Race Journal Online
est. October 4, 2006
"I believe anybody who tells you he is unbiased is a liar. Being human gives you bias, and you can't avoid that. The best you can ever hope to be is fair."
Click to read David Poole tribute
Official Beast of RJO
2003 - 2014
Please consider giving to
Friends of RJO
The Daly Planet
The Auto Club 27: A Perfect Race!
By Carol Einarsson | 03/26/2013
Category: Cheers and Jeers
CHEERS to the El Cajon piece on Jimmie, but his childhood barber? Really? Nothing against barbers, of course, but have we run out of people to interview?
Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Imagesfor NASCAR.
CHEERS to Matt Kenseth unconcerned about three failed inspections. As long as it's ready by noon.
CHEERS to MW walking the grid. If they're sold on having someone walk that way, at least he's better than the girl that tried it before and was mugged by a rapper. Still, it's odd, and seriously, how do you call the wrong sponsor for Jamie Mac when you're standing right next to the giant logo on the hood??
CHEERS to Jeff Hamilton from MRO for a nice invocation, and to The Tenors, too, I think. I like how happy they were with themselves at the end, smiles all around!
JEERS to the command to start. Dual commands never work, and when they're by pseudo-celebs that have never before been to a NASCAR race (and likely never will attend again), the only feeling we're left with is that we'd rather Auto Club Speedway had chosen a random fan from the stands by lottery and gone up there with a microphone to have the command called by someone who actually wanted to be at the race.
CHEERS to Hammond on his sign perch. Too bad they couldn't attach his zipline to THAT!
CHEERS to a covey of quails! He said that once before and we even looked it up. We're pleased to say we now know what a covey of quails is.
JEERS to a track so bumpy it's visible even from a great distance. I can't imagine what it feels like at those speeds.
CHEERS to Denny in the back seat of the Coke carpool. I wonder if he's wishing now that he'd spent that whole afternoon kicking the back of Joey's seat.
JEERS to mysterious spinning for David Stremme.
JEERS to oil on the track and another underfunded team to the garage. Sorry, Timmy.
CHEERS to the paint on the 2 car and the white rims.
CHEERS to a well-placed camera catching car after car after car hitting the wall. Unfortunate for some, but well-covered at least.
CHEERS to baseball bats. Some tools are just immune to technological advancements.
CHEERS to Larry Mac burning up his fuel mileage calculator in the booth as much as he ever did on the pit box. We'll see how he compares to Steve Addington's numbers.
JEERS to the 87 in the wall because how often is Joe still in the race this late in the game? Darn.
JEERS to trouble for Marcos, but also for the paint on that Mac Tools car because the rear bumper looks like it's smashed in when it's not.
CHEERS to Timmy Hill back in the race. Break an oil line once, and it may happen again. It's the only interesting thing to happen so far today...well, aside from the leather coat I bought for 70% off while shopping online during the race.
JEERS to more trouble for Marcos? If you're gonna blow out a tire, though, that's surely the way to do it!
CHEERS to a restart with 27 to go. Now let's see a race.
JEERS to whatever happened to Harvick on that restart.
CHEERS to Denny who decided he was gonna drive on the shoulder to pass all that rush hour traffic!
CHEERS to great racing at Fontana! Can we please just race 27 laps a year at this track? I know it's a long way to go for so few laps, but evidently this is the only way to inspire guys to race.
JEERS to an important piece of Mark Martin's car breaking. JEERS to blaming Gilliland, though.
CHEERS to Larry Mac's tie. He's the winner, today, by a landslide! I'd wear a whole dress made out of that fabric!
JEERS to Denny missing a lug nut, but it's far better than before I corrected the typo that had him missing a lung. Proof that no matter what happens, it could always be worse.
CHEERS to the pessimistic stat guy that tells us Kyle Busch has lost the last nine races in which he's led the most laps.
JEERS to counting out "the competition", and thinking the 18 is unbeatable. Tony and Joey might argue otherwise.
