Friday, February 22, 2008

Auto Club 500 preview

Each week Ridebuyer delves deep into the misunderstood, oft terrifying, world of American saloon-car racing known as NASCAR. This week: California.

Boogity, boogity, boogity, lets go drinking

TV: Fox 3:30pm EST

Location: California Speedway (Fontana, CA)

Distance: 500 miles/250 laps

2007 CA winners: M. Kenseth (early race); J. Johnson (late race).

*What to know:

Historically NASCAR’s trip to SoCal usually transpires in one of two ways. The race is either wrought with three-wide, fender-banging, hockey on pavement action (real Days of Thunder shit), or is a single file, follow-the-leader, sleepy hollow, snooze fest (real 4th of July parade in Paducah, Kentucky shit). Watching 500 miles of the latter will test the will of the most hardcore, leather-assed, Dixie-whistling Gomer this side of Concord. Watching 500 miles of the former will cause the super speedway to resemble a screenshot from Death Race 2000. Destruction and mayhem will flow from the coast, the blood only tapering as it reaches the foothills of Chino. In short, neither option is terribly appealing for those looking for to kill their Sunday afternoon/evening couch-side.

No, the sporting fan should hope for a race that draws from a happy medium… Bursts of three-wide with sensible motoring betwixt. The Fontana track has the width to let the pack fan into three and four-wide, but the relatively flat banking in the corners should keep the bedlam in check.

*Who to watch:

Kyle Busch: Kurt’s brother has won at Fontana before and is looking to avenge a Daytona race where he had the fastest car all day yet still avoided victory lane.

Matt Kenseth: Won this event last year, and Roush-Fenway also has speed at Fontana (and the nearly identical Michigan track).

Jimmie Johnson: The two-time defending champ will rebound from the brutal-bastard showing that was his Daytona 500.

*Wild Cards:

Robby Gordon: Hometown guy, coming off a great finish at Daytona. Also, don’t discount his desire to shit on the dinner plate of NASCAR for their (most) recent penalty against the owner/driver.

Casey Mears: Another Homer. Watch him for no particular reason (other than the fact he has the same equipment as Jimmie Johnson and co.)

*What to do instead of watching a 4+-hour stockcar race:

-Shovel your driveway:
There is no reason to pay the Sullivan kid down the street to do it. He uses the cash to buy pot, you know?

-Empty the grease catch on your Foreman Grill:
That thing took a beating from Saturday’s pork chop special. Christ.

-Watch CNBC for episodes of “Mad Money with Jim Cramer”:
One word, “plastics.” Oh, and another, “ diversify.”

-Edit profile:
No explanation needed.

*For those going to the race:
Here are the guidelines for your pre-race celebrations. What will you fill your clear-plastic bags with?

*For those thinking about going to the race:
You live in LA for christsakes. There is plenty of bump drafting to be seen on the 405. And who needs Tony Stewart v. Kurt Busch? You have the Crips v. Bloods. Stay at home, listen to Sublime, and re-truck your skateboard or do whatever fucking Californians do. Wouldn’t you rather go on star tour anyway?

Next race: Vegas, baby.

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