TEAM CHEVY ADVANCE
AUTO CLUB 400
AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY
MARCH 1, 2020
CHEVROLET TAKES HALF OF POLES, 14 WINS
Chevrolet drivers have registered 15 pole starts and 14 victories in the 30 NASCAR Cup Series races since Auto Club Speedway opened in 1997 to lead all manufacturers. Chevrolet career driver and seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers with six victories at the 2-mile oval, including back-to-back in the October 2009 and February 2010 races. Career Chevrolet driver Jeff Gordon won the inaugural Cup Series race at the 2-mile oval on June 22, 1997. After starting third, Gordon led 113 of the 250 laps to beat Chevrolet driver Terry Labonte by 1.074 seconds.
Chevrolet drivers have earned the pole in four of the past five years at the track, including Kurt Busch in 2015. Busch leads active drivers with four pole starts. In 2017, California native Kyle Larson won from the pole. Larson and Johnson (2008) are two of the three drivers to drive to Victory Circle from the pole. Chevrolet driver Austin Dillon holds the NASCAR Cup Series track qualifying record of 188.482 mph set on March 20, 2016.
STREAKING IN STAGE WINS
Chase Elliott won both stages at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and the driver of the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Camaro ZL1 1LE has earned three of the four stage wins this season. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. led Chevrolet with a third-place finish and the Bowtie Brigade claimed three of the top-five spots and five of the top-10. Chevrolet drivers led a total of 101 laps.
Chevrolet team Richard Childress Racing will reach 3,000 NASCAR Cup Series starts with its two squads (No. 3 Austin Dillon and No. 8 Tyler Reddick) combined this weekend. Founded in 1969, RCR has accumulated 16 championships and more than 200 victories across NASCAR’s top three series, including Daytona 500 wins in 1998, 2007 and 2018, and Brickyard 400 victories in 1995, 2003 and 2011.
LATE WINTER MEETING IN CALIFORNIA SUN
Since March 2011, when the NASCAR Cup Series switched to one late winter race per season at Auto Club Speedway, the racetrack hosted the fifth race of the campaign (Daytona, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix came before Fontana the past five years). This year, the 2-mile speedway is hosting the third race. Phoenix is March 8 and Atlanta is March 15. Chevrolet drivers Kevin Harvick (2011), Tony Stewart (’12), Jimmie Johnson (’16) and Kyle Larson (’17) have won the March races since 2011.
JOHNSON’S VICTORY CIRCLE
Chevrolet career driver and seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Ally Camaro ZL1 1LE, announced that 2020 would be his final full season of competition. A look at his success at Auto Club Speedway: He has six victories to lead all drivers, including three in the late winter races. Johnson, a native of El Cajon, California, won back-to-back in the October 2009 and February 2010 races. He leads all drivers with 13 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes, 25 lead lap finishes and 980 laps led. Johnson has a 7.6 average finish at the racetrack.
FOX will telecast the 200-lap race live at 3:30 p.m. EST Sunday, March 1. Live coverage can also be found on MRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
BY THE NUMBERS:
* Victories by current Chevrolet drivers at Auto Club Speedway:
Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Ally Camaro ZL1 1LE, has six wins (April 2002, September 2007, August 2008, October 2009, February 2010, March 2016).
Kurt Busch, No. 1 Monster Energy Camaro ZL1 1LE, has one victory (April 2003).
Kyle Larson, No. 42 McDonald’s Camaro ZL1 1LE, has one win (March 2017).
* Larson was the runner-up in the March 2018 race.
* Busch is tied with Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick for most starts at the track with 26. Busch does not have a DNF in the 26 races.
* Johnson needs one win to tie Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip for fifth on the all-time victory list with 84.
* Johnson’s consecutive starts streak reached 650. It started at the Daytona 500 to kick off the 2002 season. Jeff Gordon holds the record at 797 (1992-2015).
* Chevrolet has won 39 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Manufacturer Championships.
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 MCDONALD’S CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 4th IN STANDINGS
“We’ve had a pretty good start the season, and I’m looking forward to keeping up the momentum this weekend at a track where we’ve been successful. We’re still learning some things with the new car, but it was positive to see some of the other Chevy drivers running upfront last weekend at Las Vegas. Hopefully we’re one of the Chevy cars running at the front this weekend.”
RICKY STENHOUSE JR., NO. 47 KROGER CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 5th IN STANDINGS
“I’m looking forward to getting to Auto Club Speedway this weekend. The fun thing about it being at the beginning of the season is it’s a whole new type of track that we’re racing on. So far, we’ve been able to lead laps in both races this season, and I definitely want to keep building on that momentum this weekend. Brian Pattie and I have enjoyed our transition to JTG Daugherty Racing so far this season and we have a lot of speed in our Kroger Camaro ZL1 1LE. We’re improving every weekend and this will be nothing short of that.”
AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 DOW COATINGS CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 7th IN STANDINGS
WE ONLY GO TO AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY ONCE A YEAR. HOW MUCH HAVE WE LEARNED ABOUT THESE CARS IN THE YEAR SINCE YOU’VE BEEN AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY?
“We’ve learned a lot. We’ve had thoughts throughout the process of where we felt like we needed to be with our cars. We’ve done it wrong, and we’ve gotten it close. I felt like at the end of the year, the last race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway was a good race for us. I hope that says something because Auto Club Speedway has the same type of asphalt as Homestead-Miami. The asphalt wears the tires a lot. They are both big, older tracks. I’m looking forward to taking something similar to what we had at Homestead-Miami Speedway to Auto Club Speedway and improving on our 10th-place finish from last year. We did sit on the pole last year, so that was nice.”
