Originally Posted by tony hipchest
roger penske built the track at california but you would think roush and hendrick own it. in 11 races penske has 2 wins with rusty and mayfield. elliot saddler has 1 and the roush and hendrick teams have battled for the 8 remaining wins. so it is safe to say that one of the hendrick/ roush teams will walk away with the win. question is whick one? they make up about 23% of the field. biffle is clearly the favorite with his success there last year and strong qualifying and practice for tomorrows race. hes bringing the car he won with 4 times last year including california and its sister track michigan.
kenseth has some ground to gain in the points and im sure has something to prove after feeling robbed of a chance to win the daytona 500 last weekend.
gordon still seems to struggle when mired in traffic, much like last year and the jury is still out whether theyve turned the corner on these intermediate tracks with latarte as the crewcheif. none of the roush cars have any problems driving up through the field. i think j. johnson will run about the same as if knaus were there. i dont think the absence will affect him but it may not translate into another 1st place finish.
the dodge camp is split between running the 2004 intrepid and the 06 charger. while kurt bush has been great in capturing the pole and placing 3rd in practice, i dont expect him to dominate but could hold off for a win if he captures the lead late. newman is racing in the busch race and could find himself up front with some late pit strategy with info learned from tonights race. i will be watching reed sorensen and clint boyer as 2 rookies who could make some noise in this race. this track has been friendly to rookies.
1. matt kenseth
2. greg biffle
3. t. stewart
4. brian vickers
5. kurt bush
darkhorses include: mark martin (who should never really be looked at as a darkhorse),
kasey kahne, jimmie johnson (only a darkhorse cause he is w/o knaus), and jamie mcmurray who has excellent equipment.
bold prediction: kyle petty will stay out to lead atleast 1 lap (and get me some desperately needed fantasy points). it will be fairly uneventful and 1driver will easilly lead atleast 50% of the laps. most likely biffle. dale jr.s name will rarely be mentionned during the broadcast.
pick your winner or better yet top 5
not only did a roush driver win the race i think they also won the deed to the track. while i thought i was going for a trifecta in my picks, late race failures ruined the days of stewart (deservedly so) and biffle. while biffle was the easy pick going into this race something just told me that kenseth was due, especially after getting robbed last weekend. (biffle did lead 50% of the laps as predicted though)
dodge cars still seem to struggle with the aerodynamic problems with the charger and switching to the 04 intrepid didnt prove to help certain teams. kudos to those who picked k. kahne as a darkhorse as he had the best dodge finish with a 4th.
as predicted, the suspension of c. knaus proved to be academic and a token penalty, he finished 2nd (if nascar really wanted to make a strong stance on cheating they wouldve docked him 25 points and suspended knaus). if it werent for roush having the best drivers and equipment in the field, i.e. best TEAM, he very well couldve had his 2nd win in a row. this is no knock on hendrick motorsports. simple fact is there is power in numbers, and we saw hendrick rip off 6 championships when they fielded the most cars. since roush has had 5 cars they have been on a dominant tear.
gordon still cant to manage to drive in traffic like he used to, and dale jr., as predicted, was non existant.
big disappointments of the day- k. harvick, e. saddler, and b. vickers. the rookies sorensen and boyer looked like well....rookies. jj yeley did real well though running in the top 20 much of the day and finishing with a top 10.
kurt bush now knows what it feels like to be rusty wallace, always being caught up in other drivers ineptitudes.
due to his 1 win championship win several years back i think m. kenseth has been one of the most overlooked champs ever. due to his experience, his team, and his great run late last season, i think he may be emerging as the favorite to unseat t. stewart.
kyle petty did not lead a lap but had a respectable run and finish. sad thing is petty enterprises went to the well too many times with king richard and will never see another championship run again. (unless NASCAR allows roush to own 43 teams, then theres a slim to none chance)