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?
In With The New: Eight drivers tested at Sebring this week, including the Penske Powerhouse tetrarchy of Power, Helio, Montoya and newcomer Pagenaud. The other veteran was SeBass, but new faces drew our attention. 2014 IndyCar winner Carlos Huertas and Venezuelan Rodolfo “Speedy” Gonzalez – who’s twenty eight and an unknown quantity – tested Dale Coyne’s cars. Huertas drove for Dollar Dale in his rookie campaign while Gonzalez hasn’t driven an IndyCar for anyone, coming from the failed F1 team Marussia’s test program.
Photo from hoyvenezuela.info
Gonzo almost certainly brings some petro cash to the table from his basket case socialist paradise of a homeland where toilet paper is eternally in short supply. Ryan Phinny from LA tested KV’s second car and seems a perfect fit for fellow Californian Vasser while Swiss Miss Simona de Silvestro is rumored to be close to Andretti’s fourth seat. Sorry Conor, Zach and JWil – the few remaining seats in the series could be taken.