Everything you need to know about Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Fontana

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Courtesy of NASCAR’s public relations and statistics teams, here’s all the important numbers and notes you need to know going into this coming weekend’s Auto Club Speedway – Round 5 of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.

AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY-SPECIFIC STATISTICS

Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Aerospace Ford)
· One win, four top fives, seven top 10s
· Average finish of 16.6
· Average Running Position of 12.8, eighth-best
· Driver Rating of 95.8, seventh-best
· 217 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
· 1,174 Green Flag Passes, ninth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 171.483 mph, sixth-fastest
· 2,405 Laps in the Top 15 (69.0%), eighth-most
· 649 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), 11th-most
Clint Bowyer (No. 15 PEAK Toyota)
· Two top fives, seven top 10s
· Average finish of 12.7
· Average Running Position of 13.1, ninth-best
· Driver Rating of 91.4, 10th-best
· Average Green Flag Speed of 171.052 mph, 10th-fastest
Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet)
· One win, five top fives, 10 top 10s; three poles
· Average finish of 12.4
· Average Running Position of 15.0, 12th-best
· Driver Rating of 89.6, 12th-best
· 1,275 Green Flag Passes, third-most
· 2,204 Laps in the Top 15 (63.3%), 10th-most
· 673 Quality Passes, 10th-most
Kyle Busch (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota)
· Two wins, seven top fives, 11 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 10.7
· Average Running Position of 9.1, second-best
· Driver Rating of 109.2, second-best
· 243 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 171.627 mph, second-fastest
· 2,803 Laps in the Top 15 (80.5%), third-most
· 739 Quality Passes, third-most
Carl Edwards (No. 99 Subway Ford)
· One win, eight top fives, 13 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 8.4
· Average Running Position of 12.2, seventh-best
· Driver Rating of 98.5, fifth-best
· 153 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 171.508 mph, fifth-fastest
· 2,651 Laps in the Top 15 (76.1%), fifth-most
· 708 Quality Passes, fourth-most
Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet)
· Three wins, 10 top fives, 11 top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 11.8
· Average Running Position of 10.4, fifth-best
· Driver Rating of 96.2, sixth-best
· 202 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
· 1,273 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 171.399 mph, seventh-fastest
· 2,581 Laps in the Top 15 (74.1%), sixth-most
· Series-high 779 Quality Passes
Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota)
· One top five, four top 10s; three poles
· Average finish of 19.0
· Average Running Position of 13.9, 10th-best
· Driver Rating of 90.7, 11th-best
· Average Green Flag Speed of 171.205 mph, ninth-fastest
· 1,926 Laps in the Top 15 (64.6%), 12th-most
Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet)
· One win, four top fives, nine top 10s
· Average finish of 15.4
· Average Running Position of 12.0, sixth-best
· Driver Rating of 95.5, eighth-best
· 119 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most
· 1,191 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 171.329 mph, eighth-fastest
· 2,557 Laps in the Top 15 (73.4%), seventh-most
· 707 Quality Passes, fifth-most
Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet)
· Five wins, 12 top fives, 14 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 5.7
· Series-best Average Running Position of 6.1
· Series-best Driver Rating of 119.6
· Series-high 456 Fastest Laps Run
· Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 172.084 mph
· Series-high 3,247 Laps in the Top 15 (93.2%)
· 745 Quality Passes, second-most
Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Time Warner Cable Chevrolet)
· One win, four top fives, 10 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 14.5
· Average Running Position of 14.4, 11th-best
· Driver Rating of 92.9, ninth-best
· 107 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most
· 1,210 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 171.051 mph, 11th-fastest
· 2,237 Laps in the Top 15 (64.2%), ninth-most
· 705 Quality Passes, seventh-most
Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota)
· Three wins, eight top fives, 14 top 10s
· Average finish of 10.1
· Average Running Position of 9.4, third-best
· Driver Rating of 105.5, third-best
· 133 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most
· 1,149 Green Flag Passes, 10th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 171.547 mph, third-fastest
· 2,860 Laps in the Top 15 (82.1%), second-most
· 701 Quality Passes, eighth-most
Tony Stewart (No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet)
· Two wins, six top fives, 12 top 10s
· Average finish of 13.9
· Average Running Position of 9.9, fourth-best
· Driver Rating of 102.0, fourth-best
· 226 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 171.511 mph, fourth-fastest
· 2,683 Laps in the Top 15 (77.0%), fourth-most
· 707 Quality Passes, fifth-most
source:
Auto Club Speedway History
· Groundbreaking for California Speedway, as Auto Club Speedway originally was known, took place in November 1995.
· The first race was a NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race won by Ken Schrader on June 21, 1997.
· The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was held on June 22, 1997 and won by Jeff Gordon.
· September 2004 was the first night race and that also was the first year both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide Series ran two races in a season there.
