Fans have been asking NASCAR to shake up the race schedule and introduce some short tracks back to the season schedule for a while, but NASCAR’s response—turning a larger track into a short track—isn’t quite how many people expected it to happen. That said, Auto Club Speedway, located less than 50 miles outside of downtown Los Angeles, might be the perfect place to add another short track.
The initial report about the restructuring came from The Athletic, which stated that the two-mile track will be shortened to become a half-mile track.
The track will have two long straightaways similar to Martinsville with corners banked like Bristol. Aside from those two tracks, Richmond is the only other short track. Auto Club Speedway would be the fourth.
The response to this track has been incredibly mixed. Some fans have argued that Auto Club has been a decent track and that NASCAR should explore either returning to a track it hasn’t headed to in a while or undertaking this kind of project at a miserable track like Texas Motor Speedway or Kansas.
At the same time, other fans have seen the benefit in it. Auto Club is a track that has seen better days. It’s about to get a repave, which is likely going to strip it of its charm. Transforming it into a short track solves a problem before it becomes a problem.
Team Penske driver Joey Logano is in the latter camp. During a Sirius XM NASCAR Radio interview, he had the following to say:
Right now, Auto Club Speedway is really, really cool because it’s an old surface, you’ve gotta lift, you can run anywhere on the race track, top to bottom, and it makes it a really fun race track.
That being said, the track’s falling apart, so you’re eventually going to have to repave it. And if we look at some other tracks, if you repave a really big race track, the racing’s not that good...
To me, no-brainer. And on top of that, I’m pretty sure it’s cheaper to pave a half-mile [track] compared to two miles and as wide as that place is.
Auto Club Speedway has been on the NASCAR schedule since 1997.