Iracing Around:/I California
December 19, 2005 | 10:13 P.M. EST
Full Track Name: California Speedway
Population: 158,715 (U.S. Census Estimate)
Time Zone: Pacific
NEXTEL Cup: Auto Club 500 (February 27), SONY HD 500 (September 3)
Busch Series: Stater Bros. 300 (February 26), Ameriquest 300 (September 2)
Craftsman Trucks: NCTS 200 (February 25)
Others: AMA Superbike Championship (April 28-30), Relocate Here 200 (Sept. 1)
As the track closest to Hollywood, this is the best chance to go star hunting while not watching the action on the circuit. For those not into the stars, Southern California also has one of the best family attractions in the country, Disneyland.
The track itself is amongst one of the newest on the NASCAR circuit. California Speedway’s 2-mile, D-shaped oval creates great side-by-side racing and offers accommodations unlike any other. With two NEXTEL Cup dates on its schedule, this is one track that you really should plan on visiting.
How To Get There
Like many things in California, there are various ways to reach the Speedway depending on which way you are coming from. One way is to take I-16 and take one of many possible exits (Baseline Road, Fourth Street, etc.). Another possibility is to take I-10 and exit on Cherry Avenue (or Citrus Avenue, or various others…you get the picture).
Visit racetickets.com to find some of the many ways to get there. Before you get there though, make sure you know which stands you are sitting in because that will determine which parking lot will be best to park in.
A secondary option to driving during the race weekends in California is the use of Metrolink. No matter where you are staying during the California Weekends, you may want to use Metrolink to get to and from the races, not to mention elsewhere around the southland. Tickets for the specially chartered trains are available through California Speedway and can virtually eliminate traffic worries for the race weekend.
Best Seats in the House
While the facility offers great seating throughout, the very best are in the upper grandstand area. These seats, which come as part of two- and three-day packages during the spring race, offer breathtaking views of the mountains behind the track as well as all of the action on the track.
The track, which once was the home to a steel mill, has many unique statistics to its credit. For example, there are approximately 130 football fields worth of turf and grass that lie at the track. Also, the amount of miles or irrigation pipes equals the distance between Fontana and Los Angeles (75 miles). Finally, there is enough irrigation wire (280 miles) to go from Fontana to Las Vegas.
What else is there to do?
Unlike most other tracks in the NEXTEL Cup Circuit, California Speedway does have a lot of different activities and attractions to visit that are within a short drive. One area that most visitors choose to focus on while in Fontana for races is nearby Los Angeles. Once in L.A., visitors can choose go star gazing, they can stay in the surrounding area and go to the beach, or they can visit just one of the many family attractions like Disneyland that are mere minutes away.
Where to Stay
With so many big cities in the vicinity of Fontana, guests visiting the track should have no problem finding a place to stay. Depending on what activities you want to schedule during your trip, you may want to consider staying closer to the Los Angeles/West Hollywood area. However, beware that traffic in that part of the country can be vicious at times, so schedule your arrival to the track accordingly.
By The Way…
Taking California Speedway to new heights with an enhanced look and feel is a new Midway that features a town center, retail store and concert stage. Driver merchandise trailers will wrap around promotional displays throughout the Midway to create a street festival atmosphere. A full-service outdoor café with cuisine by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck will sit at the center of the Midway behind the grandstands. Other key elements in the new Midway include shade features, modified entry gates, expanded hospitality areas, radio broadcast locations, giant video walls, leisure areas and grass and water accents. The new Midway, bringing the majority of the key entertainment features within California Speedway’s fence line, will nearly double the Midway footprint from 12.2 acres to 23.8 acres. There will be redesigning of the new Midway until its grand opening during the SONY HD 500 weekend
If You Need More to Feed Your Racing Fix
On top of the great racing at the track, California Speedway is one of the few tracks that also has a drag strip. The Auto Club Dragstrip at California Speedway will play host to an NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Division event in June and the NHRA West SPORTSnationals in September. In fact, the quarter-mile dragstrip hosts the fastest cars at California Speedway, with speeds in excess of 260 mph.