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Auto Club Speedway by the numbers
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary RELATED: Full weekend schedule Jimmie Johnson was driving a Superman car and wearing a cape the last time he saw Victory Lane at Auto Club Speedway in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series' stop there in 2016. It's appropriate since he almost owns the place. Johnson has six wins at Auto Club, spanning a decade and a half. He also has five runner-up finishes, an impressive average finishing place of 6.5 and has led 980 laps around the 2-mile circuit in Fontana, California. Roger Penske has a stake in the place as well, having been one of the architects, alongside Les "Coach" Richter. The track officially opened June 22, 1997, and it's celebrating its 20th anniversary as NASCAR returns to Fontana this weekend for Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and XFINITY Series racing. Penske got his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win at the track on April 29, 2001 with Rusty Wallace piloting the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford. Brad Keselowski put Team Penske back in Victory Lane at Auto Club Speedway in 2015. Penske's open wheel drivers also have had success at the track. Penske built a fast race track, leading to some stout stats in the speedway's lore: -- A 188.511 mph qualifying speed record set by Denny Hamlin in 2016 -- A 155.012 mph race speed record set by Jeff Gordon in 1997 Digging into the numbers a bit more: -- Hendrick Motorsports has 10 wins, the most of any team -- Ford has 11 wins at the track, and Chevrolet has 13. Kyle Busch has taken home two Auto Club 400 trophies for Toyota in back-to-back races in 2013-14. -- Farthest back in the field a winning driver started: 31st, Matt Kenseth, spring of 2006 -- Pole-sitting winners: Only one, Johnson in 2008 -- The closest margin of victory was 0.144 seconds, as Kevin Harvick edged Johnson in 2011
Post-Race Reactions: John Deere Dealers 250
Edwards, Sorenson and Sadler comment on an exciting and challenging race in Iowa .
Sisters Paige, Claire Decker attempt XFINITY Series race at Iowa
The Decker sisters -- Paige, 23, and Claire, 21 -- were back on a NASCAR national series track at Iowa Speedway this weekend as they attempted to qualify for Sunday's American Ethanol E15 250 Presented by Enogen (1:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.) Competing for Obaika Racing, Claire piloted the No. 77 Vroom Brands Chevrolet, and Paige drove the No. 97 Vroom Brands Chevrolet. This was the sisters' attempt at a NASCAR XFINITY Series debut. ( UPDATE: Paige Decker qualified for Sunday's race while Claire did not. Paige finished in 31st place Sunday at Iowa after being forced to head to the garage with a mechanical failure.) It's happening! Get in on the hype as Paige and Claire prepare to tear up the track at Iowa for Xfinity Debut... https://t.co/VG8qYmyucC — ObaikaRacing (@ObaikaRacing) June 16, 2016 Both sisters, from Eagle River, Wisconsin, qualified for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' Alpha Energy Solutions 250 in April at Martinsville. In just the second time that sisters ever competed in a Truck Series race, Paige finished 25th and Claire 27th. Claire Decker will compete in Saturday night's Speediatrics 200 Truck Series race at Iowa Speedway after qualifying 32nd. She is driving Jennifer Jo Cobb 's No. 10 Driven2Honor.org Chevrolet. Their cousin, Natalie Decker, failed to qualify for that event. Natalie and Claire are both NASCAR Drive for Diversity alumni.
Erik Jones wins pole for XFINITY Series race at Iowa
RELATED: Full lineup for Sunday's race Erik Jones won the 21 Means 21 Pole Award on Saturday at Iowa Speedway for Sunday's NASCAR XFINITY Series American Ethanol E15 250 Presented by Enogen (1:30 p.m. ET, FS1). This is the Joe Gibbs Racing driver's sixth pole award of the season and the ninth of his XFINITY Series career. Jones also won the pole for last year's race at Iowa and finished third, a career-best at the .88-mile track. Recent winner and XFINITY Series points leader Daniel Suarez will line up second to his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate. Sam Hornish Jr ., Justin Allgaier and Elliott Sadler complete the starting top five on the leaderboard. Ben Kennedy , who is making his XFINITY Series debut and led both practices on Friday, will line up sixth. Sisters Claire and Paige Decker were attempting to qualify for their first XFINITY Series event on Saturday, but only Paige made the starting lineup. Paige will line up 40th in her No. 97 Chevrolet on Sunday. The only previous winners in the field are Brad Keselowski , Sadler and Hornish Jr.
