Facts and figures: Sprint Cup history at Auto Club Speedway

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You want facts about this Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway?

We’ve got all the facts you need right here, including overall event information, pole history and track history:

Auto Club 400
Location: Auto Club Speedway
Date: Sunday, March 22, 2015
Starting time: 3:30 p.m. ET
TV: Fox, 3 p.m. ET
Radio: Motor Racing Network, Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Ch. 90
Distance: 200 laps, 400 miles

ACS Notes & Facts – track/event/drivers:

* Kyle Busch is not only the defending race winner, he’s also won the last two Sprint Cup races at ACS.

* However, Busch will not be able to defend those two wins, as he continues to recover from a broken leg and fractured foot suffered in the season-opening Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway.

* Busch is also the youngest winner in ACS history, having won Sept. 4, 2005 at the age of 20 years, four months and two days.

* At the opposite end of the spectrum, NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace is the oldest winner at Fontana, having taken the checkered flag on April 29, 2001 at the age of 44 years, eight months and 15 days.

Here’s some of the key event records at ACS:

* Race record: Tony Stewart (160.166 mph, March 25, 2012)

* Qualifying record: Kyle Busch (188.245 mph, Feb. 27, 2005).

* There have been 25 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Auto Club Speedway, previously known as California Speedway, from 1997 through 2014.

* 14 different drivers have won at Auto Club Speedway. Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers with five wins. Johnson also has the most top-five finishes (12).

* Matt Kenseth has the most top-10 finishes (15).

* 137 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at ACS; 108 in more than one.

* Jeff Gordon leads the series in starts at ACS with 25.

* Joe Nemechek won the inaugural Coors Light pole (1997) with a speed of 183.015 mph (39.341 secs.).

* In addition to having the most wins of any driver (five), Jimmie Johnson also leads the series in runner-up finishes at ACS with five; followed by teammate Jeff Gordon with four.

* Including wins and runner-up finishes, Jimmie Johnson leads the series in top-five finishes at ACS with 12; followed by Jeff Gordon (10), Matt Kenseth (nine), Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch (eight each).

” Matt Kenseth leads the series in top-10 finishes with 15; followed by Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards (14 each) and Tony Stewart (13).

* Jimmie Johnson leads the series in average finish at ACS with a 6.650.

* Jimmie Johnson (6.6), Carl Edwards (8.5) and Matt Kenseth (9.8) are the only three active drivers with an average finish in the top 10 at ACS.

* Greg Biffle (April 28, 2002) and J.J. Yeley (Sept. 5, 2004) made their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career starts at ACS.

* Jimmie Johnson posted his first series career win at Auto Club Speedway on April 28, 2002.

* Jimmie Johnson (fall of 2009 – spring of 2010) and Kyle Busch (2013, 2014) are the only drivers to win consecutive races at Auto Club Speedway.

* 12 of the 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers who have won at ACS 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 ACS 18 times before winning in the fall of 2010; the longest span of any of the 14 winners. Only Stewart (18) and Kevin Harvick (17) have made 10 or more attempts before their first win at ACS.

* Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads all active drivers with the most Sprint Cup starts at ACS without visiting Victory Lane (22 times).

* Three reigning Sprint Cup champions have gone on to win at ACS 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 at ACS 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 ACS in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Shawna Robinson and Danica Patrick. Robinson first attempted to qualify for the race at ACS on April 29, 2001, but failed to make the event.


ACS Notes & Facts – poles:

* 16 drivers have won 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.

* 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 25 (36 percent) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Auto Club Speedway have been won from a top-five starting position.

* 13 of the 25 (52 percent) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Auto Club Speedway have been won from a top-10 starting position.

* Seven of the 24 (28 percent) 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.

* Three active drivers have posted their first NSCS Coors Light pole at Auto Club Speedway: Carl Edwards (9/4/2005) and Joe Nemechek (6/22/1997). Kyle Busch won his first pole (2/27/05) and first series win (9/4/05) at ACS in 2005

* The defending pole winner is Matt Kenseth, who qualified No. 1 on March 21, 2014 at 187.315 mph.

