Auto Club 500 (Fontana) Info
Car Driver Hometown Make Sponsor Owner
0 Mike Bliss Milwaukie, OR Chevrolet NetZero Best Buy Gene Haas
01 Joe Nemechek Lakeland, FL Chevrolet U.S. Army Nelson Bowers
2 Rusty Wallace St. Louis, MO Dodge Miller Lite Roger Penske
4 Mike Wallace St. Louis, MO Chevrolet Lucas Oil Products Larry McClure
5 Kyle Busch* Las Vegas, NV Chevrolet Kellogg's Rick Hendrick
6 Mark Martin Batesville, AR Ford Viagra Jack Roush
7 Robby Gordon Cerritos, CA Chevrolet Harrah's James Smith
07 Dave Blaney Hartford, OH Chevrolet Jack Daniel's Richard Childress
8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Kannapolis, NC Chevrolet Budweiser Teresa Earnhardt
9 Kasey Kahne Enumclaw, WA Dodge Dodge Dealers/UAW Ray Evernham
10 Scott Riggs Bahama, NC Chevrolet Valvoline James Rocco
11 Jason Leffler Long Beach, CA Chevrolet FedEx Express J D Gibbs
12 Ryan Newman South Bend, IN Dodge ALLTEL Roger Penske
14 John Andretti Indianapolis, IN Ford VB/APlus at Sunoco Gregory Pollex
15 Michael Waltrip Owensboro, KY Chevrolet NAPA Auto Parts Teresa Earnhardt
16 Greg Biffle Vancouver, WA Ford Post-it Geoff Smith
17 Matt Kenseth Cambridge, WI Ford DeWalt Power Tools Mark Martin
18 Bobby Labonte Corpus Christi, TX Chevrolet Interstate Batteries Joe Gibbs
19 Jeremy Mayfield Owensboro, KY Dodge Dodge Dealers/UAW Ray Evernham
20 Tony Stewart Rushville, IN Chevrolet The Home Depot Joe Gibbs
21 Ricky Rudd Chesapeake, VA Ford Motorcraft Genuine Parts Glen Wood
22 Scott Wimmer Wausau, WI Dodge Caterpillar Bill Davis
24 Jeff Gordon Pittsboro, IN Chevrolet DuPont Rick Hendrick
25 Brian Vickers Thomasville, NC Chevrolet GMAC Mary Hendrick
27 Kirk Shelmerdine Winston-Salem, NC Ford Kirk Shelmerdine Racing Kirk Shelmerdine
29 Kevin Harvick Bakersfield, CA Chevrolet GM Goodwrench Richard Childress
31 Jeff Burton South Boston, VA Chevrolet Cingular Wireless Richard Childress
32 Bobby Hamilton Jr. Nashville, TN Chevrolet Tide Calvin Wells, III
34 Randy LaJoie South Norwalk, CT Chevrolet Dimension Films' "Cursed" Chris Edwards
37 Kevin Lepage Shelburne, VT Dodge Carter's Royal Dispos-all John Carter
38 Elliott Sadler Emporia, VA Ford M&M's Robert Yates
40 Sterling Marlin Columbia, TN Dodge Coors Light Felix Sabates
41 Casey Mears Bakersfield, CA Dodge Target Chip Ganassi
42 Jamie McMurray Joplin, MO Dodge Texaco/Havoline Floyd Ganassi
43 Jeff Green Owensboro, KY Dodge General Mills Whole Grain Richard L Petty
44 Terry Labonte Corpus Christi, TX Chevrolet Kellogg's Rick Hendrick
45 Kyle Petty Randleman, NC Dodge Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Kyle Petty
48 Jimmie Johnson Los Gatos, CA Chevrolet Lowe's Jeff Gordon
49 Ken Schrader Fenton, MO Dodge Schwan's Home Service Elizabeth Morgenthau
66 Hermie Sadler Emporia, VA Ford Peak Fitness Jeff Stec
77 Travis Kvapil* Janesville, WI Dodge Kodak/Jasper Engines Douglas Bawel
88 Dale Jarrett Hickory, NC Ford UPS Robert Yates
89 Morgan Shepherd Conover, NC Dodge Victory in Jesus/Red Line Oil Cindy Shepherd
91 Bill Elliott Dawsonville, GA Dodge Stanley Tools Ray Evernham Sr.
97 Kurt Busch Las Vegas, NV Ford Sharpie/IRWIN Industrial Tools Georgetta Roush
99 Carl Edwards Joplin, MO Ford Office Depot Jack Roush
173 Eric McClure* Chilhowie, VA Chevrolet ARC Dehooker Ed Rabe
179 Stan Boyd Holly, MI Chevrolet Conely Racing John Conely
192 Stanton Barrett Bishop, CA Chevrolet Front Row Motorsports Bob Jenkins
New NASCAR rules debut at California
FONTANA, Calif. (AP) - NASCAR drivers will be competing under a new set of rules this weekend at California Speedway.
