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Auto Club Speedway
Auto Club Speedway (formerly California Speedway) - Speedway.svg
Track map showing mainly the speedway itself
Location San Bernardino County
Time zone GMT-8
Capacity 91,200 (NASCAR)
Owner International Speedway Corporation
Operator International Speedway Corporation
Broke ground 1995
Opened 1997
Construction cost $100 million USD
Architect Paxton Waters Architecture
Penske Motorsports, Inc.
Former names California Speedway (1997-2007)
Major events NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Auto Club 500
Pepsi 500
NASCAR Nationwide Series
Stater Brothers 300
Copart 300
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
San Bernardino County 200
AMA Superbike
Suzuki Superbike Challenge
D-shaped oval
Surface asphalt
Length 2.0 mi (3.23 km)
Banking Turns: 14 degrees
Frontstretch:11 degrees
Backstretch : 3 degrees
Lap record 241.426 miles per hour (Gil de Ferran, Penske Racing, October 28, 2000, CART)
Infield Road Course
Surface asphalt
Drag strip
Surface asphalt

The Auto Club Speedway of Southern California (formerly California Speedway) [1] is a two-mile (3 km), low-banked, D-shaped oval superspeedway in Fontana, California, similar to its "sister track" Michigan International Speedway. The Auto Club Speedway is the only track owned by International Speedway Corporation to have naming rights sold.

Contents

History

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Construction and location

The track is located on the site of the former Kaiser Steel mill[2]. It is a relatively new race track, opening in early 1997, and has additional configurations and facilities to accommodate road races, motorcycle races, vehicle testing, and drag races (Auto Club Dragway). The racetrack is near the former locations of Ontario Motor Speedway and Riverside International Raceway. After Riverside's closure in 1988, Southern California did not host a NASCAR race until California Speedway was opened. In addition to NASCAR, the raceway has also hosted open-wheel events from both CART and the Indy Racing League.

Main Grandstand at Auto Club Speedway

Like many modern oval tracks, Auto Club Speedway also features an infield road course, which has been used by the Grand American Road Racing Association and by the Japanese Grand Touring Car Championship, with the JGTC race being unique as a night race. The Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series no longer races at Auto Club Speedway. The NASCAR West Series held its first race on the infield course, won by Jason Bowles.

Configurations

Notable events

During the 1999 Marlboro 500 CART race, Canadian driver Greg Moore was killed in a crash along the backstretch of the track. It was determined that after sliding along the infield grass, Moore's car hit the edge of oncoming pavement, which caused the car to flip into a concrete retaining wall. This incident resulted in a major overhaul of the track, including the paving of the infield grass on the backstretch in time for the 2000 NASCAR event.

On October 28, 2000, during CART qualifying, Gil de Ferran set the track record for fastest lap at 241.426 mph (388.537 km/h).[citation needed] This was also a world speed record for the fastest lap of a closed course.[citation needed]

On November 3, 2002, Jimmy Vasser won the final 500 mile race in CART/Champ Car (now defunct) history. The race also set the track record (at the time) for average race speed at 197.995 mph (318.642 km/h).

On September 21, 2003 during an IRL race, Sam Hornish, Jr. set the track record for fastest average speed during a race at 207.151 mph (333.377 km/h).

In 2005, 20 year old Kyle Busch earned his first ever NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win at Auto Club Speedway. From 2005 until June 28, 2009 Kyle Busch held the record for being the youngest driver in Sprint Cup to win a race, which he won a Auto Club Speedway. The record was taken over by 19 year old Joey Logano for winning a rain shortened race at New Hampshire.

Name change

On February 21, 2008, the Automobile Club of Southern California became the title sponsor of the raceway, renaming the official name Auto Club Speedway of Southern California. The naming rights deal will last for ten years and is worth an estimated $50 to $75 million. In addition to naming rights, the ACSC will also have use of the facility for road tests for Westways Magazine and other consumer tests. The money will be used for capital improvements.[3]

Usage in television shows, commercials and major film

The facility is often used for filming television shows, commercials, and films. In 2000, portions of Charlie's Angels were filmed at the speedway, and in 2004, portions of Herbie: Fully Loaded were filmed there. In 2007, The Bucket List saw Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman drive a vintage Shelby Mustang and Dodge Challenger around the 2-mile (3.2 km) speedway.

