This week: Pepsi 500
Location: Auto Club Speedway (Fontana, CA)
Distance: 500 miles/250 laps
Past winners: M. Kenseth (2/07); J. Johnson (9/07); C. Edwards (2/08).
The weather in SoCal dictates that Fontana's second Cup race is a night affair. There is no possible way to wage this race in the afternoon heat of greater-LA in August. Fans would be keeling over in the stands and reaching the brink of heat-induced delirium and hallucinations before the ceremonial flyover of Navy F-37whatevers. The crews and drivers would, of course, deal with the oppressive heat as they are being paid to sweat their respective balls off in three-layer nomex jumpers. It is the fans that would suffer, as they would be expected to spend valuable cash for the honor of getting a sun burn. We, (you know, the editorial we) got a sun burn in Florida a month ago and thought our skin was going to separate itself from the bones and other inner workings of our body. That shit hurts. And we didn't have to suffer the indignity of paying money to get ass raped by the sun.
So, merciful NASCAR contests this particular race at night. That's not terribly noteworthy as many events get the under-the-lights treatment. But, not many get the Sunday under-the-lights treatment. That's because most people have to go to work/school on Mondays, thus the prospects of watching or attending a 500-mile motor race that will undoubtedly stretch into the wee hours of Monday morning (EST, that is) is not very appealing. Labor Day weekend is the perfect fit, with Monday void of any activity save pounding beer until the grill need lit. But, the advantage doesn't stop there. It's "two fold" as they say. The second fold rhymes with football. This is kickoff weekend for college f-ball and NASCAR would be crazy to stage a race against that.
-This is race #25 of 36 in the Sprint Cup schedule. More importantly, after Sunday night's race, there will be only one event left until the field for The Chase is set in stone. Thanks to the stat crunching abilities of the crack staff over at nascar.com, here is a handy chart to determine who could, conceivably, make or not make the playoffs. Note that "ACS" is the Auto Club Speedway. Here to help.
|Pos.||Driver||Points||Behind||ACS Starts||ACS Wins||ACS Avg. Finish|
-Other Chase points of interest:
Nine drivers could clinch spots in The Chase on Sunday.
Any driver who leaves Fontana with a 196-point (or more) advantage over the driver in point position 13 will have clinched a Chase spot.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.-- Can clinch with a finish of 40th or better; 41st and lead at least one lap.
Jimmie Johnson -- Can clinch with a finish of 40th or better; 41st and lead at least one lap.
Jeff Burton -- Can clinch with a finish of 15th or better; 16th or 17th and lead one lap; 20th and lead the most laps.
Check it out. (NSFW. Unless your work deals with shitting in girls faces, that is.) Way to go Carl.
View Larger Map
About this race:
*What to know:
Ford v. Toyota, the next Kimbo v. Shamrock?: In a word, maybe. The first half of the season was dominated by the foreign marque and now the lads from MI are getting nasty. "Hot" Carl v. Busch is a mildly interesting subplot, the real drama comes from USA v. Japan, Good v. Evil, Traditional Stock Car Racing v. Contemporary NASCAR, etc. That is the real intrigue as the season winds down. Think larger scale than the battle between two drivers or even the battle between two teams. Hopefully the tiff continues on Sunday.
Carl Edwards: Where there's a Busch, there's a "Hot" Carl in close pursuit. Edwards has amassed an nearly incredible record at ACS. Since his first SoCal race in 2004, he has finished outside of the top-10 exactly once. He has finished outside of the top-five exactly twice. His average ACS finishing spot is a staggering 6.8. RFR regularly dominates intermediate tracks and will be a force come Sunday evening.
*For those heading to the track: Pertinent tailgating information is here. We think this could be a bit of a moot point, as people in Southern California probably don't tailgate anything beside USC games. But, we also don't think people in Southern California would go to a NASCAR race. So, what do we know?
|3||+1||Dale Earnhardt Jr.|
Next race: Chevy Rock & Roll 400 (Richmond International Raceway). This race is named after the presenting sponsor. Rick Derringer.