ANCEL Bidirectional Automotive Scanner


Pala Casino 400
Auto Club Speedway
Fontana, California
February 26, 2023


The 2-mile oval of Auto Club Speedway will be the first of three stops on the NASCAR Cup Series’ (NCS) west coast swing. Sunday’s Pala Casino 400 will mark the final time that NASCAR will take on the track’s 2-mile configuration as the venue will undergo a major reconfiguration to bring a short-track layout to southern California.

Chevrolet has a winning history at Auto Club Speedway with the Bowtie brand leading the series with 16 wins at the track. Those triumphs include the series’ debut at the track in 1997, where career Chevrolet driver Jeff Gordon captured the win behind the wheel of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Gordon’s win at the inaugural event was the start of Hendrick Motorsports’ success at the southern California track, with the Chevrolet team leading the series with 12 victories heading into Sunday’s race. Hendrick Motorsports has proven its strength at Auto Club Speedway in recent years: Alex Bowman (2020) and Kyle Larson (2022) powered Chevrolet to victory lane in the series’ past two events at the track.

Larson and the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Camaro ZL1 team’s win at Auto Club Speedway last season marked the Next Gen Camaro ZL1’s first win since making its points-paying competition debut at the Daytona 500 just one week prior. That monumental victory for the Next Gen Camaro ZL1 went along with a sweep of the top four positions by Team Chevy drivers from four different Chevrolet teams.


Chevrolet’s Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Austin Hill not only took home the trophies in the NCS and NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) season-openers at Daytona International Speedway, but also claimed a playoff berth in their respective series.

Stenhouse Jr. and the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Camaro ZL1 team overcame two overtime attempts and a battle with reigning series champion Joey Logano to capture his first Daytona 500 and third career win in NASCAR’s premier series. The 35-year-old Mississippi native also delivered JTG Daugherty Racing’s first Daytona 500 victory, marking the first time that a single-car team won the crown jewel event since Trevor Bayne and Wood Brothers Racing accomplished that feat in 2011. Stenhouse Jr. also drove Chevrolet to a milestone 25th Daytona 500 victory and 50th all-time NCS win at Daytona – both of which are series-leading accomplishments.

A win in the series’ season-opening race also made Stenhouse Jr. the first driver to take a spot in the 16-driver NCS playoff field. Stenhouse Jr. – who is a back-to-back Xfinity Series champion (2011-12) – will look to make a run for his first career NCS championship title.

“Now for us to kind of take that next step – this is our second season with this new car and we’ve got more help from Chevrolet,” said Stenhouse Jr. “We’ve been in the simulator way more in this offseason than we were all of last year. Things like that… the resources that Chevy is going to help us out with and our alliance that we’ve built with Hendrick Motorsports.”

Just one night prior to Stenhouse Jr.’s monumental triumph, another Chevrolet made its way to victory lane. For the second-straight season, Richard Childress Racing’s Hill took the NXS season-opener victory at Daytona. The 2.5-mile Florida superspeedway was the site of Hill’s first career NXS victory (February 2022). The 28-year-old Georgia native went on to score a second victory (Atlanta Motor Speedway; July 2022) and advance to the NXS Playoffs Round of 8, ultimately ending his rookie season sixth in the final points standings.

Stenhouse Jr. and Hill’s victories brought Chevrolet to 98 all-time victories at Daytona across all three NASCAR national series, extending the manufacturer’s record as the winningest manufacturer in NASCAR history at the track. When the NCS and NXS return to Daytona for the series’ regular-season finales in August, Chevrolet will have another milestone feat on the horizon. A sweep of both races would bring the manufacturer to 100 all-time victories between the NCS, NXS and the NCTS combined at Daytona.


