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NASCAR strips Cup race from Auto Club Speedway, removes another from Chase playoff

August 10, 2010 |  9:04 am

Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, which hosts two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races a year -- including one in the 10-race "Chase for the Cup" title playoff -- will lose one of those races next season and its remaining race will no longer be in the Chase.

Amid sagging attendance for its races in recent years, the two-mile track said Tuesday that NASCAR's 2011 schedule calls for Auto Club Speedway to host a single Cup race March 27.

The track has held two Cup races annually since 2004; this year they were on Feb. 21 -- the second race on the schedule after the season-opening Daytona 500 -- and the second one is scheduled Oct. 10, the fourth race in the Chase.

But on Tuesday, Kansas Speedway said it will have a second race starting next year, on Oct. 9, and that it will be the fourth race in the Chase.

Phoenix International Raceway, meanwhile, said it will take over the second race of the season in 2011 on Feb. 27, and that the one-mile track also will continue to host the next-to-last race of the season before the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida.

To compensate for its lost Cup race, Auto Club Speedway said it would "continue to work in earnest to add events to the speedway's race schedule in an effort to diversify on-track activity" in 2011.

NASCAR has yet to release the full schedule for 2011 but has allowed the individual tracks involved to announce changes to their schedules.

Chicagoland Speedway said Monday that it will host the first Chase race next year (it historically has started in New Hampshire) and Atlanta Motor Speedway has said it will lose one of its two races next season, with the second expected to be moved to Kentucky Speedway near Cincinnati.

-- Jim Peltz

Photo: Jimmie Johnson celebrates winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana on Feb. 21. Credit: Tom Pennington / Getty Images