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Auto Club 101: Rules package, new Goodyear tire and more

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers will complete the final leg of the three-race West Coast portion in the spring of the 2019 season this weekend at Auto Club Speedway.

Prior to Sunday’s Auto Club 400 in Fontana, here’s everything you need to know to get ready for racing in Southern California.

RELATED: Full weekend schedule for Auto Club


Auto Club Speedway is a 2-mile, D-shaped oval located in Fontana, Calif., less than an hour east of Los Angeles. Each of the track’s four turns have 14 degrees of banking, with 11 degrees of banking on the frontstretch and three degrees on the backstretch.


The Monster Energy Series will run the 2019 rules package tailored for tracks great than 1.33 miles in length. Differing from what we saw at the 1-mile ISM Raceway last weekend, a .922-inch tapered spacer will be fitted on all cars to reduce horsepower and aero ducts will be in effect, along with the larger spoiler to add roughly 50 percent more downforce. The combination of a smaller tapered spacer to reduce engine horsepower to a target goal of 550 (from 750) and aero ducts should foster tighter racing.


Goodyear will bring a new right-side tire compound for both the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series races on the 2-mile California track due to tire wear seen at Auto Club Speedway. The multi-zone rubber will feature a more durable compound on the tread’s inside two inches, with the outer 10 inches optimized for traction. The left-side tire combination will be the same as what was put into circulation at Darlington Raceway last year, another track that sees higher levels of tire wear.

“First, with NASCAR’s new rules package and more downforce on the Cup cars, observing our minimum recommended air pressures becomes even more important,” said Goodyear Director of Racing Greg Stucker. “Teams are always looking to add grip at Fontana, and one way they do that is by dropping the air pressures, particularly in the left side tires.

“Secondly at Fontana, you have a track surface that wears tires heavily, Stucker added. “The fall-off is around three seconds a lap over the course of a fuel run, so tire management will come into play all day. Tire wear generally does two things for the fans — enhance the quality of the racing by creating more passing and bringing the pit crews more into play and emphasize the team aspect of our sport as teams take four tires every chance they get.”

The change was made following results of a tire test at Auto Club Speedway in January with the 2019 rules package, which included drivers Joey Logano, Daniel Suarez and Martin Truex Jr.


Sunday, March 17 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.


Martin Truex Jr. led 125 of the 200 total laps to win last year’s showdown in Fontana by an 11.685-second margin over second-place finisher Kyle Larson. Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano rounded out the top five, respectively.


Seven active Monster Energy Series drivers have earned victory at the track, dating back to Jimmie Johnson’s first career victory in 2002 — Jimmie Johnson (6 wins), Kyle Busch (3), Kurt Busch (1), Kevin Harvick (1), Brad Keselowski (1), Kyle Larson (1), Martin Truex Jr. (1)