A handful of Chevrolet drivers have made their mark in NASCAR’s history at Auto Club Speedway, including El Cajon, California, native Jimmie Johnson. Of Johnson’s 83 career victories in NASCAR’s premier series, the career Chevrolet driver leads the series with six trips to victory lane at his home track. He claimed his first career NCS win in April 2002 at the circuit, just 10 races into his rookie season. To date, Johnson is one of just two drivers in series’ history to score their first career NCS win at Auto Club Speedway, with fellow Chevrolet driver Kyle Busch joining Johnson on that elite list. In addition to leading in the ‘wins’ category, Johnson also continues to lead the series in runner-up finishes (five), top-fives (13), top-10s (18) and average finishing position (7.577) at the track.


· NASCAR Cup Series victories by active Chevrolet drivers at Auto Club Speedway:

Kyle Busch – 4 (2005, 2013, 2014, 2019)

Alex Bowman – 1 (2020)

Kyle Larson – 1 (2017)

· Of the 32 NASCAR Cup Series races held at Auto Club Speedway, Chevrolet has recorded a series-leading 16 wins, giving the manufacturer a winning percentage of 50 percent at the 2-mile southern California venue.

· Chevrolet team Hendrick Motorsports has recorded a series-leading 12 NASCAR Cup Series victories at Auto Club Speedway; including the series’ inaugural event with Jeff Gordon (1997), as well as the series’ past two races at the track (Kyle Larson – 2022; Alex Bowman – 2020).

· Auto Club Speedway is the home of the Next Gen Camaro ZL1’s first win – by Kyle Larson and the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Camaro ZL1 team – after making its points-paying competition debut in NASCAR’s premier series just one week prior. Larson led Chevrolet to six top-10 finishes in that race, including a sweep of the top-four.

· Career Chevrolet driver Jimmie Johnson leads the series in a variety of statistical measures at Auto Club Speedway, including race wins (six), runner-up finishes (five), top-fives (13), top-10s (18) and average finishing position (7.577).

· The first two drivers to claim a playoff berth in the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series come from the Chevrolet camp: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Camaro ZL1) and Austin Hill (No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Camaro ZL1).

· With its 41 NASCAR Cup Series Manufacturer’s Championships, 33 NASCAR Cup Series Driver’s Championships, and 834 all-time NASCAR Cup Series wins, Chevrolet continues to hold the title of winningest brand in NASCAR Cup Series history.


· NASCAR Cup Series – Pala Casino 400; 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 26 (FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90).

· NASCAR Xfinity Series – Production Alliance 300; 5 p.m. ET on Saturday, February 25 (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90).


Ross Chastain, No. 1 Kubota Camaro ZL1

When you look back at how things went at Auto Club last year and then how the season ended, what do you think?

“I thought I better figure out how not wreck racecars. It was such a tough way to start the year last year. The cars supply was so limited then and I wrecked two that weekend. I’m so happy we were able to regroup, and everybody continued to believe in me. We got the ship righted and went on to get a couple of wins and have a shot at a championship. That was awesome. I certainly lived through all kinds of emotions last year.”

How do you feel your season is going so far?

“Making the main event at the Clash was an improvement over last year and I have to say that not destroying a car at Daytona and finishing the race felt great. Looks like the weather will be pretty challenging for us this weekend, but I’m looking forward to a less eventful weekend this year at Auto Club compared to last year. I’m focused with the great group of people around me and it’s been a good start to the season so far.”

Austin Dillon, No. 3 Dow Coatings Camaro ZL1

What are your thoughts on racing at Auto Club Speedway?

“I enjoy the West Coast swing, and can’t wait to kick it off at Auto Club Speedway. It gives us the chance to see where we’re at compared to the competition because the tracks are so different. We get three completely different tracks with a big, two-mile oval at Auto Club Speedway, a traditional 1.5-mile speedway at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and a short track at Phoenix Raceway. Because the tracks are so different, the West Coast swing gives us a chance to really evaluate our overall program and see how we compare to the competition. Last year at Auto Club Speedway, we finished second in the Dow Coatings Chevrolet, and my teammate also had a strong run and led a lot of laps. I’m hoping we can add one spot to that on Sunday and get the trophy. Auto Club Speedway is a fun place to race. There’s a lot you can do with that track with the multiple lanes you can race. Kyle Busch is good there and he will bring something to the table this weekend to help RCR as a whole.”

