Race Weekend Central

Matt McLaughlin’s Driver Handicaps: 2007 Fontana Summer Race Edition

Jeff Gordon – Gordon won the inaugural race at Fontana in 1997 and has won two additional Cup races here. He finished second at the track this spring and has top-five finishes in half of his 14 Cup starts.

Denny Hamlin – Hamlin has been lukewarm to mildly hot at Fontana. In three Cup starts, Hamlin has finished between sixth and 12th to average a 10th-place finish at the facility.

Matt Kenseth – Kenseth has won the last two spring races at this 2-mile oval, finishing seventh in the last two “It Should Have Been at Darlington” Fontana Labor Day events. Overall, he’s averaging an 11th-place finish at the track in 11 starts. Keep in mind Kenseth has also won four Busch races here during his career, too.

Tony Stewart – Fontana hasn’t been a great track for Stewart, who is averaging a 17th-place finish after 12 Cup starts at the track. He does have top-10 finishes the last two times out, though.

Carl Edwards – Edwards limped home to a 29th-place finish at Fontana this spring, but previously had never finished worse than sixth. Also, he did win a Busch Series race here in 2005.

Jimmie Johnson – Johnson won here in 2002 to score his first ever Cup victory. He’s finished second here three times and was third here in the spring. His average finishing position at Fontana is seventh after nine starts.

See also
Fantasy Picks 'N' Pans: 2007 Sharp Aquos 500 at Fontana Edition

Jeff Burton – Burton finished second here in 1999, and has top-five finishes in the last two California spring races. But along the way, he’s faced tough sledding – eight finishes outside the top 10 in Burton’s last 10 starts has dropped his average finish here to 17th.

Kyle Busch – Busch won here in 2005, and has top-10 finishes in each of his last four Fontana Cup races.

Clint Bowyer – Bowyer finished third in this race last year and sixth here in the spring.

Kevin Harvick – Fontana hasn’t been kind to Harvick, who has finished 25th or worse in five of his 10 Cup starts at this track. His most recent highlight; blowing a tire in the spring race while running in second place behind Kenseth. As a result, his average Cup finish is a paltry 21st. Ouch! At least on the Busch side of the equation, Harvick has finished eighth or better in his last eight races here.

Martin Truex Jr. – Truex lost an engine here this spring and finished 42nd, but that was before DEI started giving the No. 8 team all the bad engines. In two previous Cup starts at Fontana, Truex had finished 15th and 18th.

Kurt Busch – Busch won here in 2003, and is averaging a 12th-place finish here after 10 starts.

Ryan Newman – It’s been four races since Newman last claimed a top-10 result at Fontana. His career best result was fifth in 2004.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Junior finished second in this race last year, but that was only his second top-five result at Fontana in 11 Cup starts. This spring, he blew an engine and finished 40th, lowering his average Fontana Cup result to 21st. Earnhardt did win a Busch race here back in 1998, though.

Greg Biffle – Biffle won here in 2005 and finished second later that fall. To date, those were his only two top-10 results in eight Fontana Cup starts. Biffle has won two Busch races at this track.

Casey Mears – Mears is averaging a mediocre 22nd-place finish after eight Cup starts at Fontana.

Jamie McMurray – McMurray has top-10 finishes in five of his eight Cup starts at this track, but has suffered his worst two finishes at Fontana the last two times out.

Bobby Labonte – While he’s never won here, Labonte has finished second at Fontana three times. But in the last six races held at the track, Labonte hasn’t earned even a single top 10.

Juan Pablo Montoya – Montoya finished 26th in his Fontana debut this spring.

About the author

Matt joined Frontstretch in 2007 after a decade of race-writing, paired with the first generation of racing internet sites like RaceComm and Racing One. Now semi-retired, he submits occasional special features while his retrospectives on drivers like Alan Kulwicki, Davey Allison, and other fallen NASCAR legends pop up every summer on Frontstretch. A motorcycle nut, look for the closest open road near you and you can catch him on the Harley during those bright, summer days in his beloved Pennsylvania.

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