Jeff Gordon

Thriving Auto Club Speedway has history of peaks, valleys

Thriving Auto Club Speedway has history of peaks, valleys

At the tunnel entrance leading to the infield of Auto Club Speedway, there’s a blown-up photo printed on a wall that shows racing mogul Roger Penske cutting a checkered-flag ribbon to open the track that was then called California Speedway.

That was in 1997 and, as the speedway in Fontana celebrates its 20th anniversary with the Auto Club 400 NASCAR race Sunday, Penske remains proud of the 568-acre track he built on the site of a former steel mill despite the highs and lows the speedway has endured in the last two decades.

“We didn’t know what the reaction would be in such a major metropolitan market to what we were doing,” Penske said. “It’s become one of the best stops on...

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