FAST FACTS * Matt Kenseth is the defending Auto Club 500 Champion, winning this race last February by holding off the No. 48 on a green-white-checkered finish. * Kenseth has posted four career wins at California Speedway, three in the Busch ...
* Matt Kenseth is the defending Auto Club 500 Champion, winning this race last February by holding off the No. 48 on a green-white-checkered finish.
* Kenseth has posted four career wins at California Speedway, three in the Busch Series and one in Cup.
* Kenseth will run the Carhartt paint scheme for the first of four races this weekend. The other three being Michigan in June, Loudon in July, and Charlotte in October.
* Sunday's race will mark the second for interim crew chief, Chip Bolin, calling the shots atop the No. 17 pit box. Bolin, who hails from South Carolina with a degree in mechanic engineering from Clemson University, has been the engineer on the No. 17 team since it's inception in 1999.
Kenseth on racing at California Speedway:
"I'm definitely looking forward to getting out to Fontana. It's just such a relief to get back into a normal routine at the track. Daytona is so different, in the practice and qualifying schedules and you're down there for so long, that it just seems to drag on. Then there's so much build up for the race, you just can't wait to get it started. This weekend will bring a little normalcy back into our race weekend.
"Fontana has been a good track for us recently. Last February was sort of a weird deal. We didn't have the best car, but we had it good at the end. Then the two best cars had engine problems and the next thing you know, we were leading when it mattered. I really like this type of track. It's smooth and wide with plenty of room to try some different lines and set up the pass.
"Chip (Bolin) did a good job for us last week at Daytona and we were within about 300 yards of a third-place finish, but that went away in a hurry. We've always bounced back in a big way after Daytona, so I'm expecting nothing less this weekend."
Interim Crew Chief Chip Bolin on racing at California Speedway:
"It's business as usual for the No. 17 team. Everyone has done a great job stepping up at the track in Robbie's (Reiser) absence and I don't anticipate a let down this week. At the shop, nothing's changed because Robbie is still there and we continue to work in the same fashion and roles as before. The truth is, we've been together so long and Robbie's done a good job of piecing this team together, that the operation continues to run as smoothly as ever.
"We had a good Vegas test in both the Cup and Busch cars and I was able to attend both with Matt. We'll use that test along with what worked well for us at California last year to hopefully be in contention for a win this weekend."
Kenseth on racing in the Busch Series at California Speedway:
"Fontana will always be special place for me, mostly because of the success we enjoyed out there with Robbie (Reiser) and his dad John. We won three Busch races and then finally we broke through with a Cup win last February at Fontana. It's just a great race track. It's big and fast, smooth and wide. You can run several different grooves and try some different things to make your car work better through the turns. You don't have to have a perfect handling racecar because there are some different things you can try on the entry and exit of the turns to make your car work better. We were good here last year in the Busch Series, but not quite good enough to compete for the win at the end. I'm sure Drew (Blickensderfer) and the guys have done a great job setting the car up and if the Vegas Busch test is any indication, we should be able to compete for the win this weekend."
Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer on racing at California Speedway:
"We are taking the car that last ran at Homestead and was really strong and it tested well at Las Vegas this year. California has been good to Roush Fenway Racing and we always look forward to going out west. This is the first down force race this year, so we are excited to see how all the things we have been working on this winter will work out on the track."