give auto club speedway a break

Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)A lot of attention that Auto Club Speedway gets is usually about their attendance numbers. Sometimes people call into question whether or not they should have two races since they never can seem to sell out the place.

I think everybody should get over it and move on. I think it would be an absolute shame to take their races away. Maybe they don’t need two, but you have to stay in the Southern California market. You just have to. Nobody else, except maybe the Daytona 500, gets the amount of celebrities out to their races the way Auto Club Speedway does. Of course it’d be really sad if they didn’t considering their proximity to Hollywood and all.

But, take away all of the celebrity action that occurs and what you have is a facility that has done a ton of work to give people a reason to come out for a race weekend.

On Saturday, during the Pepsi 500 weekend, I went over to the Opportunity, California FanZone and watched the band, The 88, perform. It was so cool. They’re a really good group of musicians by the way, you should check them out. It was cool that in addition to getting to see awesome racing, I got to see a kick butt concert. It’s not like they did two songs and got off stage, no, this was a full blown concert.

They weren’t the only band to take the stage that weekend. There was variety. Foreigner performed AND filmed a music video!

That has huge value. Everywhere you looked there was something to do or see. Whether it was the Metal Mulisha Extreme Stunt Show or the Wakeboard Rail Jam. The Wakeboard setup was pretty cool; they had two really big pools setup with rails connecting the two for the boarders to do tricks on.

And then there’s food. There’s the usual snack bar type stuff but then there’s the Wolfgang Puck restaurant Apex, which is an actual sit down (with wait staff) restaurant. Then there was the largest freaking BBQ I’ve ever seen that had every kind of meat you can imagine. They had Mexican food, Gordon Biersch, and hello, Sprinkles Cupcakes!!!

I found the cupcakes really easily this time, Barb sent me a Twitpic showing me exactly where they were selling them in the infield next to the garage. I ate a super yummy red velvet one while watching the Nationwide race. :)

I saw kids running around with their faces painted, and Ryan Newman read a book during story time Sunday morning.

So, I really don’t know what people want from Auto Club Speedway. While the place wasn’t packed there was still a ginormous turnout. They’re doing everything they possibly can to get butts in the seats. You can’t blame them. I mean, they call it La La Land for a reason. :)


The Wakeboard Rail Jam demonstrations area on Saturday, October 10, 2009 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

The Wakeboard Rail Jam demonstrations area on Saturday, October 10, 2009 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

The 88 performed on Saturday, October 10, 2009 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

The 88 performed on Saturday, October 10, 2009 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Hendrick Motorsports 25th Anniversary area on Saturday, October 10, 2009 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Hendrick Motorsports 25th Anniversary area on Saturday, October 10, 2009 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Hendrick Motorsports 25th Anniversary area on Saturday, October 10, 2009 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

Fans got to sign the wall. Very cool.

Hendrick Motorsports 25th Anniversary area on Saturday, October 10, 2009 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver of the No. 39 Chevrolet Ryan Newman reads a book to children in the FanZone as part of

FYI: The book was Michael Recycle Meets Litterbug Doug by Ellie Bethel. :)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver of the No. 39 Chevrolet Ryan Newman reads a book to children in the FanZone as part of “Story Time” at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday in Fontana, Calif. (Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images for NASCAR)

(Right to left) Dancing With The Stars competitor Kelly Osbourne meets NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Kenny Wallace before the Copart 300 Saturday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Osbourne was the honorary starter for Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series Copart 300. (Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images for NASCAR)

(Right to left) Dancing With The Stars competitor Kelly Osbourne meets NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Kenny Wallace before the Copart 300 Saturday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Osbourne was the honorary starter for Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series Copart 300. (Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images for NASCAR)

(Right to left) Actor John C. Reilly, and NASCAR Nationwide Series Copart 300 Grand Marshal, talks with NASCAR driver Carl Edwards at Edwards' hauler before the race at Auto Club Speedway on Saturday in Fontana, Calif. (Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images for NASCAR)

(Right to left) Actor John C. Reilly, and NASCAR Nationwide Series Copart 300 Grand Marshal, talks with NASCAR driver Carl Edwards at Edwards’ hauler before the race at Auto Club Speedway on Saturday in Fontana, Calif. (Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Christian Slater, star of the ABC show

Christian Slater, star of the ABC show “The Forgotten,” greets fans on the stage before getting behind the wheel of the pace car to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway Sunday in Fontana, Calif. (Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Audrina Patridge, star of MTV's

I’m guessing Audrina was trying to take a page from the movie Grease. She’s dressed just like Sandy! ;)

Audrina Patridge, star of MTV’s “The Hills,” prepares to wave the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday in Fontana, Calif. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)

2 Comments

  1. yowser
    October 16, 2009 at 1:58 PM ·

    I think that folks don’t like the Auto Club because the track is flat like Michigan. I always call the Auto Club, Little Michigan. Folks hate Michigan.

    But I really feel that one of the races in the Chase should be a California race as homage to California’s Stock car league which, if you read NASCAR history, was very important in the development of NASCAR.

    But there should be a road race in the Chase, since road races pretty much reveals the talent of a driver. Perhaps Sonoma should be considered as an alternative to the Auto Club Speedway.

  2. Mlynn
    October 19, 2009 at 11:10 PM ·

    Man oh man did my family have a GREAT time at Fontana. And despite what it may have looked like on tv it was packed. Plus there was so much to do, maybe too much that some people stayed under the bleachers drinking or down at the trailers and courtyards during the races rather than climbing the incredibly steep stairs to the grandstands.

    I have so much to say about my first in-person race but I’m still too exhausted. Still downloading photos.

    ANd heck for some reason we had regular old pit passes and on Saturday before the Nationwide race we should have been shoo’d off pit road but we were so my nephew and his girlfriend met JOHN C REILLY up close and personal. They were start-struck! He stopped and chatted with us. He was f-king great! When he walked away we shouted “It’s the F-king Catalina Wine MIXER!” And he turned and said he was coming back to talk to us then we got caught and shoo’d away from pit road as the race started.

    Coolness!