Without further ado… here’s our latest Power Rankings following Fontana.
Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR, and all our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Sprint Cup race, capturing the story of how the weekend unfolded. It’s the most original commentary you’ll ever find: the truth, coming straight out of the mouths of the drivers, crew members, and the car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what a select few were thinking following the rain delayed Auto Club 500 at the Auto Club Speedway in California.
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.
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.
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.
Did You Notice? That on the final lap of the Daytona 500, you had both Kyle and Kurt Busch giving up on their own chance to win the Great American Race, instead choosing to stay in line behind their teammates while attempting to push them to the win. That selfless act was followed by an emotional, humble Kurt Busch in Victory Circle, where he celebrated with winner Ryan Newman while bursting with gratitude for the opportunities he’s gotten over at Penske Racing.
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?
So, without further ado… here’s our latest Power Rankings following Daytona.
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.
As their ads from the 1960s stated, “Put a Dodge in Your Garage.” While the field fanned out on the backstretch on the “money” lap, Ryan Newman, with a big push from teammate Kurt Busch, streaked by on the outside of Stewart, who was being pushed by teammate Kyle Busch, to take the lead. The whole scene looked perfectly orchestrated, and almost anti-climactic as the two Chargers surged to the front of the pack and ran unencumbered to the finish line. It didn’t end there. Looking back through the top 11 spots, seven of them were “Pentastar” powered machines. The brand that was the preverbal boat anchor last season suddenly thrust itself back atop the points standings with their first Daytona 500 win since Ward Burton accomplished the feat back in 2002.