CHEERS to the race between fourth and twelfth, and CHEERS to FOX letting us watch it!
JEERS to cutting to commercial even as we saw a car smoking on the apron. Check that... CHEERS to FOX cutting out of the commercial to return to the track on full screen.
JEERS to how much time it took Clint Bowyer to get out of his car. I guess it's been five hours and five minutes since his last energy drink.
JEERS to the fountain on Denny's car, but CHEERS to Jimmie lending his back bumper for the 11 to try and scrub his nose.
CHEERS to pitting with 14 to go. See? 27 laps at Fontana can give us everything we need in a race. We've had great racing, cautions, blown engines, and pit stops.
CHEERS to Tony on the apron, and blocked by the 22! See, Tony? You can block without wrecking the field!
CHEERS to watching the front of the pack and seeing car after car jump out towards the apron to pass traffic!
CHEERS to Mike Joy catching that Junior got turned, and CHEERS to driver 88 holding onto his car and not wrecking himself or anyone else.
CHEERS to Joey who may only now be able to show the racing world what talent he has. Makes you wonder about how things are done at Penske vs. Gibbs. And if he can start winning, maybe he won't even have to punch a guy to get that respect.
CHEERS to a mirror full of the 11, because if Joey started the race with clean underwear, he probably won't finish it the same way.
CHEERS to the best finish ever at California because no matter how this turns out, to have the two guys who scuffled last week battle for the win this week... nothing could have been better!
JEERS to thinking whoever's in third may win this race. I wonder if Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch are thinking the same thing.
CHEERS to Darrell Waltrip's optimism that the 11 and 22 will "show each other a lot of respect". I dunno about that...
CHEERS to the rear cam on Joey car, and the production truck with less optimism than DW. You don't keep that shot full-screen unless you're waiting for contact.
CHEERS to a final lap drag race!! And at California?! Have you ever? No, I've never!
CHEERS (yes, really!) to Kyle Busch! Watching those two feuding in front of him, goes wide and takes the lead!! That was a beautiful thing to see!
JEERS to Denny and Joey wrecking... If my font had a "talking loud in a higher octave than usual", I'd use it here! They're both wrecking!
JEERS to the inside wall... another place that should (but didn't) have SAFER barriers. And again we're asking WHY??
CHEERS to no in-car from Denny Hamlin as he sat in his car. Sometimes the window net down is enough.
JEERS to that hit by Denny... wow... three feet off the ground, it looked like. And now he's on the ground being put on a board and a stretcher?
CHEERS to more melee, though, and Tony mad at Joey? That can't be from the block, can it? And just another observation: until now, have we seen Tony "full length" yet this season?
JEERS to Joey's "That's what he gets." Wow. We can only hope (later confirmed) that Joey didn't know Denny was being loaded into an ambulance. Even still, a little more middle-of-the-road might have been nice to hear.
JEERS to "awake and alert". I know those words are meant to reassure us he's okay, but so often we've heard those used only to find out later that there's bad news to follow. Prayers for Denny Hamlin as he's airlifted to a hospital.
CHEERS to clarifying, though, that Denny was going by helicopter for traffic reasons, not emergency life-saving reasons.
CHEERS to Kyle Busch for winning in a most un-Kyle-Busch fashion! There was no wrecking another driver, there was no questionable antics, there was just a driver who wanted to win, seizing the opportunity that presented itself, and driving past a feuding teammate and former teammate. Yoo hoo! I'm over here! That had to have been one of his most enjoyable wins ever! Two guys arguing with their cars, and he wasn't one of them!
CHEERS to fantastic 27-lap race at Fontana! I know they hope for more -- we all hope for more -- but there have been many (all?) times that we haven't seen any excitement at all come from Auto Club Speedway. Twenty-seven laps once a year (we may even agree to a second 27-lap race each year) is exactly what's needed in SoCal. No more, no less. In a land of unnaturally thin and cosmetically over-enhanced people, I'm sure they'd all embrace the idea that sometimes less is more. And doesn't The Auto Club 27 have a nice ring to it? Maybe they could even market it to sell tickets for $27 each! It's brilliant, I say!
Update: Denny Hamlin reportedly has a compression fracture (broken back), and is expected to return home and meet with Dr Petty for evaluation. Prayers continue for his recovery!
|Looks like I picked the wrong week to watch "The Hobbit" on PPV.
CHEERS to two feuding drivers sponsored by the same soft-drink company. The pictures on Reddit have been precious!
JEERS to Coca-Cola who just figured out why Pepsi only sponsored one driver at a time.
CHEERS to fighting it out for the win. That was a classic battle, until....
JEERS to replaying the 1979 Daytona 500 finish (except for the fight, of course). Either Joey Logano or Denny Hamlin deserved to win. Neither did.
CHEERS to Kyle Busch, playing the role of Richard Petty in the 1979 reenactment. Yeah, he wins a lot of races, but he also loses a lot that he should have won. This time, the dice rolled in his favor. He'll take it, that's for sure! CHEERS to the 18 team! Kyle can't be an easy guy to work with, but I'm sure upsides like these outweigh the downsides.
JEERS to Denny Hamlin finding the only place on the Left Coast without a SAFER barrier. It's a gift these guys have, I swear! After all the crap Pocono took a couple of years ago, you'd think SAFER barriers on the inside wall would be a done deal by now.
CHEERS to Denny Hamlin, and best wishes for a speedy recovery. Maybe he misses a few races, maybe not. I'd rather have him drop out of Chase contention this year, if it means having him around for many years to come. Take your time, Denny, and heal well. We'll see you on the other side.
CHEERS to the last 27 laps of a NASCAR race. What have I been telling you about how to run a race? Around here, we get 30-35 laps. On a half-mile dirt track. And we handicap the fast guys to the back! Makes for an awesome show.
Now, if we can get the NCAA to run just the last five minutes of each game, this month would be perfect!
|If the bumpy track is not a threat to driver safety or racing integrity (such as potholes forming during a race), I think would rather this, or any, track spend resources to install SAFER barriers, or related safety measures, on any potential dangerous areas of impact instead of a track surface repave.
Older surfaces seem to allow for more tire wear (and more 4-tire stops, rather than 2-tire or gas-only stops) - meanwhile, wrecked cars seemingly tend to find the hard (non-SAFER) outside or inside walls and similar dangerous impact points, such as wall openings,
|CHEERS to more melee, though, and Tony mad at Joey? That can't be from the block, can it? And just another observation: until now, have we seen Tony "full length" yet this season?
Some please get Tony some meds or show him the video of some of his less than successful blocks. IMHO he did as much in the minutes after the race to prove that he is one of the biggest hypocrites in racing. Don't do as I do, do as I say. BS Tony, if its goof for you its good for everyone. Blocking for 35 place is a little silly, blocking for the lead and the win is racing.
And here I thought Smoke had grown up a lot over the last few years. Guess not.
Here is the word that I haven't seen in any of the articles that we are all waiting on. Danica!!! Another lap down finish and if it wasn't for the blown engines, etc. she would have finished in the mid 30's again and multiple laps down.
|CHEERS to Kyle Busch on the win..... shocking as it may be... he is becoming likeable.
JEERS to Tony Stewart. He seems to be regressing back to his old ways. Throwing temper tantrums when a fellow competitor has the audacity to challenge him. How dare they!
JEERS to the hard hit that had Denny flat on his back. JEERS to no safer barrier!!!
CHEERS to the pics of Denny on his way home.... but JEERS to a serious back injury. Praying for him!
JEERS to two weeks filled with Logano drama. Unfortunately, the kid was over hyped, and he has not lived up to it, so naturally he is on the defensive. I think he has become an easy target for some of these guys to bully. It reminds me of how Brad K was treated a few years ago. I do hope this drama ends soon. I prefer action and good racing on the track over off track drama where grown men are acting like elementary school kids. That just does appeal to me.
|JEERS JEERS JEERS to no safer barrier where the 11 hit. I just don't get it. Why does it always take someone getting hurt to fix this type of stuff? I'd bet a lot of money that a safer barrier will be on that wall before the next race. Makes me wonder how many more tracks have this same issue.
JEERS to bad luck for JPM.
CHEERS to an AWESOME last lap.
CHEERS to Lagano for racing him hard and not backing off just because he might get the critics talkin.
CHEERS for the HANS (again) saving Denny from a lot worse injury. I too hope he takes his time and heals up properly.
JEERS to Tony's illogical temper getting the best of him, but CHEERS for the entertainment.
JEERS to no racing in Nascar, IndyCar, and F1 this weekend.
CHEERS to another good article by Carol!
|How difficult is it for a reporter to walk around a track, noting walls with and without SAFER barriers, and walls or wall openings with and without some sort of impact safety measure, and then post a schematic of the results in an article? Nascar might mute a driver's comments, but I am not sure Nascar would muzzle a journalist.|
The SAFER barrier thing is simple - they cost money. ISC hates spending money, and they'll do the absolute minimum they can in order to avoid spending it. And, since ISC _is_ NASCAR, you won't see NASCAR taking any action to make them spend money. (Bruton at SMI, the Matteolis at Pocono, and of course Tony George at Indy are much more open to spending money when safety is an issue).
Bumpy tracks, and tracks with old asphalt, place a premium on correct suspension setup choices. That means that the more skilled drivers (and crew chiefs) have a bigger advantage over the less-skilled at those tracks. Additionally, as suspension becomes more important, aero becomes less so, which is always a positive. So we can certainly hope that ISC's hatred of spending money extends to not repaving Fontana, since if they do it will almost certainly give us 43 cars each neatly spaced 1 second apart around the track.
|Overall a good race at California. Racing is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get.
Exciting ending. It's a shame that someone got hurt but blame needs to be placed on the track for lack of safer barriers.
I think if they got rid of points and he with the most wins was champion we might see more races with endings like that. Race for the win, give no quarter, and let the chips fall where they may. I'm going to win or wreck because 2nd place (points) don't matter. Of course, that would raise the probability of wrecks and injuries so, maybe not.
Yes Tony is the classic do what I say not what I do for the driver. I could have seen him calling Logano out in an interview after the race but I think he majorly over-reacted. No one went over to him after Talladega and threatened him (unless I forgot).
JEERS to a week off but maybe we need it. The first five races have been a mixed bag but overall better than the first five from the last few years.
Hope Denny doesn't have a career ending injury. I have no idea how serious that injury is with respect to healing but the symptoms we've heard about thus far makes it sound pretty bad.
Sorry to bring it up but it's a reminder of how dangerous this sport is. No matter how many safer barriers they put up, someday there will be a fatality. Of course the same could be said for most contact or high speed sports.
|CHEERS to Carol for FINALLY giving Kyle Busch some credit! I'm not really a fan of him, but I'll admit, I read this column mainly to hear Carol giving Kyle the business, although I don't necessarily agree with her. It's like listening to one of the local radio personalities, who knows nothing (and I'm not putting you in that category) about racing, scream about Danica.
CHEERS to the booth not going on and on and on and, well you get hte picture, about Danica!
Hopefully we'll see racing like this at Texas, Darlington and Charlotte. And Richmond! Let's not forget Richmond!
Auto Club Speedway is owned by Penske.
And I forgot, JEERS to Tony Stewart. I agree wholeheartedly with all of you that Tony is the biggest hypocrite in NASCAR. The guy can drive, I'll give him that. Probably one of the most talented drivers on planet Earth, but he is a jerk! Not only the 'Dega fiasco, remember the helmet throwing at Bristol for an accident HE caused!
Penske sold California speedway to ISC many years ago. Since ISC and NASCAR are controlled by the same people there is absolutely no excuse for no safer barriers around ALL the track, inside and outside...same goes for the non-ISC tracks as well.
