Thursday, October 8, 2009

Racing for second at Auto Club Speedway

Everyone knows Jimmie Johnson dominates at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. He has three wins, eight top fives and nine top 10s in 13 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at the 2-mile oval. He has an average finish of 6.2, best among drivers in the Chase.
He won the Cup race at Fontana last year in September. He heads into the fourth race of the Chase in second place in the Cup standings.
It would be hard to find a track Johnson has not had success at. But adding Fontana to the Chase only strengthened his chances of winning a fourth Cup championship.
"I think the season comes to us in a way," Johnson said. "I know that we perform well in the Chase but I think the schedule is helpful for the No. 48 car. We have great results and it gives us a lot of hope going into these tracks but we still have to show up and get the job done. So we have a positive mindset looking forward to those tracks. It will make the week easier leading into those tracks but we still have to go in there and get to work. I’m excited for it.”
If Johnson owns Auto Club Speedway, who has the best chance of foreclosing on his property?
He has to look no further than his own teammate and part owner at Hendrick Motorsports. Jeff Gordon has three wins, nine top fives and two poles in 18 races at Fontana. He has an average finish of 10.8 in those races.
"The competition is as even as I've ever seen it, so we must make the most of our bad days," Gordon said. "And we definitely need to take advantage of tracks where we should be good. Like this weekend at Fontana."
But Gordon isn't Johnson's biggest threat. Carl Edwards has an average finish of 6.7 in 10 Cup races at Fontana. He has one win, six top fives and nine top 10s in those 10 races. It's a pretty safe bet he'll be in the top 10 again, if not competing for the win.
Kasey Kahne might be the wild card in this race. In 11 races at Fontana, he has one win and seven top 10s.

Photo: Points leader and three-time Chase for the Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson (left), driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet, chats with Kansas native Clint Bowyer (right), driver of the Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet, during qualifying Friday for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Price Chopper 400 presented by Kraft Foods at the Kansas Speedway on Saturday. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

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