American Ethanol, Enogen named sponsors for June Iowa XFINITY race
RELATED: Buy tickets NEWTON, Iowa (May 3, 2016) -- Iowa Speedway today announced American Ethanol will serve as the entitlement sponsor and Enogen as the presenting sponsor for the NASCAR XFINITY Series race during Wide Opening Weekend on June 18-19. The NASCAR XFINITY Series American Ethanol E15 250 presented by Enogen on Sunday, June 19, represents the fifth consecutive year of the American Ethanol partnership and the fourth consecutive year with Enogen at Iowa Speedway . While the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series idles for a week, the green flag will wave at Iowa Speedway for a first-of-its-kind doubleheader weekend in central Iowa . For the first time ever, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the NASCAR XFINITY Series are paired together during Wide Opening Weekend on June 18-19. “American Ethanol and Enogen stepping up to sponsor our NASCAR XFINITY Series race is another great indicator of the important platform Iowa Speedway and NASCAR provide to brands,” said Iowa Speedway President Jimmy Small. “The adoption of biofuels grown and made in the USA, creating much needed green jobs in Iowa and across the Heartland is one of the tenets of NASCAR Green. American Ethanol has proven to be a tremendous partner not only for Iowa Speedway , but for NASCAR’s teams, fans and the industry as a whole.” American Ethanol and Enogen were the former title and presenting sponsors of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Iowa Speedway . American Ethanol, along with Enogen, join the Iowa Corn Growers Association in renewing their long standing relationships with the speedway in 2016. “As NASCAR approaches 10 million flawless miles running on Sunoco Green E15, we’re excited for yet another opportunity to showcase the power and the high-quality performance ethanol brings to the race track,” said Jeff Broin, co-chair of Growth Energy. “It’s no secret biofuels create jobs in our country and work great in our engines. American Ethanol is proud to partner with Iowa Speedway and the NASCAR XFINITY series to show that an ethanol-based bio-fuel is the future.” Representing a wide array of ethanol supporters, from farmers to bio-engineering firms, American Ethanol was established by Growth Energy in partnership with the National Corn Growers Association to increase awareness of the value of American-made ethanol. Ethanol represents the most commercially-viable alternative to 100% petroleum-based fuel that America currently holds, and corn ethanol reduces emissions by 59 percent. “Ethanol is helping America reduce its dependence on foreign oil, lowering prices at the pump, improving the environment with lower emissions, and growing the economy with jobs that can’t be outsourced,” said Jack Bernens, head of Enogen at Syngenta. “Ethanol is an important success story and the American Ethanol E15 250 is an excellent opportunity to engage consumers and help increase awareness for the benefits of earth-friendly American ethanol. Syngenta is pleased to once again be working with Iowa Speedway and Growth Energy to support the ethanol industry through our sponsorship of this event to tell ethanol’s story.” In 2011, NASCAR launched its long-term biofuels program to reduce emissions of the fuel used in all its racing series. As part of the partnership, NASCAR’s three national touring series began using Sunoco Green E15; a 15% ethanol blend bio-fuel, made from American-grown corn. By utilizing Sunoco Green E15 race fuel, NASCAR has demonstrated that ethanol-blended fuel performs when held to the highest standards. Iowa Speedway season tickets, which are currently on sale, include eight high-powered races over three weekends. Wide Opening Weekend will feature both the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the NASCAR XFINITY Series American Ethanol E15 250 presented by Enogen during Father’s Day Weekend on June 18-19. The second weekend of racing will showcase the ARCA Racing Series 150 presented by Casey’s General Stores, the INDYCAR Series Iowa Corn 300, Indy Lights and Pro Mazda Championship on July 9-10. The 2016 race season will close on July 29-30 with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series Casey’s General Stores 150 and NASCAR XFINITY Series U.S. Cellular 250 .
