NASCAR returns to Southern California with a new race format, a new series sponsor and most of the sport’s biggest names looking for their first win of the season.
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. will become the 25th driver in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series history to make 600 or more starts when he hits the track for Auto Club 400.
- Junior has 26 career wins to his name but has never won at the two-mile track in Fontana, Calif, host of this weekend’s finale of NASCAR’s west-coast swing.
- Kyle Busch, on the other hand, has captured three wins at Fontana and posted the second-highest driver’s rating at the track. No wonder he is one of the odds-on favourites to capture the checkers.
- Only two of the races at Fontana have been won from the front row, both by seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson.
- Hendrick Motorsports leads the series in wins at Auto Club Speedway with 10, followed by Roush Fenway Racing with seven. Stewart Haas Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske each have two.
- The most proficient starting position at Auto Club is very random. Three starting positions (third, ninth and 24th) have produced three winners each.
- Last year in his first Cup start at Fontana, Chase Elliott finished sixth. Now, he’s got top-fives at both Las Vegas and Atlanta this season and is seemingly on the verge of his first win.
- Tony Stewart recorded 13 top-10 finishes at Auto Club Speedway and his replacement in the No. 14, Clint Bowyer, is ranked in the top 10 of seven major loop-data categories at the track. Expect Bowyer to be near the front at the end.
Source: Sporting News