I’m driving down to Southern California for the Auto Club 500 race weekend at Auto Club Speedway on Thursday. Eaaaarly Thursday morning, to be exact. Clint Bowyer is launching “Speedway Day L.A.” on the steps of City Hall in downtown Los Angeles, and then immediately following that he’ll go on a tour of L.A. with media and race fans on a double-decker bus. I’m getting on the bus! You know how much I enjoyed my time on the double-decker bus in Vegas during Champion’s Week, so there was no way I was missing out on this opportunity.

The festivities will start at Noon at City Hall (200 N. Spring Street at 1st Street in Los Angeles), then we’ll stop by Elvis’ star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame around 1:30pm (Southeast corner of Hollywood Blvd and N. La Brea Blvd. in Hollywood), then walk down to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre between 1:30 & 2:10pm, and then we’re going to In-N-Out Burger where Clint will serve ice-cold Coke to people around 2:15pm, and then we’ll return to City Hall.

Fun right? Totally looking forward to it, and it makes up for the fact that I’ll be missing out on Tony Stewart’s appearance in the San Francisco Bay Area that’s also taking place on Thursday (more about that below).

I was checking out the weather forecast for Fontana on Weather.com and it looks like it’s supposed to rain on Friday. So there’s a 40% chance that qualifying will be rained out. I would rather that it didn’t.

In other news…

Richard Marx– Grammy award winning artist Richard Marx (right) will perform the National Anthem before the start of the Auto Club 500 this week. I, for one, am SO EXCITED about this news. I LOVE Richard Marx! I mean, hello, “Endless Summer Nights,” “Right Here Waiting,” “Hold on to the Nights,” “Should’ve Known Better,” “Now and Forever,” and my personal extra fave “Hazard.” The man is a musical genius and I adore him.

— Another dude that I loved from my days as a pre-teen/teen is Christian Slater. “Heathers,” you guys. Oh! And “Untamed Heart”, that movie was, like, the most romantic movie to me until I saw Leo DiCaprio in “Romeo + Juliet.” Do I need to say more? He’s in a new TV show for FOX so I’m sure that’s why he was named the Grand Marshal for Sunday’s race at Auto Club Speedway. I’m not mad about that at all.

— Like I mentioned Tony Stewart will be stopping by the Bay Area on Thursday to hang out at the Oakland Zoo. He’s going to give the resident male elephant, Osh, a “pedicure” with the help of the Elephant Manager Jeff Kinzley. There will be a fan & media Q&A session with Tony held in the Marian Zimmer Auditorium and it should start around 1:15pm. Fans can get a $2 discount on admission to the zoo (for this Thursday only) by mentioning “Infineon Raceway at the ticket booth.

— Another Thursday driver event is taking place at the Stonewood Center Best Buy Mobile in Downey, Calif. Casey Mears and AJ Allmendinger will be on hand with Miss Sprint Cup Monica Palumbo from 6pm to 8pm to take photos, and sign autographs for fans. On Sunday Casey and AJ will be racing each other in a “race within a race” in order to win $5,000 from Sprint for the charity of their choice. Casey has selected Alzheimer’s Foundation of America and AJ has picked Paralyzed Veterans of America.

<a href=– IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon and his wife, Susie, welcomed their second child into the world this weekend. Their son, Oliver, was born on Sunday and joins older brother Sebastian, who turned 2 last month.