Mar 22, 2015; Fontana, CA, USA; Sprint Cup series driver Brad Keselowski celebrates his victory at the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
The Auto Club 400 on Sunday was arguably the best race of the 2015 season in terms of excitement, and it kept fans on the edge of their seats and guessing throughout the entire week.
One of the things I wanted to start doing here with Stock Car Spin was develop a Monday morning post, critiquing what I saw throughout the weekend. Developing my own thoughts in what I thought was crucial. This week I wanted to discuss some of the things I took away from the track throughout the Auto Club 400.
Paul Wolfe/Brad Keselowski: Nobody, and I mean nobody, thought that taking four tires with two laps to go would be a good idea. Paul Wolfe made a genius call and gave a great driver in Brad Keselowski the shot to pull it off and he did. Although Team Penske looked down on speed compared to the Stewart-Haas and Joe Gibbs Racing cars Sunday, Wolfe and Keselowski prevailed with the chemistry they’ve developed throughout their still young careers.
Kevin Harvick: It doesn’t matter where we are racing, the 4 team is constantly up front and contending for the win. Keeping the streak of top-two finishes alive, Harvick seemed to stay in the top-five the whole race. You can compare Harvick and crew chief Rodney Childers’ dominance with that of Jeff Gordon and Ray Everham in the ’90s or Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus in the late 2000s. This team is unstoppable right now.
Rookies/Single Car teams: I was really impressed by drivers such as Brian Scott, Justin Allgaier and Chris Buescher.
Although he finshed 27th, Brian Scott was in the top ten for chunk of the race and was steadily progressing.
Justin Allgaier benefitted from some late pit strategy and ended up 12th. ‘
Chris Buescher got a call Friday to fill in for Brett Moffit, who replaced Brian Vickers, and raced his way to a 20th place finish Sunday. In a race that saw 32 drivers finish on the lead lap, you have to really be impressed by what Chris Buescher was able to do this weekend.
Chip Ganassi Racing– I was somebody who listed Kyle Larson as a favorite and was heavily disappointed by him and teammate Jamie McMurray on Sunday. Larson, somebody who runs well at Auto Club, looked sub-par Sunday, finishing 26th. McMurray was not much better in 21st. This is a team that has looked strong to start the season but simply missed it this weekend.
NASCAR- I was somebody who was baffled with some of the end of race decisions that were made regarding the caution flag Sunday. I have never seen so many mystery debris caution flags in a race. Although I do commend NASCAR for throwing the caution when Kyle Larson lost his bumper, I do not recall seeing what caused most of the other debris cautions.
To transition from that, I was truly appalled when the caution flag was not thrown for an accident that saw Greg Biffle not only spin and hit the wall on the front stretch, but remain idle on the track for a moment before he got going. As a fan, I loved watching the race end under green, but as an analyst I am still shaking my head.
Although I flat out saw no consistency with the flags Sunday, this was one of the more exciting races in recent memory. Auto Club provided a great transition into one of the more exciting races this weekend at Martinsville.