Jimmie Johnson basically coasted to his first win Saturday, after a wild gas mileage race at Phoenix. Dale Earnhardt Jr. led many laps, but finally just couldn't come up with the late speeds he needed to stay in front during the long green flag runs. All in all, it was a very good day for Team Hendrick.
The early dominance of the Toyotas and Dodges and even Fords was not in evidence at Phoenix. Chevrolet led by far the most laps, and produced the eventual winner. Phoenix is a 1 mile track, however, and it will be interesting to see if Chevrolet can keep up the speed at tracks like Charlotte in May.
The night races at West Coast tracks such as Phoenix can be a real challenge for those of us here in the East. For night owls like me, it's not such a problem, but I feel sorry for the folks that are used to going to bed at 9:00 pm Eastern time. I'm a big fan of night races, but maybe if we had more of them in the Central time zone, more people could actually watch the races without losing sleep.
Fox has received much harsh criticism this weekend from Nascar fans, as well as I'm sure, a lot of baseball fans. Nascar fans missed nearly all of the pre race festivities, and were about half way through the first lap when Fox decided to dump the Red Sox - Yankees game for the "start" of the race. Baseball fans that only could watch Fox, missed the last out of the game, which occurred about a minute after Fox cut away. Until Fox switched to the race, they were simulcasting the race on Fox's sister network, FX. My question is why couldn't Fox have had the pre race on one network, and the baseball game on the other? FX would have been better than nothing at all. I understand Fox' commitment to broadcast both events, and Fox certainly couldn't be blamed for the weather causing a 2 plus hour rain delay in Boston, but showing only the baseball game on both networks seems a little foolish.
We've got an off weekend in the Cup series this week, and then it's back to restrictor plate racing at Talladega. I will be very interested to see how the various teams and manufacturers have progressed with their plate programs since Daytona in February.