- In the Fast Lane with Michael McDowell
- Track Talk: Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway
- Crunching The Numbers: 2017 Food City 500
- Track Talk: O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas
- Crunching The Numbers: 2017 O’Reilly Auto Parts 500
- Track Talk: STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway
- Track Talk: Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway
- Dropping the Hammer with Elliott Sadler
- Kyle Larson Knocking on the Door for Wins
- Track Talk: Camping World 500
On The Gas, On The Brakes in Fontana
- Updated: March 28, 2017
After five weeks of racing, the West Coast Swing transitions to the Southern Swing of April. There is some good news for the race teams that have been stranded out in the West Coast – it’s time to come home.
NASCAR returns to the East Coast and heads for its roots with the first short track race of the season. The famed “paperclip” better known as Martinsville Speedway is up. First, let’s look back and see who was shining bright in Hollywood or who had their show cancelled.
On The Gas…
5) Clint Bowyer – He’s having fun again and that is good for everyone around unless you are trying to chase him down. Bowyer grabbed his first top five since Bristol in August of 2015, snapping a 52 race drought. This could be the start of something beautiful.
4) Daniel Suarez – After a rough start to the season, Suarez is making a significant turn with two consecutive top 10’s, finishing seventh at Auto Club. Saying this is exactly what they came out there for.
3) Jamie McMurray – Outside of a 28th due to “The Big One” at Daytona and a little off day at Phoenix (15th), McMurray has shown potential, sitting on three top ten finishes in the first five races, including a sixth at Fontanta. Maybe Ganassi will get both drivers in Victory Lane this year.
2) Brad Keselowski – One of the favorites to win in California and a candidate to become the first repeat winner of 2017, that thought lasted through the parade laps. Keselowski would get damaged, spinning out early. But like a champion, he would rebound and nearly pull the win off if not for this week’s number one.
1) Kyle Larson – Well come on! Could it be anyone else? Larson won an exciting Xfinity race on Saturday. He follows that up by becoming the second California winner to do so after starting on the pole. The only other racer to accomplish this was a pretty successful driver named Jimmie Johnson. Maybe you slap yourself in the back of the head if you think this is it for the points leader.
On The Brakes…
5) Martin Truex Jr – On a day where tires meant as much as water did a week ago in Phoenix, Truex and his team gambled late and stayed out on older tires. It’s a tough call. Hero or zero, luckily, the driver held on to finish fourth for a good points day.
4) Dale Earnhardt Jr – It’s another 16th place finish for Junior. Maybe it’s time for Junior Nation to start wondering what’s going on. If not not now, then certainly next week if he comes home with another lackluster performance. After today, he has an extended career.
3) BK Racing – They were bound to be here sooner or later, with 10 out of the 23 caution periods this season involving one of their drivers. Corey LaJoie has been involved, in one form or another, in a caution in all five races. The three cars have combined for 43% of this year’s yellow flags.
2) Matt Kenseth – The poor guy has only managed two points in the stages so far this season. If not for some unfortunate circumstances and the crawl across the top of the screen, we may have forgotten that he was on track. The good news for Kenseth is that he likely got NASCAR to look at Auto Club’s walls, as he certainly got a good look at it.
1) Jimmie Johnson – Let’s just go ahead and take that “lucky horseshoe” and dispose of it. With all of their bad luck lately, nobody needs to get a tetanus shot on their caboose. Albeit, that might actually give them the shove they need to at least get through inspection.
Following the West Coast Swing, some drivers liked their time near the Pacific Ocean while enjoying the time difference. As they’re back home, they can sleep in their own beds.
Remember, for this weekend, check the tempers at the door of Martinsville Speedway.
Hey, you laughed too!