Track timeline

1990s

  • November 1, 1993: Initial discussions among Penske Speedways Inc. and Kaiser Ventures Inc. begin about making a speedway in California. The California Speedway is approximately 45 miles (72 km) east of Los Angeles, CA.
  • April 20, 1994: Official announcement is made to the public about making a 2.5-mile (4.0 km) NASCAR track in California.
  • July 18, 1994: CART signs on to officially run races at California Speedway in a multi-year deal.
  • November 22, 1995: Initial construction for the 2.0-mile (3.2 km) speedway begins.
  • May 30, 1996: NASCAR, ABC, and ESPN team up to sign a multi-year deal to televise the California race live.
  • January 10, 1997: CART team Penske driver Paul Tracy is the first person to drive on California Speedway.
  • March 24, 1997: Jay Sauter and Dave Marcis are the first to drive stock cars on the pavement of California Speedway, testing for IROC.
  • May 5, 1997: First NASCAR Cup Series test session for California Speedway.
  • June 20, 1997: Official opening of California Speedway.
  • June 22, 1997: The first NASCAR Cup Series race at California Speedway, the California 500, is won by Jeff Gordon.
  • September 28, 1997: Mark Blundell wins the first CART race at California Speedway.
  • October 18, 1997: The first NASCAR Truck Series event at California Speedway is won by Mike Bliss.
  • October 19, 1997: The first NASCAR Busch Series (now Nationwide Series) event at California is won by Todd Bodine.
  • October 31, 1999: Greg Moore, racing in CART's Marlboro 500, is killed when his car spun off of the second turn and is tipped cockpit first into a concrete barrier on the inside of the back stretch of the track at a high rate of speed.

2000s

  • February 21, 2000: The Back stretch infield is completely paved for safety as a response to Greg Moores death the previous year.
  • February 9, 2001: A proposal is sent to San Bernardino County to build a quarter-mile drag strip at California Speedway for the NHRA to use.
  • June 19, 2001: An official announcement is made that the California Dragway will be made, along with the plans of a road course integrated into the 2.0-mile (3.2 km) speedway.
  • September 8, 2001: The first weekend for the street-legal Friday night at California Dragway is run.
  • October 4, 2001: An announcement with the Rolex Sports Car Series is made for a several year agreement to race at the new road course integrated into California Speedway.
  • February 6, 2002: IRL runs a pre-season test session on the road course section of the track.
  • April 6, 2002: Anthony Gobert wins the first AMA Superbike Championship at California Speedway.
  • November 3, 2002: Last CART race at California Speedway is won by Jimmy Vasser.
  • April 24, 2003: An announcement is made that lights will be installed in the raceway sometime during 2004.
  • September 21, 2003: During the IRL race (Toyota Indy 400), Sam Hornish, Jr. sets the track record for fastest average speed during a race at 207.151 mph (333.377 km/h). This is still the current track record
  • September 5, 2004: The first race under the lights is run at California Speedway, a NASCAR Cup Series race won by Elliott Sadler.
  • October 16, 2005: Dario Franchitti wins last IRL race held at California Speedway. Dario will be inducted to the California Speedway Walk of Fame at Gate 14, which honors the winners of Champ Car and IRL at the track, during the 2008 Auto Club 500 weekend.
  • December 11, 2005: Japan's Super GT starts their only race on American soil at California Speedway
  • April 12-April 14, 2007: The Shell Eco-marathon returns to the United States with the Eco-marathon Americas at the California Speedway.
  • September 7, 2007: Race car driver Ricky Rudd breaks his hand after hitting the front stretch wall at 180 MPH.
  • September 7, 2007: Race car driver Robby Gordon sets the fastest speed at the finishline while going backwards at 141.231 mph (227.289 km/h).
  • February 21, 2008: A deal is made with the Automobile Club of Southern California to change the track's name from California Speedway to Auto Club Speedway of Southern California.
  • February 24, 2008: First time the COT car is used for a race at the track.
  • February 24, 2008: First time a NASCAR Cup car flips upside-down at the track. (Casey Mears in the 5 car)
  • February 24, 2008: First NASCAR race to be rained out at the track.
  • February 25, 2008: First time a NASCAR Cup race is run on a Monday at the track.
  • February 25, 2008: First time in NASCAR were a caution is caused by a race track light falling into the track surface.[citation needed]
  • February 25, 2008: First time a Nationwide race is run on a Monday at the track.
  • January, 2009: Auto Club Speedway lowers the ticket price of the front five rows of the main grand stands from $45 to $35 dollars (The first time ever that the track has lowered a ticket price.
  • February 22, 2009: Matt Kenseth wins the Auto Club 500 making him only the fifth driver to win the first two events of the season in the NASCAR Cup Series.


