The Frontstretch: Top Ten Ways California Speedway Is No Darlington by Kurt Smith -- Tuesday February 26, 2008

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Top Ten Ways California Speedway Is No Darlington

Kurt Smith · Tuesday February 26, 2008


10. The race starts three hours later than East Coast fans are used to, so fans can actually be roaring drunk long before the green flag drops.

9. California Speedway actually fools Darlington fans with the shape of the racetrack being exactly like the other 2-milers, thereby faking uniqueness.

8. Fontana doesn’t bother with those tired old nicknames (“Lady In Black”, “Too Tough To Tame”) and remains completely undistinguished.

7. More fans available on Labor Day, since no one actually labors in L.A.

6. Darlington lacks the “fan participation” of having your thrown hot dog wrapper sticking to a driver’s grille and overheating their engine.

5. Fans in California get two opportunities to do something other than attend a NASCAR race each year.

4. You don’t have choice of at least seven seats to sit in at Darlington.

3. Intense heat on Labor Day weekend adds the possibility of dehydrated drivers.

2. Instead of being surrounded by pompous, tobacco-chewing rednecks, you get to be surrounded by pompous, tofu-eating vegans — but at least there’s fewer of them!

1. It’s a place where Brian France can fit in with other non-racing fans.

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Kevin in SoCal
02/27/2008 02:31 AM

#9: There is only one other D-shaped 2-miler, Michigan, so that shouldnt be plural.

#7: Los Angeles is home to the busiest shipping port in the world, where all those tainted Chinese products come thru and go straight to the Wal-Marts of the South. Somebody has to be laboring to make sure that happens.

#2: If you think tofu-eating Vegans are going to dirty themselves by going to a racetrack, you’re severly brain-damaged. Fontana is redneck central just like the South, and the 70,000 fans that do show up for the race are just as redneck and NASCAR-loving as you are.

Arent stereotypes fun? (grin)

Lunar Tunes
02/27/2008 05:11 AM

Your argument of number 9 is very weak.

If you think the tainted toys only go to the south, you’ve been playing with your own kids (or yours) toys to long already and should be checked for toxic levels in your system, and…

If Fontana is such ‘Redneck central’, just like the south as you claim, well… A) They never would have put a Wolfgang Puck Restaurant there and expect it to succeed and, most obvious… B)The race would have been selling out all these years in the first place.

See, those toxic toys have been clouding your thinking!

I hope you will be ok!

FS Kurt
02/27/2008 09:29 AM

Kevin, I know you stick up for California and that’s ok with me. You’re reading and we appreciate that.

But to respond to your arguments:

9) Yes, technically you are correct. Mea culpa…I should have used “cookie-cutter ovals” instead of “2 milers”. In that respect Fontana could be compared to Kansas, Texas, Charlotte, Atlanta, etc.

7) My point was that what actors in Hollywood have to do is not “labor”. It’s not even “work”. Or more correctly, Los Angeles has Hollywood and drive-by shootings. A blue collar city it is not.

2) Actually I’m not a redneck in any sense of the word, unless you count being a NASCAR fan (like yourself). I live in New Jersey, in a house as opposed to a trailer, and I sit at a computer desk for a living.

“If you think tofu-eating vegans are going to dirty themselves by going to a racetrack”? Are you a democrat senator? I’ll assume you didn’t mean that the way it sounded, Kevin, but comments like that are why southerners are furious at Brian France for Darlington losing the Labor Day race to California.

02/27/2008 09:30 AM

Kevin shows up wherever negative feedback appears regarding the Fontana track and jumps to the track’s defense. I guess that’s understandable since he lives out there and feels connected in some way. Hey, some people even defended Hitler and look how awful he was.

Take the geography issue out of the conversation; and what you have is a pig of a racetrack that provides dull, boring racing twice a year, where once we had two exciting, competetive races on two fairly unique tracks. I don’t care where you put the tracks; but I prefer to watch racing rather than parading.

02/27/2008 11:57 AM

Chip — very well said.

