NASCAR’s West Coast swing continues this weekend with the Xfinity and Cup Series both in action at Auto Club Speedway.
The 2-mile southern California track has hosted NASCAR Racing since 1997 and has seen 17 different Cup Series winners in 30 races. Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers with six wins, including his first career win back in his rookie season in 2002.
With this being his final season as a full-time driver, the trip to Auto Club will be special for Johnson. The track will pay tribute to the El Cajon native through a variety of ways, including having Johnson lead the the five-wide salute during the pace laps along with his wife, Chandra, and daughters, Genevieve and Lydia, waving the green flag.
See Also: Special Weekend Ahead for Johnson
In addition to Johnson, Cole Custer, Matt DiBenedetto, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson and Tyler Reddick are the California drivers in the field.
Kyle Busch is looking to bounce back from respective finishes of 34th and 15th to start the season on Sunday at ACS where he is the defending race winner. Busch has finished in the top 10 in seven of his last eight starts at ACS, including three wins in that span.
Auto Club Loop Data Stat Leaders (Last Three Races)
|Average Running Pos.||Laps in Top 15|
|1. Kyle Busch – 3.7||1. Kyle Busch – 599|
|2. Martin Truex Jr. – 5.8||2. Joey Logano – 579|
|3. Joey Logano – 6.0||3. Denny Hamlin – 556|
|4. Kyle Larson – 7.3||4. Erik Jones – 548|
|5. Denny Hamlin – 8.4||5. Martin Truex Jr. – 529|
|Fastest Laps Run||Driver Rating|
|1. Kyle Busch – 109||1. Kyle Busch – 125.9|
|2. Martin Truex Jr. – 108||2. Martin Truex Jr. – 122.9|
|3. Kyle Larson – 50||3. Kyle Larson – 112.5|
|4. Brad Keselowski – 37||4. Joey Logano – 111.9|
|5. Joey Logano – 36||5. Brad Keselowski – 104.7|
Kurt Busch, Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Larson and Martin Truex Jr. are the other active drivers that have visited Victory Lane at ACS.
Drivers look forward to racing at Auto Club Speedway because it has the oldest asphalt surface on the circuit.
“It‘s top three on my list as far as tracks that I‘m excited to go to, just for the fact that the asphalt is so worn out,” Harvick said. “It is very similar to Atlanta in a much different shape of a racetrack. It‘s a very unique racetrack because it is so wide and you have so many options to run all over the racetrack.”
Austin Dillon, who won the pole for this event last year, concurs with Harvick.
“I did an appearance at Auto Club Speedway not too long ago and I told the track officials, ‘whatever you do, don’t repave it,\"” Dillon said. “Or, wait to repave it until you can figure out how to make an asphalt that is very similar to what is on the track now.”
Motor Racing Network will have live coverage of Friday’s two NASCAR Cup Series practice sessions (4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. ET) along with Saturday’s qualifying session (2:30 p.m. ET).
Jeff Striegle, AlexHayden and Rusty Wallace will call Sunday’s Auto Club 400 from the booth. Dan Hubbard and Kyle Rickey will be in the turns with Steve Post, Dillon Welch and Kim Coon reporting from pit road. MRN’s air time for Sunday is 2:30 p.m. ET.
Saturday’s Xfinity Series Production Alliance Group 300 will see a new face in Auto Club’s Victory Lane as no previous winners are entered in the race.
Chase Briscoe will look to go back-to-back on the season after claiming the win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He will be making his second start at the 2-mile track after finishing fifth in 2019.
“Last year, we were in the top-five and had good speed at the end of the race but, honestly, it took me the whole race to figure out how to run the track,” Briscoe said. “I‘m looking forward to going back there this year with a baseline of where to start.”
Along with Briscoe, Justin Allgaier and Daniel Hemric are the only drivers entered in the race with a top-five finish at ACS.
“I love racing at Fontana,” Allgaier said. “It‘s just a fun track because it‘s fast and slick. Our JR Motorsports Camaros have already showed a lot of speed this season, so I think if we can get our BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevy handling like we want it to during practice, we‘ll be a force to be reckoned with come Saturday.”
MRN’s air time for Saturday’s race is 3:30 p.m. ET. Dan Hubbard and Steve Post will call the action from the booth. Kyle Rickey and Alex Hayden will be in the turns with Dillon Welch and Kim Coon reporting from pit road.