INDYCAR Return to Auto Club Speedway, MAVTV 500 had Something for Everyone
SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (Sept. 17, 2012) – After a seven year absence, everyone wondered if the return of The IZOD IndyCar Series would match the excitement of past visits to Auto Club Speedway. Did they succeed during MAVTV 500 weekend? In one word: ABSOLUTELY! Need proof? Here you go:
• Ryan Hunter-Reay, who couldn’t even find a ride five years ago, finished fourth and claimed the IZOD IndyCar Series title by just three points over Will Power – the closest margin since 2006. He moved up 18 positions from the start of the race en route to his championship and overcame a 36-point deficit in the last two races of the season.
• Ed Carpenter won the MAVTV 500, becoming the first owner-driver to win a race since 2004. He led 62 laps. He entered the race having led 63 in his entire INDYCAR career.
• There were 12 different leaders in the race and 29 lead changes.
• Seven different teams were represented in the top 10 positions.
With a fourth place finish in the MAVTV 500 season finale at Auto Club Speedway, Hunter-Reay took the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series driver’s champion. Piloting the No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda Andretti Autosport Chevrolet, Hunter-Reay took the crown with six podium and nine top-10 finishes that included a Series’-high four wins in the 15-race schedule.
His finish Saturday night also clinched the Oval Championship commemorated with the A.J. Foyt Oval Championship trophy. On his way to the prestigious title, Hunter-Reay won two of the five oval track races and posted a top-five finish in the season ending race. The Championship is a culmination of Hunter-Reay’s ninth season in INDYCAR, and his third season with Andretti Autosport. He is the first American driver since 2006 (Sam Hornish Jr.) to win the INDYCAR title.
In the main feature – the MAVTV 500 – Carpenter started his No. 20 Fuzzy’s Premium Ultra Vodka Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet fifth in the 26-car field, and worked his way to the lead on lap 66 of the 250-lap/500-mile race. He was credited with leading eight times for a race-high total of 62 laps. But it was Carpenter’s last-lap pass of former Series’ champion Dario Franchitti that secured the win and put him in Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka 19th Hole Victory Lane.
Everyone who braved the Southern California heat got caught up in the excitement including ACS Facebookers and Tweeters:
• “Had a blast”; “ACS, you guys are the BEST!” and “Awesome race. See you in March.”
Even the experts chimed in:
• Driving legend Parnelli Jones said “That was one heckuva race. I’d go back there (to Auto Club Speedway) and watch a race anytime.” And team owner Roger Penske: “It was a good choice to have the finale (at Auto Club Speedway).
In addition to the on-track excitement, the DiscoverIE FanZone offered plenty of activities including Carpenter reading “Ten Little Race Cars” to members of our Kids’ Club in Lefty’s Fun Zone.
Drivers including Takuma Sato, Dario Franchitti, Charlie Kimball and Scott Dixon all created concession items that were all the rage at our “Drivers Cuisine Cantina”. And there were plenty of driver appearances by INDYCAR stars including Tony Kanaan, Rubens Barichello, Dario Franchitti, Graham Rahal, Jr., Takuma Sato and Michele Jourdain Jr.
Next up at Auto Club Speedway, Southern California’s premier motorsports facility hosts the stars of NASCAR in the Auto Club 400 Weekend March 22-24. For tickets visit www.autoclubspeedway.com or call 800-944-RACE (7223).
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About Auto Club Speedway: Auto Club Speedway, is a two-mile oval located in Fontana, California and is home to a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race each March and the MAVTV 500 INDYCAR World Championships Weekend in September. The Speedway is also home to numerous movies, television and commercial productions, photo shoots, new car testing, club racing and a variety of racing schools. The track is active for more than 320 days every year. For more information on events at Auto Club Speedway call 1-800-944-RACE (7223) or visit www.autoclubspeedway.com. For more information on event lodging, visit the Hilton Garden Inn, Fontana, the official hotel partner of Auto Club Speedway.