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Pre-Race Notes and Quotes: Fontana

Hendrick Motorsports | Race Preview Published 3/19/2014

EVENT: Auto Club 500
DATE: Sunday, March 23, 2014
TRACK: Auto Club Speedway
LENGTH: 2-mile D-shaped oval
TV: FOX (Coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. ET)
RADIO: MRN (Coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. ET)

News & Notes

POINTS REPORT: Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 24th last weekend at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and currently ranks second in the driver standings. After four NASCAR Sprint Cup events this season, Earnhardt has one win, three top-five finishes and three top-10s. He trails leader Brad Keselowski by 10 points.

AT FONTANA: Earnhardt has scored five top-five finishes and six top-10s in 21 Sprint Cup starts at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. He recorded a career-best runner-up finish at the two-mile racetrack in September 2006 and again in March 2013.

INTERMEDIATE TRACK STATS: In 246 Cup starts on intermediate (one- to two-mile) tracks, Earnhardt has recorded six wins, eight pole positions, 50 top-five finishes and 101 top-10s. He has a 16.1 average starting position and an average finishing position of 16.2 on these racetracks.

CHASSIS INFO: Crew chief Steve Letarte will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-810 for this weekend's 400-mile event at ACS. Earnhardt most recently raced this chassis to a 15th-place finish at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in October 2013.

HENDRICK AT FONTANA: In 24 Cup events (94 starts) at Fontana, Hendrick Motorsports has nine wins, 31 top-five finishes and 44 top-10s. A victory this weekend would make Fontana the 11th track where Hendrick Motorsports has 10 or more wins.

ALL-TIME: Jimmie Johnson leads drivers all-time at the two-mile California track in wins (five), top-five finishes (12), laps led (851) and average finish (5.7). Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon ranks second with 622 laps led there and is tied for second in wins (three) and tied for third in poles (two) among all-time drivers at ACS.

FONTANA FOR FIRSTS: Gordon won the inaugural Cup race at Fontana in June 1997 after starting third and leading 113 laps. Johnson won the first race of his Cup career at the two-mile oval in April 2002 after starting fourth and leading 62 circuits. Alan Gustafson, currently crew chief of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet SS, scored his first career Cup pole position as crew chief of the No. 5 team in February 2005 and his first career Cup win with the No. 5 team in the second ACS event later that year.


DALE EARNHARDT JR. (ON CALIFORNIA.): “The last couple of times we’ve been to California, we’ve had some good race cars. It’s a track where we can move around and change our line. The driver can have a little input on how the car is driving. You can find speed out there. If we are tuning on the car and studying hard during practice, I think we’ll have a good weekend.”

After Ford EcoBoost 400
Rank +/- Driver Points Behind
1 +3 Kevin Harvick 5043 0
2 +1 Ryan Newman 5042 -1
3 -2 Denny Hamlin 5037 -6
4 -2 Joey Logano 5028 -15
5 -- Brad Keselowski 2361 -2682
6 -- Jeff Gordon 2348 -2695
7 -- Matt Kenseth 2334 -2709
8 +2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2301 -2742
9 -- Carl Edwards 2288 -2755
10 -2 Kyle Busch 2285 -2758
11 +2 Jimmie Johnson 2274 -2769
12 +2 Kurt Busch 2263 -2780
Full Standings