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Hey, maybe California Speedway should be redesigned to be a two-mile Talladega, or Daytona

 Uh, Carl: You're not taking this championship thing to the next level yet, are you? Carl Edwards (L) and Texas Motor Speedway boss Eddie Gossage. Yes, the road to the NASCAR Sprint Cup title goes right through Dallas-Fort Worth, so Edwards dropped by the track to check things out on his way to Los Angeles...and get in a few rounds of cribbage too, it seems (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

  By Mike Mulhern

  FONTANA, Calif.
  Maybe those tricks have finally slipped out of the bag.
  Maybe whatever teammates Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon have had for such an edge most of the season is no longer secret.
  After Dover two weeks ago Johnson and Martin appeared unbeatable in this chase.
  Now? Well, no one is going to say the two look vulnerable, but it certainly seems like there's a new dynamic here: Greg Biffle dominating last weekend at Kansas City, Denny Hamlin looking very hot here in far eastern Los Angeles.
 And then, maybe David Reutimann was really onto something Friday, pumping the rear shocks, for better corner speeds through down force. Maybe while people were focusing on the chassis design under the front of the Hendrick cars, the real good stuff was hidden at the other end of the cars.
  And of course there's Juan Pablo Montoya, apparently the first to figure out that secret the Hendrick men have used to toy with their rivals for so many months.
   But then maybe the Hendrick guys are playing some rope-a-dope here. After all, a championship runaway makes for lousy TV ratings, and the NFL is in high gear, and here comes the World Series…..Maybe it just makes good political sense to cool it for a while.
   However this is Southern California, this is Jimmie Johnson country (he's from just down the road), this is Jeff Gordon country. If the Hendrick men falter again this weekend, well, maybe something is really afoot.
   Consider that what works here should also work at Charlotte, Texas and Homestead-Miami, and you can see how Sunday's California Pepsi 500 may be a window on the championship…..assuming that Talladega doesn't provide too many surprises.

 Denny Hamlin: 99 points down to tour leader Mark Martin, going into Race Four of the 10-race chase. (Photo: Toyota Motorsports)

 NASCAR just ordered a slightly smaller restrictor plate for the Talladega 500 in three weeks, though that small change probably is more for PR than simply safety….or maybe it's just to counter that surprising tactic we saw there in the spring where two cars could somehow break away from the pack.
  Big pack racing is a better show – and that may be exactly Gillian Zucker's game plan for this place, California's Auto Club Speedway: increase the banking from a too-low 14 degrees (who came up with that figure anyway, some Indy-car guy?) to a more proper 23 degrees. (Michigan is 18 degrees and that may be the right banking for a two-mile design.)
   But 23 degrees of banking at this place would make for awesome speeds (Greg Biffle hit 218 at Texas World, which is banked 22 degrees.) The solution? Restrictor plates….or EFI, electronic fuel injection. Turn this place in a two-mile Talladega.
   Now if that wouldn't pack 'em in out here, nothing will.
   And NASCAR/ISC better get cracking, because it looks like a new NFL-type football stadium is going to be built somewhere around LA, and one of the advantages NASCAR has in this sports market right now is that it's got two big shows each season, and the NFL is nowhere to be seen.
   Window of opportunity.
   A two-mile Talladega?
   Or do you just want to see another gas-mileage snoozer, another follow-the-leader by 20 car lengths snoozer?

  Crunch time for Greg Biffle. And he may just be ready to do some crunching (Photo: Autostock)

  Maybe one move would be to get some soft walls around Texas World, in College Station, and runs some cars there at 22 degrees, with plates, and see what happens.
   Or maybe somebody has already done a little testing at Texas World in that scenario. Jack Roush's men aren't the only ones who have been to Texas World; so have Rick Hendrick's men, including Jeff Gordon.
  But that's down the road, and Sunday here is shaping up as a five-man battle: Denny Hamlin, Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson, Juan Pablo Montoya and Jeff Gordon.
  If Hamlin has more than just a good qualifying setup under his pole-winning Toyota (that company's headquarters is just a few miles down the road, and this huge market is prime Toyota territory), then maybe he'll be tough at the other mid-sized tracks coming up in the chase too.
   "This is out of the blue for us," the typically weak qualifying Hamlin says. "But I think we’re starting to learn so much about our 1-1/2-mile and two-mile program that I'm confident the next one we go to, Charlotte (Saturday night), we're going to have another car that can contend.
    "I typically have to come from the back here at this track (after weak qualifying runs).  What advantage I'll have this time is to get a better gauge of my car early in the race. 
    "Usually our race weekends start by qualifying 20th to 30th…and then we get to the top-five with about 100 laps to go. Then we start adjusting our car to try to win the race. 
   "By starting up front, you get more adjustments in, to fine-tune your car. That's why you see the guys who qualify up front finish up front --because they get more opportunities to refine their car for the dash at the end."

    Yes, Tony Stewart did pull off that win at Kansas City last weekend, but there's a sense that he's just hanging on here. Maybe that's because between winning at the Glen in early August and winning at Kansas, Stewart had a poor run where he was averaging just 17th place finishes....this after averaging sizzling eighth-place finishes the first six months of the season. Ironically Talladega may well be Tony's ace in the hole in the title chase (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


The Autoclub speedway does not need to be talladegaed.

If Anything, have someone get the exact layout of Rockingham and build that track down to the tar lines,you then surround the place with 165,000 seats/folks, its like a big ol Bristol.

Build it, they will come...

i do miss the rock. i still

i do miss the rock. i still think it would be a great one-day in-and-out Cup show.....under the lights?

Rockingham Is Awful

The place had some qualities to it but in the end was way too small, lacked sufficiently competitive racing, had become just another exercise in tire management, and was a racing demographic that dried up.

Fontana needs to be converted into another Talladega because restrictor plate racing (no, EFI won't cut it) is the only real racing left.

Dont forget to mix in the

Dont forget to mix in the seashells in the track surface to give it that Rockingham feel.


I think going to a Talladega style track would help the TV ratings but the reality is the people in Cali. didnt support the NFL in LA and Nascars days of selling out in California are over no matter how the reconfigure the track. They might want to consider going to an old style Bristol track where you have to move'em to pass'em.


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