Photo from ttgcorp.com
Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California has played host to some thrilling IndyCar races over the two decades since it opened. Built on the site of an old steel mill that helped the arsenal of western civilization save itself in World War II, the track was completed in 1996. It began hosting CART races the next year. On the other side of the split the all oval IRL began holding competing races there in 2002, with the re-unified series holding its first race at Fontana in 2012. In an age of oval subtractions from the schedule, the addition of Fontana made imminent good sense.
Photo from ap.org
Previous winners among former drivers include KV Racing owner/wine connoisseur Jimmy Vasser who, like Sam Hornish, Jr won twice at Fontana along with recently retired Dario Franchitti. Ed Carpenter, Will Power and Tony Kanaan are the active winners in the field this year, while Juan Pablo Montoya will be a threat to take his second five hundred mile win of the season in as many attempts. Interestingly, Scott Dixon and Carlos Munoz both won SoCal’s fiesta in Indy lights, the quick Colombian winning consecutively in 2012 and 2013. We can’t help but wonder if those wins were simply “OK.” Hmmm, Carlos?
Photo from indycar.com
Twenty years of racing at the Southern California track have witnessed wild fires, drought, incredible finishes and speeds over 235 miles per hour. Ed Carpenter’s thrilling victory there in 2012 helped establish his oval racing prowess and eventually led to the formation of the successful CFH Racing. With Josef Newgarden currently on fire though still seeking his first oval win, Carpenter’s a known quantity at Fontana who’s after some needed success of his own this season.
Photo from bellracing.com
We’re eagerly looking forward to five hundred miles of Fon-tastic fun under the lights Saturday night. The staff at IRR have always been huge fans of Fontana, advocating multiple races there per year. Six or seven contests seem about right. The racing’s just that exciting and the lack of ovals – particularly if Milwaukee were to disappear from the schedule – is just that dire. So we say to hell with the whales or the planet – save the ovals!