Beating out Jimmie Johnson, the start-and-park controversy, more
Two-tenths of a second. If he had only been that much faster,
The cosmic force that can sway an event or, seemingly, the speed of a 3,400-pound Chevy a man's way clearly resides with Johnson, and to hear Harvick's hypothesis, it has taken up residence in the most nefarious of places. It appears it will take something other than karma to dethrone Johnson; it will take someone really, really good.
In the early goings,
After failing to put any drivers in the Chase last season, all three RCR drivers made the top-10 at Auto Club Speedway, the only track where Childress has had at least 34 starts and never won. Harvick, who had the best car on the track in the opening weeks, was second. Burton finished third and
Childress has shown that its strong finish to '09, when it had at least one of its drivers fifth or better over the final four races, was just the beginning of a quick rebound.
"As we move forward, you've just got to kind of forget what happened last year to a certain degree, but you have also got to remember it so that you can try to prevent that from happening again," Harvick said.
For all the changes RCR made -- from reorganization to cutting down to three cars -- that have aided the revival, it's the sense of a renewed focus with a team of veteran drivers that makes this the sexy pick to rival J.J. and Team Hendrick. Yes, we're only a 5K in to the marathon that is the Sprint Cup season, but through two weeks on two very different tracks, RCR has not only shown it has bounced back, but that it has multiple drivers who are inspired to make up for last season and ready to contend for the title this year.
While I'm certainly in the minority on this, I have no problem with the start-and-park teams, and ultimately, neither should NASCAR. It's no secret that this sport has been hit harder than most by a sagging economy, which translates into less sponsorship dollars and is the reason small teams like
From NASCAR's end, it doesn't look good when Prism, with Blaney and
Johnson, once again. Riding the hot hand is part of the very fabric of Vegas, so why bet against the guy who's not only coming off a win, but has won three of the past five races on this track? Another driver to keep an eye on is Burton, who has the highest average finish of any active driver (9.8) and three top-7 finishes since the track alterations.
To make it on a pit crew, you have to be precise, have speed, excellent hand-eye coordination and, apparently, reflexes to rival