CONCORD, N.C. -- The Hendrick Motorsports drivers are heading across the country for the next three weeks, where they will take part in three races known as the West Coast swing.
The schedule change for the 2020 season sees all drivers head from the DAYTONA 500 to the other side of the nation, where the West Coast Swing kicks off in Las Vegas. The drivers then will move on to Fontana, Calif., and then Phoenix before heading back East.
Hendrick Motorsports leads all teams in West Coast victories with a total of 31. Jimmie Johnson – who hails from California – leads all drivers for most wins on West Coast tracks with 15.
Those wins include four victories at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which is the most at that track for one driver.
That makes Johnson’s return to Fontana, which is a two-hour drive away from his hometown of El Cajon, Calif., a little more special, especially in his last full-time season.
“I’ve had a lot of race wins there and a lot of special moments. My first win” Johnson said. “So, early in the season, we get to one of my top three that I’m looking forward to going to the most.”
Heading to the West Coast also is memorable for Alex Bowman, whose hometown track is Phoenix Raceway. The Tuscon, Ariz., native said he and the No. 88 team have a lot of work to do when it comes to improving on that specific track.
“Going to Phoenix is always really cool,” Bowman said. “We’ve been really close to winning there in the past, and it seems like lately we’ve really struggled there, so hopefully the new rules package kind of helps us out a little bit and we are better than we were last year. Last year was pretty miserable, but it’s always fun to go home, see friends and family and have a good time. It’s a really neat racetrack (and a) cool atmosphere. There’s a ton of fans – they always pack that place.”
The West Coast swing starts Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET in Las Vegas on FOX and PRN radio.