Matt Kenseth and the #17 team have to be excited about this week's Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.

They are coming off the high of a Daytona 500 victory, and Kenseth has two wins, two fifth-place finishes and three sevenths in his past seven races at the track.

In fact, four of Roush Fenway's five teams are very strong at Auto Club. Besides Kenseth's two wins and ten top-tens in 14 races, Greg Biffle has a win and three top tens in twelve races, Carl Edwards has one win and eight top tens in nine races, and Jamie McMurray has five top tens in eleven races. David Ragan's best finish in four races is 12th. In all, Roush drivers have won four of the past eight races.
Five to watch:
Mark Martin, #5:
Martin won the second Cup race at the track in 1998. He has seven top tens in 15 starts, and his driving style suits the track well.
Joey Logano, #20
If the 18-year-old rookie was feeling pressure going into the Daytona 500, imagine what he will feel when he lines up Sunday. He finished last in the 500, and another poor finish only will add to his anxiety. In four Cup starts, his finishes are 32nd, 39th, 40th and 43rd.
AJ Allmendinger, #44
Allmendinger needs to follow his surprising third-place finish at Daytona with another strong showing to bolster his chances of securing sponsorship beyond his current eight-race commitment. In two previous races at Fontana, he finished 18th in 2007 and 14th last August.
Jimmie Johnson, #48
Johnson, from down the road in El Cajon, has earned the top driver rating at Fontana, 119.1, with wins in two of the past three races. In his victory last August, he led 228 of 250 laps. All told, Johnson has three wins and four second-place finishes at the track in 12 starts.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., #88
Not that Junior ever lacks from attention, but after his dust-up with Brian Vickers last week triggered a ten-car pileup, all eyes really will be on the #88, especially when it's close to Vickers' 83. Auto Club is not one of Earnhardt's stronger tracks. He has four top tens in 14 races.
Track chatter:
Tony Eury Jr., crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr.:
"One of the biggest challenges at California is that the track is really flat and has no grip. Basically, you have to keep a really good aero platform and keep the car from getting too free off the corners. That has typically been our problem in the past. Our car will be good after 20 laps but will be too free at the start. We are really working hard to try and tighten the car up a little bit but not get it too tight at the end of the run. You have to start the race in the day and end at night so you've got those conditions changing on you on top of that."
Larry Carter, crew chief for Paul Menard:
"The most important thing about racing at Fontana is the distance of the race. You have to make sure you have a good engine under the hood. The other thing about Fontana is setting up for the transition of day to night. You have to make sure your car is balanced well enough so that when the sun goes down you don't lose everything you have in terms of handling."
Tony Gibson, crew chief for Ryan Newman:
"It takes a lot of horsepower. Auto Club Speedway is also a handling racetrack, and it takes a good aero package to get around the track. It's really smooth. Your aero package is really important."

by Bill Marx/Sporting News

 

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