Kevin in SoCal
02/27/2008 12:43 PM

I completely agree with you about Hollywood. Actors barely do any work and get paid way too much money for it. Same with athletes. But Hollywood isnt NASCAR and yes its the track’s fault for trying to cater to the Hollywood crowd. I’ll definitely agree with you there. No I am not a democrat, that’s a four letter bad word to me. I dont see why that was a bad comment, though. Face it, going to the race track is loud, its filled with smoke, tire dust, and gasoline, and I love it that way. No hippie/vegan/tofu-eater is going to love that kind of event.

I still dont see how racing can be bad. Give me a body, 4 tires, a huge engine, and a steering wheel and I’ll watch it anywhere and love every minute of it. Even if its my least favorite driver leading the pack. What’s so wrong with a wide race track where you can run the bottom, middle, or the top? That gives drivers a place to pass, instead of one groove to follow the leader.

Lastly, I offer my opinion because I dont see it as the track’s fault we race in CA instead of SC on Labor Day. Blame NASCAR, send your hate there. The racetracks do not set their NASCAR schedules. Was there this much animosity when Homestead became the last race of the year instead of Atlanta?

02/27/2008 06:42 PM

I have been a Nascar racing fan for a long time. I never would have believed that I would turn off a race telecast until the california parades and other similar tracks.
Nascar was an idiot for taking away races from Darlington and Rockingham. The soul of racing is withering!

Kurt Smith
02/27/2008 07:19 PM

Fair enough Kevin. I like your passion for racing. You defend California all you want…come Pocono I’ll be the one taking the slings and arrows. I seem to be the only one around who likes that place. (Pocono and Dover are sort of my home tracks.)

And I have seen some good races at Fontana, even if I ought Darlington losing the Labor Day race was a mistake.

02/27/2008 10:22 PM

Greetings from “red-neck” land. I live on the SC coast and I can tell you that you can go into a sports bar (except NASCAR Speedpark Grille) and you probably will have to ask to have the race put on a small TV in the corner. Wasn’t always this way, but until the racing action became a joke. They even managed to screw up Bristol with the new paving job. Enjoy your Cali race for now, because unless they reconfigure it to make it a plate track, no one is going to watch these snooze jobs that track keeps producing.

02/27/2008 11:29 PM

Homestead: Until they reconfigured the track, twice, and allowed racing to occur there; no-one much cared for racing at that facility either. Now they have a unique track in Homestead. A one-and-one-half mile, high-banked, true oval; like Atlanta was before the cookie cutter struck there, and it’s pretty racey at Homestead now. Fortunately, Atlanta is still a good race despite the all-to common configuration.

I’m not against new locations for race tracks, be it California or Timbuktu. Just build
something besides the snooze arenas at Chicago, California, Kansas, Vegas, etc. Build a one-mile, nicely banked, D-shaped track similar to Rockingham and stack grandstands to the sky like in Bristol.
You’ll have good racing and the seating capacity of a cookie cutter all in one, with a safe-zone between pit road and the racing surface. Are ya listening Bruton?

Kevin in SoCal
02/28/2008 12:53 AM

I still like the idea of a rotating schedule. Every track worth going to gets one race. (Yes that includes CA, Rockingham, and Darlington. No, I think North Wilkesboro is too far gone.) Then we rotate every year which ones get two dates. But face it, there are only 4 race tracks out here in the West. You guys in the Southeast have 9, plus a few more that are Truck/Nationwide only.

Kurt Smith
02/28/2008 04:52 PM

I once wrote a column for That’s Racin’ suggesting a schedule that allowed NASCAR to expand and still retain their fan base. I really got slammed for it…but I still think it was a good idea. Someday I’ll trudge it out here and y’all can let me know what you think.

02/29/2008 06:32 PM

While it is crazy for Cali to have two dates, I don’t think their second one should go back to Darlington. Yeah, I know it’s unique, and historic. BFD. I live in SC, and have been to Darlington dozens of times. I have seen plenty of strung out races there, with only three cars on the lead lap.

This while sitting in that Carolina cotton field heat. You know that heat that makes you feel like you’re trying to breathe through a wool scarf. For five hours.

I like the rotation idea. Throw in Kentucky, Gateway, and Nashville too.

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