ARE YOU ONE OF THE GUYS THAT GETS SAD WHEN THEY EVENTUALLY HAVE TO REPAVE THE WORN-OUT TRACKS?
“Yes. I did an appearance at Auto Club Speedway not too long ago and I told the track officials, ‘whatever you do, don’t repave it!’ Or, wait to repave it until you can figure out how to make an asphalt that is very similar to what is on the track now.”
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 CINCINNATI CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 14th IN STANDINGS
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT GOING INTO FONTANA?
“Fontana is neat track. There are a lot of different groves that you can move around a lot. Obviously, tire fall off is really big. I think it’s a place where you have to go pretty gripped up with a lot of downforce in the car and not super trimmed-out. So, I think it will fit our race car pretty well. It should be a really good race for us.”
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 AXALTA CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 21st IN STANDINGS
“It’s a tough track to get a hold of for sure. The bumps are difficult to deal with but it’s a lot of fun to drive. I think it’s a good track that’s fun to run and be able to move around the track to find grip. We’ve definitely learned a lot since we were there last year. It’s going to be interesting though to see how things go since we only race there once a year but we have a lot of things to apply from last year’s efforts.”
TY DILLON, NO. 13 GEICO CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 23rd IN STANDINGS
HOW DO YOU THINK THE AERO PACKAGE WILL AFFECT THE RACING THIS WEEKEND AFTER A YEAR OF EVOLUTION?
“Now that we’ve had a year to develop this new aero package, I think it’s going to get better as everyone figures out what they are looking for out of their race cars in order to race well. I think the racing is going to be solid. Last year, our GEICO team was having a great run and had a left front go flat that put the rest of our day behind. We are excited to go back and redeem ourselves. We think we have a decent package for that race track too. Our Camaro ZL1 1LE was really strong in Daytona and had a great showing of speed before getting caught up in a crash, so we need to have a solid west coast swing for our team. If we continue to have good momentum from our top-10 finish at Vegas and through Fontana, we are going to have a great start to the year.”
DO YOU WANT TO SEE FONTANA REPAVED YET OR IS IT STILL WORKABLE FOR YOU AS DRIVERS?
“I think you’re going to ruin Fontana for a couple years if you repave it right now. Unless they reconfigure it someway with changing the banking or doing something different. I think you would end up with a mirror image of Michigan and we don’t really need two Michigan’s. Michigan is good and a great race, but you really don’t want the same thing twice. Right now, Fontana has its own unique challenges that all the drivers look at as one of the most exciting tracks for us to go. There are so many lanes and different ways to go around it. It’s rough, worn out and you have the seams to deal with. If you repave the track, you take four or five variables out of the weekend and it becomes much more about the car than it does the driver.”
TYLER REDDICK, NO. 8 I AM SECOND CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 26th IN STANDINGS
IS AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY AS FUN TO DRIVE AS EVERYONE SAYS IT IS WITH ALL THE OPTIONS IN LANE CHOICE YOU HAVE THERE?
“Yes, Auto Club is one of my favorite tracks we visit. Last year, we ran fourth there, but it was definitely a race where if I bided by time a little bit more, I could have inherited the lead when Kyle Busch had his speeding penalty and potentially won. That’s definitely a lesson learned that I can use going back there this weekend, even in the Cup Series. I’m excited for the challenge that this No. 8 I Am Second Chevrolet will present this weekend. There really are just so many options in lane choice every lap at Auto Club, and that makes it a really fun track to race on. The straightaways are where the real fun begins, especially when everyone gets bunched up together and we start racing three or four-wide on the restarts.”
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY? THE SEAMS, THE BUMPS OR SOMETHING ELSE?
“It’s really a moving target as the weekend goes on. During the start of the weekend, you have to watch for the seams since it’s so slick out there. Normally, the Xfinity cars are the first ones on the track, so I’m normally very careful. Now that I’m in the Cup Series, it may be a little different. I think this weekend will be fairly similar to Las Vegas where we started out running wide open, and I’ll have to run like that until the handling starts to go away in our No. 8 I Am Second Chevrolet when you have to start lifting. Then it’ll be important to assess why the handling is changing and how to adjust our car correctly to battle that.”
RYAN PREECE, NO. 37 COTTONELLE CAMARO ZL1 1LE – 32nd IN STANDINGS
“Auto Club Speedway is a unique track compared to the other big two-mile tracks that we race at. The lanes are so wide there and the surface has really gotten worn out. We’ve had a bit of bad luck so far this year so I really want to turn that around and start getting the finishes I know we deserve. Our teammate’s car and our Cottonelle Camaro ZL1 1LE have a lot of speed, and these new Chevrolet bodies feel really good to drive and turn in the corners. We’re ready to turn our luck around this weekend.”
Chevrolet NASCAR Cup Series Statistics
Total (1949-2019): 39
First title for Chevrolet: 1958
Highest number of consecutive titles: 13 (2003-15)
Years Won: 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Total (1949-2019): 31
First Chevrolet champion: Buck Baker (1957)
Highest number of consecutive titles: 7 (2005-11)
Years Won: 1957, 1960, 1961, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2016
Record for total race wins in single season: 26 (2007)
Laps Led: 154
Top-five finishes: 3
Top-10 finishes: 8
CHEVROLET IN NASCAR CUMULATIVE STATISTICS:
Total Chevrolet race wins: 786 (1949 to date)
Poles won to date: 715
Laps led to date: 234,460
Top-five finishes to date: 4,017
Top-10 finishes to date: 8,290
Total NASCAR Cup wins by corporation, 1949 to date
General Motors: 1,120
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles: 467
Team Chevy high-resolution racing photos are available for editorial use.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 100 countries and selling more than 4.0 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive and active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.