Fontana Handicaps

Jeff Gordon- Gordon has won three times at Fontana including the inaugural race here and this spring's race. He has top 5 finishes in five of eight career starts here. Should be a factor.

Jimmie Johnson- Johnson won his first career Cup race at California in 2002. He was also runner-up here this spring.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.- Junior's 2002 season was derailed by lingering head injuries suffered in a wreck here. He has two top 10 finishes in five Cup starts at California. Earnhardt did won a Busch race here back in 1998.

Tony Stewart- After top 10 finishes in his first three Fontana Cup starts Stewart hasn't been able to post a finish better than nineteenth here in the three subsequent Cup events.

Matt Kenseth- This is the sort of track that generally suits Kenseth and the Roush Fords but he hasn't won here. Kenseth does have three top 10 finishes in five starts here. My guess is the new Ford engine will make Kenseth and his teammates players this weekend. (Of special note Kenseth has won three of the seven Busch series races he's run at Fontana.)

Kurt Busch- Busch won here last year and was the runner up in 2002. He also won here from the pole in the 2000 truck series event.

Elliott Sadler- Sadler is still looking for a top 20 finish after six Fontana starts.

Kevin Harvick- After failing to finish better than 25th in his first three starts here Harvick did manage a ninth place run here this spring.

Bobby Labonte- Labonte has five top 10 finishes in eight starts here including two runner-up results. (2000,2003)

Ryan Newman- Newman finished third here this spring to score his first top 10 result in three Cup starts at Fontana.

Kasey Kahne- Kahne won the pole here this spring but went on to finish thirteenth after leading 77 laps. He has managed top 5 finishes in his last two Busch starts here.

Mark Martin- Martin won here in 1998 and finished eleventh here in the spring. While this track would seem to suit him he's also struggled mightily here with an average finish of seventeenth. My guess is the new Ford engine will help him finish considerably better than that this weekend if his engine doesn't fail. Given hero odds, Martin could be a good dark horse pick.

Jeremy Mayfield- This is the only track where Mayfield has won a Cup race other than Pocono. Mayfield is batting .500 with four top 10 finishes in eight Cup starts here but he's missed the top 10 in the last three Cup events at Fontana.

Dale Jarrett- Jarrett is an enigma at Fontana. He has four top 10 finishes in eight Cup starts here but his other finishes were all 24th or worse.

Jamie McMurray- McMurray finished fifth in last year's Cup race here but fifteenth here this spring.

Casey Mears- Mears finished eighth here this spring.

Michael Waltrip- Waltrip has two top 10 finishes in eight starts here with a best result of seventh last year. He was also runner-up in last year's Busch race here. Call me cynical but now that Waltrip is going to miss the C4C thing my guess is NASCAR will find a way to give their chief spear-carrier the call and let him win a race before the season is over.

Greg Biffle- Biffle had three top 10 finishes in three truck starts at Fontana and he won this spring's Busch race here but his Cup runs here to date have been Quixotic at best.

Sterling Marlin- Marlin has top 10 finishes in three of four Cup starts at Fontana since switching to Dodge.

Jeff Burton- Burton was runner up here in 1999, but his last four Fontana finishes have been disasters. I predict he'll continue the momentum in his new ride this weekend though. Burton was also the runner up in the first two Busch races run here.

Rusty Wallace- Wallace won here in 2001 and had four straight top 10s at Fontana prior to this spring's event. But my guess is Wallace, like Darlington, is history.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2004

Photos

  • 1994 Brickyard Winner: Jeff Gordon
  • 1995 Brickyard Winner: Dale Earnhardt
  • 1996 Brickyard Winner: Dale Jarrett
  • 1997 Brickyard Winner: Ricky Rudd
  • 1998 Brickyard Winner: Jeff Gordon
  • 1999 Brickyard Winner: Dale Jarrett
  • 2000 Brickyard Winner: Bobby Labonte
  • 2001 Brickyard Winner: Jeff Gordon
  • 2002 Brickyard Winner: Bill Elliott
  • 2003 Brickyard Winner: Kevin Harvick
  • 2004 Brickyard Winner: Jeff Gordon
  • 2005 Brickyard Winner: Tony Stewart
  • 2006 Brickyard Winner: Jimmie Johnson
  • 2007 Brickyard Winner: Tony Stewart
  • 2008 Brickyard Winner: Jimmie Johnson
  • 2009 Brickyard Winner: Jimmie Johnson
  • 2010 Brickyard Winner: Jamie McMurray
  • 2011 Brickyard Winner: Paul Menard
  • 2012 Brickyard Winner: Jimmie Johnson
  • 2013 Brickyard Winner: Ryan Newman
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