Sports Now

Sports news from Los Angeles and beyond

« Previous Post | Sports Now Home | Next Post »

NASCAR's Kevin Harvick sees benefit in Fontana track losing one race

NASCAR's decision to drop one of its two annual Sprint Cup Series races in Southern California should benefit crowd sizes for the region's remaining race, series title contender Kevin Harvick said Friday. Harvick

Stock-car racing's sanctioning body announced in August that Auto Club Speedway, the two-mile oval track in Fontana, would host only one race next season, on March 27.

The speedway has held two Cup races a year since 2004, and NASCAR made the change after crowds at the 92,000-seat speedway had dropped to 70,000 to 80,000 in recent years. Many other tracks on NASCAR's schedule also have seen significant declines in attendance amid the poor economy.

The series returns to Fontana next weekend for the fourth race in NASCAR's 10-race Chase for the Cup championship playoff.

"What's best for the sport is full grandstands, and they always had good crowds when they had one race [in Fontana] and I think they'll have a good crowd for one race" going forward, Harvick told reporters at Kansas Speedway, site of the third Chase race this Sunday.

"When people watch on TV and the grandstands are full then they want to be there too," said Harvick, the Bakersfield native who drives the No. 29 Chevrolet and currently is fifth in the Chase, 65 points behind leader Denny Hamlin.

Johnson Jimmie Johnson, the El Cajon native seeking an unprecedented fifth consecutive Cup championship, is second in the standings, 35 points behind Hamlin,  after winning last weekend in Dover, Del.

But Harvick maintained that the Chase remained "wide open," according to a transcript released by Team Chevy. "I don't think there's any clear-cut favorite." And Harvick, who narrowly lost to Johnson at Fontana in the race there last February, said "we're really looking forward to going back" to Southern California.

"We need to capitalize over the next couple of weeks on making something happen," Harvick said.

-- Jim Peltz

Photos: Top, NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick before practice Friday for the Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway on Sunday. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas/US Presswire. Bottom, Jimmie Johnson during practice Friday at Kansas Speedway. Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images

 
Comments  ()

Connect

Recommended on Facebook


Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video


About the Reporters
Sports Now is written by the entire Sports department of the L.A. Times.



Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.

Categories


Archives
 


Bleacher Report | Los Angeles

Reader contributions from Times partner Bleacher Report

More on Bleacher Report »




Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: