2009 Auto Club 500 Review

2009 Auto Club 500 Review
by Virginia Vroom of Predictem.com

Evidently, Matt Kenseth is full of surprises this year. Coming off a win from Daytona, I have to say that I doubted Kenseth’s true stamina. I know that he has the ability to be consistent, but I didn’t think that Daytona was a good representation of how Kenseth would run for the entire year.

Granted we are only 2 races into the season, Kenseth’s win this past weekend at California surprised many and showed that he is ready to step up this year and is back in championship form. Kenseth truly dominated much of California, that is after Jimmie Johnson had his fair share of leading. Johnson’s teammate, Jeff Gordon, showed his guns this weekend as well, leading a good portion of the laps and giving Kenseth a run for his money. It was clear that Kenseth wasn’t going down without a fight, though. He truly showed why his team is the one to beat.

This is a hard one for me. I’m not particularly fond of Kenseth because of his attitude in his rookie days but he has definitely matured since then. He has shown this year, before racing even began, that he is capable of being consistent, being strong, and maintaining a good public persona, which is the Achilles heel of many drivers. I’m actually looking forward to seeing Matt Kenseth give his all this season.

Other notables from this weekend were those from the Hendrick team. Gordon ran strong and looked as though he would be the one to beat as his teammate began to fade after leading a majority of the laps. Unfortunately, late in the race, Hendrick teammates began experiencing engine issues. Martin ended up blowing his motor while Johnson feared the worst. Jr. soon follwed Martin and ended up in the garage before the day was over. Additionally, Harvick was the only other true fatal story of the day when he blew a tire and hit the outside wall.

There were a total of 5 cautions, 4 of which were called by NASCAR for light rain over the track. Rain affecting the first two races of the season gives me a bad vibe, but hopefully it will clear up a bit for the rest of the year. In addition to rain in both races, the winner of both races went down in the history book as only one of five to win the first two of the season. The last guy who did that was Jeff Gordon who went on the win the championship for the season.

Here are your top ten finishers from this weekend’s race:

1. Matt Kenseth
2. Jeff Gordon
3. Kyle Busch
4. Greg Biffle
5. Kurt Busch
6. Denny Hamlin
7. Carl Edwards
8. Tony Stewart
9. Jimmie Johnson
10. Brian Vickers

Kyle Busch made a great effort, already making history by winning the truck and Nationwide series races in the same day on Saturday, but he was unable to pull off the fell sweep, coming in at a very respectable 3rd place. Busch said he enjoyed his ride and wasn’t the slightest bit disappointed in his efforts. Who would be?

After two races, the points are still a bit shaky and we will certainly see a whole new lineup at the end of this weekend, but here are your current top 12:

1. Matt Kenseth
2. Jeff Gordon
3. Kurt Busch
4. Tony Stewart
5. Greg Biffle
6. Clint Bowyer
7. Michael Waltrip
8. David Ragan
9. Carl Edwards
10. Juan Montoya
11. Elliot Sadler
12. David Reutimann

Now, in 4th place, Tony Stewart is sitting pretty good. Although he didn’t win the race this weekend, he has shown what Waltrip has failed to do thus far. Stewart has managed to have very consistent runs, practices, and qualifying rounds as an owner and driver. He’s doing a great job, but thumbs up to Michael Waltrip as well as he sits in 7th in the points. I’d love to see him improve this year. He’s a great guy to watch on those super speedways and his commercials are awesome.

As we head into our third week, we are going somewhere pretty scary for everyone who isn’t Kyle Busch. We are going to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where the Busch brothers call home and where Kyle dominates. I have to say that Vegas is one of my personal favorites because I had the pleasure of actually driving that track. Being from a state of small tracks here in Virginia, Las Vegas was an awesome thrill and something that everyone should try to experience if they get the opportunity. Swing on over and check out my picks for Vegas. It’s going to be a heck of a ride this weekend.