WEEKEND GOES DOWN THE DRAIN.Byline: PAUL OBERJUERGE
FONTANA - Just a thought, but if they can prevent this race from turning into the 24 Hours of NASCAR NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing), organization that sanctions American stock-car races, est. 1948. It held its first race in Daytona Beach, Fla. again ... that would be the way to go.
The race was scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Sunday. It ended at 12:16 p.m. Monday.
Which would be fine if we were all in LeMans, France. But the race went off, in fits and starts, at Fontana, Calif.
The rain-ravaged Auto Club 500 straggled to the checkered flag Monday before a two-thirds empty grandstand. It resumed at 10 a.m. Which isn't considered a prime viewing time for television audiences, either.
About the only person who really liked the way it turned out was boyish boy·ish
Characteristic of or befitting a boy: boyish charm.
boyish·ly adv. Carl Edwards Carl Michael Edwards, II (born August 15, 1979) is a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and Busch Series driver for Roush Fenway Racing. In the NEXTEL Cup Series, Edwards drives the No.99 Ford Fusion that is primarily sponsored by Office Depot, NASCAR's Official Office Products Partner. , who won the race and did one of his patented backflips out the driver's side window of his Ford Fusion Ford Fusion is a name used on two different types of cars from the Ford Motor Company.
Recalling the 11th-hour (as in 11p.m.) decision Sunday to postpone the race until Monday, Edwards said, "I told my guys, 'We've got 'em right where we want 'em. This is what we prepare for.'
"The tougher it is, the better we are. We could have had a 55-hour red flag and been ready to go.
"I like to think it didn't matter if we raced last night or today. ... We've all had to wait through rain delays. The anxiety builds up. It adds another variable to it. Makes it more fun."
A more realistic and certainly more common sentiment on the long day's journey "Long Day's Journey" is episode 09 of season 4 in the television show Angel. See List of Angel episodes for a complete list. Plot synopsis
Summary into night ... and into the next morning and early afternoon ... was expressed by runner-up Jimmie Johnson This article is about NASCAR driver. For the football player, see Jimmie Johnson (American football). For people named Jimmy Johnson, see Jimmy Johnson (disambiguation). .
"Seems like a month we've been here," he said.
It was a weekend of controversial decisions by NASCAR. And embarrassing failures by the newly named Auto Club Speedway. And hard feelings from fans -- of whom there are never enough to sell out this track and may be even fewer in the future.
Track officials should have known about and been prepared to deal with the "weepers" -- wet spots in the corners that turned patches of pavement into black-ice-like skid zones.
Weepers almost certainly were the cause of two accidents involving five cars Sunday, developments that didn't amuse the drivers ("This track isn't ready," Dale Earnhardt This article is about the elder Dale Earnhardt. For his son, see Dale Earnhardt, Jr.. For the racing team he founded, see Dale Earnhardt, Inc..
Ralph Dale Earnhardt, Sr. Jr. said.) and led to a 67-minute halt in racing to patch the leaks.
That 67-minute lapse kept drivers from reaching the 126-lap threshold that would have made this an official race and sent everyone home Sunday night Sunday Night, later named Michelob Presents Night Music, was an NBC late-night television show which aired for two seasons between 1988 and 1990 as a showcase for jazz and eclectic musical artists. perhaps mildly happy.
Said third-place finisher Jeff Gordon Jeffery Michael Gordon (born August 4, 1971) is a professional American race car driver. He was born in Vallejo, California, raised in Pittsboro, Indiana, and currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. : "This track needs to do a bit of work on the drainage issue. If not for the water on the track, we could have gotten this race off" on Sunday.
Actually, NASCAR should never have tried to race Sunday, with bad weather above and a leaky leak·y
adj. leak·i·er, leak·i·est
Permitting leaks or leakage: a leaky roof; a leaky defense system.
Adj. 1. track below, and about 50,000 fans sitting miserably in the stands or hiding out below them, trying to stay dry and warm.
And somebody with some sanity should have pulled the plug on Sunday's schedule when rain returned at 6 p.m. Sunday, only 87 laps into the 250-lap race.
Instead, NASCAR insisted on a five-hour farce as workers attempted to dry the track.
For the sake of fans, NASCAR claimed.
For the sake of getting the circus moving toward Las Vegas Las Vegas (läs vā`gəs), city (1990 pop. 258,295), seat of Clark co., S Nev.; inc. 1911. It is the largest city in Nevada and the center of one of the fastest-growing urban areas in the United States. , more realistically. NASCAR is more about entertainment than honest sports competition, remember.
"We've got to do this to keep the show on the road," Johnson said, referring to the logistics of moving around teams and cars. "It's not the best for the TV audience, but we have to keep the show going."
Gordon tried to absolve ab·solve
tr.v. ab·solved, ab·solv·ing, ab·solves
1. To pronounce clear of guilt or blame.
2. To relieve of a requirement or obligation.
a. To grant a remission of sin to. NASCAR.
"I will say in their defense, it didn't look like the most brilliant idea or best way to go about it," he said of the long delay Sunday night. "But I give them credit for trying to get this race going. They were ready to go at 9 or 10 if they could have ...
"I think they actually did the fans a favor, even though they were upset, because they gave every best effort to give a race."
He suggested all their options were bad.
"They're thinking about a lot of things there," Gordon said. "They're weighing more things than we can imagine. Would you rather go till 5 in the morning ... or not have anybody watching at all on Monday?"
NASCAR opted for (presumably pre·sum·a·ble
That can be presumed or taken for granted; reasonable as a supposition: presumable causes of the disaster. ) nobody watching Monday morning/afternoon.
It was NASCAR's 15th top-tier race at the former California Speedway The California Speedway is a two-mile, low-banked, D-shaped oval superspeedway in Fontana, California, similar to that of "sister track" Michigan International Speedway. It is located approximately 40 miles east of Los Angeles on the site of the former Kaiser Steel mill. , and almost certainly will be the least remembered.
Rain started the trouble. (Then again, February is our wettest month, so why is NASCAR tempting fate by running here rather than, say, almost rain-proof Phoenix or Las Vegas?)
Qualifying on Friday went down the drain. The Nationwide race on Saturday was backed up until Sunday, then until Monday.
Almost nothing happened when it was supposed to happen, and that pretty much kills your gate and your TV audience.
What to do?
NASCAR should stay out of Fontana in February. They are asking for weather trouble in the crucial L.A. market, and this year the good ol' boys got it.
Fix the leaks in the track. Basic stuff.
Give fans bad news earlier. Don't make anyone sit for five hours if there is even a slight chance (and it was far more than slight) of racing not resuming.
"Thanks for sticking around," Edwards said as he left a news conference.
Unfortunately, hardly anyone was around to hear it. Or to see him flipping out Flipping Out is a reality television series on Bravo. The show is centered around real estate speculator Jeff Lewis in Los Angeles, California. The series features Lewis, his entourage of assistants and helpers, and the houses that he works to buy and sell for profit. .
(1 -- color) Sleepy race fan Kevin Denzoin waits for Monday's re-start of the Auto Club 500.
Walter Richard Weis/Staff Photographer
(2) A lone fan sits in the eastern portion of the grandstands Monday during the restart of Monday's race.
Will Lester/Staff Photographer