The Frontstretch: Frontstretch Breakdown: Stater Bros. 300 by Toni Montgomery -- Sunday February 26, 2006

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Frontstretch Breakdown: Stater Bros. 300

Toni Montgomery · Sunday February 26, 2006

 

In A Nutshell: Greg Biffle demonstrated Roush Racing’s dominance at California Speedway yet again. Taking advantage of Carl Edwards’ late pit stop for fresh tires, Biffle made a charge from third to first on a late restart and easily left his competition behind, winning the Stater Bros. 300 at California Speedway. Newman held off a furious charge from Edwards coming to the finish to take second, followed by Jeff Burton in fourth and Jamie McMurray in fifth.

Who Should Have Won: Carl Edwards. Edwards was done in by the simplest of things—- a racing glove. A late debris caution for someone’s glove lying on the track while Edwards was driving off into the sunset put the No. 60 team in a no-win situation. If Edwards stayed out, drivers with fresher tires would blow by him on the restart. If Edwards pitted, he would give up way too much track position and have almost an impossible task to drive back to the lead. Edwards chose to pit, and may have been right in his assessment, as teammate Greg Biffle and his fresher tires wasted no time in getting to the lead. Unfortunately Edwards ran out of laps before he could run Biffle down.

Three Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race Weekend:
1) What is it about those Roush cars and California Speedway?
2) Wide track with lots of grooves and little action, or a short track with tight quarters and lots of side-by-side action?
3) If you were Carl Edwards, what would you have done?

Worth Noting/Points Shuffle:
Take special note of the Buschwhacker watch statistic regarding top ten finishers for this race. For better or for worse, they were all Cup regulars. Best among the Busch regulars was Raybestos Rookie contender Todd Kluever, who finished 12th.

But for an inch this way or that, Carl Edwards and Jamie McMurray might have had much different results. Edwards took a big slide up the race track on the first lap, narrowly missing contact with the wall. Jamie McMurray spun out of second place on lap 18. McMurray also narrowly missed the wall, lost only two spots, and minimized the damage by getting to pit for fresh tires almost immediately under the ensuing caution.

Of all the tracks on the circuit, isn’t it odd that NASCAR should end up having to find the hand that fit’s the mystery glove at California Speedway, just outside of Los Angeles? If it doesn’t fit"¦.

Kevin Harvick, who will be running the full Busch Series schedule, currently holds a lead of nine points over second place J.J. Yeley. Clint Bowyer trails Harvick by 17 points in third. There will still be some moving around in the standings, as fourth-place Jamie McMurray and ninth-place Greg Biffle are not doing the full season and will not be competing for the Busch Series championship.

A pair of rookies, Todd Kluever and Burney Lamar, hold down fifth and sixth in the points. Along with Jon Wood in seventh, they are the only Busch regulars currently in the Top 10.

Buschwhacker Watch:
Buschwhackers in this race: 18
Starting spots taken by Buschwhackers YTD: 36 of 86
Buschwhackers finishing in Top 10: 10
Races won by Buschwhackers YTD: 2 of 2
Buschwhackers ranked in Top 10 of Busch Series points standings: 7

Quotable:
“We were kind of in a tough position there at the end with the decision to pit, and we weren’t sure what to do, but I felt like we weren’t going to win if we stayed out. We just decided to pit. We didn’t have enough laps to get up there, but I still had a blast racing with Ryan and Jeff Burton, especially there in the middle of the race. And, I almost wrecked the first lap. We’re lucky we even got to finish the race.” Carl Edwards

“"¦At the end there we were running the 60 and the 21 a little bit, but we certainly weren’t going to catch them without a caution. We really needed that caution to do our thing. There was no doubt that we would stay out; we didn’t have any tires left. It wasn’t a decision for us, we had to stay out. We had used all of our sets of tires.” Greg Biffle

Note: Anybody know what color Biffle’s gloves were? And did he have two when he got out of the car?

“The biggest thing was that I learned that I need to get on to pit road a lot better than I do now. That’s where we lost a lap. It was my fault that we lost the lap. It was really my first green flag pit stop ever so we’ll work on that and get it a lot better.” Burney Lamar

“We needed to be a little bit better. Our driver needed to be a little bit smarter. This only my second Busch start, so not knowing how drastic the changes make the car under caution as far as what it’s going to do and where the car needed to be at the start of the race. I haven’t had those deals yet, and neither has my crew chief, Mike Kelley, so we’re all kind of learning together.” Todd Kluever

Next Up: Viva Mexico! The Busch Series travels south of the border for a Sunday show on the road course at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, Mexico. The Telcel-Motorola 200 presented by Banamex can be seen on Fox at 2:00 PM ET on Sunday, March 5th.

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Open Wheel Wednesday: How Can IndyCar Stand Out?
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Recent articles from Toni Montgomery:

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