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Monday, February 26, 2007

View from the Couch: Auto Club 500

-A flat tire killed Kevin Harvick's chances to win, but he has to be excited about how strong RCR cars were. Not only did they finish strongly, all three hovered in the top ten almost the whole race.

-It was pretty cool to see Matt Kenseth so emotional in victory lane. He won 5 races last season but is still appreciative of how hard it is to win.

-Why did Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch pit after the red flag? They entered the pits in 7th and 8th and then had to pass several cars to finish 8th and 9th respectively. Kurt Busch stayed out and moved from 12th to 7th. Even with fresh tires, seven laps wasn't enough time to make a huge difference.

Where's Carl Edwards? I didn't hear any reason why he was struggling. Either he had problems that weren't mentioned or the #99 was completely out to lunch. Greg Biffle finished 15th, but that's a big drop from where he usually runs at California. Matt Kenseth won the race, but Roush Racing looks like they did at the end of 2006. It's definitely a long season, but right now the Chevy teams are well ahead of Ford and Dodge.

-Brian Vickers scored Toyota's first top ten in Cup. Vickers also moved up to 34th in the standings after missing Daytona.

-David Reutimann's crash looked horrible. It wasn't so much the crash, but Reutimann's reaction from the in-car cameras. Thankfully he was all right. If anyone needed a reminder why NASCAR stopped racing back to the line, this was it. A frozen field allows safety crews almost instant access to the track instead of waiting longer for the cars to slow. Reutimann took a while to get out of his car and there was a fire.

-Wolfgang Puck gave a shout out to his favorite drivers Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon. Gordon and Johnson had no part in the bit, but that didn't win any new blue collar fans for the duo. As if Hendrick haters needed more ammunition.

-On the flipside, Dale Earnhardt Jr showed his sense of humor by taking a bow after his spin. It was probably less frustrating since his day was already done by that point.

-DirecTV Hot Pass. Nothing like paying to hear Dale Jr say things like “we lost a cylinder” or watch Kasey Kahne's telemetry while he turns laps in 38th place. Does anyone know if you can switch drivers with this service? That would be unfortunate if you couldn't.

-Why does Fox insist on showing the lame 3D video game graphics instead of actual video footage? It's like the friend who just got a new useless gadget, but insists on using it anyway. DW keeps saying, "Fans will love it, drivers will hate it." It's actually "fans hate it, drivers probably don't care."

-Having drivers surf in front of a blue screen. Get it? The race is in California. California is the only race venue where Fox feels compelled to havegimmicky promos. Scrap them all together.

-Larry McReynolds' favorite saying,“Guys I've been watching the __ car”. Dear Larry, watching cars is your job. I guess the alternative is doing a bit with corn dogs and fencing.

-I complain about Fox a lot, but they do a good job overall. Mike Joy is usually on top of the action and is quick to identify cars involved in wrecks. McReynolds and Jeff Hammond are at their best when they describe the technical aspects of racing and DW is DW. Fox also gets credit for catching most crashes, pit stops and restarts.

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