Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Twice Yearly Track Bash

Once again it's time for Auto Club Speedway bash fest on the boards. This phenomena begins on or around Monday prior to the race and continues until people tire of it (usually the Thursday before the next race). I actually swear I've seen an identical post from the prior year. A form letter as it were.

This week has seen a new record. Four threads on the first page almost exactly the same. This is due to a problem with the track weeping. A questionable decision by NASCAR, and mother nature.
I won't go into great detail on these issues, because if you are reading this you all ready know.

Rain on Friday and water started weeping up from seams in the track. A real problem with slick tires at 200mph. They got the truck race in on Saturday and more rain postponed the Nationwide race. On Sunday more rain in the morning. Then a decision to try to start the race in wee hours of the morning back east. NASCAR got the race started, more weeping and we were done and raced Monday.

Here are what most folk's thought of this.

"Track management should have noticed the weeping, and fixed it weeks ago".
Maybe, I don't know and neither do the folks sharing that opinion. Would this weeping occur when it's not raining? Was it a build up of water and it suddenly started on Friday. It's hard to fix something that isn't broken yet.

"NASCAR should have never moved the race to February". "It rains all the time in California in February".

Huh? In eleven or so years, since the track's inception, Qualifying has been canceled twice. Once in May 1999, and last weekend. A race has never been postponed until last weekend. Doing a little research (thank you weather underground), I determined that if a race was held on this same February weekend for the last eleven years, it would have had rain issues on race day once. Last weekend.

"The racing was boring ".

This is the most consistent theme in these bash fests, and always seems to be linked to who your favorite driver was and how he finished. I found Monday's race far from boring. Side to side racing and a finish without the dreaded fuel mileage issue. A lot of form letter's had to edited due to that one. There were no big wreaks, and that seems to always disappoint some people.

"They want to make it a restrictor plate track".

Track presidet Gillian Zucker announced on Tuesday that while the are fixing the weeping problem, they might increase the banking and make Auto Club Speedway a plate track. This would change the track's image and increase attendance. This was suggested to her by Micheal Waltrip. Oh brother. This bash was deserved. Increase the banking to increase speed's and slap a plate on them to slow them down. Brilliant.

This was tested at Texas and was a dismal failure. I could almost see Micheal Waltrip in North Carolina, it a fit of laughter. "She thought I was serious". I do think that if there have to tear the tack up anyway, do what Homestead did with graduated banking. The driver's loved and the fans loved it. It brought new life to the place. I hope saner head's prevail on this one.

Round two will be in late august. We'll see if any new reasons to hate the track pop up. Let's face it, California took a race from Darlington and must be punished.

The Geeze

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