Dry weekend, fast action awaits at Auto Club Speedway
MAR 21, 2014 9:26a ET
We are headed back west this weekend to Auto Club Speedway in California. With its 2-mile long and wide track, I am sure we will once again see fast speeds like we have the last two weekends at Las Vegas and Bristol. This is a product of the new rules package for 2014. We also know that from one year to the next the guys in the engine departments for these teams find ways to give their motors more horsepower.
To be honest, after the last two weeks, I probably will be more surprised at Auto Club Speedway if we don't have another new track record than if we do. The one thing I will say, unlike Bristol, it's going to be dry and fairly warm out there this weekend. The fact there is ZERO -- and that is with a capital Z -- chance of rain is a very welcome change to everyone in NASCAR.
I go back to last year's race there and it was clearly one of the best races we have ever had at Auto Club Speedway. Before they wrecked each other out, Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin were racing each other hard with great side-by-side action coming to the checkered flag. Naturally everyone knows the ending. They wrecked each other out. Denny gets hurt and Kyle Busch missed both of them wrecking and comes from third to Victory Lane in a blink of an eye.
It truly was one of the best races we've ever seen there. The thing I really love about the place is that the track surface has just enough age on it that if you have a car that is handling well, if you can catch somebody, then you are going to be able to pass them. Also, just like at Las Vegas and honestly somewhat like Bristol, you can run around the bottom, the middle and the top at Auto Club Speedway. Heck, for that matter you can run on the apron of Turns 3 and 4 if you want to. We know we will see all those different grooves being used by somebody all weekend.
This weekend will also give us a pretty good idea where everyone is with their race program. This race takes every element you have to be successful there. Your car has to handle well there. You have to have aero. You have to have good horsepower. You have to have to have good strategy. Your pit crew can't miss a single beat because there will be some green flag pit stops. This truly will be a race that will be a very good measuring stick of how your program stacks up against your competitors.