JGR pit crews make swap in-race at Iowa
RELATED: Complete race results " Watch final laps NEWTON, Iowa -- Pit crew swaps mid-race are not common in NASCAR, but Joe Gibbs Racing made a change around the halfway point of Sunday's XFINITY Series American Ethanol E15 250 presented by Enogen at Iowa Speedway that ultimately benefitted race-winner Sam Hornish Jr . With teammate Daniel Suarez 's No. 19 crew routinely beating Hornish's No. 18 off pit road and Erik Jones 's No. 20 running several laps down due to a fuel pickup issue, an opportunity presented itself. The Nos. 18 and 20 pit crews swapped teams. "I kind of talked to Steve (deSouza, executive vice president of NASCAR XFINITY /Development for Joe Gibbs Racing )," Chris Gayle, crew chief of the No. 18 team said after the race. "Once we knew the 20 was down -- they weren't going to be a factor in the race ... We had just struggled. Iowa's always tough because we're spoiled with having our (Sprint) Cup pit crews on normal weekends. The non-companions, we don’t have any familiarity with the pit crews we really use for these. "The 19 had beaten us on a couple stops earlier and it had gotten down to where there is one stop left and if it's us and the 19 racing, I'm going to lose to them off pit road because they've beaten me in three previous stops. So to not do anything is going to be my fault." Serving as the liaison, deSouza went between the two teams as the swap was contemplated. "I went to talk to the 20 crew chief (Chris Gabehart) and say, 'Hey if we want to implement something like this are you good with it?' I went to him first," deSouza told NASCAR.com. "And he said, 'Listen, we are laps down. Whatever you think is the best thing to do, do it.' " The switch Sunday proved successful as Hornish went on to win his first NASCAR race since the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway . He led 183 of the 250 laps in the race, including the final 111 circuits. Suarez, last week's winner at Michigan, finished in fourth and left Iowa still holding the lead in points. Jones finished 27th, seven laps down. Gayle pulled the move out of a playbook even six-time champion crew chief Chad Knaus has used. One of the most well-known pit swaps came at Texas Motor Speedway in the fall 2010 race between the Hendrick Motorsports teams of Jeff Gordon (No. 24) and Jimmie Johnson (No. 48). The teams swapped pit crews mid-race after Gordon was involved in a crash in the race. Johnson went on to catch JGR's Denny Hamlin for the title in the final two races when the switch was made permanent. The race win was the ninth victory for JGR in 14 XFINITY Series races this season.
Luza strikes it rich at Las Vegas
RELATED: See the complete iRacing schedule At the onset of the 2017 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series, many of the series’ tenured drivers looked to NASCAR Pro Series Champion, Ryan Luza, as the biggest threat to dethrone 3-time and reigning champion, Ray Alfalla. After a lackluster start at Daytona, some cast doubt on the abilities of the young gun; however, after his dominant win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Round Two of the season, series rookies and veterans alike should take notice. Matt Bussa, driver of the #34 WinView Games Toyota Camry, started the race at the helm. A regular in the NASCAR iRacing Series, Bussa looked to capitalize on his superb starting position. However, he would have to wait for a few laps to show his hand as the 167-lap event was slowed before the completion of its opening lap, as Mitchell Hunt spun at the exit of Turn 2, collecting Byron Daley, Michael Johnson, and Nicholas Johnston. Hunt and Daley immediately retired after sustaining irreparable damage, while Johnson and Johnston mustered on for the remainder of the evening. Bussa led the field back to green on lap six, with Alfalla, Luza, and Marcus Richardson in tow. The #34 machine led the opening twenty-eight laps, before succumbing to an insurmountable challenge by Luza’s eventual race winning #1 Racerboost Ford Fusion. Luza held station at the top spot for the remainder of the race, only losing the lead during several green flag pit stop cycles. With the race slowed by just one additional caution period, efficiency whilst entering/exit pit road was key. Over the course of the event, cars began searching for new grooves, as grip was at a premium. Competitors ran from the top of the racing surface to the track’s white line. Front runners mimicked each other’s lines, thus trading fast laps back and forth. As one competitor found a faster groove, the rest followed and vice versa. Amid the constant search for the fastest way around LVMS, former series champion Kenny Humpe found trouble off of Turn 2, slapping the outside retaining wall. He suffered damage that would ultimately take him out of contention for a top dozen finishing position. Facing issues at the opposite end of the track, Taylor Hurst made contact with series rookie Christian Challiner, which resulted in Hurst’s #78 Chevy side-swiping the SAFER barrier. The sim racers completed their final pit stop sequence with about 35 laps remaining. Luza cycled around with a two second lead, and built on that until the race’s completion. Michael Conti, who started 30th on the evening, made a charge to second-place following the last round of pit stops only to fall victim to a pit miscue that shorted him three laps of fuel. The 2014 series champion made a stop with three to go, which resulted in a 34th place finish by the #5 Chevrolet. On a happier note, Cody Byus, 2016 championship runner-up, PJ Stergios, Alfalla, and Logan Clampitt rounded out the top five behind Luza at night’s end. With two races in the books, it remains to be seen whether Luza showed his true form with his win in Vegas . . . or his tenth place finish at Daytona. Meanwhile, although he has so far been shut-out of victory lane, with two top five finishes to his credit Alfalla is itching to notch his first W of the season. So too are former champions Humpe and Conti and a host more. Who will rise to the top in Round Three? We’ll find out in two weeks’ time when the series rolls into its second stop of its version of the West Coast Swing -Auto Club Speedway. Tune into www.iracing.com/live at 8:45 p.m. eastern time on April 4 to catch the action live!