Describe the racing at Auto Club Speedway …

“Tire wear is the biggest part. You’re running all the way against the fence, and all the way against the bottom. There’s a good mixture. You have to have speed at the beginning of a run and then hold it for a long run. If you can’t take off you get beat on the restarts and if you can’t hold on they’re going to lap you at the end of a run. You have to have a good balance between the short and the long run. If you can do that, you’ll be pretty good. We’ve done pretty well in the past there, including a second-place finish last year. I love the track, and feel pretty good about it. The fans are amazing at Auto Club Speedway. Actually, the fans are amazing at all of the races during this west coast stretch so I’m looking forward to getting out there.”

Where does Auto Club Speedway rank for you among the West Coast swing races?

“I think my favorites now are between Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway. I like Phoenix Raceway, too, but between Vegas and Fontana it’s a tight race.”

Kyle Larson, No. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM Camaro ZL1

Larson on trying to defend his victory at Auto Club Speedway:

“We seem to be really good on that style racetrack. It’s a place that I really love with the line changes and the (way the) tires wear out. I remember last year you could draft pretty well down the straightaways. It was a fun race. Hopefully, we can be fast again and win in my home state again.”

Cliff Daniels, Crew Chief, No. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM Camaro ZL1

Daniels on the difference in strategy this year compared to last year at Auto Club:

“During the race last year, everyone was still trying to get their bearings on the new car. The race was more survival than it was strategy. There just was no strategy to be had in the race. I want to say the longest green flag that we had was around 15-20 laps. I would expect the race to play out a lot more similar to a standard intermediate race with longer green flag runs and potential green flag pit stops. That is where we will have to get into some strategy. We are doing our homework to prepare for whatever is going to come in that regard. I feel like it will play out much differently this year than what we saw last year.”

Kyle Busch, No. 8 Lucas Oil Camaro ZL1

This will be the final race on the superspeedway configuration at Auto Club Speedway. How special would it be to win this race?

“I love Auto Club Speedway. I’ve known it as California Speedway for a long, long time since I was a kid. I obviously love the layout. I like the two-mile oval. I think it’s unique, I think it’s special. We only have two of those on the calendar already so it’s not that it’s that big of a deal that we have two that we’re getting rid of it for another short track on the west coast. If we want to race in California more there’s Irwindale Speedway right down the street that’s a fantastic half-mile racetrack that’s a great short track. I would certainly love to win the last one on the big track. That would be awesome. I was the last one to win on the Bristol surface before they redid it in 2008.”

You won your first Cup race and pole at Fontana. What about that track has suited your driving style so well?

“I think Auto Club Speedway has been a really good track for me over the years just because I like the track. I like going out there, I like the west coast, it’s a fun track. It’s a driver’s track. You can really move around. There’s five lanes and you can run all of ‘em but one of my favorite lines to run is obviously up against the wall, that fifth lane. It’s a really cool track to be able to do that and you’re always trying to set yourself as fast as you can right up against the wall as close as you can and that’s where you get to make your most time. It’s really a fun track for the drivers.”

Why does the worn out pavement at Fontana make for such good racing?

“A worn-out surface is fun for drivers because you get a chance to work the track and find different grooves and find different lines that your car will work in. You can change the balance of your car tighter or looser by moving in different grooves and going higher in the turns or coming off lower in the turns or whatever it might be. It’s a guessing game really sometimes where your car will work best and trying to find that and it even changes throughout the run whether it’s the beginning of the run you run low and at the end of the run you run high. That’s typical. Sometimes I’ve been fast or been able to be fast right up along the wall or in lane four right off the get go on new tires.”

Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Camaro ZL1

Elliott on starting the West Coast swing:

“I’m looking forward to kicking off the West Coast swing at Fontana. I really enjoy going out there. The track is unique and it’s just a cool place. It’s one of those places you kind of forget about until it comes up on the schedule because you only race there once a year and it’s so early in the season. I felt like we had a pretty good run going there towards the end last year but didn’t end up with the finish to show for it. Hopefully, we’re able to improve upon that this weekend.”

Alan Gustafson, Crew Chief, No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Camaro ZL1

Gustafson on returning to the site of his first win as a crew chief:

“Fontana is kind of special for me. It’s where I got my first win and I just really enjoy going there. It’s a really fast track and it’s super unique. It’ll be interesting this weekend with the weather. Hopefully, it holds off and we’re able to get some practice time in, but it could be a situation where we’re starting the race on Sunday without any track time.”

William Byron, No. 24 Camaro ZL1

Byron on his thoughts for this weekend in Auto Club:

“Last year’s race I think was the best race I’ve had there in the Cup Series. I know we didn’t finish well, but we were up front all race. Even after having a flat tire while leading, we still had a shot at it. Hopefully, this weekend will be about the same for our team. I know weather will play a factor, though, so we’ll see how that goes. Our plan is to go in and control what we can control. That’s all we can do. I think we showed in Daytona that we’ve made strides as a team, and I think we will do that again in California.”

Rudy Fugle, Crew Chief, No. 24 Camaro ZL1

Fugle on why he enjoys racing at Auto Club:

“This is the last time we get to race on the big track in Fontana, unless they change their mind on reconfiguring it, which I hope they do. As a crew chief, that track makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. Seeing them rip the fence with such little grip up there – it’s unnerving. I’m always excited to go there and race. Even in practice, it’s hairy because there tends to be wrecks just because everyone is on such a fine line. I’m really excited to get there and see what we can do.”

Justin Haley, No. 31 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Camaro ZL1

“Auto Club is a track we actually kind of struggled at last year, as well as the other two-mile racetracks. We have definitely put some time into figuring out what we need arrow-wise to be faster, so I feel like we got a good grasp of it going into the weekend. Multi-groove racetracks are extremely fun to race on and have a lot of character to them, so this a fun one I’m looking forward to.”

Noah Gragson, No. 42 Sunseeker Resort Camaro ZL1

“It’s pretty cool that the first race I’ll race a Cup car at Auto Club is the final race for this configuration. There have been a lot of really good races here in the past but the new plans for this track look really fun too. Last year we came up one spot short in the Xfinity Series after having a strong car. Late in the race I slid through the pit box and struggled with the handling with the cloud cover. It’s not been one of my better tracks so a second-place finish was pretty good for us last year. Luke (Lambert, crew chief) and I learned a lot and last year Erik (Jones) and Dave (Elenz) had a great car there last year so we have a good baseline.”

Erik Jones, No. 43 Allegiant Camaro ZL1

Looking ahead into the season – Fontana, last race on the 2-mile configuration there. Your thoughts? “Yeah, I don’t know, I’m kind of sad about it in a way. I’ve had a lot of fun racing there. Just been fast there, too, which probably makes it harder, right? But I think it’s a really good track. It’s been a really racy intermediate (track) for us.. it’s more of a speedway almost. But it’s been a really racy track for a lot of years, so I’m sad to see it go, but obviously we will be coming back there on a short track. Hopefully we can get the short track program a little better with the Next Gen car and put on a good show there, too.”

What do you think about it being a short track? Do you think that is what it needs?

“Yeah, I don’t know. I thought the last couple of years, we’ve had a good turnout at that race and I thought the racing was phenomenal last year. We had a really good show there, so I think there will be a good crowd out there this year. But I’m sure the short track people are still going to show up, especially at first. If the racing is good, they’re going to come back again. I don’t have anything against it, necessarily. I’m just going to miss what we have there now.”

