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AutoMatters+: Spring Motorsports & Auto Show Previews

2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup — Auto Club 400
2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup — Auto Club 400

Sit back, buckle your seat belt and get ready for another season in Southern California of thrilling professional motorsports (including free admission to a major race), spectacular auto shows, informative product reviews and more. Events will include Formula E, NASCAR, IndyCar and Goodguys Rod & Customs — all of which will be covered here in the coming weeks.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Auto Club 400

Make your plans now to enjoy NASCAR stock car racing, March 20-22 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. The 2015 field was already shaken up when Kyle Busch — one of the perennial Sprint Cup Series contenders and last year’s Auto Club 400 race winner — was sidelined the day before the Daytona 500 with serious leg injuries suffered in a wreck in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race. Speculation is that he may be out for three months.

Danica Patrick pit stop — Auto Club 400
Danica Patrick pit stop — Auto Club 400

At the second Sprint Cup Series race of the season, California’s Jimmy Johnson returned to his winning ways, easily leading the field to the checkered flag at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Racing in Fontana will take the green flag on Saturday, March 21, with the Xfinity Series Drive4Clots.com 300, followed on Sunday with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400. For information and tickets go to www.autoclubspeedway.com.

Buenos Aires ePrix — courtesy of Formula E
Buenos Aires ePrix — courtesy of Formula E

FIA FORMULA E

Formula E is unique in the realm of professional motorsports. This brand-new global series represents the future of automobile racing: a high-tech, state-of-the-art, innovation and technology incubator for tomorrow’s clean, energy-efficient, sustainable and fun-to-drive electric cars for the street.

Formula E races purpose-built, fully electric and open-wheeled racecars — similar in outward appearance to Formula 1 and IndyCars. They race under the auspices of the FIA (the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, which is also the governing body for the Formula One world series). A founding technology partner of Formula E is San Diego’s Qualcomm.

The races are run in urban centers of some of the world’s leading cities — a natural environment for electric cars. It is appropriate, therefore, that despite being high-speed racecars, they are quiet. Their electric powertrains produce zero emissions.

During each race, the drivers must make one mandatory pit stop of a specified minimum length, in order to change cars. The field is a who’s who in international motor racing, including Nick Heidfeld from Formula 1 and Marco Andretti from IndyCar.

Round one of the series made its debut appearance in Beijing, China, in September 2014. This was followed by races in Malaysia, Uruguay and Argentina. The next round will be in Miami (televised) on March 14.

Formula E will make its West Coast premiere April 4 on the streets of Long Beach. The special street circuit will encircle the grounds of the Long Beach Convention Center, including high speed Shoreline Drive and the signature hairpin turn.

Unbelievably, admission to the Long Beach ePrix is free. I could not believe my eyes when I saw this on the website. To learn more about this event, go to longbeach.fiaformulae.com.

Goodguys Meguiar’s Del Mar Nationals

2014 Goodguys Del Mar Nationals
2014 Goodguys Del Mar Nationals

Beautiful chrome-plated, custom-painted hot rods, customs, classics, muscle cars and trucks through ’72 will return to the Del Mar Fairgrounds from April 10-12 at the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association Del Mar Nationals. Enjoy them as they cruise through the fairgrounds. Check out the many vendors selling parts and accessories, and some very cool automotive memorabilia.

Chrome & vivid paint — Goodguys 2014
Chrome & vivid paint — Goodguys 2014

On Sunday, please stop by and introduce yourself to yours truly as I compete in the All American Sunday (all years welcome) Goodguys autocross in my white 2001 Ford Mustang GT. For details, visit good-guys.com.

Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

IndyCar race start — 2014 Long Beach GP
IndyCar race start — 2014 Long Beach GP

For the absolute greatest number (six) of different professional race series you are likely to see in any one weekend, check out the video for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach at gplb.com. The challenging Long Beach street circuit will reverberate with the sound of racing machines from April 17-19. Thrill to the sights and sounds of the Verizon IndyCar Series, Tequila Patrón Sports Car Series featuring the Tudor United SportsCar Championship, Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, KMC Wheels Super Drift Challenge, Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires, Pirelli World Challenge and Speed Energy Formula Off-Road Series.

Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge — 2014 Long Beach GP
Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge — 2014 Long Beach GP

As if that isn’t enough, this annual party at the beach will have concerts, the Lifestyle Expo, Family Fun Zone and more. You do not want to miss this adrenaline-charged Southern California racing tradition.

As always, please write to AutoMatters@gmail.com with your comments and suggestions.

Flames at sunset — Goodguys 2014
Flames at sunset — Goodguys 2014

Copyright © 2015 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters+ #374