Keys for Success: Auto Club 400
FONTANA, Calif., (March 26, 2011) – Each race weekend, selected Dodge Motorsports engineers, Penske Racing crew chiefs, engineers, drivers or engine specialists give their insight on the ‘Keys for Success’ for the upcoming race. This week, the green flag drops at Auto Club Speedway and the Auto Club 400.
Track: Auto Club Speedway (race 5 of 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup point events)
Race: Auto Club 400
Track Length: 2-mile (200 laps/400 miles)
Trivia Question: California has hosted 129 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events. What driver posted Dodge’s first Sprint Cup Series win in the Golden State?
HOWARD COMSTOCK (Dodge Motorsports Engineering – NASCAR Program Manager)
Spring Race Date: “Cooler weather and a clean track surface provide plenty of grip. It’s going to be much cooler this weekend than recent races here at Fontana and if the track will hold that grip throughout the entire weekend, we’re going to see some fast speeds. That will mean prolonged periods of high RPM for the engines, and that could lead to durability problems.”
400 vs. 500: “The race is 100 miles shorter and nobody has a book for a 400-mile spring race at Auto Club Speedway. It will be different for the teams to run 400 miles in the spring compared to 400 miles in the fall. Although I don’t think we’ll see fuel mileage problems, there is concern about tire wear. With a cool and clean track surface providing the extra grip and fast speeds, you tend to get concerned about tires.”
Feel the Force: “Because Auto Club Speedway is a big fast track, common thinking is you need to have the slickest aerodynamics. The fact of the matter is you’ve got to have the most downforce that you can create. You could run a Daytona-style car here that’s very slick and never be able to get around the track because when you go off into that corner at over 200 mph, with little banking, you need downforce.”
Answer to trivia question: John Soares – 1954 Dodge at Carrell Speedway, Gardena, California