Furniture Row No. 77 hauler damaged in accident
Two Furniture Row Racing hauler drivers were uninjured after the No. 77 team's transporter was involved in a hit-and-run highway crash early Thursday morning. The No. 77 hauler was damaged on Interstate 15 on the way to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, site of this weekend's NASCAR races for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and XFINITY Series. Driver Travis Watts and co-driver David Shano escaped injury. According to the Denver, Colorado-based team, a car pulled off to the road's shoulder then back onto the interstate directly in the hauler's path. There was no damage reported to the trailer, race cars and equipment, but the team has rented a replacement truck to complete the trip to the 2-mile California track. "We're all very relieved no one was injured in the incident," team president Joe Garone said in a release provided by the team. "There was substantial damage to the tractor but everything in the trailer was checked out thoroughly and is OK. We've rented a tractor and the No. 77 hauler is on schedule to arrive at Auto Club Speedway later today." The car and its two occupants left the scene of the accident, approximately 15 miles north of Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Both were later located and arrested by the Nevada Highway Patrol. Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Erik Jones is in his first year driving the No. 77 Toyota for Furniture Row. He sits 18th in the series standings ahead of Sunday's Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the fifth race of the season.
What rust? Hornish stomps field en route to Iowa win
RELATED: Complete race results NEWTON, Iowa -- Sam Hornish Jr ., who hadn’t been in a car in 210 days, gave himself the perfect Father’s Day present on Sunday -- a dominant victory in the sixth annual NASCAR XFINITY Series American Ethanol E15 250 presented by Enogen at Iowa Speedway . Hornish, who last competed in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race last November at Homestead-Miami Speedway , received a call Monday from Joe Gibbs Racing to substitute for injured driver Matt Tifft . He made the most of the opportunity, picking up his fourth career XFINITY Series win and second at Iowa . Overall, it was JGR’s ninth triumph in 14 races this season. “I don’t know, it doesn’t get much better than that,” said an emotional Hornish in Victory Lane. “Just gotta thank Toyota, everyone from Joe Gibbs Racing for getting me out here and giving me this opportunity. Got my wife and kids here, it’s the first time the kids got to be here for one of dad’s wins. “I can’t tell you what this means to me. I worked so hard to try to get a win when I had my kids here. Gotta thank God. He makes things happen. I was so nervous on Friday getting into the car thinking I’m going to make a mistake, and man, to go out there and win the way that we did. Just can’t say anything more about it." Ty Dillon attempted to make a charge on Hornish on a Lap 224 restart, but settled for second, finishing ahead of Brad Keselowski . "I don't know, I guess we just needed to be a little bit better,” Dillon said. “The No. 18 (Hornish) was so dominant on the bottom (groove). I thought, obviously, we were the best car on the top (groove). "Just needed a little bit more speed. I'm proud of my guys. We were kind of a mid-pack car and did what we needed to do to put ourselves in position -- something we talked about all week -- and we did a great job." Hornish took the lead from last week’s XFINITY Series winner Daniel Suarez on Lap 24, setting the tone that the Joe Gibbs Racing cars were going to be hard to beat. The two drivers swapped the lead on pit road on two occasions before several competitors elected to use varying pit strategies following the event’s third caution on Lap 126. Hornish restarted sixth, but only took 13 laps to get back to the race lead, passing Suarez on Lap 139 and never relinquishing. Championship contender Erik Jones , who scored his fifth pole of 2016, had to drop to the rear before the race for an unapproved body modification. Jones, however, was never a factor as he battled fuel pressure issues, finishing 27th. The NASCAR XFINITY Series takes a week off before returning to Daytona International Speedway on July 1 for the running of the Subway Firecracker 250 .
