The west coast swing, as it was labeled, offered up a final twist in the swing. It was Fontana, CA and the Auto Club 400 which went just a little over with a double-shot green-white-checker finish. It was the 2nd GWC that threw the twist in the end that was almost the first GWC…

They had raced all afternoon and it was, for the largest part, pole-sitter Kurt Busch and team mate Kevin Harvick leading the field. Harvick was after a west coast sweep having already won in Las Vegas and Phoenix. Busch was out to roll momentum into a late start for his season as Fontana was only his second time out in the #41.

The western twist came with pit strategies on late race pit stops. Two or four tires or none at all as many only had 10 or 11 laps on. Race off the line and Stewart and Gordon were left back as the newer tires pushed out front with Harvick chasing down Busch.

Coming up on the scheduled finish Kyle Larson was bumped a bit into scraping the wall and leaving his rear body panel behind which set up the first green-white-chedkered finish. The race out put Kurt Busch out in front again and it looked like his second race of the season was going to put him into Chase contention with a win.


Another debris caution set the stage for the second green-white-checkered run. The debris might have been a piece of car or it might have been an official Auto Club Speedway soda cup. Either way, the restart again put Kurt Busch out front with Harvick close behind.


Brad Keselowski and the #2 came from what seemed like nowhere to get by Harvick and challenge Kurt Busch. Busch went wide and loose driving hard giving Keselowski the line by while Greg Biffle was spinning back in the field. White flag lap and no caution and the race to the line went to the #2 with Harvick in second and Busch regaining a straight line to finish third.

Keselowski in California. The way the day had been for the Stewart-Haas duel of the #4 and #41 having the #2 in Victory Lane wasn’t on the radar.

Until the last lap which, apparently, is the one that really matters.


It’s hard to say which generated more heat.
Was it the ABC network not getting the race on air until lap 27?
Was it the antics of Brad Keselowski post race bouncing on competitors’ cars on the exit?
First… ABC… Really??
Baylor & Texas Christian…? I’m sure it means something that Baylor is ranked #4 on polls but for NASCAR fans tuning in for racing it meant very little. They didn’t care. The comments on the ABC Facebook page were less than kind and understanding.
Throw in that ABC had one race, just one, on the schedule from the sister network of ESPN which was also covered up with college football and it makes it extra silly. Granted, it’s the finish that counts and perhaps that also applies to the football game. However, if you have just one event, and it’s pivotal in the sense of equating to the “playoffs” and it is “do or die” for the CHASE contendors wouldn’t there be some sense of urgency and precedence?
They kicked the start of the Bank of America 500 to ESPN3, which they say is available in 95 million homes. Of course, most of them that do have it only have it because they are subscribed to some “sports” package because they like “ball” sports and NASCAR doesn’t fit their “game”. So ESPN3 having the start is irrelevant.
Split screen… I know it’s available. The very network of ABC promotes “NASCAR NONSTOP” (not “NONSTART”, which they did) and airs the race side by side with sponsor commercials. From the couch, the obvious question was “why not show both on the split screen?”.
Too obvious? Too simple?”
ESPN (partner, sister, brother, whatever with ABC) has the remainder of the CHASE and the season.
…if they can manage to get them to air on time. 2015 is a non-issue as ABC/ESPN doesn’t have the deal.
Brad Keselowski. Kevin Harvick had crossed for the win and the race should be over but Keselowski brought the office home with a tag on Hamlin, and Stewart and brought Kenseth along between haulers. The tension of The CHASE is high but is it enough to bang cars after the checkered has waved?
For the driver of the #2 on this occasion, apparently, it was. How much of this tension is carried to Talladega by the ones who caught the tag of the #2 is yet to be seen. One week may not be long enough for the tempers to cool.
We’ll see…

The season seems to be cranking up for the Ford badge. The Penske Racing Ford badge, specifically.

Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano have traded off starting positions in the front row, finished in the top 5 and have put one of their Fords into Victory Lane.

The previous week at Phoenix, Keselowski was on the pole with Logano on his wheel. This week at Vegas Logano was on the pole with Keselowski on the wheel. Both finished in the top for both of these races with BK taking the win in the most recent Kobalt Tools 400.

It should also be noted Keselowski finished 3rd at the Daytona opener while Logano was just outside of the top 10 at 11th. The season has opened well for the Penske Fords with Keselowski off to a quick points chase showing, perhaps, that his 2012 championship has the possibility of a repeat. (more…)

Kevin Harvick switched teams from a long run with Richard Childress Racing to a new seat at Stewart-Haas for 2014. He brought Budweiser with him to wrap the new #4 Chevrolet. At the season opening Daytona 500 he took the best finish of the rest of the Stewart-Haas group of drivers with 13th place, driving up from starting 38th.

The second race of the season offered the same result as Harvick again finished in front of his team mates but this time the finish was also the win. It’s race two of the season and, for points, the second race for Harvick in the #4.

…And he has already snagged a win.

Whatever time many may take to adapt to new surroundings Harvick seems to have skipped over. At Phoenix the #4 was fast enough through practice and qualifying to put it, and Harvick, on the board as the one to beat. He took it to the track and came off with the win of the Profit Of CNBC 500. (more…)

It was Brain Scott’s race to lose. The Virginia 529 College Savings 250 (NASCAR Nationwide Series) started off at Richmond International Raceway with Scott on the pole and off to lead it against all challengers.

He did. Up to the last 10 laps. He held off challenges and restarts. Each time, Brian Scott managed to take the #2 Shore Lodge Chevy away from the front into clean air, through lap traffic and even out of the pits. (more…)

As far as we can tell, Tony Stewart is at his best when he has a bit of a temper behind him.

Not always. Stewart can be a pleasant fellow with a witty sense of humor. Observations, however, often reveal his “race face” is no-nonsense and when he is stewing over something he, as often, puts that same simmer into focus.

He just won at Dover which ended a fairly long winless streak. Yes, circumstances set in motion near the end of the race played into it as Jimmie Johnson was called to roll down pit road after a jumped restart. With that, Stewart and Juan Pablo Montoya were left to race it out.

Before the race, Stewart seemed short, almost dismissive, for pre-race discussion or interviews. Afterwards, following checkered flags, burnouts, and a side-by-side with the “Monster”, Stewart was even more “Stewartly” with the media. (more…)

Are they really that much better?

And if so, do they have to still prove it?

The ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway was a good race for the Cup drivers that ran it. Make no mistake. They ran it. Start to finish the front of the field was Sprint Cup.

Well, Elliott Sadler did get up and towed the field for a time and he is full time Nationwide but he also has a winning past with the Cup series. Sadler, however, is at least running the NW series full time so points matter for the #11.

The rest of the NW field was chasing for the 5th spot most of the time as Sam Hornish, Jr., Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Sadler  traded off the tow for the run of the ToyotaCare 250. (more…)