1. You’re Just Repeating Yourself! – Ahead of the running of the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway, International Speedway Corporation (ISC) announced that they had sold the naming rights to the track located in Fontana, Calif. to the Auto Club Speedway of Southern California. The 10-year deal was for an undisclosed amount rumored to be between $50-$75 million; and just like that, the Sunday/Monday race was billed as the Auto Club 500 at the Auto Club Speedway of Southern California.
It was a very busy offseason for me. Along with reacquainting myself with my old team and all the testing we did for the 2008 season, I got married to my beautiful bride, Kim, and went on an amazing honeymoon. It was absolutely gorgeous! Considering that I don’t ever get a chance to slow down, it was good to finally do that. As much as we would have loved to stay, we had to come back home and head to Daytona.
It is easy to overlook the fact that Everett “Cotton” Owens was a racecar driver before he began his career as a successful mechanic and team owner whose stock cars were driven by historical greats of the sport. The names include David Pearson, Buddy Baker, Bobby Allison, Junior Johnson, Benny Parsons, Fireball Roberts, Mario Andretti and Al Unser, among others. Though Owens’ talents with a wrench aided in many of his driver’s becoming legends in NASCAR, be assured, in Cotton’s day, despite his diminutive 5-foot 6-inch, 140-pound frame, he could turn a steering wheel with any of them, as well. Good enough in fact to be selected as one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers by NASCAR during the sanctioning body’s 50th Anniversary celebration in 1998.
I’m not certain how Kurt Busch has gotten such a bad rep. I’ve been trying to come up with reasons beyond the Jimmy Spencer feud that made the man so unpopular, and other than the pit road incident in Dover last year, which was a justifiable reason to upset people, I can’t think of anything. Even if Kurt was in the wrong in the Spencer incident(s), it’s not like Spencer was a respected icon known for being a great ambassador for the sport. Spencer was good enough as a driver to become a TV commentator on Speed. The King he wasn’t.
Overall, last Sunday’s Daytona 500 seemed to go pretty well, from my standards anyway. The racing was OK, and while I do admit to catching a 60-lap mid-race nap, the ending, with the prospect of Sprint’s arch-rival AT&T-sponsored car capturing the checkers, almost made me wet my pants with delight. Fortunately for me, seeing as how the ambient wind-chill in my neck of the woods was about MINUS the AT&T’s car number at the time, Jeff Burton did not win.
Q: Do you know why NASCAR can’t build a few more pit stalls and allow more cars to race on a 2.5-mile track? With its “Super Bowl” status, and kicking off the season, why not let Bill Elliott and the Wood Brothers, Ken Schrader and others in the race? Now these teams face race No. 2 with zero points and the dreaded go-or-go-home status the rest of the season.
Unless you have a crystal ball on steroids, there is a pretty good chance your fantasy team took a hit last weekend when the Hendrick camp failed to live up to expectations and the Dodges came out of nowhere to dominate the top 10. Before you get too down on yourself, remember it’s just the first week and there is plenty of time left to make up lost ground, starting with this Sunday’s Auto Club 500 at California Speedway. So which drivers can help you get back on the path to prominence and which ones are likely to be a pot hole on the street of dreams? Read this week’s Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans to find out.
After a whole week in relative anonymity amongst their manufacturer counterparts, Dodge took six of the top 10 spots in the Daytona 500 on Sunday. Were the Dodges merely in the right place at the right time, or are they going to be a force to reckoned with this year?
10. (Someone from the No. 48 team): “…but all we gotta do is be in at least 12th by race 26 — right?”
By most accounts, the 50th running of the Daytona 500 lived up to its hype. The annual Florida speed extravaganza provided spectators with an above-average dose of exciting side-by-side racing, and it culminated in an almost-Cinderella like ending with a completely unexpected win by Ryan Newman.