Why the drivers continue to put up with this I have no idea...
|Denny to miss 6 weeks (5 races)|
As Mallards said, Penske sold Fontana, Michigan, and his share of Homestead to ISC in 1999. Current track owners are the Matteoli family (Pocono), the George family (Indy), Dover Downs (Dover), SMI (Altanta, Bristol, Charlotte, Kentucky, Las Vegas, New Hampster, Sears Point, and Texas), and ISC (all the rest).
Penske has said that if the ISC is no longer interested in it, he'd be willing to buy Fontana back. One assumes at a significant discount from the price he sold.
|@possum @Mallard Motorsports
I stand corrected. How did I not remember that? I've been a NASCAR fanatic since 1990 and have been to Michigan twice. Got to see Mark Martin win the IROC race and championship in 96. The most memorable thing was the announcer. He was focused on Robby Gordon and Little Al being tied going in that he completely ignored the fact that Martin was dominating the race. And every time the cars would head down into turn one, the announcer would call it TURN 3 and vice versa. The crowd, at least our section, would scream, in unison TURN 1!
|@possum: Penske also sold Rockingham and Nazareth to ISC as part of that deal. Also, does the George family still own part of Chicagoland, or did they sell that to ISC?|
To be honest, I'd forgotten Penske briefly owned Rockingham.
I didn't mention Nazareth because it never held a Cup race (just Busch series). The ISC really screwed those folks over, too; their only intention in buying it was to eliminate competition by shutting it down (same thing they did with Pikes Peak). Nazareth is for sale now, but the purchaser has to agree to tear the track down and build something else there.
The Joliet track was originally owned by Tony George and Bill France Jr (independant from ISC). Shortly after France's death it was sold to the ISC. I assume the Frances needed to sell for inheritance/tax reasons, and George didn't have time for it due to the imminent reunification of CART with the IRL.
Find more RJO at:
Weekly polls now in the FORUM
Official Rules of New Chase Format
2014 Penalty/Deterrent System
TV Times are only estimates
Sprint Cup 2014 Schedule
Saturday night races in red
Feb 23 Daytona FOX 1pm
Mar 02 Phoenix FOX 3pm
Mar 09 Las Vegas FOX 3pm
Mar 16 Bristol FOX 1pm
Mar 24 Fontana FOX 3pm
Mar 30 Martinsvl FOX 1pm
Apr 06 Texas FOX 1:30pm
Apr 12 Darlington FOX 7pm
Apr 20 OFF (Easter)
Apr 26 Richmond FOX 7:30pm
May 04 Talladega FOX 1pm
May 10 Kansas FOX 7:00pm
May 17 All Star SPEED 7:30p
May 25 Charlotte FOX 6:00pm
Jun 01 Dover FOX 1pm
Jun 08 Pocono TNT 1pm
Jun 15 Michigan TNT 1pm
Jun 22 Sonoma TNT 3pm
Jun 28 Kentucky TNT 7:30pm
Jul 05 Daytona TNT 7:30pm
Jul 13 New Hampshr TNT 1pm
Jul 21 OFF
Jul 27 Indianapolis ESPN 1pm
Aug 03 Pocono ESPN 1pm
Aug 10 WatGlen ESPN 1pm
Aug 17 Michigan ESPN 1pm
Aug 23 Bristol ABC 7:30pm
Aug 31 Atlanta ESPN 7:30pm
Sep 06 Richmond ABC 7:30pm
The Challenger Round
Sep 14 Chicago ESPN 2pm
Sep 21 New Hampshr ESPN 2pm
Sep 28 Dover ESPN 2pm
The Contender Round
Oct 05 Kansas ESPN 2pm
Oct 11 Charlotte ABC 7:30pm
Oct 19 Talladega ESPN 2pm
The Eliminator Round
Oct 26 Martinsvl ESPN 1:30pm
Nov 02 Texas ESPN 3pm
Nov 09 Phoenix ESPN 3pm
Nov 16 Homestead ESPN 3pm