I’ve been a big advocate through the years of removing California’s (or should I say Auto Club’s) second date. I’m just not a fan of the track. So I of course thought it was nothing short of a brilliant move last season when ISC took that second date and gave it to Kansas. As we’ve all seen through the years, the racing at California has been, well, sub-par. I was pleasantly surprised though on Sunday to find a race that wasn’t as spread out as usual and didn’t have a run away winner.
Through the first 75 laps of the race, the chatter on twitter was noticeably in favor of a caution, somewhere. And finally on lap 76 debris (somewhere) brought out the first caution of the race. From there, there were three more cautions through the remaining 121 laps. That meant closer fields and tougher racing situations.
Through the shortened 200 lap race (last season it was a 250 laps, though the fall race was the same) we saw 18 lead changes and 10 different leaders. Oh and did you see that finish?
With just nine laps to go, Kevin Harvick, who hasn’t had a spectacular season thus far, managed to make up four spots on four teams that had been running very well all day. Out of the last turn on the last lap it was Harvick who came up victorious – as they say, if you’re only going to lead one lap, that was the lap to lead.
He silenced all the RCR doubters, and showed he’s still here this season. Welcome back Kevin. And who would have thought we would see that at California? I certainly didn’t.
Harvick’s win made him the fifth different winner in five races – that’s a pretty solid start to the season if you ask me. California hasn’t produced solid races of late, but like everything this season, the race left me more than satisfied.
What did you think about the race? Did you like what you saw? Are you sad there’s just one race at California this season? Feel free to use this as your California open post!
An Owner’s Points Update
We’re five races in, so you know that means – our top-35 finally resets for this year. With competitive and full fields, that guaranteed spot is as important as ever.
Updating TC’s post from the other day, here are the five above and below that ever important top-35 mark.
30 Teresa Earnhardt 1 +30
31 Joe Gibbs 20 +26
32 Barney Visser 78 +25
33 Frank Stoddard Jr. 32 +10
34 Robby Gordon 7 +2
35 Bob Germain 13 0
36 Richard Petty 71 -6
37 Tommy Baldwin 36 -9
38 Brad Jenkins 37 -9
39 Bob Jenkins 38 -12
40 Roger Penske 77 -13