FONTANA, Calif. – Auto Club Speedway always will have an important place in Jimmie Johnson’s history. Ten years after Johnson won his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at the speedway, he still gets excited about returning to his home track.
“To go back to the track that I won my first event at when we’re in our 10th season is special,” said Johnson, a native of nearby El Cajon. “If I really think about 10 years ago -- where I started and my mindset going into that race, it’s just a crazy trip down memory lane. Just to see where we’re at and what all has taken place in the last 10 seasons.”
The five-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion has amassed 53 Cup wins, 136 top-five finishes and 205 top-10s during his 10 years of Cup competition. Johnson ranks second in wins among active drivers and trails Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon, who has 82.
Five of Johnson’s 53 wins were earned at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. During Johnson’s 16 Cup starts the two-mile track, he also has acquired 11 top-five finishes, 12 top-10s and led 846 laps.
“I‘m very happy to be going back to southern California with one race there now,” said Johnson, who most recently went to Victory Lane there in February 2010. “I love winning at that track -- it’s been very good to me, and I only have once chance (this season) to strike and get a victory there. Hopefully, we can take advantage of that this weekend.”
Pre-race coverage begins Sunday on FOX at 2:30 p.m. ET; the green flag is scheduled to drop at 3 p.m.