|Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR|
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.