Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing will wrap up its west coast swing in California at the Auto Club 400 this weekend. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team has found challenges along the way, but is looking forward to a solid finish to cap off this opening five-race stretch of the season.
NASCAR driver Michael McDowell will drive the No. 95 WRL General Contractors Chevrolet SS at Auto Club Speedway, which will mark his seventh career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at the track.
“We struggled at Vegas and Phoenix during practice and qualifying, but we’ve been able to make gains during the race and improve each week,” said McDowell. “That’s the goal for our team. We made some major changes with our team late in the off-season and we are working hard to improve competitively each week.”
Crew chief Dave Winston is looking forward to racing at Auto Club Speedway to spend more time on the intermediate track set-up and performance of the No. 95 team.
“We didn’t get the finish we expected in Vegas but I feel we made a big step in our performance from Atlanta to Vegas,” said Winston. “We’re going to keep working on our intermediate track program, as we need a solid set-up to run well at those tracks. California will be another opportunity for us to make strides in that direction and we’re looking forward to it.”
From an operations side, the three races on the west coast means that the team has to have additional logistics in place to transport race cars and exchange parts, as well as make sure the nine-person crew is well rested and prepared for the long days at the track.
“The west coast swing is tough; I’m not sure if it’s necessarily tougher on the smaller teams but it has been tough on us,” said Jeremy Lange, VP of Operations. “Luckily we have not had any damage to race cars/parts and have been able to maintain the schedule that we outlined coming out of Daytona. We knew the season really started with Atlanta, and while we have had moments of success on the track, we are looking forward to a ‘regular’ schedule post-Fontana.”
The Auto Club 400 will take place on Sunday, March 20 at 3:30pm ET at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Race fans can follow the team on Twitter at @CSLFR95 for updates.