|IZOD IndyCar Series|
|Venue||Ontario Motor Speedway (1970–1980)
Auto Club Speedway (1997–2005, 2012–)
|Corporate sponsor||Marlboro (1997–2001)
King Taco (2003)
Lucas Oil (2012–)
|First ICS race||2002|
|Distance||500 mi (800 km) – 1970–78 USAC, 1979–80 CART, 1997–2002 CART, 2012 IRL
400 mi (640 km) – 2002–05, IRL
|Laps||200 (1970–80, 2002–05)
250 (1997–2003, 2012)
|Previous names||California 500 (1970–1980)
Marlboro 500 Presented by Toyota (1997, 1999–2001)
Yamaha Indy 400 (2002 IRL)
The 500 presented by Toyota (1998 & 2002 CART)
King Taco 500 (2003 CART)
Toyota Indy 400 (2003–2005)
The MAVTV 500 IndyCar World Championships is an IZOD IndyCar Series race held at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The event represents a continuous lineage of open wheel oval racing in the Southern California-area that dates back to 1970. The 2012 event was sponsored by MAVTV, a motorsports cable channel owned by Lucas Oil. NBC Sports Network carried the race on television, as they had done since the then-Versus network picked up rights to the IndyCar Series for every year except one, when ABC televised the 2011 IZOD IndyCar World Championship. With the addition of this race to the schedule for 2012, Fontana returned to the IndyCar series for the first time in seven years. After Las Vegas Motor Speedway was not certified for the 2012 season, IndyCar elected to make the Fontana race its season finale. The race was the first IndyCar World Championship race that ran to its official distance, the 2011 race being abandoned due to a major accident which resulted in major damage to the track and the death of driver Dan Wheldon.
Open wheel oval racing in southern California dates back to the USAC California 500 at Ontario Motor Speedway in Ontario, held from 1970–1980. The race was part of Indy car racing's "triple crown", and at its inception, was held in high prestige. The inaugural running was considered a huge success, with 187,000 in attendance. However, the track fell into financial troubles, and closed in 1980. Subsequent runnings were never able to match the success of the 1970 event.
Indy car races were also held at nearby Riverside, but only from 1967–1969 (prior to the opening of Ontario) and again from 1981–1983 (after Ontario closed).
CART renewed the 500-mile oval race in 1997 at the newly built California Speedway in Fontana, California. The new track was built just 4 miles (6.4 km) from the previous Ontario circuit. The event was held under the moniker Marlboro 500, and served as the CART season finale. This event was held through 2002.
Along with the popular Long Beach Grand Prix, the Southern California area featured two major open wheel CART races annually for a time.
Indy Racing League, LLC
In 2002, the IRL IndyCar Series added a 400-mile race to the facility. Fontana became the first facility to host races from both rival open wheel series (CART and IRL), although the race distance was different (500 vs 400 miles). The Toyota Indy 400 was held through 2005. However, crowds dwindled, and the event was removed from the calendar.
The IZOD IndyCar Series returns to Fontana for the 2012 season with a fall race under the lights at night. The race serves at the season finale. On June 25, 2012, it was announced the race will return to the traditional 500 mile distance and carry the "IndyCar World Championships" title.
Closed-course speed records
Two world closed course speed records were established in qualifying for the CART event. Mauricio Gugelmin, driving a Honda-powered Reynard established a one-lap time of 30.917 seconds (average speed of 232.882 miles per hour (374.787 km/h) under the commonly measured distance) before the inaugural race in 1997. On October 28, 2000, Gil de Ferran topped Gugelmin's time; driving a Penske Racing prepared Reynard with a Honda engine, de Ferran lapped the two-mile circuit in 30.255 seconds at 237.977 miles per hour (382.987 km/h). There is a discrepancy in average speed recognised because CART did not use the commonly recognised 2.000 miles (3.219 km) distance used by NASCAR and INDYCAR, but measured the track as 2.029 miles (3.265 km), which converts the de Ferran speed under CART measurement to 241.428 miles per hour (388.541 km/h).
Also, the 2003 IndyCar race was the fastest circuit race ever in motorsport history, with an average speed of 207.151 mph (333.306 km/h) over 400 miles (643.737 km).
Ontario Motor Speedway
Race winners of the original California 500 held at Ontario Motor Speedway.
