Monday, February 25, 2008

Edwards wins Auto Club 500

Nearly 24 hours after the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway was slated to begin, Carl Edwards passed Jimmie Johnson with 13 laps left to take the checkered flag and mercifully end an incredibly long race weekend.

Edwards and Johnson battled side-by-side around the track for two laps before Edwards took the lead down the backstretch and pulled away. The winner led 64 of 250 laps. Johnson had taken the lead on the final round of pit stops and finished second. The race ended under caution when Dale Jarrett spun and crashed in Turn 4 on the final lap.

Top 10 finishers:
1. Carl Edwards
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Jeff Gordon
4. Kyle Busch
5. Matt Kenseth
6. Martin Truex Jr.
7. Tony Stewart
8. Kevin Harvick
9. Kasey Kahne
10. Ryan Newman

The race finished under sunny skies - a stark difference than how the event began the previous day. The start of the race Sunday afternoon was delayed 2 1/2 hours after rain showers soaked the track Sunday morning. Then groundwater underneath the track began seeping onto the racing surface, causing a frightening crash on lap 21 involving Casey Mears, Sam Hornish Jr., and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Racing resumed an hour later after crews worked to dry the track, but the cars were halted again on lap 87 when rain moved into the area.

Why NASCAR officials waited until 2 a.m. EST today to announce the race would not be restarted for another 11 hours is puzzling. It was a decision that anyone watching on television at home could have predicted by 9:30 p.m. after looking at the soaked pavement. The afternoon broadcast and Sunday's debacle was anything but a ratings boon for FOX.

The rain made a long weekend even longer for the drivers and crews as they prepare this week for another trip west to Las Vegas. The use of the versatile Car of Today could possibly ease the preparation problems by using the California car at Vegas. The delay also bumped the running of the Nationwide Series race until after the Sprint Cup event.

[Updated at 3:25 p.m.]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice job FOX & NASCAR. I'm sure all sorts of people like my mother will flip over from 'As The World Turns' to watch the race this afternoon. You're already screwing the drivers out of a travel day, you should at least schedule the race for 6pm or later east coast time and hope to salvage some ratings.