The MAVTV 500 was an IndyCar Series race held at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The event represented a continuous lineage of open wheel oval racing in the Southern California-area that dates back to 1970. Since 2012, the event had been sponsored by MAVTV, a motorsports cable channel owned by Lucas Oil.
|Venue||Ontario Motor Speedway (1970–1980)|
Auto Club Speedway (1997–2005, 2012–2015)
|Corporate sponsor||Marlboro (1997–2001)|
King Taco (2003)
Lucas Oil (2012–2015)
|First ICS race||2002|
|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)
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.
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.
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. The race became known for closed-course record speeds, and fast and competitive racing, owing much to the track's width.
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 / IndyCarEdit
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. The race served as the season finale from 2012-2014. For 2015, the race was moved to June.
Closed-course speed recordsEdit
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.
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). 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).
Ontario Motor SpeedwayEdit
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)||3:17:58||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|
|CART Indy Car World Series|
|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 SpeedwayEdit
Races held at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.
|Season||Date||Driver||Team||Chassis||Engine||Race Distance||Race Time||Average Speed
|PPG CART World Series/FedEx Championship|
|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|
|Indy Racing League/Verizon 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|
|2014||August 30||Tony Kanaan||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara||Chevrolet||250||500 (804.672)||2:32:58||196.111||Report|
|2015||June 27||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 LightsEdit
|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||Infiniti||50||100 (160.934)||0:37:38||159.41|
|2013||October 19||Carlos Muñoz||Dallara||Infiniti||50||100 (160.934)||0:32:10||186.552|
- 2001: Race shortened due to time limit.
- (IZOD IndyCar) Series Returning to Fontana in 2012 Archived 2011-07-06 at the Wayback Machine
- A.M. Briefing -- Gugelmin Record: Lap At 240.942 Mph
- "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. Archived from the original on 7 January 2001. Retrieved 20 June 2010.
- Humason, John (October 29, 2003). "Champ Car season ends early due to California fires". Motorsport.com. Retrieved 20 June 2010.