2010s

  • January 13, 2010: NASCAR announces that Auto Club Speedway's October Chase event will be shortened from 500 to 400 miles. The race will be called the Pepsi Max 400

Current races

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series statistics

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Records

(As of 2/21/10)

Most wins 5 Jimmie Johnson
Most Top 5s 10 Jeff Gordon
Most Top 10s 11 Matt Kenseth
Starts 20 4 drivers
Poles 3 Kurt Busch
Laps led 824 Jimmie Johnson
Avg. start* 8.6 Kasey Kahne
Avg. finish 5.8 Jimmie Johnson

* from minimum 5 starts.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race Winners

  • - Race extended due to Green-White-Checker Finish
Season Date Official Race Name Winning Driver Car # Sponsor Make Distance Avg Speed Margin of Victory
1997 June 22 California 500 Jeff Gordon 24 DuPont Chevrolet Monte Carlo 500 mi (800 km) 155.012 mph (249.468 km/h) 1.074 sec
1998 May 3 California 500 presented by NAPA Mark Martin 6 Valvoline Ford Taurus 500 mi (800 km) 140.22 mph (225.662 km/h) 1.287 sec
1999 May 2 California 500 presented by NAPA Jeff Gordon 24 DuPont Chevrolet Monte Carlo 500 mi (800 km) 150.276 mph (241.846 km/h) 4.492 sec
2000 April 30 NAPA Auto Parts 500 Jeremy Mayfield 12 Mobil 1 Ford Taurus 500 mi (800 km) 149.378 mph (240.401 km/h) 0.300 sec
2001 April 29 NAPA Auto Parts 500 Rusty Wallace 2 Miller Lite Ford Taurus 500 mi (800 km) 143.118 mph (230.326 km/h) 0.27 sec
2002 April 28 NAPA Auto Parts 500 Jimmie Johnson 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo 500 mi (800 km) 150.088 mph (241.543 km/h) 0.620 sec
2003 April 27 Auto Club 500 Kurt Busch 97 Rubbermaid Ford Taurus 500 mi (800 km) 140.111 mph (225.487 km/h) 2.294 sec
2004 May 2 Auto Club 500 Jeff Gordon 24 DuPont Chevrolet Monte Carlo 500 mi (800 km) 137.268 mph (220.911 km/h) 12.871 sec
2004 September 5 Pop Secret 500 Elliott Sadler 38 M&Ms Ford Taurus 500 mi (800 km) 128.324 mph (206.517 km/h) 0.263 sec
2005 February 27 Auto Club 500 Greg Biffle 16 Post-It/National Guard Ford Taurus 500 mi (800 km) 139.697 mph (224.821 km/h) 0.231 sec
2005 September 4 Sony HD 500 Kyle Busch 5 Kelloggs Chevrolet Monte Carlo 508 mi (818 km) * 136.356 mph (219.444 km/h) 0.554 sec
2006 February 26 Auto Club 500 Matt Kenseth 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion 502 mi (808 km) * 147.852 mph (237.945 km/h) 0.338 sec
2006 September 3 Sony HD 500 Kasey Kahne 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger 500 mi (800 km) 144.462 mph (232.489 km/h) 3.427 sec
2007 February 25 Auto Club 500 Matt Kenseth 17 DeWalt/Carhartt Ford Fusion 500 mi (800 km) 138.451 mph (222.815 km/h) 0.679 sec
2007 September 2 Sharp AQUOS 500 Jimmie Johnson 48 Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS 500 mi (800 km) 131.502 mph (211.632 km/h) 1.868 sec
2008 February 25 Auto Club 500 Carl Edwards 99 Dish Network Ford Fusion 500 mi (800 km) 132.704 mph (213.566 km/h) UC
2008 August 31 Pepsi 500 Jimmie Johnson 48 Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe's Chevrolet Impala 500 mi (800 km) 138.857 mph (223.469 km/h) 2.076 sec
2009 February 22 Auto Club 500 Matt Kenseth 17 Carhartt Ford Fusion 500 mi (800 km) 135.839 mph (218.612 km/h) 1.463
2009 October 11 Pepsi 500 Jimmie Johnson 48 Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe's Chevrolet Impala 500 mi (800 km) 143.908 mph (231.597 km/h) 1.603
2010 February 21 Auto Club 500 Jimmie Johnson 48 Kobalt Tools/Lowe's Chevrolet Impala 500 mi (800 km)

