NASCAR Preview

Last Updated Sunday, Feb 28, 2010 2:15 am, EST

Stater Bros. 300

Status: Final Auto Club Speedway

Race Capsule

Auto Club Speedway
  • What:

    Race 2 of 35 on Nationwide circuit

  • Where:

    Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, CA

  • When:

    February 20, 2010 5:46 pm EST

  • Laps:

    150

  • Track Length:

    2. miles

  • Race Length:

    300.00 miles

  • Purse:

    $1,420,657

Drivers to Watch

Joey Logano Logano won the rain-shortened June race last year at Loudon to become the youngest race winner in Sprint Cup history (19 years, one month and four days). It was only his 20th start. The race was called after 273 of the scheduled 301 laps because of persistent rain showers. "To win at my home track was just unbelievable," said Logano, a native of Middletown, Conn.
Kyle Busch Busch dropped one position in the points and is 141 points out of first but only one point out of second place. Busch has one win (June 2006), four top-five finishes and five top-10s in 10 starts at New Hampshire. He was seventh last June and fifth in September and has a streak of two top-10 finishes. "Loudon is a pretty particular race track," Busch said. "It's tough. It's not like Phoenix. It's not like Dover at all. It's a flat race track, and it's really typical of a tough race track to pass on. You can't just have a really good race car and finish up front. You have to keep track position. You have to keep up all day and make everything work. New Hampshire is a fun track for me, as a driver, even though it was a tough year there last year. It's flat like Phoenix and Milwaukee, but it's a little bit tricky. In order to do well there, you need a car that works on all the different kinds of asphalt the tracks seem to be putting down. You need a car that has a lot of side bite in the rear and front grip to turn easier. At New Hampshire, it seems like I've always been loose into the corner and tight in the center, which is hard to fix, sometimes. I think the team that can fix that the best will have the best car."
Carl Edwards Edwards has only two top-10 finishes in 11 starts at Loudon. "We've run really well at New Hampshire, we just haven't been able to run well there lately," he said. "This is an important race for us for a number of reasons, but mostly because this is the first race of the Chase the next time we come back. So it would be great to run well and take those notes back for the second race up there."
Greg Biffle Biffle has one win (September 2008), four top-five finishes and six top-10s in 15 New Hampshire starts. He was 18th last June and ninth in September -- the latter is one of his two top-10 finishes in his last three New Hampshire starts. "I'm pretty excited about the testing we've been doing lately, and I really think we're headed in the right direction," Biffle said. "I had a good run going at New Hampshire last spring and got into the wall while I was racing with Kurt Busch. We finished ninth there in the fall, and I think a top-10 finish this weekend is a reasonable goal. I think we are aiming to finish in the top five, though, if what we've learned at the recent tests works out for us."
Kevin Harvick Harvick's lead in the standings has ballooned to 140 points heading to New Hampshire, where he has one win (September 2006), three top-five finishes and nine top-10s in 18 starts. He was 34th in this race last year and 32nd in September. "We ran well there last year, but there was a big wreck on a restart with us running seventh," Harvick said. "That was the story of the year last year. I enjoy the flat tracks, but the worst we ran this year was at Phoenix, so I hope that's not an indication of what Loudon will be like for us. I think we should go up there and run really well based on how we have run all year. We are going to have weeks where we are a little off, and those are the days where you have to make something happen and get a top-10 finish, and we have been able to do that this year. It's difficult because the first few laps of a run are so hard to get a hold of the race track in traffic, and your car winds up pushing and sliding and doing all sorts of goofy things on restarts. The unique part of what happens at New Hampshire is if you don't pit for tires, you wind up getting these clumps of rubber on your tires, and the cars just slide around all over the place. You slide around and if you are in the middle of the pack, you wind up getting so far behind that by the time you catch back up, it's time to pit again. Track position is critical at New Hampshire."
David Reutimann Reutimann finished fourth in the June race a year ago for his lone top-10 finish in six starts at Loudon. He finished 12th in the fall race. "We ran really well there last year," said Reutimann. "So we feel good about going back. We have high hopes for the weekend."
Paul Menard Menard is still looking for his first top-10 finish at Loudon. His best finish in six starts at the track is 21st. "Starting from the front of the field is key, and we'll really concentrate on our qualifying setup during practice on Friday," said Menard. "Because the track is so difficult to pass on, track position is really important."