Auto Club Speedway Featured Packages
Auto Club Speedway History
Fontana, CA 92335
For a track that only has been playing host to NASCAR’s top series since 1997, Auto Club Speedway has a rich and colorful history.
The 568-acre site in Fontana, Calif., about 50 east of downtown Los Angeles, has deep roots running into America’s history and its pop culture. Auto Club Speedway stands on the site where the first steel mill located west of the Rocky Mountains, the Kaiser Steel Mill, was built. That mill produced much of the steel used to build the Liberty ships that helped the Allies win World War II. After Kaiser Steel went out of business in 1983, the site fell into such disrepair that when the movie “The Terminator,” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, was filmed the mill was used for filming of scenes representing a post-Apocalyptic world where men and machines battled each other for supremacy and survival.
Who would have believed that one day when Schwarzenegger returned to the site it would be as he served as governor of the state of California to see a major-league racing venue in his state where around 100,000 fans buy tickets to see racing’s top stars compete? Magic happens all of the time in Southern California, of course, and there’s no question some of that was worked in bringing Auto Club Speedway up from the ashes of what once stood on this site. And speaking of Magic, former Los Angeles Lakers star Ervin “Magic” Johnson has been a grand marshal for a NASCAR race at Auto Club Speedway.
Today, fans who come to Auto Club Speedway see 136 acres of landscaping on the facilities grounds. More than 300,000 tons of asphalt were put down to provide over 32,000 paved parking spots for fans buying tickets for the track’s events. Auto Club Speedway is also served by a Metrolink mass transit rail station.
NASCAR star Ken Schrader won the first race held at the track on June 21, 1997, a Winston West Series race. Mark Martin also won an International Race of Champions event that day, and the following day Jeff Gordon won the inaugural Cup race. Auto Club Speedway has also played host to races in the NASCAR Busch and Craftsman Truck series, as well as events in the IndyCar Series and what is now the ChampCar World Series on its oval and road racing and motorcycle events on its road courses.
The track was built by Penske Motorsports Inc., but in 1999 that company merged with International Speedway Corporation, bringing Auto Club Speedway into the ISC family of tracks. Beginning in 2004, Auto Club Speedway’s two-mile oval became the host of two NASCAR Cup series races each year, adding a Labor Day weekend event to is roster of activities. The 75-foot wide track has 14-degree banking in its turns, 11-degree banking on the 3,500-foot-long frontstretch and 3-degree banking on a backstretch that stretches for 2,500 feet.
Gordon is a three-time race-winner at Auto Club Speedway, but Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, Kurt Busch, Jeremy Mayfield, Elliott Sadler, Rusty Wallace and Greg Biffle have also scored Cup victories.