Alex Bowman, No. 48 Ally Camaro ZL1

Bowman on his fast start to the 2023 season:

“I think this team has a lot of momentum right now. With bringing on Blake (Harris, crew chief), Ally re-signing with Hendrick Motorsports, my extension, two really solid finishes and another pole at the DAYTONA 500, there are a lot of reasons to be excited. It is easy to get ahead of yourself. However, Blake does a great job of keeping the team focused on the details and not letting other things around us take away from what we need to do to be successful on Sundays. We are going to keep focused, get the details right and hopefully go compete for a win this Sunday in Fontana.”

Blake Harris, Crew Chief, No. 48 Ally Camaro ZL1

Harris on the momentum the team has heading to Auto Club:

“Auto Club (Speedway) is a track that Alex (Bowman) has won at and dominated in 2020. I have had a lot of success there in the past with other drivers and it’s honestly one of my favorite tracks on the schedule. Coming off the momentum we have had the last couple of weeks with back-to-back top-fives, we are looking to continue to build on it. It will be interesting to see how the weather impacts the weekend. Hopefully we get on track Saturday, because if we don’t, it will be straight into the race on Sunday. If that’s the case, it will be all about hitting on all the small details. I am just ready to get into the more normal processes that our team will have this season. This weekend will start the foundation for the 2023 season.”

Daniel Suarez, No. 99 Freeway Insurance Camaro ZL1

How was your Daytona 500?

“It was a little bit crazy, but I told the team they did a hell of a job. We lacked track position most of the day, and when it mattered the most, we had it. We just spun out there and I was just struggling with loose balance when people would get to the rear bumper for some reason. That one, the 2 came very close to me, very tight and the car behind me came very close as well and got me loose. We recovered and we are getting better at this kind of racing and we are going to get one of these one day.”

Do you enjoy racing in Fontana?

“I love racing there. The track is so fast and wide. The restarts are amazing. We were so close there last year despite hitting the wall. We are very optimistic for Sunday.”

Chevrolet NASCAR Cup Series Statistics

Manufacturers Championships:

Total (1949-2022): 41

First title for Chevrolet: 1958

Highest number of consecutive titles: 13 (2003-15)

Years Won: 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2021, 2022

Drivers Championships:

Total (1949-2021): 33

First Chevrolet champion: Buck Baker (1957)

Highest number of consecutive titles: 7 (2005-11)

Most Recent: Kyle Larson (2021)

Years Won: 1957, 1960, 1961, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2020, 2021

Event Victories:

Record for total race wins in single season: 26 (2007)


Wins: 1

Poles: 1

Laps Led: 44

Top-five finishes: 2

Top-10 finishes: 5

Stage wins: 1

· Ross Chastain – 1 (Daytona)


Total Chevrolet race wins: 834 (1949 to date)

Poles won to date: 735

Laps led to date: 245,588

Top-five finishes to date: 4,223

Top-10 finishes to date: 8,717

Total NASCAR Cup Wins by Corporation, 1949 to Date:

       General Motors: 1,168

       Chevrolet: 834

       Pontiac: 154

       Oldsmobile: 115

       Buick: 65

       Ford: 820                                                           

       Ford: 720

       Mercury: 96

       Lincoln: 4

       Fiat Chrysler Automobiles: 467

       Dodge: 217

       Plymouth: 191

       Chrysler: 59

       Toyota: 170

Team Chevy high-resolution racing photos are available for editorial use.

About Chevrolet
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, available in 79 countries with more than 3.2 million cars and trucks sold in 2020. Chevrolet models include electric and fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive and active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at

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


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Best New Zealand Online Casinos and Leaf Racewear Safety Equipment Giveaway

Rocketplay Casino

Winspirit Australia

10 deposit casinos

Best Betting Sites in Canada

Latest articles