2023 marks the final time that Auto Club Speedway will host a NASCAR Cup Series race on the two-mile configuration. The track will embrace the occasion with a new multi-year partner.
Auto Club Speedway held a press conference on November 6 at Phoenix Raceway and announced the news. Pala Casino Spa Resort will become the official casino of the California track, and it will have naming rights for what will now be the Pala Casino 400 on Sunday, February 26.
“Our fans will notice right away the enthusiasm Pala Casino brings to the table,” said Auto Club Speedway President Dave Allen. “They are determined to create an unforgettable experience for our fans, and we look forward to working with them to make this final race on the 2-mile oval an event for the ages.”
The Partnership Includes a Special Cup Series Scheme
The race at Auto Club Speedway will no longer be the Auto Club 400 or the Wise Power 400. It will be the Pala Casino 400 as the track looks toward the future and some significant upcoming changes.
There will also be a special wrap used to celebrate the partnership. RFK Racing’s Chris Buescher will carry the Pala Casino Spa Resort colors on his No. 17 Ford Mustang during the 2023 race at Auto Club Speedway as he tries to punch his ticket to the playoffs.
Buescher, who won his second career Cup Series race in 2023, has made seven total starts at the California track. He has an average finish of 25.0 and one DNF — a crash during the 2022 spring race. His list of starts includes a pair of 16th-place finishes in 2019 and 2020.
“As a casino that greatly appreciated competitive racing, Pala is thrilled to be the title sponsor of the Pala Casino 400 race in Fontana, and this historic final race at the Auto Club Speedway,” said Pala Casino spokesperson Coley McAvoy. “We value our new partnership with Chris Buescher and RFK Racing, as well as our continued partnership with NASCAR as we look forward to a very exciting event in February.”
Another Driver Has Partnered With Pala Casino
Buescher will not be the first driver to join forces with Pala Casino. There have been others that have put the brand on display during NASCAR Cup Series races across the Southwest in 2020, 2021, and 2022.
Corey LaJoie had Pala Casino as his primary partner for two races during the 2020 season. He first ran the colors on the No. 32 Go Fas Racing Ford Mustang at Auto Club Speedway and then he brought them back for the season finale at Phoenix Raceway.
BJ McLeod and Live Fast Motorsports were the next to showcase Pala Casino. The No. 78 Ford Mustang had the primary scheme for the 2021 season finale at Phoenix Raceway. He then brought it back in 2022 for races at Auto Club Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and Phoenix Raceway.
Buescher will now join this list during the 2023 Cup Series season. For now, he will only have Pala Casino as the primary partner on the No. 17 Ford Mustang for the trip to Auto Club Speedway in February.