Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.
1. Kevin Harvick: Harvick’s quest to put a Richard Childress Racing car in victory lane hit a snag when an untimely caution put him behind Jimmie Johnson with 26 laps to go. Harvick chased down Johnson and was on the No. 48’s bumper with three laps to go, but scraped the wall and never got close to Johnson again. Harvick’s runner-up finish left him atop the point standings, 19 ahead of teammate Clint Bowyer.
“It’s little consolation for losing the race to Johnson,” said Harvick. “But that’s just the highs and ‘Lowe’s’ of auto racing. And, as you could tell by my comments about Jimmie Johnson and horseshoes, I’m a little bitter about the outcome. Johnson’s run of good luck is as inexplicable as the reasoning behind my nickname of ‘Happy.’ I’m never happy.”
“But what harm are a few mildly harsh words between drivers, as long as no one gets choked? Sure, Brad Keselowski can spin every week, but what good is it in regards to a feud if he doesn’t hit Denny Hamlin? What this sport needs is a real feud, and a Harvick-Johnson dispute fits the bill. To coin a phrase often used in NCAA basketball, the state of feuding in NASCAR is a case of ‘rivalry weak .’”
2. Clint Bowyer: Bowyer crossed the line eighth in the Auto Club 500 as all three Richard Childress Racing cars finished in the top eight, one week after all three finished in the top 11 at Daytona. Bowyer is now second in the Sprint Cup point standings, 19 behind Kevin Harvick.
“Take away Jimmie Johnson’s lucky break,” said Bowyer, “and we could have been looking at an RCR sweep. That’s much-needed progress from last year. In 2009, in regards to RCR, you could have used the word ‘sweep’ only in a janitorial sense. Finally, it seems, that ‘racing’ is the operative word in ‘RCR.’”
“Kevin got close to Jimmie, but after the No. 29 rubbed the wall, Johnson just pulled away. That’s called ‘putting the rabbit’s foot on the pedal.’ Of course, like Rock Hudson, luck goes both ways. Without that caution, I never would have got my lap back. If that irks Kevin, then he can just make like a cook preparing some Hamburger Helper and ‘talk to the hand.’”
3. Jimmie Johnson: With 26 laps to go in the Auto Club 500, Johnson entered the pits for his final stop. Just moments later, Brad Keselowski’s spin in Turn 4 brought out a caution, and as the leaders pitted, Johnson No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet inherited the lead. The series of fortunate events gave the four-time defending Sprint Cup champion the boost he needed to forget his 35th at Daytona and capture his 48th career victory.
“Hey, I’d rather be lucky than good,” said Johnson. “Luckily, no pun intended, I don’t have to make that choice, because I’m both.”
“So, Kevin Harvick says I have a golden horseshoe stuck up my ass? Is that some kind of backhanded way of calling me a shoe-in for my fifth Sprint Cup title? Kevin’s wrong, you know. There’s four up there, and apparently, there’s room for more. Hey, who doesn’t want more ‘horse’ power?”
4. Greg Biffle: Biffle steadily worked his way through the field after starting 35th, and was in contention for the win late in the race until he was caught in the pits for a green flag stop as the caution flew on the track. He was relegated to the tail end of the lead lap, and restarted in 20th win 20 laps to go. Biffle boldly snatched ten positions before the checkered flew, and finished 10th.
“Rod Stewart once famously sang ‘Some Guys Have All The Luck,’” said Biffle. “Obviously, he wasn’t singing about me, which is fine, because, like most men, I’d prefer not to be the subject of a Rod Stewart song.”
“In any case, for the next week, you’ll hear me and many other drivers complaining that Jimmie Johnson has all the luck. Apparently for Jimmie, to enjoy the fruits of your labor, you have to deal with some sour grapes. And speaking of ‘labor,’ that kid of Carl Edwards’ sure is taking its sweet time coming. They should name the child ‘Matt Kenseth,’ because that kid sure has no interest in seeing Edwards.”
5. Mark Martin: Martin led five laps and came home fourth at California, following Hendrick teammate Jimmie Johnson and the RCR duo of Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton across the line. Martin moved up five spots in the point standings to sixth, and trails Kevin Harvick by 34.
