Auto Club Speedway – Did you Know?

This weekend the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and the XFINITY Series head to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. It’s the final stop of the three-race westward swing. But did know that it is also the 20th anniversary of NASCAR Cup Series racing at Fontana?

The first Cup Series race was held on June 22, 1997, and was won by Jeff Gordon. He went on to capture two more victories in 1999 and 2004. Jimmie Johnson is the defending race winner and leads all drivers with six wins (2016, 2010 spring, 2009 fall, 2008 fall, 2007 fall and 2002). In 2008 he became the first and only driver to win from the pole at the 2-mile track.

While a front row starting position is generally considered critical, Auto Club Speedway may be an exception. Only two of the 27 races (7.4%) have been won from first and second place. And though 14 of 27 (51.8) races were won from a top-10 start, a closer look at the statistics shows that the most advantageous starting positions are third, ninth and 24th, having produced three winners each. Matt Kenseth holds the distinction of winning from deepest in the field (31st) in the 2006 spring race.

But, did you know that Johnson won at Auto Club Speedway and went on to win the Cup Series championship five times (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2016)? The only other driver to transition from a win at ACS to a championship in the same year was Jeff Gordon in 1997.

It should come as no surprise that Johnson, who has 13 top fives, 16 top 10s and one pole to go along with his six wins, has the top driver rating (119.7) at Fontana. Kyle Busch comes in at second (109.0) with three wins, eight top fives, 12 top 10s and one pole. Chase Elliott, who has the series-best average finish of 6th, enters the race with the third-best driver rating at 105.1. He’s followed by Kenseth (105.0) and Kevin Harvick (99.4).

A couple of drivers are close to achieving milestones Sunday at Fontana and one will receive a special honor

First up is Kyle Larson who posted his third consecutive second place finish this season at Phoenix. If he finishes second again this weekend, he will become only the fifth driver in Cup Series history to finish in the runner-up position in four consecutive races in a single season, joining Mark Martin (1998), Harry Gant (1985), Darrell Waltrip (1983) and Richard Petty (1964). No driver has ever finished runner-up five consecutive races in the Cup Series.

But, did you know that his three consecutive second-place finishes have already set a record? Larson is the only driver in series history to accomplish this during the first four races of a season.

Also of note, seven-time champ Jimmie Johnson will be honored this weekend as he is inducted into the Auto Club Speedway’s Walk of Fame on Friday. He scored his first of six Cup Series wins at ACS and also has the track record of five runner-up finishes.

Lastly is Dale Earnhardt Jr., who, when the green flag drops for the Auto Club 400, will become the 26th driver in Cup Series history to make 600 or more starts. To acknowledge this milestone, commemorative decals will be placed on his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy.

Earnhardt has achieved 26 victories during his career with his first coming at Texas Motor Speedway on April 2, 2000, where he led 106 laps on his way to victory lane. But, did you know it was only his 12th Cup Series career start?


The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series action continues Sunday with the Auto Club 400 on FOX at 3:30 p.m. ET. Radio coverage will be provided by Motor Racing Network (MRN) and SiriusXM Satellite NASCAR Channel 90.

Follow @angiecampbell_ for the latest NASCAR news and feature stories.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Angela Campbell
Angela Campbell
A native of Charlotte, NC, Angela (Angie) was first introduced to racing by her father. An avid fan of NASCAR, she found a way to combine her love of racing with her passion for writing. Angie is also an award-winning member of the National Motorsports Press Association. Follow her on Twitter @angiecampbell_ for the latest NASCAR news and feature stories.


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