Now, the question is, will he put a great big EFF YOU on the week by winning at Fontana? It's entirely possible. Jimmie does well at Fontana,( now known as the Auto Club Speedway for yet another commercial reason), and could easily put that cap on his week. After all, he and Chad won here first in 2002.
However, Fontana is a track where other drivers also excel. Chevy has won the last four races at the track, but that doesn't mean the Fords of Roush can't come out on top. Matt Kenseth is having a very decent year so far, unlike his teammate, Carl Edwards, who has had a disasterous start to his year. Carl is due to have something go right, and this weekend could very well be the one to turn his year around.
But wait, did I forget Harvick? He was the victor last year. He has also been pretty stout this year so far, only needing a win to get his drive for a Championship started off in the right direction.
Rumors have been circling that Bruton Smith, the owner of Bristol Motor Speedway, is concerned over the empty seats in the stands for the last race. Twitter was all abuzz over the empty seats, and although all of my friends who regularly attend the Bristol races were there, many more were not. A few years ago there was a two year or more waiting list to get seats to a Bristol race. Now, it seems they couldn't give them away. The track was reconfigured in 2007, making the banking more variable and opening up the racetrack to allow for more side by side racing. Unfortunately, the fans don't like that. They want to see the beating and banging that Bristol was famous for. They want to see more of the racing that makes tempers rage and drivers want to take off their helmets and punch the guy who took them out.
Bruton has said that they are looking at the specifications for the track before the reconfiguration of 2007 and if the fans want to see the old style racing on the old track, well, he just might be convinced to give it to them. Bruton will have to weigh the pros and cons. If he invests a pile of money in the re-reconfiguration, the fans should return, right?
It could be that it is more than the track configuration keeping the fans away. If the economy is playing a large part in fans not travelling to the track, the re-reconfiguration of the track won't change anything.
Here's hoping the fans are honest about their opinions and Bruton gets a true idea of what they want to see. We should know by next week if the track will be ripped up and put back the way it used to be. Bruton has promised the changes will start immediately and be completed in time for the August 25th night race.
One thing is for certain, the stands are not as full as they used to be, at any of the tracks. Some of the venues have reacted to the economy and lowered ticket prices, or combined tickets with food, drinks, parking, even hotel rooms. It's informative to follow some of the media on twitter, as they don't hold anything back when commenting about the prices at the venues. According to some, the price of a hotel room withing 60 miles of Bristol was three times what it would be normally. That is the kind of deterrent that will certainly keep fans away from the track, old configuration or new.
The Nationwide race at Fontana will run Saturday with the race Sunday getting underway at 2:30 ET.
So, tell me. Who are your picks for the races? What do you think about the changes considered for Bristol? Do you think changing the track will bring back the fans? And what about Fontana? Is this going to be an exciting race, or a ho hum day?