Action off the track is almost as important as action on the track at Auto Club Speedway. At its best, this race emobodied NASCAR growth with two races a year. At its worst, NASCAR took away a race with thousands upon thousands of empty seats making for really bad television. When mainstream racing is good, this track displays it. When times are tough, this place can look empty.
Even though the track is two miles in length, many drivers say handling is just as important as horsepower. Still, it’s a smooth, new track. And even though the race is 400 miles for the second straight year, engine wear is something to consider. This is the second biggest track teams will have raced on this year.
The Auto Club 400 is a strategy race. There are long green flag runs; so, fuel mileage will be on the minds of crew chiefs. Tire wear usually isn’t a concern; so, you may also see many crews change two tires to get track position.
Now some random facts to impress your friends Sunday, many of which are from the track’s website:
- The banking is 14 degrees in turns; 11 degrees on frontstretch; 3 degrees on backstretch.
- The frontstretch is 3,100 feet.
- The backstretch is: 2,500 feet.
- Tony Stewart won this race this year.
- A Roush Fenway car has won this race this track in five of the last eight years. Kenseth won in 2006, 2007 and 2009. Carl Edwards won in 2008. Greg Biffle won in 2005. Jack Roush has yet to smile about this.
- Jimmie Johnson has five wins here. It shouldn’t shock you he has the best average finish at the track.
- Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseeth, Clint Bowyer and Kyle Busch have the second through fifth best average finishes at California.
- Kenseth and Gordon are the only other drivers to have multiple wins at Auto Club. Each has three.
- There are 23,000 concrete blocks at the track.
- 2.3 million cubic yards of earth was moved to make the track.
- The start/finish line is 1,121 feet above sea level.
- The track’s website says their timing system is Swiss. What’s wrong with American timing systems?
- There are an equal number of restrooms for men and women. There will not be an equal number of men and women at the track.
- There are 338 speakers.