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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NASCAR Clash heat race lineups

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LOS ANGELES — Justin Haley, Kyle Busch, Christopher Bell and William Byron will start on the pole for their heat races Sunday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. 

There will be nine cars in each of the four heat races. Here’s a look at each of the those heat races.

Clash heat race starting lineups

Heat 1

This heat has four drivers who did not make last year’s Clash: Alex Bowman, Aric Almirola, Chris Buescher and Ty Dillon. Almirola starts second, Bowman third, Buescher eighth and Dillon ninth. This heat also has defending Clash winner and reigning Cup champion Joey Logano, who starts fifth.

Heat 2

Richard Childress Racing teammates Busch and Austin Dillon start 1-2. This race has five former champions: Busch, Kyle Larson (starting third), Kevin Harvick (fourth), Martin Truex Jr. (fifth) and Chase Elliott (eighth).

Heat 3

Toyota drivers will start first (Bell), second (Denny Hamlin) and fifth (Tyler Reddick). Ryan Blaney starts last in this heat after his fastest qualifying lap was disallowed Saturday.

Heat 4 

Byron will be joined on the front row by AJ Allmendinger in this heat. The second row will have Ross Chastain and Bubba Wallace.

The top five in each heat advances to Sunday night’s Clash. Those not advancing go to one of two last chance qualifying races. The top three in each of those races advances to the Clash. The 27 and final spot in the Clash is reserved for the driver highest in points who has yet to make the field.

Justin Haley tops field in Clash qualifying

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LOS ANGELES — Justin Haley posted the fastest lap in Saturday’s qualifying for the Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Haley will start the first of four heats on the pole after a lap of 67.099 mph (13.413 seconds). The four heat races will be held Sunday afternoon, followed by two last chance qualifying races and then the Busch Clash on Sunday night.

Clash qualifying results

“I feel pretty confident about where we are,” Haley said. “I’m not sure why we’re so good here.”

The top four qualifiers will start on the pole for their heat race.

Kyle Busch, who was second on the speed chart with a lap of 66.406 mph, will start on the pole for the second heat. That comes in his first race with Richard Childress Racing after having spent the past 15 seasons at Joe Gibbs Racing.

Christopher Bell, third on the speed chart with a lap of 66.328 mph, will start on the pole for the third heat. William Byron, fourth in qualifying with a lap of 66.196 mph, will start on the pole in the fourth heat race.

The pole-sitters for each of the four heat races last year all won their heat. That included Haley, who was third fastest in qualifying last year and won the third heat from the pole.

Ty Gibbs was not allowed to qualify because of unapproved adjustments his team made while making repairs to his car after the door foam caught fire during practice. NASCAR deemed that the Joe Gibbs Racing team made adjustments to the car not directly related to the damage.

Ryan Blaney‘s fastest qualifying lap was disallowed after he stopped the car in Turn 4 and turned it around and to go back to the backstretch and build speed for his final lap. NASCAR disallowed the time from that final lap for the maneuver.

Section 7.8.F of the Cup Rule Book states: “Unless otherwise determined by the Series Managing Director, drivers who encounter a problem during Qualifying will not be permitted to travel counter Race direction.”

The top five finishers in each of the four 25-lap heat races advance to the Clash. The top three in the two 50-lap last chance races move on to the Clash. The final spot in the 27-car field is reserved for the driver highest in points not yet in the field.

Chase Briscoe, AJ Allmendinger in first on-track conflict of the season.

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LOS ANGELES — The first on-track conflict of the 2023 NASCAR Cup season?

Did you have Chase Briscoe and AJ Allmendinger?

They made contact during Saturday night’s practice session at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the Busch Light Clash.

Busch Clash practice results

Briscoe explained what happened from his point of view.

“(Allmendinger) was slowing down so much on the straightaway to get a gap (away from other cars),” Briscoe told Motor Racing Network. “I felt like I was beside him pretty far down the straightaway. I got in there a little hot for sure, but, honestly, I thought he was going to give it to me since we were in practice. Went into (Turn) 3 and he just drove me straight into the fence. Definitely frustrating. … Just unfortunate. We don’t have a single back-up car out there between the four of us at SHR. 

“Definitely will set us behind quite a bit. Just chalk it up in the memory blank.”

Asked what happened with Briscoe, Allmendinger told MRN: “He ran inside of me, so I made sure I paid him back and sent him into the fence.

“It’s practice. I get it, I’m struggling and in the way, but come barreling in there. I just showed my displeasure for it. That’s not the issue. We’re just not very good right now.”

Earlier in practice, Ty Gibbs had to climb out of his car after it caught on fire. Gibbs exiting the car safely. The Joe Gibbs Racing team worked on making repairs to his No. 54 car. NASCAR stated that the car would not be allowed to qualify because of unapproved adjustments, modifications not directly related to the damage.

NASCAR will not race at Auto Club Speedway in 2024

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LOS ANGELES — Auto Club Speedway will not host a NASCAR race next year because of plans to convert the 2-mile speedway into a short track.

It will mark only the second time the Cup Series has not raced at the Southern California track since first competing there in 1997. Cup did not race at the track in 2021 because of the pandemic.

Dave Allen, Auto Club Speedway president, also said Saturday that “it’s possible” that the track might not host a NASCAR race in 2025 because of how long it could take to make the conversion. 

MORE: Details for Sunday’s Clash at the Coliseum 

NASCAR came to the Fontana, California, track during the sport’s expansion in the late 1990s that also saw Cup debut at Texas (1997), Las Vegas (1998) and Homestead (1999).

Auto Club Speedway begins the West Coast swing this season, hosting the Cup Series on Feb. 26, a week after the Daytona 500. The series then goes to Las Vegas and Phoenix the following two weeks.

Auto Club Speedway has been among a favorite of drivers because of its aging pavement that put more of the car’s control in the hands of competitors. 

Allen said that officials continue to work on the track’s design. It is expected to be a half-mile track. With NASCAR already having a half-mile high-banked track (Bristol) and half-mile low-banked track (Martinsville), Allen said that a goal is to make Auto Club Speedway stand out.

“It has to make a statement, and making sure that we have a racetrack that is unique to itself here and different than any of the tracks they go to is very important,” Allen said. “Having said that, it’s equally important … to make sure that the fan experience part is unique.”

Kyle Larson, who won last year’s Cup race at Auto Club Speedway, said that he talked to Allen on Saturday was told the track project likely will take about 18 months. 

“I don’t know exactly the extent of what they’re doing with the track, how big it’s going to be, the shape or banking and all that, and I love the 2-mile track, but I think the more short tracks we can have, the better off our sport is going to be,” Larson said.

With Auto Club Speedway off the schedule in 2024, it would mean the only time Cup raced in the Los Angeles area would be at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. NASCAR has a three-year contract with the Coliseum to race there and holds the option to return.

Sunday’s Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum marks the second year of that agreement. Last year’s inaugural event at the Coliseum drew about 50,000 fans. NASCAR has not publicly stated if it will return to the Coliseum next year.