Monday, March 24, 2014

Thoughts on Kyle Larson....and Fontana

The saving grace of this weekend for me was Kyle Larson winning the Nationwide race with Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick hot on his tail - and then coming in second to Kyle Busch (with Harvick, once again, behind him) in the Cup race. And kudos to Kyle Busch for coming to Victory Lane to give him props.

Jimmie Johnson will be my driver until he hangs up his helmet but since I first heard of him, Larson has been my "next" favorite of the new generation. That opinion was heightened when I watched him slice and dice and pull the perfect slide job in the Eldora truck race and has only grown from there.

I love that he is not a Silver Spoon kid - not that there is anything wrong with that. Anyone would take advantage of it if they could, but the ones who have to work their butts off to prove themselves and find sponsorship on their own have a special place in my heart. I will always root for them first.

I love that Larson (I guess I'll always have to call him Larson or KL since Kyle is Kyle Busch) shares some qualities with Jimmie. He's aggressive but he's so smooth along with it. Like Jimmie, he's more like a scalpel than a Bowie knife. He seems to have an abundance of patience for a young man of 21. He doesn't try to win in the first lap but takes his time to get a feel for the track and the flow of the race before he begins making his moves.

And, wow, doing donuts while holding his steering wheel out the window, that was an exciting new twist to a victory burnout!

So, as a Kyle Larson fan, it was a great weekend and I think there will be plenty more where that one came from. As a JJ fan, not so much. Second week in a row that I watched a tire ruin his chances at a win. This one was especially heartbreaking - two seconds ahead and seven laps to go.

But he certainly wasn't the only one to have his fortunes affected by tire problems and that's the way it goes sometimes, so it is onward and upward to Martinsville. At least it seemed as if the 48 team had captured that little bit they'd been missing since the start of the season. They appear to have their winning mojo back, so it is only a matter of time until Jimmie is in Victory Lane. I'm not worried but still, I'll have a sense of relief when it happens and he's in the Chase.

So far, no one team is tearing them up. All the usual suspects have had their outstanding moments and their dismal moments. Dominance one week and disaster the next. Five races, five winners.  Still, there are no real surprises in the top ten, except perhaps for Austen Dillon. There has been quite a bit of movement among the leaders but it is mostly the same teams jostling among themselves. Except that we all want our guy to be number one, that makes it more interesting.

I think the racing this season has been excellent and so it was at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana with three wide and four wide racing and passing all over the track. I don't know what the perennial whiners have to bitch about although I'm sure they'll find something.

A few other quick notes -

Congratulations to Danica on coming home 14th. She has shown steady improvement this year from last.

Positive thoughts sent to Denny Hamlin. It seems that the condition that sent him to the hospital might be more serious than we first heard.

Don't we have a truck series? I think it is nuts to take such a long hiatus at the very beginning of the season.