NASCAR announces race package for XFINITY Series race at Indianapolis
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Indianapolis Teams competing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway later this year will do so with a race package that incorporates three major modifications aimed at one goal -- improved competition at the legendary 2.5-mile speedway. Designed specifically for the 100-lap race scheduled for July 22, the modifications consist of a taller rear spoiler and splitter package; aero ducts on the lower front bumper area; and a 7/8th-inch restrictor plate currently used for superspeedway events at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. The static ride height of the cars will remain at 4 inches, which is unchanged from the current 2017 rules package. The Indy package was crafted after much in-house simulation and development and then field-tested on Oct. 12 at IMS for verification. XFINITY Series teams from Richard Childress Racing, Roush Fenway Racing and Kaulig Racing participated in the test. "We (develop) the analytical package and come to some conclusions," Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR Senior Vice President, Innovation and Racing Development, told NASCAR.com. "But then we also need to go on the track and verify this. So this approach has been a two-step approach, analytical creation of the package and then on-track verification. "We race at 29 tracks (across all three national series) and they're all very special," Stefanyshyn added. "Indianapolis has a long history; it's a wonderful track. Our objective is to give our fans the best possible show we can. We are very proud of being able to participate at Indy; we want to put our best foot forward. We believe we have come up with a package that gives us the best opportunity to do that." MORE: IMS announces updated race weekend schedule Stefanyshyn said officials had teams run various packages during the test. While the use of the restrictor plates enabled the cars to run closer together, the ability to pull out and pass remained difficult. "We saw the cars were closer together, but we weren't able to create some passing until we introduced the aero ducts," he said. "That's the main purpose of the ducts, to give the trailing car more of an advantage … we always hear about clean air and how the leader has clean air. Our objective here is to try to give the trail car more benefit." Without the aero ducts, cars running down long straightaways such as those at IMS hit a wall of air, which creates "a significant horsepower deficit" when they get within approximately one car-length of the lead car, Stefanyshyn said. The aero ducts direct air in through the existing brake ducts and out through the wheelhouse on each side. The high speed air flowing out creates a larger hole or "envelope" for the trailing car. Use of the aero ducts should increase the amount of horsepower differential for the trailing car by approximately 25 percent. "We're giving the driver more momentum from four-five car lengths back, gaining coming into within half a car length; when he gets right into that bubble, he's still got to cross through it, but he's carrying momentum and he can break through it," Stefanyshyn said. Stefanyshyn said incorporation of the package isn't "a slam dunk," but studies and testing have thus far validated the changes. "Our belief is that we will create a situation where they can pass on the straightaways," he said. "That's been done analytically, it's been done with three cars. The question is when we turn 40 cars loose on the track can that still manifest itself and that's still what we’re hoping will happen." Speeds likely won't vary greatly with the new package, and the use of restrictor plates isn't expected to generate the big packs of traffic on the track similar to what typically is seen at Daytona and Talladega. Stefanyshyn said it's more likely that there will be several groups of five or six cars each, "and in each of those groupings we're hoping to see passing on the straightaways." The XFINITY Series has competed at IMS since 2012, and the lack of passing on the big, flat track has been a concern for NASCAR and speedway officials. Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing) led more than half the laps in winning the last two XFINITY Series races at Indy and he led 92 of 100 when he won the race in 2013. Dale Earnhardt Jr. addressed the racing package this week during his weekly Dale Jr. Download podcast. Earnhardt Jr. competes in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for Hendrick Motorsports. He is also co-owner of JR Motorsports, which fields four full-time teams in the XFINITY Series. "I'm curious to see (the changes)," he said. "I think NASCAR sees this as an idea on how fix racing in general at Indianapolis." According to NASCAR officials, there currently are no plans in place to utilize the package at any other venue or in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.