Passes Matt Crafton in dramatic green-white-checkered finish
Includes entitlement of the touring NASCAR K&N Pro Series for five years
Former Cup champion will start first in second race back from suspension Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live RELATED: See the lineup for Sunday FONTANA, Calif. -- One week removed from his return from a three-race suspension, Kurt Busch rewarded the unwavering support from Stewart-Haas Racing team co-owner Gene Haas by putting his No. 41 Chevrolet on the pole for Sunday's Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX). "It's amazing to do this in Gene Haas' back yard," said Busch, who streaked around two-mile Auto Club Speedway in 38.889 seconds (185.142 mph) during the third and final round of Friday's knockout qualifying for the fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of the season. A day after making an appearance at the Haas Automation headquarters in nearby Oxnard, Busch won his record fourth Coors Light Pole Award at Auto Club Speedway and the 17th of his career. In winning his first pole since May 2013 at Darlington, Busch edged Stewart-Haas teammate and reigning Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick (185.047 mph) by .020 seconds. Behind the Stewart-Haas sweep of the front row, Matt Kenseth qualified third at 184.966 mph, followed by David Ragan (184.886 mph) and Kyle Larson (184.337 mph). At the track closest to Toyota Racing Development's home in Costa Mesa, four Toyota drivers made the top 12 on the grid -- Kenseth, Ragan, Denny Hamlin (sixth) and Clint Bowyer (10th). "This is huge for Gene Haas," said Busch, who was suspended by NASCAR in the wake of allegations of domestic violence against former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll and the finding of a State of Delaware Family Court commissioner that, more likely than not, Busch had committed an act of domestic abuse. "Thank you, Gene, for believing in me. This is my job. Come to the track, drive the car and put it up on the pole and go for wins. "That is what Gene has told me to do from the get-go, and I'm glad I have this chance to go back out there and live up to why he hired me. It feels good. The guys were just spot-on all day with all the adjustments. The car started off so fast and it is all due to the work back at the shop. Thank you Stewart-Haas Racing . Appreciate it. No. 41 car up front feels good." NASCAR lifted Busch's suspension after he completed a reinstatement program and after the Delaware Department of Justice declined to file charges in the case, citing insufficient evidence. Since his return, Busch has been fast on the race track, qualifying eighth and finishing fifth last week at Phoenix and winning the pole at Fontana on Friday. Harvick, who is trying for a sweep of the three races on NASCAR’s West Coast swing -- Las Vegas, Phoenix and Fontana -- had a good lap going before abandoning his intended line because of cars rolling slowly on the apron. "I got down into Turn 3, and I was committed to the bottom, and there were three cars on the apron that were cooling off," Harvick explained. "I wanted to run the apron because I ran it in the second round and thought that I knew what I needed to do in the third round. "I got through (Turns) 1 and 2 fairly good, got to the green really good and then I had to abort down here. All-in-all, still a good effort." Notes: Jeff Gordon will start seventh in his final run at Fontana. ... Dale Earnhardt Jr . and Danica Patrick both made the top 24 in the first round of knockout qualifying but failed to advance to the final round. They will start 17th and 22nd, respectively. ... Travis Kvapil and Reed Sorenson failed to make the 43-car field. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Teammate Johnson joins Gordon on the front row
NASCAR Illustrated's Steven Levine gets to know up and coming NCWTS driver Spencer Gallagher.
RCR driver: 'Anything can happen, without a doubt'
Hendrick teammates are on their own when the checkered flag flies
Raikkonen ran two national series races at Charlotte in 2011
JGR driver holds off Kyle Busch to win final race of Nationwide's tenure MORE: Full EcoBoost 300 results " Final Nationwide Series standings HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Charging away from a pack of pursuers on the final restart, Matt Kenseth scored his first NASCAR Nationwide Series win since October of last year in Saturday’s Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Chase Elliott, who had clinched the driver’s championship last Saturday in Phoenix, finished 17th after scraping the outside wall late in the race. Brad Keselowski delivered the Nationwide Series owner’s championship to Roger Penske with an eighth-place result in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford. In a mere formality, Elliott also received Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors, making the him the first driver to win both a rookie title and a series championship in the same year in any of NASCAR’s top three national series. At age 18, Elliott also is the youngest national touring series champion in NASCAR history. After losing the lead to Kyle Larson after a restart on Lap 199 of a scheduled 200, Kenseth got a second chance when NASCAR threw the 11th caution of the race for a multicar wreck behind the leader moments before Larson was to take the white flag signaling the final lap, which would have made him a winner under the caution. Instead, Kenseth pulled ahead from the outside lane after a restart on Lap 205 and took the checkered flag on the sixth lap of overtime. Kyle Busch won a drag race to the finish line to take the runner-up spot from Larson, who held third. Ryan Blaney and rookie Chris Buescher completed the top five. Kenseth won for Joe Gibbs Racing in the final outing with the company for crew chief Kevin Kidd, who moves to Roush Fenway Racing next year as director of competition in the Sprint Cup Series. “It’s been a long time since I won a race in anything, so just happy for Kevin,” Kenseth said. “Happy to send him off with a win here. That was pretty cool. Kyle got around me on that second-to-last restart, but when he chose the bottom there, and I had Kyle (Busch) behind me, I knew we had a shot. “I just had to do a better job than I did the time before, so luckily, we got that one last chance to redeem ourselves.” Larson, who led 111 laps, spun his tires slightly on the final restart, allowing Kenseth to take the advantage. “I had good restarts up there until the last 50 laps or so,” Larson said. “Then I finally got a good one underneath Matt (on Lap 199) and was able to get to the lead… I was about 15 feet short of the win. Then we got the yellow, and I thought the 12 (Blaney) had been getting really good restarts, so I wanted to start in front of him (in the bottom lane). “Spun my tires a little bit, and the 20 (Kenseth) was hanging there. I was side-drafting down the frontstretch, and he was able to swerve at me and get me shaken off him. That spun my tires into (Turn) 1, and got me sideways. I was three-wide there, and that was all the 20 needed to win.” Penske won the owner’s championship with five different drivers taking turns in the No. 22 Ford: Keselowski, Joey Logano , Ryan Blaney , Michael McDowell and Alex Tagliani . The championship was the fourth for Penske in the last five years (2010 Nationwide driver’s title with Keselowski, 2012 Sprint Cup title with Keselowski and back-to-back NNS owner’s championships). “Everyone did so much to make this happen, and obviously it didn't come down until the last lap there until we knew we had it,” Penske said. “Two years in a row, I think we had four championships here over the last few years, and that's really important to us as we go forward.” MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Lining up second to Busch is Chase contender Gordon