BUSCH: Comments on early 2005 race in Fontana

NASCAR Heads To California For Second Race Of The 2005 Season FONTANA, Calif. (May 14, 2004) --- The Auto Club 500 weekend at California Speedway will host 's top-three racing series - the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR...

NASCAR Heads To California For Second Race Of The 2005 Season

FONTANA, Calif. (May 14, 2004) --- The Auto Club 500 weekend at California Speedway will host 's top-three racing series - the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series - during the weekend of February 25-27. This triple-header weekend will be the second race of the 2005 season for each of the racing series, specifically, California Speedway's Auto Club 500 will follow the season-opening Daytona 500.

Here's a look at some of the comments from the world of NASCAR about California Speedway and the change in the 2005 schedules.

NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France

"The California Speedway will have the first of two events moved from the Spring to February 27th. That's one week after the season-opening Daytona 500. So we're going from the biggest race of the season straight to the second biggest market in the country.

The 2005 schedule marks another important milestone not only in NASCAR's realignment efforts, but in NASCAR's historical overall view of its growth plan. Our sport is growing and it's moving faster than ever, and the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Schedule certainly reflects that.

Well, it's [West Coast] under-served from our view. The population base in Los Angeles, second largest market. Phoenix is the 16th to 17th largest market in the country. It's proven, as we proved [with the Auto Club 500] two weekends ago, that the interest level* Texas has a huge interest level in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series racing. They've proved it for a number of years.

I don't think it's any secret that the demand is there, the population is there, the race fans are there. We're going to take our events there."

California Speedway President Bill Miller

"The importance of the Southern California market place of going from the Daytona 500 into the largest market that they run, it makes a lot of sense. I think it carries a lot of momentum coming out of that race bringing it out here to Southern California. No question we've had success on the given time frame, but I think we'll be successful on this time frame.

I can think back to the days in 1997 after we had our first event talking with the people here, from a positioning standpoint, this is the largest market NASCAR runs in. This change makes a lot of sense to have something where it comes here to Southern California. I think coming out of Daytona has a lot of merit and it will be exciting at that point.

Our goal is to continue to educate and make people aware. We'll do that by using our current channels of communication that we use with all of our guests here. It's no different than when we added a race making sure people knew there was a second race in town. We will be sending out our renewals for tickets in early July. Our job is to educate fans on what our value is and what makes our place more appealing to any other motorsports facility or any other opportunities they have at any given time.

Historically, one of the highest television rated races that they've had all year has been coming out of the Daytona 500 and I think when you take that and take the momentum coming out of that and then coming into the second largest market in the country, I anticipate that rating could grow. It's going to be good for the series, it's going to be good for the speedway, it's going to be good for the Auto Club, it's going to be good for everybody else associated with the sport and the sponsors of the cars."

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Owner Jack Roush

"I am very excited to come to California the weekend following the biggest race of the year in Florida and have the first outing with all three racing series together on an unrestricted race track."

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Driver Kyle Petty, No. 45 Georgia Pacific/Brawny Dodge

"At one point in time we had 14-15 races within a 300-mile radius of Charlotte. That market has been saturated for 50 years. I think now if you lose a Rockingham or Darlington, we still have 10-12 races within 300 miles of Charlotte. If you're a fan, you don't have to drive far. Used to, if you were a California fan, you only got a couple of shots to see us at Phoenix or Vegas. I think it opens up the possibilities of going to Seattle or to the Midwest for more events. I think it's better for the sport. You hate to see things go away, but that's just part of life. I think it will be great for our sponsors.

We can sit here and talk tradition all day long. Bits and pieces of it fall by the wayside. I think when you look at a sport like this, we're going to lose part of our history. It'll be there in the books, and it's up to us to protect it and make sure it gets told, but we don't have to go back and hammer those places year after year just to keep the history and the respect of the sport."

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Driver Kurt Busch, No. 97 Sharpie/IRWIN Ford

"With the way that our sport is changing and the continued growth, they're making big leaps now and not just small steps. I think what they're doing is positive and we're following their lead. We're race car drivers and we'll race on the tracks they provide us to race on, so it's just a continued effort for change.

It's almost a resource that has been untapped with one race a year in Phoenix or one race in Vegas. Now we've got two in California. Now we're gonna have two in Texas. Now we're gonna have two in Phoenix. We're just continuing the trend of more and more races on the west coast because the fans out there want to see more racing."

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Driver Jeff Burton, No. 99 Roundup Ford

"I've said for several years now that I thought it was in the best interest of our sport to be in as many places as possible. Getting to Phoenix twice and California twice and Texas twice, all of that makes a lot of sense because it spreads us out around the country. It's disappointing to lose Rockingham for sure. Rockingham is one of the most fun places for drivers, but what's in the best interest of the sport isn't necessarily in the best interests of the driver at times and I think this is one of those occasions. I also hate to see North Carolina lose another race, but, again, we go back to long-term benefit for the sport and it's best served by being in as many regions around the country as possible."

NASCAR Busch Series Driver Ron Hornaday, No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet

"I am so excited to be able to race twice at California Speedway. This truly shows the rest of the country just how great of fans we have in California.

Growing up as a kid in Southern California, my dreams were to race at Ontario Speedway and Riverside, against all the NASCAR greats. When those tracks shut down, I thought my dream had too. But to get to race twice in my home state at a facility like California Speedway*it's beyond my wildest dreams. I have never been more proud to be from California."

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Driver Jack Sprague, No. 16 Chevy Trucks Silverado

"California Speedway has always been absolutely one of my favorite tracks. I've done very well there during NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and NASCAR Busch Series races. I'm excited to come to California right after Daytona and have back-to-back races. Racing consistently allows for the ability to build momentum. There is no place better to go than California Speedway."


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Drivers Jeff Burton , Kyle Petty , Kurt Busch , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Jack Sprague , Jack Roush