MAVTV 500

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MAVTV 500
Auto Club Speedway (formerly California Speedway) - Speedway.svg
Verizon IndyCar Series
Venue Ontario Motor Speedway (1970–1980)
Auto Club Speedway (1997–2005, 2012–2015)
Corporate sponsor Marlboro (1997–2001)
Toyota (1998–2005)
Yamaha (2002)
King Taco (2003)
Lucas Oil (2012–2015)
First race 1970
First ICS race 2002
Last race 2015
Distance 500 mi (800 km) – 1970–1978 USAC, 1979–1980 CART, 1997–2002 CART, 2012–2015 IRL
400 mi (640 km) – 2002–2005, IRL
Laps 200 (1970–1980, 2002–2005)
250 (1997–2003, 2012–2015)
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)
MAVTV 500 (2012–2015)

The MAVTV 500 is an 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. Since 2012, the event has been sponsored by MAVTV, a motorsports cable channel owned by Lucas Oil.

For many years in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the race served as the season finale for the CART series. From 2012-2014, it served as the finale for the IndyCar Series.[1]

In 2015, the race was moved to June. Despite several journalists calling the 2015 edition one of the best IndyCar races, the race did not return on the schedule for 2016.[2]

History[edit]

USAC[edit]

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[edit]

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. The race became known for closed-course record speeds, and fast and competitive racing, owing much to the track's width.

The 1999 race is considered a tragic day in the history of CART, after the fatal crash of Greg Moore. The 2003 event was cancelled due to the Old Fire.

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 / IndyCar[edit]

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 now-unified IndyCar Series returned to Fontana for the 2012 season with a 500-mile fall night race under the lights.[1] The race served as the season finale from 2012-2014. For 2015, the race was moved to June.

Closed-course speed records[edit]

Two world closed course speed records were established in qualifying for the CART event. Maurício Gugelmin, driving a Reynard/Mercedes established a one-lap time of 30.316 seconds (average speed of 240.942 miles per hour (387.759 km/h) in 1997. At the time, CART officials recognized the track measurement as 2.029 miles (3.265 km). Gugelimin had furthermore turned an unofficial lap of 242.333 miles per hour (389.997 km/h) during the morning practice.[3]

On October 28, 2000, Gil de Ferran of Penske Racing topped Gugelmin's time driving a Reynard/Honda. The lap time by de Ferran was 30.255 seconds at an average speed of 241.428 miles per hour (388.541 km/h).[4] Using the more common track measurement of 2.0 miles, de Ferran's lap translated into an average speed of 237.977 miles per hour (382.987 km/h).

  • In 2002, the 500-mile CART series race averaged 197.995 mph, and stood as the fastest 500-mile race in history (either open wheel cars or stock cars) for a dozen years. The record stood until the 2014 Pocono 500.
  • The 2003 IRL/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).

Race results[edit]

Ontario Motor Speedway[edit]

Race winners of the original California 500 held at Ontario Motor Speedway.

Season Date Driver Team Chassis Engine Race Distance Race Time Average Speed
(mph)
Laps Miles (km)
USAC Championship Car
1970 September 6 United States Jim McElreath A.J. Foyt Enterprises Coyote Ford 200 500 (804.672) 3:07:22 160.106
1971 September 5 United States Joe Leonard Vel's Parnelli Jones Colt Ford 200 500 (804.672) 3:16:55 152.354
1972 September 3 United States Roger McCluskey Lindsay Hopkins McLaren Offy 200 500 (804.672) 3:17:58 151.54
1973 September 2 United States Wally Dallenbach Sr. Patrick Racing Eagle Offy 200 500 (804.672) 3:10:17 157.66
1974 March 10 United States Bobby Unser All American Racers Eagle Offy 200 500 (804.672) 3:11:04 157.017
1975 March 9 United States A.J. Foyt A.J. Foyt Enterprises Coyote Foyt 200 500 (804.672) 3:14:22 154.344
1976 September 5 United States Bobby Unser All American Racers Eagle Offy 200 500 (804.672) 3:29:26 143.246
1977 September 4 United States Al Unser Vel's Parnelli Jones Parnelli Cosworth 200 500 (804.672) 3:17:16 154.687
1978 September 3 United States Al Unser Chaparral Racing Chaparral Cosworth 200 500 (804.672) 3:26:40 145.158
CART Indy Car World Series
1979 September 2 United States Bobby Unser Penske Racing Penske Cosworth 200 500 (804.672) 3:24:22 146.794
1980 August 31 United States Bobby Unser Penske Racing Penske Cosworth 200 500 (804.672) 3:11:51 156.372

Auto Club Speedway[edit]

Races held at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.

