NASCAR is completing its West Coast swing this weekend in Fontana, California with the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race known as the Auto Club Speedway. This is a wide 2-mile race track which is a sister to the Michigan International Speedway.
The biggest difference is the straightaways can produce speed over the 200 mph mark. It seems like the season just started in Daytona but we have had several weeks of entertaining race in the early going.
Jimmie Johnson won this race last year and also looked good last week in Phoenix under the mid-90’s temperatures. This is considered his home track where he has won 6 times in 22 starts.
This is in California and the stars are likely to come out for this event. The national anthem will be sung by teen star Skyler Stecker. The grand marshall has been designated as Scott Eastwood, from the soon-to-be released movie “Fate of the Furious”. Kaitlin Olson is the honorary pace car driver and the honorary starter is singer Pepe Aguilar.
There are several quality drivers in this race.
JJ has won this race three times since 2002 and is the defending champion. In his last 14 races here he has finished 12 times in the Top 10. Last week he finished ninth which is his best finish this season Look for him to to challenge in this race. (5/1)
Kyle Larson is getting really tired of finishing as a runner-up. He is the 16th different driver to have this happen in three consecutive races. The No. 42 Chevrolet driver is the leader in the points standings, however. This could be the week he breaks through. He is a California guy and may feel some motivation. He has finished third or better in five of his last six races. (9/1)
He almost did it last week but got in some trouble and came away with a pit penalty. On top of that he get in a wreck and finished 31st. Logano has still finished in the top-10 in nine of his last 10 races and has finished seventh or better in three of his last four races at the Auto Club Speedway. (7/1)
He is the only driver in win this event back-to-back as he was victorious in 2013 and 2014. In fact, in five appearance at this speedway, he has four finishes in the top five. Last week he finished third in Phoenix and this maybe a sign he is ready to garner his third victory here. (7/1)
The second year phenom almost pulled it off to start the season at Daytona as he finished in second place. He had a few words last week about Earnhardt on the radio but that has been smoothed over. Blaney has four career wins in both the XFINITY Series and the Camping World Truck Series and now is primed to win at the Monster Energy Series. (33/1)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
Dale reaches a milestone when he starts this race which is his 600th career NASCAR Cup Series start. Earnhardt’s first Cup start came at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1999 while driving for the family-owned Dale Earnhardt Inc. team. He has been the runner-up twice at the speedway in Fontana and loves to drive the oval tracks. Look for a big challenge coming from Dale. (10/1)