· The track name was changed to Auto Club Speedway (ACS) in February 2008.
Auto Club Speedway Notebook
· There have been 24 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Auto Club Speedway, the track hosted one NSCS race a season from 1997-2003, then two races per season from 2004-2010. In 2011 the track returned to a single-race season.
· 128 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club; 106 in more than one.
· Three drivers have participated in all 24 races: Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon, and Bobby Labonte.
· Joe Nemechek won the inaugural Coors Light pole (1997) with a speed of 183.015 mph (39.341 secs.).
· 15 drivers have poles at Auto Club Speedway, led by Denny Hamlin and Kurt Busch with three each.
· Denny Hamlin (2011, 2012), Kurt Busch (2006 sweep) and Jamie McMurray (2010 sweep) are the three drivers to win consecutive poles at Auto Club Speedway. Hamlin has won the last two poles at ACS and could become the first in series history to win three-in-a-row at Auto Club.
· Youngest ACS pole winner: Kyle Busch (2/27/2005 – 19 years, 9 months, 25 days).
· Oldest ACS pole winner: Mike Skinner (4/30/2000 – 42 years, 10 months, 2 days).
· 14 different drivers have won at ACS, led by Jimmie Johnson (five). Three other drivers have multiple wins: Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth each have three wins, Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch each have two.
· Hendrick Motorsports leads the series in wins at Auto Club Speedway with nine, followed by Roush Fenway Racing with seven and Stewart Haas Racing with two.
· California-native Jimmie Johnson became the first and only driver to win from the pole at Auto Club Speedway in 2008.
· Only two ACS races have been won from the front row both by six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson,  fall of 2008 (pole); and the fall of 2007 (second-place).
· Nine of the 24 (37.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Auto Club Speedway have been won from a top-five starting position.
· 13 of the 24 (54.2%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Auto Club Speedway have been won from a top-10 starting position.
· Seven of the 24 (29.2%) races have been won from a starting position outside the top 20.
· The deepest in the field that a race winner has started was 31st, by Matt Kenseth in the spring of 2006.
· The most proficient starting position at ACS is pretty random. Three starting positions (third, ninth and 24th have produced three winners each.
· Youngest ACS winner: Kyle Busch (09/04/2005 – 20 years, 4 months, 2 days).
· Oldest ACS winner: Rusty Wallace (04/29/2001 – 44 years, 8 months, 15 days).
· Jimmie Johnson leads the series in runner-up finishes at Auto Club Speedway with five; followed by his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon with four.
· Jimmie Johnson leads the series in top-five finishes at Auto club Speedway with 12; followed by Jeff Gordon (10), Matt Kenseth (eight) and Carl Edwards (eight).
· Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth lead the series in top-10 finishes with 14; followed by Carl Edwards (13) and Tony Stewart (12).
· Jimmie Johnson leads the series in average finish at ACS with a 5.737
· Jimmie Johnson (5.7)and Carl Edwards (8.4) are the only two only active drivers with an average finish in the top 10 at Auto Club Speedway.
· There have been two green-white-checkered finishes at Auto Club Speedway: 2005 (250/254) and 2006 (250/251).
· Carl Edwards posted his first NSCS Coors Light pole at Auto Club Speedway on September 4, 2005. Kyle Busch won his first pole (2/27/05) and first series win (9/4/05) at ACS in 2005.
· Greg Biffle (4/28/02) and J.J. Yeley (9/5/04) made their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career starts at Auto Club Speedway.
· Jimmie Johnson posted his first series career win at Auto Club Speedway on April 28, 2002.
· Jimmie Johnson is the only driver to win consecutive races at Auto Club Speedway (fall of 2009 – spring of 2010).
· 12 of the 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers who have won at Auto Club Speedway participated in at least two or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Jeff Gordon (1997 – inaugural event) and Jimmie Johnson (2002) are the only drivers to win at ACS in their first appearance.
· Tony Stewart competed at Auto Club Speedway 18 times before winning in the fall of 2010; the longest span of any the 14 winners. Only Stewart (18) and Kevin Harvick (17) have made 10 or more attempts before their first win at Auto Club Speedway.
· Jeff Burton and Bobby Labonte lead the series with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Auto Club Speedway without visiting Victory Lane at 24.
· Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Auto Club Speedway was the (3/27/2011) race won by Kevin Harvick with a MOV of 0.144 second over Jimmie Johnson.
· Three reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions have gone on to win at Auto Club Speedway the following season: Tony Stewart (2012), Jeff Gordon (1999) and Jimmie Johnson – the only one to do it multiple times(2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010).
· Two drivers have won and Auto Club Speedway race and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in the same season: Jeff Gordon (1997) and Jimmie Johnson (2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010).
· Two female drivers have competed at Auto Club Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Shawna Robinson and Danica Patrick. **Note:Robinson first attempted to qualify for the race at ACS on 4/29/2001 but failed to make the event.
Driver
Starting Position
Finishing Position
Date
Shawna Robinson
43
42
4/28/2002
Danica Patrick
40
26
3/24/2013

