Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Rusty Reckons: California (Auto-Club Speedway)
Almost certain to get lost in the hoopla of the start of college football or buried among the hot dogs and hamburgers of Labor Day meatwaves, there's actually a very important race to be run this weekend. There are only 2 more races (including this Sunday) before the Chase - the fantastic NASCAR play-offs.
This Sunday, we get an interesting set-up . . . a race that doesn't start till 7 on the east coast, but because it's in California, it starts in the daytime and ends under the lights. Confusing I know. The first time they did this, Rusty had to keep resetting the clocks in the house, he was so confused, but that aside, expect some exciting racing this weekend.
California is a 2 mile oval with a lot of speed, and crazy things tend to happen out there. Remember the "weeping" track back in February? Let's pray to everything fried that doesn't happen again. But, what will happen?
Well, the shrub and Mr. Ed will run up front. They have both made the chase and are driving like mad-men (see Bristol, last week)
The catch is that they aren't really point racing right now, they are just in it to win it. This leads to more aggressive set-ups and strategy, which can be exciting or it can cause disaster. Carl is phenomenal at California Speedway. In 8 starts, he's only finished outside the top 10 once, and has rattled off a win and six top 5's. Given his recent hot streak, you better bet your bippy, he's a golden pick this weekend. Lock it up! A List, Cousin Carl!
B List is another relatively simple pick, as far as Rusty is concerned. Ole Kasey "sweet cheeks" Kahne is pretty solid out yonder. He's got a win and 5 top 10's. Didn't do so hot in 2007, but then again he didn't do well anywhere in 2007. With back to back 40th place finishes coming into California, Kasey's a good bet to rebound. At only 56 points outta 12th, and only 2 weeks to make the chase, he's gotta rebound!
Lastly, the ole dice roll...A.J. Allmendinger! He was able to eek out a top 20 in his only other start at California. Second of all, A.J.'s sitting 38th in the points. He needs to get up to at least 35th to be able to qualify automatically for the 500 at the start of next year. At almost 400 points out of 35th, it'll be tough...but who knows!
So, there you go. Grill some dogs, eat some burgers, watch some football, but don't miss NASCAR...you know Rusty won't!
- C Edwards (99)
- K Kahne (9)
- A Allmendinger (84)