- Did you mean:
Jusan Hamilton makes history in XFINITY race control
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Auto Club FONTANA, Calif. -- NASCAR concludes its Western swing this weekend in a historical manner. Jusan Hamilton, 26, became the first African-American to serve as a race director for a NASCAR national series event, controlling on-track activity in Saturday's XFINITY Series race. The Ithaca, New York, native and former short track racer sees his opportunity as a result of hard work and high goals. What started as a Drive for Diversity internship with the sanctioning body's Integrated Marketing Communications department has turned into a four-year tenure with NASCAR, primarily working in race operations and event management. "I never really thought of (being the first African-American national series race director) in those terms. … I'm proud of it, and I'm really thankful for the team in the control tower," said Hamilton, whose job this weekend as race director includes making split-second decisions regarding officiating, safety and emergency services. "I've wanted to work in professional racing since I was a kid watching Kevin Harvick,’’ Hamilton said. "I'm very fortunate to have this opportunity. I've had the chance to learn so many different areas of the sport and business, that's one of the things that's best about working with NASCAR. "Being race director is similar to being the quarterback in football -- you have to know your job and the jobs of every other team member to be successful."
GarageCam from the XFINITY Series garage at Auto Club
GarageCam hosts talk with Darrell Wallace Jr., Justin Allgaier, more in the garage at Auto Club Speedway
Larson is fast, atop the standings and having fun
RACE DAY: Full starting lineup " Race-day rundown " Key info FONTANA, Calif. -- Kyle Larson carried his 2-year-old son Owen into the Auto Club Speedway Media Center on Friday afternoon, minutes after winning the pole position for Sunday's Auto Club 400. Young father and young son were smiling, interacting, just enjoying the together time on stage -- Larson thoughtfully answering reporters' questions, Owen playfully leaning into the microphone to add his own toddler commentary. Life is especially good like that when you're leading the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings. For the first time in his four-year Monster Energy Series career, the 24-year old Californian Larson tops the championship standings, assuming the lead last week at Phoenix after scoring his third consecutive runner-up finish -- just in time for his return home. It's not only a career milestone for Larson, but also marks the first time his No. 42 Target Chevrolet Chip Ganassi Racing team has been Numero Uno since retired Ganassi driver Sterling Marlin held the point in 2002. RELATED: Larson's year of feats "I know I've won a handful of championships throughout my racing, but I've never been one to be a points racer or be as consistent as I've been," Larson said. "Going into this year I made it a goal of mine to be more consistent and make fewer mistakes. It's only been four races, but we have been off to a good start on limiting our mistakes and running up front. That has helped put ourselves in position to win each race this season. "Just been really proud of everybody on our race team and happy with kind of how I've been performing. Been trying to work a little bit harder this year and it seems to all be paying off." Sunday's starting spot is Larson's second career pole position -- the last came at Pocono in his 2014 rookie season -- and leading the field to the green flag this week feels appropriate considering Larson's current place in the standings. And … he won Saturday's XFINITY Series race for the second time.
NASCARnivore brings the heat out west
Follow Kim Coon around the Phoenix campgrounds for a look at the culinary feasts fans put together out west. Toyota drivers weigh in with their favorite food choices as well.
From The Vault: Jeff Gordon wins first race at Fontana
Relive the first race at Auto Club Speedway that saw Jeff Gordon be the first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver to go to Victory Lane at the track in 1997.
Harvick hits the wall in practice
Watch Kevin Harvick hit the wall in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice at Auto Club Speedway.
Through the years: Celebrities at Auto Club Speedway
From Stevie Wonder to Magic Johnson, celebrities have flocked to the Southern California-based Auto Club Speedway for many years; see the highlights.
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
GarageCam replay: From the hauler to the garage stalls
Matthew Dillner takes a swing through the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series garage at Phoenix in GarageCam, presented by Mobil 1.
Behind the Hauler: A conversation with Kyle Larson
NASCAR.com’s Jonathan Merryman sits down with Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points leader Kyle Larson to discuss his hot start to 2017, and his string of three consecutive second-place finishes.