Sunday, February 22, 2009

Auto Club Speedway - A Tad Disappointing

Nationwide Green Flag
Nationwide Green Flag

Well, we went to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Nationwide races at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Am I glad that we went – definitely yes; however, I was disappointed just a bit.

LunchBut before I get to that, the Camping World Infield area, designated for RV weekend camping, is enjoyable. The campground supplies a great atmosphere, with children and adults playing to their heart’s delight amid the roar of Sprint Car activity on track. My husband Paul and I enjoyed our time visiting with friends and family.

However, when we went to the stands to watch the race, track security stopped us for carrying an ominous backpack. Mind you this is the same backpack that we use when we fly to Moses’ NASCAR Camping World Series West races. We never have a problem getting on the plane with it. This is also the same backpack with which we walked into the track infield. I was under the false impression that track security just wanted to search the backpack for contraband. That was not the case.

For security reasons, that backpack was forbidden to enter the grandstands. We would have to purchase a “see through” backpack. Conveniently, they were for sale inside. We opted to hike the mile back to drop off the offending backpack in the trunk of our car.

All this nonsense would have been acceptable, if we did not watch the races amongst fellow fans sporting huge camera bags and lunch coolers. These receptacles were not “see through,” so how could the “no backpack” rule make anyone safer. It did not make sense to me and frankly made me furious.

Me and my DHNevertheless, anytime I get to see a NASCAR race, I am happy. However, the racing at the Auto Club Speedway turned out to be a tad lackluster. One cannot get around the fact that the fans only get a decent view of a third of the track. Secondly, the cars (or trucks) spread out so quickly that there really isn’t any actual racing happening on the track.

The action on pit lane was much more animated and exciting. The #99 BestWestern Toyota, driven by Michael Waltrip was actually spun on pit row by a competitor, serviced by his pit crew while facing backwards, and then Michael spun himself around to exit his stall to return to the track. The action brought one of the few roars from the crowd.

Kyle Busch's PitNow I know that Kyle Busch became the first driver to win twice in the same day on two of NASCAR’s top-three circuits. That should generate some enthusiasm on its own merit. Conversely, as a fan, it was rather unexciting to watch Busch pull away from the pack seconds after the green flag dropped. There was never a battle for the lead. Frankly, I did not watch Busch’s #51 truck or #18 Nationwide car at all during either race.

In the Camping World Truck Series, Gabi DiCarlo, in her Great Clips Toyota, became the twelfth female to start a truck series event. Her resume includes driving in the ARCA/REMAX Series for the past two seasons. She completed the race without incident. After qualifying twenty-third, Gabi finished just a lap down in nineteenth position. Fellow Camping World Series West Driver Brett Thompson, driving his family owned Rich Thompson Trucking Inc. Dodge managed a twenty-first place finish. DiCarlo and Thompson battled each other for much of the event for some interesting mid-pack racing.

Michael McDowell again proved that he does add energy to a race. After qualifying an outstanding third behind cup regulars Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch, his car had problems soon after the Nationwide race began. Then in lap fifty-two, his #47 Tom's Snacks Toyota race car burst into flames after the engine blew up and spread debris all over the track. Luckily Michael managed to drive to the bottom of the track. He exited his vehicle quickly and without injury, but for a very bad points day.

Click Thumbnail For Video

Today’s Sprint Cup race could unearth history if Kyle Busch emerges the victor to become the first driver to win all three NASCAR races in the same weekend. However, my husband has to work, so my dangerous backpack and I will have to watch it all unfold on the television.


Anonymous said...

Thats cool that you got to go to the races. We almost had a similar problem at MIS with a diaper bag at the ARCA race. We were told to take it back. Thank goodness there was a "MOM" security guard right there that recognized we had a 2 little ones and a diaper bag. We got to keep it!

Yeah, Cali can be pretty boring and I am expecting the same thing from the Cup race. Most important I guess is to see how "your team" runs today. May or may not be an indicator for the rest of the season.

Anonymous said...

We have learned no matter where we go, to travel as lightly as possible. When we went to Vegas last week, didn't even have a carry-on until our return trip when it was full of goodies for friends & family. It really stinks that security can be so silly at times & allow some things & not others. Should be more universal in their approach. Glad you had a good time tho! I'm looking forward to seeing how the RPM teams do this weekend. Rooting for the #44 as I can't get behind Reed in the #43 just yet. Like you, I'll be watching it all unfold on tv. Have a good one!

Firecracker! said...

Hi 'z',

So what would have happened if you had bought one of their "SEE THOUGH" bags, dropped your whole backpack in it and walked back in... :) JK! I agree, it can be irritating, huh?