Why I Love NASCAR: Auto Club Speedway by Chief 187™

Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR
This week we leave the south to journey, once again, out west to race in California. The Auto Club 400 will be run at Auto Club Speedway this Sunday, March 25th. Formerly known simply as Fontana, this track has been a part of the NASCAR circuit since 1997.

I have mixed feelings about racing in this venue in California. In the past I used to get pumped about the race weekend coinciding with the Academy Awards. For this fan it added an element of glamour and excitement to the event. But last year the schedule was changed taking away this specific pleasure.

A two-mile D-shaped oval, the Auto Club Speedway lends itself to long runs, and audiences who would rather not tune in for the entire event nor, unfortunately, spend their hard-earned money on a ticket to the track.

Attendance fell off sharply in the wake of a second NASCAR date at the track in 2004. Whether weather plays a factor or the pull of “other entertainment options” as track president Gillian Zucker has stated, Auto Club Speedway was seen as a one-date track. In 2011 the NASCAR schedule reflected the change and Fontana, as I still call it, was shuffled into the lineup with one date and a changed one at that.

Regardless of what others think, I am fine with Fontana. When the FOX broadcasters come back from break they typically play one of my favorite songs, “Hollywood Nights” by Bob Seger. The first strains of music that play instantly put me into the mood for a race in Fontana, a stone’s throw from Los Angeles.

I may not remember every race at Fontana, but I do recall last year’s vividly when Kevin Harvick pulled off the victory. He began earning his nickname “The Closer” with this win ‘from out of nowhere’ last season. Certainly the end of the race had hearts pumping!

As is plainly obvious, I love NASCAR and I champion the sport. If the Auto Club Speedway is a part of our schedule, then I’m going to look forward to the race, watch it in all of my racing glory, and thank my Higher Power that racing is back and we’re not languishing in the off season anymore. A bad day racing beats a good day NOT racing is the way I see it.

So, having the Auto Club Speedway (Fontana) on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit is yet another reason why I love NASCAR.
Why I Love NASCAR: Auto Club Speedway by Chief 187™ Why I Love NASCAR: Auto Club Speedway by Chief 187™ Reviewed by Chief 187 on Monday, March 19, 2012 Rating: 5


  1. Thanks. I was wondering why they went from 2 races to 1. A lot of times when things change no one talks about it. Rick

  2. While normally I always agree with you, in this one case I have to differ. Having been to this track I can tell you its a terrible place to see a race. The sight lines are bad (cars disappear up against the wall down the front straight and everything in the infield blocks views of the backstretch), the food choices are few and far between, the area around the track is made up of wherehouses and run down neighborhoods (I know they always like to make references to "Hollywood" during the race but its an hour drive to downtown Los Angeles and thats with no traffic). And having sat through the nightmare that was "the weeper" race, when rain soaked the area so badly that water started to seep out of the cracks in the pavement, delaying the race until a monday (when there was no one there to sell food and the bathrooms had "gone south"). This track is lucky to have its one race.A 2-mile D-shaped oval, how boring..it would be wise if they reconfigured this track into something shorter or with something more distinctive, otherwise it should be dropped completely off the schedule.


  3. I live 30min from this Track and rather travel to PIR or Las Vegas,Somona to see a race.. However since its in my back yard gotta go.. Kinda agree with HeysiBeer

  4. Interesting!! Sounds like this location won't be around for long. I do always enjoy your enthusiasm & positive writing, Chief187, for it all. You look on the bright side of things!!

  5. Changing one of the Darlington races to this horrible track was one of the dumbest moves Nascar has ever made. What would you choose, fellow fans, Fontana or Darlington?

  6. And why is it that every race fan loves the short tracks but Nascar keeps taking dates from the short track to give to cookie-cutter 1.5 milers??