StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-117269532631208.jpg’, ‘Photo courtesy of www.nascar.com‘, ‘Cambridge, Wis., native Matt Kenseth celebrates Sunday, Feb. 25, after completing a sweep of both the Busch series and the Nextel Cup series races at California. He became the second driver in as many weeks to accomplish that feat after Kevin Harvick claimed both races at Daytona.‘);
How long do you think it will take before NASCAR fans start showing up at the tracks with their brooms in hand? I can see it nowfans will have their favorite drivers number nailed to the handle of an OCedar. When their driver wins both the Busch race and the Nextel Cup race on the same weekend, they will throw the brooms onto the track, a la throwing hats onto the ice after a hat trick in hockey.
For the second week in a row, the same driver won both the Saturday and Sunday race. Last weekend at the season-opener in Daytona, Kevin Harvick set the stage by pulling off the sweep. This weekend on the opposite side of the country, it was Cambridge, Wis., native Matt Kenseth completing stock car racings version of the daily double.
Kenseth, who started the race in the 25th position, out-dueled the other 42 teams to take the checkered flag in Sundays Auto Club 500. He had to do it without the help of his regular crew chief, Robbie Reiser, who is serving a four-race suspension.
Reiser received the penalty from NASCAR for rules violations in Daytona. Chief engineer Chip Bolin is serving as Kenseths crew chief in Reisers absence.
During the post-race celebration, Bolin and the rest of the crew had to push Kenseth and the No. 17 Carhartt Ford to victory lane. The transmission gave way during a post-race tire-spinning exhibition, and left the car stranded in the infield.
Jeff Gordon finished ahead of last seasons Nextel Cup champion, Jimmie Johnson, for second. Johnsons crew chief is former Rockfordian Chad Knaus. Another former Rockford resident, Butch Hylton, is crew chief for Ricky Rudd and the No.88 Snickers team. They finished the race in the 27th position. Jeff Burton came in fourth and veteran driver Mark Martin rounded out the top five.
Martin leads the early points standings in the Race to the Chase. His fifth-place finish in California, combined with his second-place finish in the Daytona 500, gives him a 5-point lead over Burton.
Fans will have enough time to get out and buy those brooms before the two series race again on the same weekend. The Nextel Cup series is off this week. The Busch series will see action Sunday, March 4, when they travel to Mexico for the Telcel Motorola Mexico 200.
The next opportunity for the brooms to hit the asphalt wont come until the weekend of March 10-11 in Las Vegas. The Busch series will run the Sams Town 300 Saturday, March 10 and the Nextel Cup drivers will compete in the UAW-DaimlerChyrsler 400 Sunday, March 11.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the Feb. 28-March 6, 2007, issue