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NASCAR – WBKR Preview: Auto Club 500 Sunday

Checking in with our NASCAR expert, Blake Smith for a peek at Sunday’s Sprint Cup race.

For the first time since 1986, the first 4 races have produced 4 different manufacturers in victory lane. Brad Keselowski gave the Dodge brand their first victory of the season in last weekend’s Food City 500. The Sprint Cup Series makes the trek to the east coast for this weekend’s Auto Club 500 in Fontana, California for the 5th race of the 2012 season.

The California Speedway hosted its first Sprint Cup Series race in June of 1997. In that race, Jeff Gordon got the first of Chevrolet’s 11 wins at the 2 mile speedway. The track was originally named California Speedway until the Auto Club of America purchased track naming rights to the speedway in 2008.

In the 2011 running of the Auto Club 500, Kevin Harvick was the victorious driver over his 42 competitors. At a track where cautions are few and far between, strategy could play a major role in a good finish during Sunday’s race.  The strategy includes two words that no crew chief on pit road is excited to hear…Fuel mileage. If your favorite driver is toward the tail-end of the lead lap with an ill-handling car, don’t be too worried to see them on pit-road topping their fuel tank off during the final lap of a caution period. This strategy could lead a non-contending driver to victory lane for a surprise winner.\

If you look back at the history books, Jimmie Johnson would not be bad choice for Sunday’s winner. Johnson has 5 wins at the 2 mile oval, the most of any driver. Coverage of Sunday’s Auto Club 500 begins at 1PM on WBKR and WBKR.com.

Blake Smith

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