·   Only three car numbers have produced three or more Auto Club Speedway NSCS wins: No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson – 2002, 2007-2010), No. 17 (Matt Kenseth – 2006-2007, 2009), and No. 24 (Jeff Gordon – 1997, 1999, 2004).

NASCAR in California
· There have been 135 NASCAR Sprint Cup races among 15 different tracks in California.
· Auto Club Speedway has hosted the second most NSCS events among active California tracks.

Track Name
City
NSCS
Riverside International Raceway
Riverside
48
Sonoma Raceway
Sonoma
25
Auto Club Speedway
Fontana
24
Ontario Motor Speedway
Ontario
9
California State Fairgrounds
Sacramento
6
Carrell Speedway
Gardena
4
Ascot Stadium
Los Angeles
3
Bay Meadows Race Track
San Mateo
3
Marchbanks Speedway
Hanford
3
Oakland Stadium
Oakland
3
Redwood Speedway
Eureka
2
Willow Springs Speedway
Lancaster
2
Capitol Speedway
Sacramento
1
Merced Fairgrounds
Merced
1
Santa Clara Fairgrounds
San Jose
1

NASCAR in California
· 428 drivers in NASCAR national series history have their home state recorded as California.
· 36 drivers from California have won at least one race in NASCAR’s three national series. 24 of the 36 California native NASCAR winners have won in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Driver
NSCS
NNS
NCWTS
Jeff Gordon
88
5
0
Jimmie Johnson
66
1
0
Kevin Harvick
24
40
14
Marvin Panch
17
0
0
Ernie Irvan
15
3
0
Dick Rathmann
13
0
0
Dan Gurney
5
0
0
Eddie Gray
4
0
0
Parnelli Jones
4
0
0
Eddie Pagan
4
0
0
Robby Gordon
3
1
0
Ray Elder
2
0
0
Danny Letner
2
0
0
Marvin Porter
2
0
0
Dick Brooks
1
0
0
Marvin Burke
1
0
0
Jim Cook
1
0
0
Lou Figaro
1
0
0
Danny Graves
1
0
0
Johnny Mantz
1
0
0
Casey Mears
1
1
0
Bill Norton
1
0
0
John Soares
1
0
0
Danny Weinberg
1
0
0
Ron Hornaday Jr
0
4
51
AJ Allmendinger
0
2
0
Jason Leffler
0
2
1
David Gilliland
0
1
0
Joe Ruttman
0
1
13
Boris Said
0
1
1
Mike Skinner
0
1
28
Matt Crafton
0
0
3
Kyle Larson
0
0
1
Justin Lofton
0
0
1
Scott Speed
0
0
1
Brandon Whitt
0
0
1

