FORD PERFORMANCE NASCAR: AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY NOTES
Fresh off its Sunday doubleheader sweep at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Ford Performance and its teams stay out west for the middle stop of NASCAR’s three-week western swing at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. Ford has 21 combined wins between the NASCAR Cup and NASCAR XFINITY Series since the track opened in 1997. Here’s a look at some Ford highlights through the years.
FORD IN THE NASCAR CUP SERIES AT AUTO CLUB
· Ford has 11 series wins at Auto Club Speedway with the last being in 2015 by Brad Keselowski.
· The only Ford driver with more than one Auto Club win is Matt Kenseth with three.
· Jack Roush has 7 career series wins at Auto Club Speedway.
FORD IN THE NASCAR XFINITY SERIES AT AUTO CLUB
· Ford has 10 all-time NXS wins at Auto Club.
· Car owner Jack Roush won six straight events from 2003-06.
· Ford has won the last two series races (Joey Logano and Cole Custer)
FORD DRIVERS ON TOP OF THE STANDINGS
The season is only two races old, but Ford’s good start can be found in both the NASCAR Cup and NASCAR XFINITY Series standings, where Ford drivers sit on top. Ryan Blaney is the points leader in Cup, followed by Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick, respectively, while Chase Briscoe, fresh off his win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, leads the XFINITY Series.
KESELOWSKI LEADS ONLY LAP THAT COUNTS
Thanks to a pair of cautions that resulted in two green-white-checker restarts, and a gamble by crew chief Paul Wolfe in the closing laps, Brad Keselowski came out of nowhere to win the Auto Club 400 in 2015. Kurt Busch looked ticketed for victory as he led the field coming to the white flag, but caution for debris came out before he crossed the start-finish line, resulting in a green-white-checker finish and a flurry of action on pit road. The decision for crew chiefs was whether to take two or four tires, and most of the leaders decided on two. Wolfe saw that and felt the only way his team could win was if they did something different, so he ordered four. Even though it put them back in 17th on the ensuing restart, the fresh tires enabled him to charge up to sixth on the restart. When the rear bumper of Kyle Larson’s Chevrolet flew off and brought out another caution, it set up Keselowski who had the freshest tires and made all the right moves on the restart to get past Harvick and Busch to win for the 17th time in his career.
KENSETH GOES 2-FOR-2 TO START 2009
Matt Kenseth followed up his first Daytona 500 victory by taking the checkered flag in the Auto Club 500 one week later on Feb. 22, 2009. Kenseth became the fifth driver in NASCAR Cup Series history to follow a Daytona 500 victory with another win the following week. On this day, he and Jeff Gordon had the two best cars on the track, but Kenseth’s advantage came on pit road, where his crew continually got him out first. Kenseth led a race-high 84 laps as he went on to post his third all-time win at the two-mile track.
BIFFLE RALLIES FROM ONE LAP DOWN
Despite falling a lap down, Greg Biffle found a way to not only get back to the front, but hold off a charging Jimmie Johnson to win the Auto Club 500 on Feb. 27, 2005. Biffle led a parade of four Roush Fords in the Top 10 as Kurt Busch finished third, Carl Edwards fifth and Mark Martin seventh. Biffle put himself in position to win when he stayed out on what proved to be the final caution of the day. Busch had the lead on the restart with 29 laps to go, but Biffle was able to pass him six circuits later. Even though he scraped the wall on a couple of occasions down the stretch, he managed to coax an ill-handling Taurus to his fourth series win.
ON THE MARK
Ford got its first checkered flag at Auto Club Speedway in the track’s second year of existence when Mark Martin won the NASCAR Cup Series race on May 3, 1998. Martin was in a class by himself that afternoon as he led 165 of the 200 laps en route to what was his 25th career victory. In all, six Fords finished in the top-10 as Jeremy Mayfield finished second, Chad Little, Geoffrey Bodine, and Johnny Benson were sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively, while Jeff Burton ended up 10th.
FORD NASCAR CUP SERIES WINNERS AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY
1998 – Mark Martin
2000 – Jeremy Mayfield
2001 – Rusty Wallace
2003 – Kurt Busch
2004 – Elliott Sadler
2005 – Greg Biffle
2006 – Matt Kenseth
2007 – Matt Kenseth
2008 – Carl Edwards
2009 – Matt Kenseth
2015 – Brad Keselowski
FORD NASCAR XFINITY SERIES WINNERS AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY
2002 – Scott Riggs
2003 – Matt Kenseth
2004 – Greg Biffle (Sweep)
2005 – Mark Martin and Carl Edwards
2006 – Greg Biffle (1)
2007 – Matt Kenseth (1)
2018 – Joey Logano
2019 – Cole Custer