Shorter rear spoilers, softer tires and a new qualifying schedule will greet the Nextel Cup drivers when they hit the 2-mile oval for two practice sessions Friday.
"There really is a lot to take in," said Chad Knaus, crew chief for Jimmie Johnson. "This weekend should answer a lot of questions for everyone after all the speculation we've been going through all winter."
The season opened last Sunday with the Daytona 500. But the results of that race were probably a bit misleading because the teams were forced to use horsepower-sapping carburetor restrictor plates and had rear spoilers 6 3/4 inches high for stability on the 2 1/2-mile Daytona International Speedway.
In Sunday's Auto Club 500, the unrestricted engines will produce considerably more power, but the spoilers will be cut to 4 1/2 inches and there also will also be a new generation tire to contend with. Both changes, to be implemented everywhere except Daytona and Talladega, are intended to slow the cars in the turns by giving them less downforce, thereby making passing easier and improving competition.
Nearly everyone tested the new aerodynamics package here and at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in January, alleviating many of the concerns. But there wasn't any racing.
"Until we get around other cars in race conditions, we're really not going to know how much of an effect the reduced spoiler height and the new tire compound will have," said Tony Stewart, who led a race-high 107 laps last Sunday before slipping back to seventh at the end. "It didn't seem like it was a huge change for us.
"Things are going to change constantly, and no matter what changes you've got to learn to deal with it and learn to make the best of it."
Some drivers have looked forward to the changes because they expect them to make the cars harder to drive, perhaps an edge for the more experienced such as Stewart.
"I've lain in bed at night wondering if it will," he said. "We really won't know until we get a little deeper into the season. I'm hoping so.
"Two years ago, we were in situations where track position was everything and you could run 150 laps on a set of tires and be just as fast as a guy with 30 laps on his tires."
Stewart would love to see the competition revert to what it was when he set a slew of rookie records in 1999.
"Back then, you had to really pay attention to your tire wear and not overdrive the car too early," he explained.
The weekend schedule could also play into the hands of the more experienced drivers.
Beginning this week, and at about two-thirds of the remaining tracks, qualifying has been switched from Friday to Saturday. The cars will be impounded by NASCAR immediately after time tests and race the next day with the same tires, chassis setup and fuel load on which they qualified.
"With the new deal you have to think primarily about the race," Kyle Petty said. "So you have to be right where you want to be with the car when it comes time to qualify.
"It's going to be interesting to see how things shake out in the race. You're going to have to make some pretty big decisions by Saturday morning off what you did in a couple of hours of practice Friday afternoon."
Daytona 500 winner Jeff Gordon said Sunday's race is going to tell everyone a lot more about the season than the 500.
"I think you're going to see more lead changes," he said. "I don't know if you're gong to see as much side-by-side racing with the new rules. But what you saw at Daytona is not what exists anywhere else other than Talladega."
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This could be an interesting weekend.