Justin Timberlake to play this year’s U.S. Grand Prix at COTA

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Taylor Swift playing last year’s U.S. Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin was always going to be a hard act to match, or perhaps top.

Yet COTA has pulled it off with confirmation Wednesday that Justin Timberlake will be playing on the Saturday before this year’s race, on October 21.

Timberlake will play at the conclusion of track activity on Saturday for a full show. Tickets go on sale this Friday at 10 a.m. CT, with more info via COTA’s website. Here’s the pertinent details:

  • The concert will take place at COTA’s Super Stage Festival Lawn, not Austin360 Amphitheater
  • Seating is general admission, first come first served
  • All holders of a Saturday ticket for USGP weekend, including the 3-day GA wristband, will have access to the show

Circuit of The Americas announced a crowd of more than 80,000 last year for T-Swift, for her first and only planned concert of the year.

Timberlake is on par from a stratospheric level as Swift is. And half the draw of the COTA weekend, it seems, is ensuring you can get concertgoers to the track as well.

This should make for a fun end-of-day on Saturday.

IMS Museum to reveal A.J. Foyt exhibit in April

Photo: IMS Archives
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It’s been 40 years since A.J. Foyt won his fourth and final Indianapolis 500 as a driver in 1977. Perfect timing, then, for a special Foyt exhibit to grace the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which will premiere next month.

The release from the museum is below:

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of his record-setting fourth Indianapolis 500 win, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is proud to present a once-in-a-lifetime exhibit honoring auto racing icon A.J. Foyt, opening April 14.

A.J. Foyt: A Legendary Exhibition, presented by ABC Supply is a limited-run celebration that traces the superstar’s rise from the dirt tracks of Texas to the pinnacle of auto racing history.

Nearly three dozen cars that Foyt drove in competition will be on display, including all four of his Indianapolis 500 winning machines, the 1961 Bowes Seal Fast Special, 1964 & 1967 Sheraton-Thompson Specials, and the 1977 Gilmore Coyote.

Photo: IMS Archives

“Everyone knows that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is my favorite track and that people wouldn’t know me if it weren’t for the Indy 500, but to have the Museum put on this exhibit there, well I feel truly honored,” said the legendary Foyt. “This exhibit will give people a chance to see my winning Indy cars but also some of the other race cars I drove and won in over the years.”

In addition to several of Foyt’s IndyCars, many incredible machines representing Foyt’s career in NASCAR, USAC and road racing will be on display, many for the first time, and visitors will also have the chance to see rare memorabilia from Foyt’s personal collection.

“Based on the stuff we shipped to Indy, I think the Museum has a lot of personal memorabilia and photos that their visitors will like seeing” Foyt said. “I haven’t seen some of the cars in many, many years so to be truthful, I’m looking forward to the exhibit too!”

“A.J. Foyt is perhaps the most iconic driver in the 108-year history of the Brickyard” said Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum Director & Curator Ellen Bireley. “We are proud to honor this incredible champion with an exhibit of memories and memorabilia that pays tribute to one of the most diverse and successful careers in auto racing history.”

A.J. Foyt: A Legendary Exhibition is presented by ABC Supply, with additional support from Chevrolet and Al-Fe Heat Treating. The exhibit runs until October 31.

Social roundup: Media day at Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

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The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is still more than a week away, but Media Day was in full swing on Tuesday with a number of attractions for fans and media in attendance.