* The youngest Fontana pole winner is Kyle Busch, who won the pole on Feb. 27, 2005 at the age of 19 years, nine months and 25 days.

* The oldest Fontana pole winner is Mike Skinner, who won the pole on April 30, 2000 at the age of 42 years, 10 months and two days.


ACS Notes & Facts – history:

* Groundbreaking for California Speedway, as Auto Club Speedway was originally known, took place in November 1995.

* The first race at Auto Club Speedway 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 at Auto Club Speedway 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.

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Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson to pursue $100K bounty in Truck Series

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The $100,000 bounty on Kyle Busch has its first contenders.

Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson each confirmed Thursday evening on Twitter that they’ll take a shot at the bounty placed by Kevin Harvick and Marcus Lemonis last week.

Elliott will compete in the March 14 Truck Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway and the May 30 race at Kansas Speedway with GMS Racing. Larson will compete with GMS Racing in the March 20 event at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Elliott will be sponsored by Hooters for the Atlanta race.

The declarations by the two drivers came the same day that Busch said he didn’t believe any full-time Cup Series drivers would go after the bounty.

Elliott has 12 career Truck Series starts. His last two, at Atlanta and Martinsville in 2017, came with GMS Racing. Elliott won the Martinsville race. Busch was not in that race.

“Once the word got out about the challenge, we were able to put this together with Mike Beam at GMS in just a couple of days,” Elliott said in a press release. “Atlanta is one of my favorite tracks, so I’m really looking forward to getting back into a GMS truck there with Hooters on the truck and make a run for a win.”

Larson has 13 career starts and his last three, including a win at Eldora and top five at Homestead in 2016, came with GMS Racing.

“When I heard about the $100,000 bounty I wanted in!” Larson said in a press release. “I’m thankful for GMS and Chevy giving me this opportunity, Homestead is one of my favorite tracks so looking for to the challenge!”

There’s a potential third bounty hunter waiting in the wings.

Not long after Larson’s announcement, Denny Hamlin, Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, tweeted that he’s acquired the funding to field a ride. There’s just one hangup, and it’s Kyle Busch Motorsports:

The $100,000 bounty against Busch was proposed by Harvick and Lemonis, CEO of Gander RV & Outdoors, last week. It will go to any full-time Cup Series driver who beats Busch in any of his remaining four Truck Series starts this year. Busch has won the last seven Truck Series races he’s entered.

If Elliott or no other Cup driver beats Busch in those four races, the bounty will go to the Bundle of Joy Fund, the organization founded by Kyle and Samantha Busch that helps couples who require fertility treatments to conceive.

“We are blessed with this opportunity. To have an owner that is up for the challenge and a manufacturer that will support the extra effort necessary is really special,” said Mike Beam, President of GMS Racing, in a press release. “It’s great to have these two talented young men back behind the wheel for us and to have the extra attention on the Truck series is great.”

Kyle Busch: $100K Truck Series bounty is a losing proposition

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Kyle Busch doesn’t believe any full-time Cup Series driver will attempt to claim the $100,000 bounty placed on him last week by Kevin Harvick and Marcus Lemonis.

Harvick and Lemonis, the CEO of Truck Series sponsor Gander RV & Outdoors, said they’d award that bounty to any full-time Cup Series driver who is able to beat Busch in any of his four remaining Truck Series starts this year.

Busch, who has won the last seven Truck races he’s entered, sees the challenge as a losing investment, especially if someone attempted it in one of Kyle Busch Motorsports’ Toyotas.

Thursday on the Barstool Sports’ “Rubbin’ is Racing” podcast, Busch said it costs $140,000 to rent one of his Trucks for a race.

