So how much buzz was built up by how Sunday’s race at Auto Club Speedway ended? Consider the following. Kyle Busch won a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race for the first time since last April, Dale Earnhardt Jr. needed only a few late-race laps to pick up about 15 positions and Earnhardt, Jr. is now the points leader.
All of that, however, was greatly overshadowed by the fashion in which Sunday’s race ended, with Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano wrecking one another coming to the checkered flag and Kyle Busch getting by to take the win.
And then there was what happened immediately after the race. Logano, who had not yet been informed that Hamlin was en route to a local hospital for observation, expressed no remorse for the incident. Tony Stewart quickly confronted Logano on pit road, taking issue with Logano blocking Stewart’s momentum on the final restart.
Stewart wasn’t finished – he then expressed his displeasure with Logano during an interview with NASCAR on Fox reporter Steve Byrnes, using a few choice words directed toward Logano.
According to a statement from Joe Gibbs Racing released on Sunday night, Hamlin was held overnight for observation. We certainly send along our well wishes for a speedy recovery to Hamlin.
As for the racing itself? It may have been the most exciting racing on a larger track in quite some time. Tracks longer than a mile can at times be accused as producing racing in which it’s hard for cars to pass one another. But you did not see that on Sunday, with plenty of passing and racing three and at times, four and five-wide.
And that, race fans, is something that’s exciting to see going forward! When drivers are able to race side-by-side more, it’s a great thing. And when you’ve got drivers passionate about winning and losing, even if it’s over just one position, it excites everyone.
As for multiple racing grooves, that’s something we’ve become used to seeing here at Atlanta, where our current racing surface was paved in 1997, the same year of Auto Club Speedway’s.
It’ll definitely be interesting to see how it all shakes out going forward.
The Fans Say…
So, what do the fans think of what happened this week? Well, here’s a sampling, courtesy of some of our Facebook fans!
“The new cars are awesome and so is the racing.”
“There was no point in Stewart doing what he done…all part of racing! Joey was racing his heart out today just like everybody else on that track!”
“It was an awesome finish... hats off to Kyle (and I don't even like him!)”
Who’s Up and Who’s Down?
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
He was already off to a very good start to the season. Now, he is leading the points standings.
After a tough start to the season, Busch and the Furniture Row Racing team appear to be hitting their stride with two top-five finishes in a row.
This team started the season strong, but has faded since then.
Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart have a combined three top-10 finishes through the first five races of the season, and Danica Patrick’s finish of 26th this past week was her best run since the season-opening finish of eighth at Daytona.