Auto Club Speedway announced today that the last two-mile race on its current track will be sponsored by Pala Casino and named the Pala Casino 400. The race is scheduled for February 26, 2023, making it the second are of the NASCAR Cup Series season, following the Daytona 500.
Chris Buescher’s No. 17 RFK Ford will carry Pala Casino colors when the field takes the green flag for the historic event. Who is planning on buying tickets for the Pala Casino 400? I knew we will be! We’ve been at every race since the track opened, so we wouldn’t miss this last two-mile race for anything. It will be both an exciting and sad moment, knowing that the track is going to become a short track; no date has been released for the reopening but that’s going to be another historic day.
“Our fans will notice right away the enthusiasm Pala Casino brings to the table,” said Auto Club Speedway President Dave Allen. “They are determined to create an unforgettable experience for our fans, and we look forward to working with them to make this final race on the 2-mile oval an event for the ages.”
Pala Casino Spa Resort bills itself as SoCal’s Entertainment Capital, which is not a stretch given that its Las Vegas-style casino includes an expansive gaming floor with over 2,000 slot and video machines, 78 table games, 9 restaurants and two lounges. The resort also includes the 2,000-seat Pala Events Center, outdoor Starlight Theater and luxury hotel.
“As a casino that greatly appreciated competitive racing, Pala is thrilled to be the title sponsor of the Pala Casino 400 race in Fontana, and this historic final race at the Auto Club Speedway,” said Pala Casino spokesperson Coley McAvoy. “We value our new partnership with Chris Buescher and RFK Racing, as well as our continued partnership with NASCAR as we look forward to a very exciting event in February.”
Tickets for the Pala Casino 400 are on sale now at www.autoclubspeedway.com. Fans are encouraged to purchase them now, as demand is high for this historic final race on the 2-mile surface known for its five-wide racing and legendary winners. The NASCAR Xfinity Series will also compete one final time on the 2-mile layout on Saturday, Feb. 25.
If you’re not yet into NASCAR racing, read my primer for new race fans for a brief introduction to the exciting sport. We’re there every year, and we miss when the track had two races per year. As major fans, we’ve attended races from as far away as Dover, Delaware and up north at Sonoma. My other personal favorite is Bristol, Tennessee, so the idea that we can experience a semblance of it here is pretty fantastic. (But in Bristol, you’re surrounded by rolling green hills, an experience Southern California can never quite recreate, so Bristol, you will remain my favorite track — other than Auto Club Speedway, which is my home track. When cars are on the track, you can hear it from my house!)
Let’s go racing! And if you plan on attending the last two-mile race at Auto Club Speedway, let me know! I’d love to meet you!
Post update in March 2023: last week’s race was fun, bittersweet and COLD. It snowed here in Fontana on Saturday, the day before, and they were still drying the track on Sunday morning. There was no crossover from the pits to the stands, so we made the decision to leave the pits before the race started so we could get a view of the final five wide salute from as high up as possible. What a weekend!