“Right off the bat (it’s a losing proposition),” Busch said. “It’s not going to happen. Nobody is going to pay the 140 grand to rent a truck, whether it’s from me or from somebody else. (Show co-host Clint) Bowyer didn’t tell you the fact he can’t even rent a truck from me because I’m a Toyota team and he drives for a Ford team. So he has to go find a Ford truck in order to drive. So there’s those complications that fit into all of this, too.”

Denny Hamlin, Busch’s teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing, expressed his interest in the bounty, as well Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon, who said he was “working on” a deal.

After his win last Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Busch’s four remaining Truck Series starts are:

March 14 at Atlanta Motor Speedway

March 20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway

March 27 at Texas Motor Speedway

May 30 at Kansas Speedway.

If no one beats Busch, the bounty will go to the Bundle of Joy Fund, the organization founded by Kyle and Samantha Busch that helps couples who require fertility treatments to conceive.

NASCAR America presents MotorMouths at 5 p.m. ET

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America’s MotorMouths airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Marty Snider hosts and is joined by Kyle Petty, Steve Letarte and Nate Ryan.

James Hinchliffe will call into the show to discuss his new role as an analyst for NBC’s coverage of IndyCar, Indy Lights, IMSA and NASCAR.

You can call into the show via 844-NASCAR-NBC or submit your questions/comments via Twitter using #LetMeSayThis.

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch online at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

Auto Club Speedway’s old surface provides ‘moving target’ for drivers

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Auto Club Speedway has a lot of character.

It’s a character that comes from the 2-mile track’s racing surface being among the oldest on the NASCAR circuit.

The surface hasn’t been repaved since the track first opened in 1997. That’s the same year that the surface for Atlanta Motor Speedway was last resurfaced (a planned repave was put on hold indefinitely in 2017 after outcry from drivers).

In the 23 years since, races at the track in Fontana, California, have turned into producers of multi-groove spectacles (especially on restarts) that come at the cost of high levels of tire wear.

The aged surface provides a “moving target” to drivers throughout the race weekend, according to Tyler Reddick.

“During the start of the weekend, you have to watch for the seams since it’s so slick out there,” the rookie Cup driver said in a media release. “Normally, the Xfinity cars are the first ones on the track, so I’m normally very careful. Now that I’m in the Cup Series, it may be a little different. I think this weekend will be fairly similar to Las Vegas where we started out running wide open, and I’ll have to run like that until the handling starts to go away in our No. 8 I Am Second Chevrolet (and) you have to start lifting. Then it’ll be important to assess why the handling is changing and how to adjust our car correctly to battle that.”

Cup and Xfinity teams only visit Auto Club Speedway once a year and this will be the second year they’ll do so with the high downforce aero package.

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Erik Jones believes Sunday’s Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET on Fox) will be a “different race” from the one seen last year.

“Going into Fontana last year, no one really knew what we needed car-wise, balance-wise and this year we have a whole notebook to look back on to try to get better,” Jones, who finished 19th in last year’s race, said in a media release.

“I think there will be a lot more lifting, the cars will be faster. Everybody has just gotten their cars better and more efficient and faster on the straightaways and that makes for more lifting in the corners. It will probably be a little different race, but Fontana is always a good show.”

But that show depends on where a driver chooses to run around the track.

Racing along the top of the track compared to running in the bottom lane proves for “two completely different types of racing” according to defending race winner Kyle Busch.

“You can run from the top to the bottom but, when you run the bottom, you really feel like you’re puttering around the racetrack,” Busch said in a media release. “You feel like you aren’t making up any time on the bottom. But when you are running the top groove, you feel like you’re getting the job done. The guys who run the bottom have a little bit more patience and handle it better than the guys who are on the gas on top.”

When it comes to how rough the track is, Matt DiBenedetto cites how bumpy Turns 3 and 4 are, but said in a media release that traversing the “back straightaway is like going over jumps.”

But just like with the old surface at Atlanta Motor Speedway, there are those who never want to see Auto Club’s surface actually improve.

“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!'” Austin Dillon said in a media release. “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.”

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