That being said, it’s easier to get all the pre-advance work done before cars from six different series hit the track starting on Friday, April 7. The Long Beach IndyCar race airs on April 9 at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

The day began with Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden fielding interviews with the local L.A. affiliates for NBC, Fox, and ABC before being a attending a midday luncheon. He also did various interviews with other outlets.

There were also a number of opportunities for rides around the 1.968-mile street circuit. IndyCar drivers Zach Veach and Gabby Chaves were in charge of the Verizon IndyCar Series two-seater while Scott Pruett manned driving duties in a two-seat version of his Lexus RC F GT3. Rocky Moran Sr. and Jr. also held demo rides of their own around the circuit in a Camry; James Sofronas took folks for rides in a GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.

Formula Drift was on hand as well, though their days were spent preparing for the event. Several cars made practice runs along Seaside Way and through turns 9, 10, and 11 of the circuit.

The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is slated for April 7-9, with first practice for the Verizon IndyCar Series rolling off at 1:00 p.m. local time on Friday April 7.

INDYCAR reveals next round of design for 2018 common aero kit

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After the initial renderings of the 2018 common aero kit were released in January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, questions then turned to when INDYCAR would release the next round of what the future of the single kit would look like.

The date was something of a moving target, without a set time piece either just before or just after the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season began with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 12.

That being said, today marks the arrival of round two of what the new kit will look like, revealed first on IndyCar.com. The timing works well as it’s just after St. Petersburg but before Round 2, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, which runs April 9 at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN to kick off the NBC Sports Group’s coverage portion of the season.

In today’s release, INDYCAR is still yet to confirm the supplier of the new common aero kit. But the car’s development remains on track to be revealed in the flesh this summer before a mid-summer testing debut.

Rendering courtesy of INDYCAR

“While this remains a work in progress, we are encouraged with where the development of the 2018 car stands,” Jay Frye, INDYCAR president of competition and operations, said in the release. “The look of the car is bold, the performance data from simulations is meeting targeted goals and safety enhancements built into the design will be substantial.”

Tino Belli, INDYCAR director of aerodynamic development, explained the design process with a focus on producing more downforce from the underside of the car rather than on top, addressing driver feedback.

“We’ve been working on the aerodynamics to suit the look, rather than the other way around,” Belli said in the release.

“We’re working on creating more of the downforce from the underwing,” Belli said. “The hole in the floor (of the undertray on this year’s car) will be sealed for the road courses and short ovals, but will still be open for the superspeedways.”

While aerodynamic targets and additional safety enhancements are set to include side impact structures in the sidepods and repositioned radiators, with turbocharger inlets moving to the inside of the radiator inlet ducts, no word was given today in terms of a windscreen or other cockpit protection enhancement device which has been rumored but not officially confirmed to be part of the 2018 kit. Belli said in the release that INDYCAR has achieved “97 percent” of its goals from developing the new car’s look and efficiency.

Of note, INDYCAR announced long-term contract extensions with four key partners, Dallara, Chevrolet, Honda and Firestone, at St. Petersburg, which was great news for the series but perhaps overshadowed in the kickoff to the new season. It further pushed the development of Frye’s much-mentioned “five-year plan” for the series.

Just because the base Dallara DW12 chassis remains as the tub does not necessarily mean it will be Dallara as the common kit supplier. Dallara’s Stefano De Ponti, director of the company’s U.S. operations, did say how much it has meant to the company to be celebrating its 20th year with INDYCAR during the St. Petersburg announcement.

“Dallara came here in 1997. That has marked the Dallara presence in North American motorsports. It was an important step,” De Ponti said at St. Petersburg.

“Obviously the plant, facility, engineering center we built in Indianapolis was, for the most part of it, obviously to support our program here as a partner with IndyCar.

“I personally wish, yes, that the extension will go beyond the set extension we have so far. We would like to be very, very clear, to be trustful and a supported partner of IndyCar as a manufacturer.

“Obviously, as an engineering company, we like competition, of course. We welcome everything that IndyCar decides to do with us for the future.

“At the end of the day, we want to be, and we are committed, to work with IndyCar for the benefit of the series. That would benefit all of us.”