One track that has seen both good and bad in terms of racing and appeal is the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. Opened in 1997 just on the outside of Hollywood, it became a big meca for California fans, as the races would sell out each year for the first three years.
In 2004, the changes in the schedule brought about two races to the track, and things started changing.
Empty bleachers, even for the fall night race that was on Labor Day weekend, which up till 2003 was a traditional spot for Darlington, and fans just didn't want to see the races when they were in town. A few years back, the track got only one date as part of the first realignment, and then last year the race was reduced from 500 miles to 400 miles in length.
It seemed to bring in more crowds, and made it a more exciting event, as the finish came down to a bump-and-run, unlike the fuel mileage races it has been known for.
This year's race could also be the same way, and with how the season has started out, anything can happen.
The writers in the pool have made their choices for an award-winning performance on Sunday. Take a look at who they want to win Sunday's Auto Club 400:
Misan Ayuka: Carl Edwards
Where is Mr. Edwards?He is 15th in points, that is where Carl Edwards is at. One season he was battling with Tony Stewart for the championship, and now 2012 thus far hasn't gone exactly the way he wants it.But don't take it has he is struggling. He grabbed a top ten at Daytona, struggled at Phoenix but was poised for a top ten until heran out of fuel, finished 5th at Las Vegas, and we will never know how well he would have done at Bristol because he was in that big lap 20 wreck.
Edwards is great at Auto Cub, expect him to be up front when it counts and maybe doing another back flip.
James Broomhead: Jimmie Johnson
Apologies for lack of reason.
Kelly Crandall: Matt Kenseth
All week I've been thinking about Kevin Harvick since he's been the best driver at California the last two races out - and since I didn't pick, he'll probably win the race.
But, Kenseth is off to a very solid start this season and his run in Bristol has him heading to Fontana with a ton of momentum. Plus, the last time he started the season off winning the Daytona 500, he followed it up with a win out West.
Billy Fellin: Jimmie Johnson
Coming off that fresh appeal win, I have a feeling the 48 and Knaus will want a win where it counts; on the track. Johnson has been absolute money at Auto Club Speedway. Done and done.
Michael Hirshbein: Kyle Busch
Christopher Leone: Jimmie Johnson
Momentum from reduced penalties + home track advantage + karma from running his foundation logo on the car this weekend = winning time. It's basic math.
Kara Martin: Kevin Harvick
I almost forgot again!
Ryan O'Hara: Matt Kenseth
The guy has been on a roll and I think we all need to rebound after Kasey Kahne's epic FAIL.
Dustin Parks: Jimmie Johnson
If there's one thing I've learned the last few weeks it's that nothing is a sure thing. Stewart at Daytona, Kahne at Phoenix, Kyle in Vegas, then Gordon at Bristol...all bad choices.
But, that win with the appeal board has definitely given a lot of momentum to the 48 team, especially coming to a track that for the most part has been Johnson's own personal playground. This guy is money at the Auto Club Speedway, and nearly had the win last year.
Could be the weekend that Johnson gets his mojo back, and I want on that bandwagon.
Patti Rodisch: Jimmie Johnson
With the penalty rescinded and now sitting 11th in the standings, Jimmie Johnson is back to being a contender for not just the Chase but the championship.
I am picking him to win this weekend as recent history shows he is pretty good at ACS. Aside from his lap two wreck at Daytona, Johnson has been pretty consistent to start off 2012. They haven’t always had the best cars every week but they put themselves in position to at least challenge for the win. He has five wins, 12 top-fives and 13 top-10’s in 18 starts.
His charge in the points is pointing to victory lane this weekend.
Sal Sigala Jr: Jimmie Johnson
Johnson and the No. 48 team are coming off a huge victory this week, when the appeal they filed after a rules infraction at the season opening race in Daytona was overturned.
Johnson who had already made huge strides in the past few weeks by picking one top-five, and three top-10 finishes is heading home to a track where he has had his fair share success.
Rob Tiongson: Kevin Harvick
Standings following Bristol:
Misan Ayuka (158) Jamie McMurray finished 7th (1)
James Broomhead (147) Kevin Harvick finished 11th (0)
Billy Fellin (142) Kyle Busch finished 32nd (1)
Sal Sigala Jr. (138) Jimmie Johnson finished 9th (0)
Rob Tiongson (129) Brad Keselowski WON (1)
Christopher Leone (123) Kevin Harvick finished 11th (0)
Kara Martin (107) Carl Edwards finished 39th (0)
Kelly Crandall (103) Kyle Busch finished 32nd (1)
Patti Rodisch (101) Jeff Gordon finished 35th (0)
Michael Hirshbein (99) Kyle Busch finished 32nd (0)
Ryan O'Hara (95) Kyle Busch finished 32nd (0)
Dustin Parks (70) Jeff Gordon finished 35th (0)
Final Thoughts: All this time with the picks and talk of the appeal, there's never been a mention of fuel mileage. Well, this race is the perfect candidate to decide if the EFI system is able to save fuel more efficiently than the old carburetor.
So, who's going to win? Let's all find out at 3 p.m. ET on FOX.
Summary of Picks: