Every race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is important, although races at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway and Darlington (S.C.) Raceway seem to carry extra importance due to historical significance.
Daytona is home to the “Super Bowl of stock-car racing,” the Daytona 500. Indianapolis has been around since 1909, with the Sprint Cup Series racing there since 1994. Charlotte is the “home game,” for Sprint Cup teams, and Darlington and NASCAR were practically born together.
While Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., doesn’t have the historical significance of Daytona, Indy, Charlotte or Darlington, it’s critically important to the teams of the Sprint Cup Series due to the fact it is among the “intermediate” tracks of 1.5 or 2 miles in length.
If a driver and team are going to be successful in the Sprint Cup Series, mastering intermediate tracks is key. More than a third of the 36 races on the schedule – 14 to be exa...