for the Hokies, your fellow VT loyalist Marty Smith is convinced they'll be awful. I say 8-4, second in the ACC Coastal behind Miami.
Another Nationwide race and yet another cup guy wins again what do you think needs to change to give the younger guys a chance to win and do you see NASCAR doing anything?
I still say put a ten-race Nationwide limit on guys who have declared they're running for a Cup title. But no, I don't think NASCAR will do anythign about this for a while.
hahaha. Amen Tom from Worcester, both of you are so right about marcus & hendricks a la Jimmy Spencer!!!!
Drive me nuts.
Ryan in reference to the Richmond question... lets not forget Elliot could have won mone, Rusty could have won another, Mark Martin was 2nd several times... so lets not say that Earnhardt had it easy without those drivers who you refernced plus these and even Gordon b/c 94 was his last title and Gordon won 4 after that
Oh, I know. It's total speculation. And I never said it was easy for Earnhardt. Just saying it probably would have been more crowded at the top. But the only thing that ever even made me think about it was was someting Dale Sr. himself said to me years ago during a conversation about those guys.
How good of a crew chief is Alan Gustafson? Is he the right fit for the 24 team?
It's getting tough to watch Jeff Gordon now. He's not the same driver he used to be, but is he getting close to the "just riding around" stage now, or do you feel like he's still good enough to compete out there?
I totally disagree. Yes, guys slow down as they age. But he's also had awful luck. And this is as deep as the talent pool has ever been in the Cup Series.
Yes, he made a mistake on Sunday at The Glen. But just a week earlier he nearly won at Pococo and he has five top tens in his last seven races. To suggest that he's becoming DW or Richard Petty at the end of their careers is just way too premature. I covered DW's final years and it was one of the worst things I've ever had to watch. This is far from that.
SHR just announced Austin Dillon will fill the 14 seat this weekend at Michigan with a driver for Bristol to be named later. Whats the chances he gets the rest of the races?
I think pretty good. There's a cross-team relationship with Bass Pro Shops there, so this isn't a total surprise. The question is going to be - for Dillon and Regan Smith, whom I think would be a great sub - how much are you willing to potentially sacrifice in terms of running for a Nationwide title to drive Smoke's car?
is the Blue Deuce a sure thing to make the chase after this weekend?
No. But I think of all the guys in that scrum, he seems to finally be getting some consistency together. We did a big piece for SportsCenter at Pocono two weekends ago and he said that consistency is key, but winning the ticket. Until he wins - and I'd keep an eye on him at Bristol in two weeks - he won't allow himself to breathe.
Even then, he'll still be in a fight through Richmond.
You talk about young guys coming on, don't forget the Dillion Boys
I wrote a story about them in ESPN The Magazine more than a year ago.
Do you think the guys would ever accept me as a gay race car driver?
I do. I think there's always a chance that some crew guys might say or do something stupid, especially at the lower levels. But as for the drivers, team owners, and most sponsors, I don't think they would care as long you prove yourself as a racecar driver.
Brad Keselowski said as much to gay NASCAR writer Michael Myers earlier this year. It got BK on the radar of those bottom-feeding morons at the Westboro Baptist Church, but other than that there was zero negative reaction.
Ryan, people keep saying Loganos stats are improving? He has almost identical stats to last year (if not worse in some cases). Plus he does not have a win. When will people give it up? You can say things like accidents weren't his fault, but every driver out there has the same problems and they deal with it.
Yeah, his stats are similar to last year's. But he's already matched last year with 14 races remaining in this season. I know people love to hate the guy. I know his Dad is hard to like. And I will always believe his career was nearly derailed because they insisted on sticking him into a Cup car WAY too early. But to say he hasn't improved as a racecar driver over the last two years just isn't true.
As a Virginia native I have never been to Martinsville Speedway, is it a better race than Richmond or Bristol in person?
I am a HUGE Martinsville fan. I like all those short tracks a lot, but there is something about looking down at Martinsville and thinking about it being on NASCAR's first Cup schedule in '49 that just gives me chills.
If you told me about 8 years ago, Newman would drive the 29 and Harvick wouldn't, id say you are nuts. Crazy how tome has changed, right?
Love your stuff Ryan! I keep hearing about dirty air and I get a little bothered by that. The idea that it?s harder to pass in traffic. Well really, it should be, this is a race. This isn?t a video game where you can go 43rd to 1st in 5 laps. It should be harder to pass. And even then I think that?s entirely overblown. Brad K dropped to the very back yesterday and made his way right back up to the front, which by the way is the real story from yesterday. I know pit strategy had a little to do with it but he still marched back up. Tony Stewart at Dover had no problem battling for the lead at the end. It might be harder to pass when you get there but to me that?s how it should be and it?s not like it?s impossible to pass. I know it?s easy for me to say that on my fanny here in my office but I love where NASCAR is going this year.
I'm with you. There has never been a time when getting stuck in traffic didn't make it hard to pass. And you're right. When a car is just flat faster than the others, it has no problem getting through the field.
There are definitely some aero tweaks coming and the manufacturers are working together, not fighting over, those changes. But the rule still applies. Be faster than the other guy and you'll probably pass him.
Between Ambrose and Montoya, which do you think is a more consistent threat to win on a non-road course.
I think it depends on the stretch of the schedule. Right now I like Montoya during the stretch we're in - Indy, Pocono, Bristol, Atlanta.
What do you think of AJ's run this week? Disappointing he ran out of fuel and didn't get to contest for the win, but a top 10 is pretty huge for that #47 team.
Huger than huge. If you look at what he's done this summer in part-time gigs, it's been a solid run.
Not a question...just a comment. I realize there's no way to prove this, but week in and week out Kasey Kahne might have the worst luck in the history of NASCAR. It's absolutely ridiculous.
Perhaps some of poor Elliott Sadler's luck rubbed off during the RPM days.
Your top 5 drivers and a darkhorse for Michigan?
Give me 16, 20, 99, 48, 88. Darkhorses: 78 and 55.
Alright folks, gotta go. Thanks for all the questions. There was no way I could get to them all, so hit me up on Twitter (@ESPNMcGee) and be sure to download the Marty and McGee podcast tomorrow at ESPN.com/podcenter. Until next time, tip the wait staff and enjoy the music of Palmetto Soul.