NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series heads west to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California for the Auto Club 400, the fifth race of the 2013 season. Auto Club Speedway has hosted 23 previous Cup Series events, and Jeff Burton, Terry Labonte and Jeff Gordon have competed in all of them. Gordon is also among the all-time win leaders three-time winner at the two-mile track in his home state, while his teammate and fellow Californian Jimmie Johnson owns five victories at Auto Club Speedway. These five drivers will be the ones to watch on Sunday, March 24th when the Auto Club 400 goes green.
- Jimmie Johnson – as mentioned earlier, Johnson has five wins at Auto Club Speedway, with the most recent coming in spring 2010. Johnson has 14 top 10 finishes in 18 races, with his worst finish being 16th. Johnson has an average finish of 5.4 at Auto Club Speedway, making it his best track outside of Kentucky, where the Cup Series has only raced twice.
- Jeff Gordon – this three-time winner also has 11 top 10s and two poles in 23 races at Auto Club Speedway – his last win, however, came in 2004. Gordon has an average finish of 11.8, but his statistics have suffered the past two seasons, with finishes of 18th (2011) and 26th (2012).
- Matt Kenseth – Kenseth, driving a Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing this season, also has three wins at Auto Club Speedway, as well as 13 top 10 finishes in 20 starts – those statistics were all in Fords. He seems to be dealing with the switch to Toyota fairly well, having already earned a win in just his third race with JGR this season.
- Carl Edwards – with his win in Phoenix, Edwards’ 2013 season is already better than 2012, and Auto Club Speedway is Edwards’ type of track: in 90 races on tracks distanced two miles or longer, he has 48 top 10 finishes, including five wins. At Auto Club Speedway, he has one win and 12 top 10 finishes in 15 races, with an average finish of 8.7 – his fourth-best track by finishes.
- Dark horse: Tony Stewart – with just one top 10 finish in the first four races (eighth in Phoenix), Stewart’s 2013 season has been rough to say the least. Auto Club Raceway would be a good place for “Smoke” to turn things around, as he gets around the track pretty well: he has two wins in the last three races there, with 12 top 10 finishes in 21 starts.
Qualifying for the Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 takes place Friday at 4:10 p.m. PT, with the race going green on Sunday at noon PT. Stay up-to-date at www.nascar.com.
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