Monday, February 26, 2007

That's What it Was

It was what it was. It was a boring race. I am of course referring to yesterday's Auto Club 500 at the California Speedway.

There was some good racing going on though. And it was out of the parking lot after Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished blowing up his motor on lap 121. The 8 car was obviously the reason why there were around 10,000 empty seats in Fontana yesterday, and not the fact that the track has never in its 10-year history produced an epic race that people talk about for the next 3 months. The Daytona 500 was epic, it was dramatic, and people will be talking about it for years to come.

I am, and I'll admit this to anyone who asks this, a traditionalist. I think that NASCAR's roots are in the southeast and we should honor those who made the sport what it is today by racing in this area of the country. Let's take a look at the last race at the North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, where NASCAR should have been racing yesterday.

Again, it was Matt Kenseth who went to victory lane in that race, after he battled it out with Kasey Kahne down to the line for the win. There was no single file racing for 300 miles. There was no random debris cautions that NASCAR made up so the field could get bunched up and the margin of victory wouldn't be two days. It was good racing. Have you ever seen a side-by-side run to the checkers at California? If you have, please remind me because I fail to recall once when that has happened.

I like Texas. I like Chicago. I'll even go as far as to say that I'll like the newly redesigned Las Vegas Motor Speedway when the Nextel Cup Series visits there in two weeks. But for the tracks that NASCAR has introduced since 1997, California is my least favorite. Maybe Cali should take a page from Las Vegas and do something to the track to improve the racing. Add banking, narrow the track up, or buldoze the entire thing and build a short track.

But for someone to say that race was exciting yesterday... well, you obviously missed the point.

I hope Brian France got to sleep in yesterday morning. I slept during the race.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Auto Club 500 Recap

It wasn’t as exciting at Daytona, but in the end it was a final 4-lap shootout that set up the end of the Auto Club 500 at the California Speedway, with Matt Kenseth going to victory lane, and in the process sweeping the Busch and Cup races at the 2-mile track.

As is the norm at a place like California, engine trouble was an issue on Sunday. Martin Truex Jr. lost an engine on lap 18, and teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. blew what was left of a troubled motor on lap 121, chalking up a DNF for the second consecutive race. Kasey Kahne and Dave Blaney also suffered engine problems.

After a late caution and ensuing red flag when David Reutimann got punted by Greg Biffle and destroyed his Dominos Pizza Toyota, a shootout was set up just like a week ago.
Kenseth took off from the field and put up a huge advantage after Jeff Burton spun his tires on the final restart. Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson tried to catch Kenseth, but the 17 car was too much.

Your top 10 on Sunday was Kenseth, Gordon 2nd, Johnson 3rd, Burton 4th, and Mark Martin 5th. Clint Bowyer 6th, Kurt Busch 7th, Tony Stewart 8th, Kyle Busch 9th, and Brian Vickers in a Toyota was 10th.

Mark Martin will take a 5-point lead over Jeff Burton into the off weekend next week. The Series picks back up at Las Vegas in 2 weeks.

Is that really necessary?

I remember just a few years ago when you could turn on the television to watch a race, and the main story was the race. I wasn't sure where the Tribute part of the Tribute to America during last Sunday's pre-race show before the Daytona 500 was, and I definetly am not sure the purpose of this cat singing before today's Auto Club 500 at California. It wasn't even good, and I have no idea what this guy's name was.

But anyway, I remember when races used to start before I could even get home from church. Maybe we should get back to being able to turn on FOX or ESPN or TNT and the race will start within 5 minutes. That would be amazing.

It would also be amazing if they were racing in Rockingham, North Carolina today.


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