NASCAR Is Turning Auto Club Speedway Into A Short Track

Illustration for article titled NASCAR Is Turning Auto Club Speedway Into A Short Track
Photo: Katelyn Mulcahy (Getty Images)

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.

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i’m all for filling the schedule with a more diverse array of track configurations. here are some changes i think about. keep in mind these wishes are just that and no consideration is being given to financial or logistical concerns. this is just what i’d like to see from a RACING perspective:

- with a few exceptions for historical purposes, all tracks ONLY get one race

- atlanta/texas/kansas/kentucky: pick 2 and give them one race each

- more road courses. i say at least two more, maybe 3. consider COTA, and figure out another. road america? VIR? road atlanta to replace AMS?

- shorter races. i love that F1 fits into a 2hr window. i can’t sit in front of a tv watching 4hrs of racing. hell, even NFL games only hit round 3 hrs.

- after giving it a very generous chance, i’ve grown to hate the race segments. don’t come at me with arguments for them, i get it. i just don’t enjoy the whole idea.

- as a substitute for the segments, perhaps have a couple of races a year at one of the short tracks that take the format of “saturday night racing”. maybe two reasonable-sized qualifying races and a feature.

this is a dream wish list, but it would give fans variety as well as a couple of “special” weekends where things are different.