“The No. 5 Hendrick GoDaddy.com Chevrolet has been solid so far this year,” said Martin. “Having the GoDaddy.com logo on my car has really brought me a lot of attention. But let’s be real. Isn’t having ‘GoDaddy’ on one’s car pretty much the same as having ‘Viagra’ on it?”
“Ultimately, though, fans are quite disappointed when they peer into the car only to find a 51-year-old man, and not a 28-year-old beauty. When that happens, it’s not uncommon for a Danica Patrick fan to reprimand me with the words ‘Gogrand daddy.com!’ That young lady sure knows how to fill a fire suit. And she helps me do the same.”
6. Matt Kenseth: In his first race with new crew chief Todd Parrott, who replaced Drew Blickensdorfer last week, Kenseth finished seventh in the Auto Club 500 in Fontana, another top-10 finish to match his eighth at Daytona. Kenseth is seventh in the point standings, 43 behind Kevin Harvick.
“Sure, there’s a lot of mystery surrounding the crew chief change for the No. 17 Royal Crown Ford,” said Kenseth. “Yes, it is odd that a change was made one race into the season after a solid finish at Daytona. But no, I don’t think that Blickensdorfer was ‘royally’ screwed.
"Parrott’s credentials are outstanding. He won a championship with Dale Jarrett in 1999. If this ‘Parrott’ is as talented as others, he’ll be able to ‘repeat’ that success with us. Whether with a 'Parrott' or a 'Prince,' we're gonna party like it's 1999.”
7. Jeff Burton: Burton led 46 laps in Fontana, second only to Jimmie Johnson’s 101, and finished third in the Auto Club 500 on a day that validated Richard Childress Racing’s return to prominence. Burton’s No. 31 Caterpillar Chevy was capable of winning, but fell victim to the same untimely caution that afflicted many, yet aided others, including Johnson and Clint Bowyer.
“You never can predict the outcome when Lady Luck’s involved,” said Burton. “She can be a very fickle entity. Now, if you have my brother, Wadd Button, say the words ‘fickle entity,’ you’re likely to see a similar, unpredictable outcome.”
“Ironically, in a car sponsored by heavy machinery, being a little light -footed coming out of the pits may have cost me the win. If I had been just a single mph faster, then Johnson goes a lap down, and all the ‘NASCAR favors Johnson’ conspiracy theorists would have had no reason to rear their ugly, misguided heads.”
8. Jamie McMurray: After a week spent basking in the glow of a Daytona 500 victory a week earlier, McMurray picked up where he left off by winning the pole position at California, with Earnhardt Ganassi teammate Juan Montoya joining him on the front row. Montoya blew his engine on lap 140 and finished 37th, while McMurray’s up-and-down day ended with a 17th-place result.
“I believe I made more rounds on the talk show circuit than I turned laps at Daytona,” said McMurray. “Now, if racing at California has taught me anything, it’s that I miss being in front of an audience.”
9. Joey Logano: Logano finished fifth in the Auto Club 500, as timely adjustments and quick work in the pits helped make the No. 20 Home Depot machine the only Toyota in the top 10. Logano is ninth in the Sprint Cup point standings, 263 out of first.
“With so many drivers and their wives expecting children,” said Logano, “I think it’s about time we stopped talking about ‘progeny’ and started talking about ‘prodigy.’ That would be me. Of course, my schedule doesn’t allow me much time for relationships. But that’s okay. If there’s one thing I use more than my HANS device, it’s my ‘hands’ device.”
“Anyway, I think it’s only logical that Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray start a family. That would make his the ‘No. 1 seed.’”
10. Kurt Busch: Busch piloted the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge to a sixth-place finish in the Auto Club 500, rebounding from a disappointing 23rd at Daytona. Busch is 11th in the point standings, 77 out of first.
“As you know,” said Busch, “my brother Kyle’s former crew chief, Steve Addington, is now my crew chief. Steve’s a lot like our parents—he had enough of one of us, but still chose to have another.”