California is a different kind of place. How fitting the Auto Club Speedway runs like two different tracks.
For starters, the Pepsi Max 400 is 100 miles and 50 laps shorter than the first race at Auto Club. That race technically occurs in the winter. So the track temperature could be quite different Sunday.
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 that often yields long green flag runs and important strategic decisions at the end of races. 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 as we get later in the day.
Now some random facts from the track’s website to impress your friends Sunday at 3 when ESPN begins its race coverage.
- The banking is 14 degrees in the turns, 11 degrees on the frontstretch and 3 degrees on the backstretch.
- The frontstretch is 3,100 feet.
- The backstretch is: 2,500 feet.
- Jimmie Johnson is the defending race winner.
- He won at California earlier this year and has five victories at the track.
- I probably don’t need to type this, but Johnson has the best average finish at the track.
- Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon have the second through fifth best average finish here.
- Kenseth and Gordon have won at Auto Club three times. They and Johnson are the only three to have won here more than once.
- A Roush Fenway car has won at Auto Club Speedway the last five years. Matt 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.
- 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? This is why California is losing a race.
- 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 is a specific page devoted to renewing your wedding vows or getting married race weekend.