The weather is changeable at Auto Club Speedway Sunday morning. The Saturday night rain had started to dry and the jet dryers were on the track in full, ear-shattering force. The sun shone brightly, the air was fresh and chilly and the breeze brisk. At that point it felt warmer than the 52 degrees F shown on gauges. Then the clouds rolled in, the weather cooled, and the NASCAR Sprint Cup crew chiefs groaned. Once the teams clear their cars through tech inspection, they aren’t allowed to make any changes to their set ups until after the first pit stop of the Auto Club 500 race.
Auto Club Speedway is two miles long and considered a speedway. NASCAR considers anything over 2 miles a super-speedway. For superspeedways, the teams make extra efforts to give their cars an aerodynamic edge. One way is an exterior clear-coat process. Once the car is painted and decals applied, clear coats are applied. Then the decals are carefully sanded and then more clear coats applied. While ACS is not a superspeedway, the No.99 Roush Fenway Ford raced by CARL EDWARDS has somewhat the same process going.
Edwards has one of the in-car cameras for Sunday’s telecast live on FOX, so there are extra decals inside the car, in strategic locations, to be viewed when the camera is used on TV. All cars carry a roof-mounted camera-mounting, either a dummy or the real camera. And the blue fabric flag tag seen floating in the car belongs to the on-board fire extinguisher.
The next Cup race is in seven days at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Some teams, including the Joe Gibbs Racing team, have brought a second hauler to Fontana with the Vegas cars and using Sunday morning to swap out the cars, so the ACS cars can trek back to the shops in North Carolina – or wherever, while the Vegas cars are loaded up and driven to Nevada. Other teams, such as Richard Childress Racing, have their Vegas cars already at that track, and will drive the California hauler to LVMS and swap out there. One of the PR representatives told me that good hauler drivers are hard to find – those who want to do it for the right reasons and have a love of the sport.
While some teams are loading up, others are in pre-race physical fitness exercises such as stretches.
For those who are nostalgic for the good old days of stock car racing, there was a large display of Historic Stock Cars out in the FanZone. Check out historicgrandnational.com for Sunday photos. The display was part of the pre-race show with MIKE JOY.
Among those cars on display is the Number #11 1966 Ford Fairlane raced by NED JARRETT at Asheville, Darlington and Martinsville. Jarrett was the all time leader in Ford wins. The car is campaigned currently by MARK, LINDA and MARIAH MOUNTANOS of Ukiah.
Four of the cars on display Sunday will be going to the Neon Garage at LVMS including Jarrett’s car and No.3 owned by JUNIOR JOHNSON. Jarrett and Johnson are expected to be there in person.
Back in the day the stock cars were definitely marque distinguishable.