Race Fans Witness Auto Club Speedway’s “Most Captivating Finish Since 1997”


SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (March 29, 2011) – With its largest crowd on hand since 2006 to see what some media outlets are calling “the most thrilling, captivating finish to a NASCAR race (at Auto Club Speedway) since (the Speedway opened in) 1997,” Auto Club Speedway bids adieu to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series until 2012.  And with the past weekend’s events fresh on everyone’s mind, there’s no doubt, fans will be clamoring to get to the ticket windows to secure their seats for next year when they go on sale later this year.

The weekend’s highlights included:

•  Kevin Harvick taking the checkered flag at the Auto Club 400 on the final turn and beating defending race champion Jimmie Johnson to the line by a scant .144 seconds.  MRN called it “one of NASCAR’s best finishes in some time” and the Monday Morning Crew Chief said “The one and only race this season at Auto Club Speedway gets a 4 Star Rating.”
•  Kyle Busch winning Saturday’s Royal Purple 300 by 0.713 seconds over pole-winner Carl Edwards which prompted Frontstretch to say:  “(the Auto Club 400 and Royal Purple 300) created a weekend that saw the two-mile oval in Fontana the raciest the facility has been since it started hosting stock cars in 1997.”

•  NASCAR’s announced attendance of 88,000 – the largest at Auto Club Speedway since 2006 – prompted race winner Kevin Harvick to say “With the weather the way it was this morning, I thought it was great. I'm pretty proud about the fact that they had a good crowd today.”
•  Driver Ryan Newman added: “A great day all around with a good crowd of hearty fans who came out when the weather was questionable. Kudos to Auto Club Speedway and Southern California fans.”
•  Inland Valley Daily Bulletin:  “Years from now, it could very well be said that Sunday’s crowd at the Auto Club 400 saved racing in Southern California.”

•  ESPN.com wrote:  “Harvick needed all 400 miles, but the track that has taken much criticism for its small crowds and lackluster events deserves praise for shortening the event. It definitely impacted the outcome.”
•  Monday Morning Crew Chief:  “Kevin Harvick came up and crashed Kyle Busch’s and Jimmie Johnson’s party in the closing laps in California in what turned out to be the most-exciting finish in the history of the track.”
•  Riverside Press Enterprise:  “(This weekend) almost certainly was a statement to the naysayers -- a large percentage of whom opine from the comfort of their living rooms in the Southeastern quadrant of the country, frequently insisting that The Track Formerly Known As California Speedway should lose this race, too. Not happenin'.”

•  “We will definitely be back next year! Epic! Great race! Fantastic fans! All around great weekend!”  Tanya Meyers Gygi, Facebook Fan
•  “I have to say, after all the races I have been to at the Speedway since it was built, this was the best. The Speedway crew members we so polite and helpful, the food was great, the race was even better. I had a blast this year. Mark Lessard, Facebook Fan
•  “Auto Club did a great job with the race - good to see that most of the seats were filled - fantastic race - best 3 days we have had in some time.”  Dan Lippiatt, Facebook Fan


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