Drivers weigh in on mother nature curveball at Fontana

FONTANA, Calif– Mother nature dampened the start of the final weekend at Auto Club Speedway’s 2.0-mile oval. Torrential rains compiled by cold temperatures forced NASCAR to scrub both qualifying and practice for both today’s Xfinity Series race and tomorrow’s NASCAR Cup Series round.

The track still holds its original 26-year-old surface which is noticeably worn and is prone to water seeping through the surface. The track suffered a similar issue in 2008, where persistent rainfall forced both races to be rescheduled to Monday.

The drivers acknowledge the challenge heading into tomorrow’s race. Defending series champion Joey Logano expressed that the weepers are a pertinent issue and it will be hard to determine a jump point.

“I’m not as concerned about the cold temperatures as I am about the track weeping,” said the two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion. “An old surface with a bunch of cracks in it- I’d assume it’s going to be hard to try this thing and we’re probably going to start this race with wet spots on the racetrack.”

“I would assume as the race goes – the very bottom whether it’s down the front straightaway or the seams itself will probably be weeping the whole race. I think that will be the biggest sketchy moment – but at what point do we call it lets go.”

Daytona 500 winner Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. echoed Logano’s sentiment but noted that weepers are merely another challenge to mastering the rugged surface.

“One it’s the same for everybody but you don’t want it so bad to where it turns into a major issue,” he said. “Even when it’s dry we stay off the seams as much as possible. The seams are slick and don’t have much grip. We are always dodging things at Fontana anyways so hopefully, that is the case. There are a few of them that we can miss and still drive around and race.

Hendrick Motorsports driver Alex Bowman conversely felt that the track needs to be in tip top shape to race.

Bowman – “This place is going to weep for days and it’s going to be tricky to deal with. I don’t know what that balance is. The correct answer probably is if the racetrack is wet, this place is too big and fast to run on. But then that is demanding that we are going to be here for a long time.

I feel like NASCAR has done a good job at presenting a raceable racetrack, hopefully, we’ll get to that point on time tomorrow.


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