Southern California Wine Festival during MAVTV 500 INDYCAR Race at Auto Club Speedway

On Saturday, June 27, 2015, Auto Club Speedway was buzzing as the track was being prepped for the MAVTV 500 INDYCAR Race. Parking lot trams were available to pick patrons up and take them to the grandstands, INDYCAR Fan Village, or Lefty’s Fun Zone.

A procession of Corvettes showcased drivers in front of the grandstand fans as they made a lap around the race track. Next a parade of MAVTV sponsored vehicles, tow trucks, and emergency vehicles made their way around the track. A couple of skydivers landed on the track during the National Anthem with US Flag announcing their arrival. 2016 Corvette Stingray was the official pace car. The starting Honda Sports Illustrated INDYCAR was driven by Mario Andretti as the cars made their way around the race track, sort of like a warm-up. The green flag announced the start of the race and the sound of speed hit the air immediately as the INDYCARs were nearing speeds of 200+ MPH for a 250-lap race. It seems like a lot of laps, but each lap takes approximately 35 seconds to complete.

At 11:00am, a handful of wineries participated in the first Southern California Wine Festival presented by Yancey’s Fancy Artisan Cheese. The Pit Road Terrace Suites were a great venue with great pit views and a full view of the race track from the seating on top of the building.

Yancey’s Fancy had most of their variety of cheeses available for tasting. Jersey Mike’s had an array of sandwiches from Ham & Cheese, Jersey Favorite, Turkey, Veggie, Club, and more. BJ’s Restaurants served up their Spinach and Artichoke Dip, Gourmet Mac and Cheese, Asian Chopped Salad, and Margherita Fresco Flatbread Appetizer Pizza.

Since it was so hot that day, I just tried one winery, Andretti Winery. 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and aged for 16 months in French oak. Tasting notes: Oak aroma; Oaky and not a lot of fruit or sweetness on the palate with dry finish. 2013 Napa Valley Chardonnay is aged for 10 months in French oak. Tasting notes: peach and citrus aroma; Lemon and slight bitter notes on the palate with a crisp finish.

It was time to go up top and watch the pits as the drivers were starting to stop for tire changes. Tires changes were averaging 9-10 seconds in the pits. Now, that’s a quick tire change! The pit crews were amazing - coordinating and maneuvering out of the way as the cars came into the pits and then get back out while watching their competitors’ pits on either side. There is not a lot of room down there. The cars were a blur as they raced past the stands.

  • Tip: Bring hearing protection as the cars are very loud. The noise bounces around the track. Ear plugs are good, but heavy duty ear muffs will do the trick.

We did witness one crash with the #20 CHF Racing’s Ed Carpenter and teammate #67 Josef Newgarden cars. Both cars were towed into the pits.

Race results:

  1. Graham Rahal
  2. Tony Kanaan
  3. Marco Andretti
  4. Juan Pablo Montoya
  5. Sage Karam
  6. Scott Dixon
  7. James Jakes
  8. Charlie Kimball
  9. Simon Pagenaud
  10. Jack Hawksworth
  11. Carlos Munoz
  12. Stefano Coletti
  13. Pippa Mann
  14. Sebastian Bourdais
  15. Ryan Hunter-Reay
  16. Ryan Briscoe
  17. Tristan Vautier
  18. Takuma Sato
  19. Will Power
  20. Gabby Chaves
  21. Josef Newgarden
  22. Ed Carpenter
  23. Helio Castroneves

I had to stop by the Chevrolet tent to pay a visit to my favorite car of all time, the Chevrolet Camaro. They had a 2016 Camaro SS on display with Chevy Performance package.

The sun shone bright through the clouds and the heat seemed to be stagnant over the track. Even though the suites were air-conditioned, it was time for us to leave in my Chevrolet of Irvine Courtesy Car. We wanted to beat the out-going traffic after the race was over. It was really neat hearing the sound of the cars whizzing around from the infield. This was a great event and hope that Auto Club Speedway can put on more of culinary events in conjunction with a major race. It was so much fun and exhilarating!

For more information:
9300 Cherry Ave
Fontana, CA 92335