Season Date Driver Team Chassis Engine Race Distance Race Time Average Speed
(mph)
Report
Laps Miles (km)
PPG CART World Series/FedEx Championship
1997 September 28 United Kingdom Mark Blundell PacWest Racing Reynard Mercedes-Benz 250 500 (804.672) 3:02:42 166.575 Report
1998 November 1 United States Jimmy Vasser Chip Ganassi Racing Reynard Honda 250 500 (804.672) 3:17:54 153.785 Report
1999 October 31 Mexico Adrián Fernández Patrick Racing Reynard Ford-Cosworth 250 500 (804.672) 2:57:17 171.666 Report
2000 October 30 Brazil Christian Fittipaldi Newman-Haas Racing Lola Ford-Cosworth 250 500 (804.672) 3:38:04 139.563 Report
2001 November 4 Brazil Cristiano da Matta Newman-Haas Racing Lola Toyota 220* 440 (708.111) 2:59:39 149.073 Report
2002 November 3 United States 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.[5] Report
Indy Racing League/Verizon IndyCar Series
2002 March 24 United States Sam Hornish Jr. Panther Racing Dallara Chevrolet 200 400 (643.737) 2:13:49 179.345 Report
2003 September 21 United States Sam Hornish Jr. Panther Racing Dallara Chevrolet 200 400 (643.737) 1:55:51 207.151 Report
2004 October 3 Mexico Adrian Fernández Aguri-Fernández Racing G-Force Honda 200 400 (643.737) 2:14:13 178.826 Report
2005 October 16 United Kingdom Dario Franchitti Andretti Green Racing Dallara Honda 200 400 (643.737) 2:22:23 168.567 Report
2006

2011
Not held
2012 September 15 United States Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara Chevrolet 250 500 (804.672) 2:57:34 168.939 Report
2013 October 19 Australia Will Power Penske Racing Dallara Chevrolet 250 500 (804.672) 3:13:43 154.867 Report
2014 August 30 Brazil Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara Chevrolet 250 500 (804.672) 2:32:58 196.111 Report
2015 June 27 United States Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara Honda 250 500 (804.672) 2:57:41 168.846 Report
  • 2001: Race started late because of rain and was shortened because of darkness.

Firestone Indy Lights[edit]

Season Date Driver Chassis Engine Race Distance Race Time Average Speed
(mph)
Laps Miles (km)
Auto Club Speedway
1997 September 27 United States Clint Mears Lola Buick 50 100 (160.934) 0:52:16 116.467
1998 October 31 United States Mark Hotchkis Lola Buick 50 100 (160.934) 0:39:41 153.395
1999 October 30 United Kingdom Jonny Kane Lola Buick 50 100 (160.934) 0:46:52 129.902
2000 October 29 New Zealand Scott Dixon Lola Buick 50 100 (160.934) 0:33:08 183.672
2001 November 4 United States Townsend Bell Lola Buick 44* 88 (141.622) 0:29:23 182.334
2002
Not held
2003 September 20 United Kingdom Mark Taylor Dallara Infiniti 50 100 (160.934) 0:41:14 145.536
2004 October 2 United States James Chesson Dallara Infiniti 50 100 (160.934) 0:40:51 146.894
2005 October 16 New Zealand Wade Cunningham Dallara Infiniti 50 100 (160.934) 0:43:07 139.17
2006

2011
Not held
2012 September 15 Colombia Carlos Muñoz Dallara Honda 50 100 (160.934) 0:37:38 159.41
2013 October 19 Colombia Carlos Muñoz Dallara Honda 50 100 (160.934) 0:32:10 186.552
  • 2001: Race shortened due to time limit.

References[edit]

External links[edit]