Showdown in the Golden State
There will be no need for lights, but cameras and action will be aplenty this weekend as NASCAR visits Auto Club Speedway, located just an hour east of Hollywood. The consensus in the garage area is that the two-mile track is tough, but all racing grooves are in play.
Five-time and defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion, Jimmie Johnson, enters his home-state affair riding a wave of momentum; he currently sits in seventh position, after gaining five spots in last week’s event at Bristol. The El Cajon native owns five Sprint Cups wins at the So-Cal track, including the first win of his career. “I love winning at that track, it’s been very good to me and I only have one chance to strike and get a victory. Hopefully, we can take advantage of that this weekend,” said Johnson.
Carl Edwards, currently second in points, hopes to ruin the champ’s homecoming. Edwards, who many pick to unseat Johnson this year, has started off red-hot in 2011 and has finished either first or second in three of the first four events this season. The Columbia, MO driver has garnered one win, six top fives and 10 top 10s at the Fontana oval. “We’ve got fast race cars and this is a great track for us,” said Edwards. “I think any one of our teams (Roush-Fenway Racing) could be considered a favorite to win at California.”
The NASCAR Nationwide Series will provide the opening act for the drama that is sure to unfold this weekend.
Former Kansas Speedway winner, Mark Martin, will make his second Nationwide Series start this weekend driving the Dollar General No. 32 – Turner Motorsports entry. “After winning at Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago I’ve been itching to get back in,” said Martin.
While a Nationwide Series regular has yet to break into the win column, points leader and Long Beach, Calif native, Jason Leffler, knows that his team has what it takes to win, evidenced by teammate Martin’s aforementioned win at Las Vegas earlier this year. “To win at this track would be a huge deal for me. Of course, you want to win every race, but you especially want to win in front of the home crowd with your family and friends cheering you on,” said Leffler.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series race will air Saturday, March 26 on ESPN at 4:30 PM (CT). Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race (March 27) will be broadcast on FOX with coverage beginning at 2:00 PM (CT).
Race fans can catch the stars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in action at Kansas Speedway for the first of two races on Sunday, June 5th. Tickets for all Kansas Speedway events are on sale and may be purchased by visiting www.kansasspeedway.com or by calling 866.460.RACE (7223). Parking is always free and guests may bring a 14x14x14-inch soft-sided cooler into the grandstands filled with their favorite food and beverages.