|Season||Date||Driver||Team||Chassis||Engine||Race Distance||Race Time||Average Speed
|USAC Championship Car|
|1970||September 6||Jim McElreath||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||Coyote||Ford||200||500 (804.672)||3:07:22||160.106|
|1971||September 5||Joe Leonard||Vel's Parnelli Jones||Colt||Ford||200||500 (804.672)||3:16:55||152.354|
|1972||September 3||Roger McCluskey||Lindsay Hopkins||McLaren||Offy||200||500 (804.672)||151.54|
|1973||September 2||Wally Dallenbach, Sr.||Patrick Racing||Eagle||Offy||200||500 (804.672)||3:10:17||157.66|
|1974||March 10||Bobby Unser||All American Racers||Eagle||Offy||200||500 (804.672)||3:11:04||157.017|
|1975||March 9||A.J. Foyt||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||Coyote||Foyt||200||500 (804.672)||3:14:22||154.344|
|1976||September 5||Bobby Unser||All American Racers||Eagle||Offy||200||500 (804.672)||3:29:26||143.246|
|1977||September 4||Al Unser||Vel's Parnelli Jones||Parnelli||Cosworth||200||500 (804.672)||3:17:16||154.687|
|1978||September 3||Al Unser||Chaparral Racing||Chaparral||Cosworth||200||500 (804.672)||3:26:40||145.158|
|1979||September 2||Bobby Unser||Penske Racing||Penske||Cosworth||200||500 (804.672)||3:24:22||146.794|
|1980||August 31||Bobby Unser||Penske Racing||Penske||Cosworth||200||500 (804.672)||3:11:51||156.372|
Auto Club Speedway
Races held at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.
|Season||Date||Driver||Team||Chassis||Engine||Race Distance||Race Time||Average Speed
|CART Champ Car|
|1997||September 28||Mark Blundell||PacWest Racing||Reynard||Mercedes-Benz||250||500 (804.672)||3:02:42||166.575||Report|
|1998||November 1||Jimmy Vasser||Chip Ganassi Racing||Reynard||Honda||250||500 (804.672)||3:17:54||153.785||Report|
|1999||October 31||Adrián Fernández||Patrick Racing||Reynard||Ford-Cosworth||250||500 (804.672)||2:57:17||171.666||Report|
|2000||October 30||Christian Fittipaldi||Newman-Haas Racing||Lola||Ford-Cosworth||250||500 (804.672)||3:38:04||139.563||Report|
|2001||November 4||Cristiano da Matta||Newman-Haas Racing||Lola||Toyota||220*||440 (708.111)||2:59:39||149.073||Report|
|2002||November 3||Jimmy Vasser||Team Rahal||Lola||Ford-Cosworth||250||500 (804.672)||2:33:42||197.995||Report|
|2003||November 9||Cancelled due to wildfires in the San Bernardino Mountains.||Report|
|IRL/IZOD IndyCar Series|
|2002||March 24||Sam Hornish, Jr.||Panther Racing||Dallara||Chevrolet||200||400 (643.737)||2:13:49||179.345||Report|
|2003||September 21||Sam Hornish, Jr.||Panther Racing||Dallara||Chevrolet||200||400 (643.737)||1:55:51||207.151||Report|
|2004||October 3||Adrian Fernández||Aguri-Fernández Racing||G-Force||Honda||200||400 (643.737)||2:14:13||178.826||Report|
|2005||October 16||Dario Franchitti||Andretti Green Racing||Dallara||Honda||200||400 (643.737)||2:22:23||168.567||Report|
|2012||September 15||Ed Carpenter||Ed Carpenter Racing||Dallara||Chevrolet||250||500 (804.672)||2:57:34||168.939||Report|
|2013||October 19||Will Power||Penske Racing||Dallara||Chevrolet||250||500 (804.672)||3:13:43||154.867||Report|
- 2001: Race started late because of rain and was shortened because of darkness.
Firestone Indy Lights
|Season||Date||Driver||Chassis||Engine||Race Distance||Race Time||Average Speed
|Auto Club Speedway|
|1997||September 27||Clint Mears||Lola||Buick||50||100 (160.934)||0:52:16||116.467|
|1998||October 31||Mark Hotchkis||Lola||Buick||50||100 (160.934)||0:39:41||153.395|
|1999||October 30||Jonny Kane||Lola||Buick||50||100 (160.934)||0:46:52||129.902|
|2000||October 29||Scott Dixon||Lola||Buick||50||100 (160.934)||0:33:08||183.672|
|2001||November 4||Townsend Bell||Lola||Buick||44||88 (141.622)||0:29:23||182.334|
|2003||September 20||Mark Taylor||Dallara||Infiniti||50||100 (160.934)||0:41:14||145.536|
|2004||October 2||James Chesson||Dallara||Infiniti||50||100 (160.934)||0:40:51||146.894|
|2005||October 16||Wade Cunningham||Dallara||Infiniti||50||100 (160.934)||0:43:07||139.17|
|2012||September 15||Carlos Muñoz||Dallara||Honda||50||100 (160.934)||0:37:38||159.41|
|2013||October 19||Carlos Muñoz||Dallara||Honda||50||100 (160.934)||0:32:10||186.552|
- (IZOD IndyCar) Series Returning to Fontana in 2012
- "De FERRAN SETS NEW WORLD CLOSED COURSE RECORD, ADDS CRUCIAL POINT TO FedEx CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES LEAD BY TAKING POLE FOR MARLBORO 500 PRESENTED BY TOYOTA". SpeedCenter. October 28, 2000. Retrieved 20 June 2010.
- Humason, John (October 29, 2003). "Champ Car season ends early due to California fires". Motorsport.com. Retrieved 20 June 2010.
- Champ Car Stats: Ontario archive, Fontana archive
- Ultimate Racing History: Ontario archive, Fontana archive