Things from California and Condolences to the Clements Family

Dale Wilkerson                                                                                            March 2011

Two things were very obvious during Sunday’s race from the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana California, Fox-TV uses way too many on screen graphics and empty seats have been a part of Southern California racing for a long time.

When the graphics on-screen would finally dissolve, we could see the sights of previous tracks in Southern California. The Riverside Speedway and the Ontario Speedway both hosted NASCAR before transforming into commercial properties. Empty seats were visible in several of the pictures shown by Fox. As for Sunday’s race, even though a lot of empty seats were covered with advertising, in was apparent that a lot of seats were again empty for another Southern California race.

I am sure some fans out west were turned off by knowing they had lost one race and then 100 miles of racing in the lone Sprint Cup event they retained. But this place has struggled to sell out for a long time.
It is not just a NASCAR related problem. The NFL even had trouble in Southern California. The Rams moved to St Louis and the Raiders went home to Oakland. This track only has a few more tricks to try, and one of those would be convincing NASCAR to mandate restrictor plates. With corner entry speeds well over the 200mph mark, this could be just the answer they are looking for to solve the empty seat issues.

The Sprint Cup race became very interesting over the final few laps as Kyle Busch was passed by Jimmy Johnson who was then passed in the final turn by Kevin Harvick. The reported 88,000 in attendance was very pleased with the outcome.

Kevin Harvick pases Jimmie Johnson on the last lap                Getty Images

Saturday, Kyle Busch picked up his third Nationwide win of the year. He crew changed just two tires with ten laps to go, giving Busch the lead. Even though he slide up and pounded the outside retaining wall on the last lap, Busch held on to the top spot.

Jeremy Clements also had a bout with the wall, very near the spot where Busch made impact. A problem with the rear axle ended Clements day, his first race this year that troubles kept him from finishing.
The Clements Family received sad news following the race as Gary Clements passed away after a sudden illness Saturday afternoon. Gary was there at the Clements Shop every day, as this family operation works to help Jeremy climb the NASCAR ladder while also working to supply race engines to numerous racers that keep local race fans entertained every weekend.
Jeremy, Tony and the rest of the Clements Family and Team, you will be in our thoughts and prayers.