Following plans of redevelopment, the 2023 race at Auto Club Speedway will be the last one in the Cup Series for a while.
The track will be converted into a short track and for such, NASCAR will not hold any races there from the next season until it is ready. As on of the fan favourite track, it has seen the likes of some exciting racing over the years.
Prior to the last race, many NASCAR drivers spoke about the track and what they will miss regarding the track.
“It’s one of the best circuits,” said Bubba Wallace. “I wish we could just pick it up and move it. Move it to my backyard – it’s not that big, but move it somewhere where we could go race there weekly. It’s that type of racetrack. It’s fun. It’s bumpy. It’s worn-out.
“It always provides great racing, I feel like. You just slip and slide. It’s a bigger Homestead. I think the best tracks are in the middle of nowhere. Fontana is in L.A., yes, but Miami, you have to travel so far to get there. It’s going to be bittersweet, but hopefully, we can win it.”
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2022 champion at the track Kyle Larson professed his love for the track. However, he added that NASCAR is in need of short tracks and backed the decision to convert the speedway into a short track.
“I love that racetrack as is,” Larson said. “I feel like it produces amazing racing, but at the same time, I think we need more short tracks. I feel like sitting in the stands, it’s hard to view a two-mile track or even mile-and-a-half (tracks). They’re so big.
“I think short tracks produce exciting racing, exciting finishes, tempers and stuff like that. I’m a proponent of making it a short track, and I think we need more of them.”
Calling it one of the coolest race tracks, Ryan Blaney said that it is a shame for such a great track to have its last race in the Cup Series.
“I definitely care (what happens to it),” Blaney said. “I wish they would leave it. I think you talk to any driver who is going to come through there, and they will tell you the same thing. That place is one of the funnest, coolest race tracks that we go to. We all said the same about Atlanta. We all said the same about Chicago and Texas. And they have evolved and changed. So, I hate to see that place go.
“I am sure the half-mile is going to be fun and it will be different, but that place is so unique, and the drivers have so much fun there, and it puts on great racing. It is just a shame that something like that is going to have its last (race). There will be a big emphasis on trying to win the last one.”
Since it is the last race for the track in its current state, all the drivers confessed that they would like to be the last one to win the race there.