I think it may be a biased opinion regarding the auto vs. manual transmissions.
For me, almost any vehicle that comes in both flavors, the auto is going to 'suck' compared to the manual; but that's just me, I prefer the manual transmissions. And before anyone decides to flame me, yes, I do know that some automatics are better at *insert something here* than manuals; I don't care, I prefer manuals
You also have to remember that for a stock car, the auto trans isn't going to be set for harder shifts, it will be set for smooth shifts and comfort compared to what you could expect of the same car with a manual in it. And most automatics aren't designed to be bullet-proofed for hard launches and the torque and strain of a racer (for that matter a lot of manual trans aren't either), but you get my point I'm sure.
I honestly believe that unless you are used to, or expect a strip-power launch every single time the light turns green, that you will be happy with the automatic transmission.