Parks Pit Report: Auto Club 400

The superhero battle turned into a victory celebration. Superman has arrived.

The superhero battle turned into a victory celebration. Superman has arrived.

It is very appropriate that the final leg of the “NASCAR Goes West” part of the schedule heads out to Hollywood.  It’s that time of year where some big movies are about to be released, and this year NASCAR got involved in a major way.

How can one not be excited about Superman vs. Batman?  Finally this battle of the cartoon superheroes will be decided.  On one side, the caped crusader hoping to keep Gotham City safe for all.

On the opposite side, the man who is able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

So who would it be…would Superman become a villain to the Dark Knight, or would Batman become the kryptonite for the Man of Steel?

Well on the big screen we won’t know until later this week, but on the track, it could be decided on Sunday.

In the end, the man from California that has won six titles got to wear his cape when the day ended.  Jimmie Johnson wasn’t the fastest car on the track, but he was fast at moments, especially when it mattered the most.  A pass on the final restart, and a heavy push to the lead, was all that was necessary to get the checkered flag.  The only struggle afterwards was getting the flag itself, as Johnson dropped it when it was handed to him.

But, the team got out the red capes, which perfectly matched their blue uniforms, and the photos spoke for themselves.  Out came the poses, and then Twitter with all the memes and pics to go along with it.

The program for both drivers was an absolute success.  It’s not the first time Superman has been on a stock car, as former teammate to Johnson and Earnhardt Jr, Jeff Gordon, ran a Superman car years ago.  Unfortunately in that instance, the cape disappeared on a wreck on the last lap, considering it was at Daytona.

On the other hand, Batman has been pretty good to the sport.  Dale Earnhardt Jr. would get a win with Batman in 2011, one that ended a losing streak that went over two years.

The Batman history in NASCAR can go back even farther, back to 1995.  In that era, special paint schemes were just beginning.  The week prior, Dale Earnhardt unveiled a special silver car to honor R.J. Reynold’s 25th season as title sponsor to NASCAR.  One week later, Bill Elliott decided to go away from his traditional red and yellow colors of McDonald’s.

His car still had that sponsorship, but his Thunderbird would then become the “Thunderbat” to honor the Batman Forever film.

It goes to show superheroes do have a place in NASCAR, but in this case it wasn’t Gotham City that would be victorious.  Instead, it was a California native that emerged from a phone booth to take home victory.

Superman has arrived, and he’s come with a Lowe’s sponsorship.

RESULTS:  1-Johnson  2-Harvick  3-Hamlin  4-Logano  5-Stenhouse Jr.  6-Elliott  7-Edwards  8-Allmendinger  9-Keselowski  10-McMurray

NOTABLE FINISHES:  11-Earnhardt Jr.  19-Kenseth  25-Kyle Busch

CAUTIONS:  6 for 33 laps.  28-31 (#34 accident-T2); 49-53 (#42 accident-BS); 109-114 (#6 accident-T1); 122-130 (#10 accident-T1); 156-160 (Debris-T3); 200-203 (#18 accident-T3).

LEAD CHANGES:  26 among 8 drivers.  A. Dillon POLE; K. Harvick 1-28; C. Edwards 29-33; K. Harvick 34; C. Edwards 35-36; K. Harvick 37-52; J. Logano 53; K. Harvick 54-70; M. Truex Jr. 71-77; J. Johnson 78-82; C. Elliott # 83; M. Kenseth 84-85; K. Harvick 86-105; J. Johnson 106-109; M. Truex Jr. 110; K. Harvick 111-113; J. Johnson 114-123; M. Truex Jr. 124-136; K. Harvick 137-157; J. Johnson 158-159; C. Edwards 160-161; J. Johnson 162-163; J. Logano 164-165; K. Harvick 166-200; D. Hamlin 201-202; K. Harvick 203; J. Johnson 204-205.

TIME OF RACE:  2 Hrs, 59 Mins, 17 secs.

AVERAGE SPEED:  137.213 MPH

MARGIN OF VICTORY:  0.772 Seconds

CHASE GRID:  1. Johnson, 184 points (2 wins); 2. Harvick, 195 (1); 3. Hamlin, 170 (1); 4. Keselowski, 142 (1); 5. Edwards, -24 (from 1st-Harvick); 6. Kyle Busch, -25; 7. Logano, -30; 8. Kurt Busch, -47; 9. Earnhardt Jr, -50; 10. Dillon, -56; 11. Truex Jr, -68; 12. McMurray, -70; 13. Almirola, -75; 14. Stenhouse Jr, -76; 15. Kenseth, -82; 16. Elliott, -85.

PHOTOS: Central PA Outdoor & Sports Show
Central PA Outdoor & Sports Show Schedule of Events for Sunday

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