Records

  • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Qualifying: Kyle Busch, 38.248 sec. (188.245 mph), 2005
  • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race (500 miles): Jeff Gordon, 3 hrs. 13 min. 32 sec. (155.012 mph), June 22, 1997
  • NASCAR (Nextel Cup Series) Fastest Speed while going backwards(Recorded at finish line: Robby Gordon,(141.231 mph), September 2, 2007
  • Most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories: Jimmie Johnson (5).
  • NASCAR Nationwide Series Qualifying: Tony Stewart, 38.722 sec. (185.941 mph), 2005
  • NASCAR Nationwide Series Race (300 miles): Hank Parker, Jr., 1 hr. 55 min. 25 sec. (155.957 mph), April 28, 2001
  • Most NASCAR Nationwide Series victories: Matt Kenseth (4)
  • NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Qualifying: David Reutimann, 40.228 sec. (178.980 mph), 2006
  • NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race (200 miles): Ted Musgrave, 1 hr. 22 min. 14 sec. (145.926 mph), September 20, 2003
  • Most NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victories: Ted Musgrave (3)
  • CART Qualifying (one lap): Gil de Ferran, 241.426 mph (388.537 km/h), October 28, 2000.
  • CART Race (500 miles): Jimmy Vasser, 197.995 mph (318.642 km/h), November 3, 2002.
  • Indy Racing League Qualifying (one lap): Helio Castroneves, 226.757 mph (364.930 km/h), September 20, 2003.
  • IRL Race (400 miles): Sam Hornish, Jr., 207.151 mph (333.377 km/h), September 21, 2003.

Video game appearances and simulations

Simulation / Video Game Year Configuration
Speedway Sports Car Motorcycle Interior
CART World Series 1997 Check markY
CART Precision Racing 1998 Check markY
NASCAR Racing 1999 Edition 1999 Check markY
NASCAR Racing 3 1999 Check markY
NASCAR Heat 2000 Check markY
NASCAR Racing 4 2001 Check markY
NASCAR Racing 2002 Season 2002 Check markY
NASCAR: Dirt to Daytona 2001 Check markY
NASCAR Racing 2003 Season 2003 Check markY
NASCAR Thunder 2004 2003 Check markY
NASCAR Chase For The Cup 2005 2004 Check markY
NASCAR 06: Total Team Control 2005 Check markY
NASCAR SimRacing 2005 Check markY
Cars (Disney-Pixar) 2005 Check markY
NASCAR 07 2006 Check markY
NASCAR 08 2007 Check markY
Indy Cars Series 2007 Check markY
NASCAR 09 2008 Check markY
Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli 2008 Check markY
Supercar Challenge 2009 Check markY

References

  1. ^ http://www.dailybulletin.com/breakingnews/ci_8327058 Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, 2/21/2008. Retrieved 2/21/2008.
  2. ^ Road & Track July 1994, About the Sport motorsports news column, Joe Rusz, page 192
  3. ^ A new name for Speedway - DailyBulletin.com

External links

Coordinates: 34°05′19″N 117°30′00″W / 34.08858°N 117.50000°W / 34.08858; -117.50000

Auto Club Speedway during August 2008 Nationwide Series raceday

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