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NASCAR Auto Club 400 preview in 3 minutes

Sprint Cup driver Jeff Gordon says repaving Auto Club Speedway should be an absolute last resort.
Sprint Cup driver Jeff Gordon says repaving Auto Club Speedway should be an absolute last resort. GETTY

Everything you need to know about Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway, in three minutes:

Three things to watch

1. The roughness of a track that hasn’t been repaved in a long time is a mixed blessing. The drivers prefer it this way as far as the car’s handling, but Auto Club is very hard on tires.

2. Pole-sitter Kurt Busch seems to be highly motivated after missing the first two races while serving a suspension related to an accusation of domestic abuse in Delaware.

3. This is the third of three West Coast races for race teams based mostly in North Carolina. It’s a particularly grueling span of the Sprint Cup schedule.

Observations

▪  This track, tucked into an industrial neighborhood in Orange County, doesn’t stand out from the surrounding buildings, which is a rarity for a Sprint Cup venue. The other extreme would be Talladega, which all but pops out of the Alabama countryside.

▪  Sunday’s race is a sell-out of 68,000 seats, another indication one Sprint Cup event each season is the right fit for this track. It used to host two.

▪  Jeff Gordon said Friday he’d eventually like to have a discussion with Chevrolet about a possible management position in their racing operation. Keeping Gordon in the sport as a resource after he retires from driving would be a great move.

Best bets

Three picks for your fantasy team:

Kevin Harvick: He says he’s in a great place as far as interaction with his crew. He gives feedback, rather than orders, then trusts the technical people to make the car fast.

Kurt Busch: Team owner Gene Haas had his back during a recent domestic-abuse investigation, and now Busch is determined to reward that faith with checkered flags.

David Ragan: He was a top-five qualifier and fast in Saturday’s practices, too.

He said it

“Until the pavement starts peeling off and starts chucking over the wall, I don’t think they should ever change it .” – Jeff Gordon on drivers’ resistence to repaving Auto Club Speedway’s driving surface.

N@SCAR

Getting there

Race facts

Auto Club 400

Where: Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, Calif.

Track type: 2-mile paved superspeedway.

Race distance: 400 miles, or 200 laps.

Green flag: 3:16 p.m.

Weather: Partly cloudy with a high of 79 degrees.

TV: Fox.

Radio: Motor Racing Network.

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