Fontana was founded in 1913 by Azariel Blanchard Miller. Within a few years it became an agricultural town of citrus orchards, vineyards, and chicken ranches astride U.S. Route 66 (now known as Foothill Boulevard). The Fontana area was radically transformed during World War II when Henry J. Kaiser built one of only two steel mills west of the Mississippi River outside the city limits.
In the 1950s and '60s Fontana was home to a drag racing strip that was a venue in the NHRA circuit. Mickey Thompson’s Fontana International Dragway was also referred to as Fontana Drag City or Fontana Drag Strip. The original Fontana strip is long since defunct, but the owners of NASCAR’s new Auto Club Speedway opened a new NHRA-sanctioned drag strip in Fontana in mid-2006 to resurrect Fontana’s drag-racing heritage.