Larson breaks runner-up streak with win at Auto Club
RELATED: Full race results " Series standings " Detailed breakdown MORE: Buy Larson gear FONTANA, Calif. -- What a difference one position makes. After three straight second-place finishes in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, polesitter Kyle Larson finally found Victory Lane, pulling away after an overtime restart to win Sunday's Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway. Larson took the checkered flag at the end of the second extra lap as team owner Chip Ganassi celebrated from his perch atop the pit box. "It's great to be Kyle Larson right now," said the 24-year-old driver. Resilient Brad Keselowski, whose spin on Lap 3 caused the first caution of the afternoon -- and damaged his No. 2 Team Penske Ford -- rolled home in second place, .779 seconds behind the driver variously known as "Young Money" and "The California Kid." Larson, who led a race-high 110 laps, kept his cool through four cautions and subsequent restarts over the final 21 laps, giving up the lead to pit for fresh tires on Lap 193 of a planned 200, as Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Jamie McMurray stayed on the track. RELATED: Stages 1,2 results from Auto Club But Larson quickly surged back to the front after a Lap 196 restart, passing Hamlin for the top spot through Turn 2 a lap later and holding it through the overtime. "I was staying as calm as I could be, but also frustrated at the same time," Larson said of the late-race stops and starts. "It seems like every time I get to the lead at the end of one of these things, the caution comes out and I've got to fight people off on restarts. Our Target Chevy was amazing all day. We were able to lead a lot of laps today. Truex was better than us that second stage by quite a bit. We were able to get the jump on him the following restart and led pretty much the rest of the distance. "I had to fight them off there after the green flag stops (before the final caution), and that was a lot of fun. This is just amazing. We've been so good all year long, three seconds in a row. I've been watching all the TV like 'He doesn't know how to win,' but we knew how to win today, so that was good." In posting his second career victory (the first coming at two-mile Michigan last year), Larson completed his first weekend sweep, having won Saturday's NASCAR XFINITY Series event. Larson extended his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series lead to 29 points over second-place Chase Elliott, who finished 10th. Clint Bowyer ran third, posting his best finish since June 2015 at Sonoma, where he also came home third. Truex, who opened a lead of more than eight seconds in winning the second 60-lap stage, was fourth, with Joey Logano recovering a lost lap with a late wave-around to finish fifth. Keselowski cut a tire during a jam-up at the start of the race, the went for a ride off Jimmie Johnson's bumper on Lap 3. All things considered -- among them a suspension to crew chief Paul Wolfe for an infraction last week at Phoenix -- Keselowski was happy with his second-place result. "We were tore all to hell," Keselowski said. "Got tore up there really early in the race. Went all the way to the back, just clawed all the way up to second ... The last few restarts were obviously key for us. We seemed to get settled into about 10th there, maybe seventh or eighth. "Then kind of just executed the last few restarts. Good pit calls and so forth. Good timing with the yellows. We caught a few breaks, for sure, and made good adjustments to our car to make up for the damage. It takes a little bit of everything: good execution, good work by the team, and a little bit of luck on the last few yellows." NOTES: -- Before the race, the track announced a three-year extension of its race entitlement sponsorship, keeping the name Auto Club 400 through 2020. -- With Keselowski having early troubles, Larson is now the only driver who has scored points in both the first and second stages in each of the five races this year. -- Twenty-first Jimmie Johnson maintained his perfect record at Fontana -- but just barely. After a litany of issues throughout the race, Johnson got back on the lead lap as the "lucky dog" under the final caution. He has now finished on the lead lap in all 23 of his starts at Auto Club , completing all 5,306 laps raced at the speedway during his career. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Elliott tops final practice, scrapes wall at Auto Club
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary RELATED: Final practice results " Practice 2 results " Best 10-lap averages Chase Elliott posted the fastest lap in Saturday's final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice, but a scrape with the outside retaining wall early in the session left his Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet team with work to do. Elliott posted his best speed at 187.480 mph before making contact with the wall just 10 minutes into the final session. He cited a parts failure on the left-front corner of the car that his crew was investigating ahead of Sunday's Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). "We don't really know why it did," Elliott told FS1. "It was nothing fancy or anything we were doing, it's just something that needs to be together to go. We'll look into why. I don't know if it's just the roughness of the race track that bounced it loose or something like that, but I hate it. I was really happy with the NAPA Chevy throughout that run. I thought we were close, maybe needed a tick more initially in a run. "I thought it was decent, so I was pleased with that. Unfortunately, this now puts us behind and we'll have to go to work and hopefully try to get it tuned back up. It's hurt pretty good." The 21-year-old driver indicated that his crew was working to hopefully avoid going to a reserve car. Elliott is scheduled to start 13th in Sunday's 400 -miler. "We're going to try to fix this one," Elliott told FS1. "I mean, we'd love to keep our primary. ... We would love to keep this car. I don't know if we can or not, but like I said, it definitely puts us in a hole. I know they'll work hard and try to get it tuned up as best we can for tomorrow." Martin Truex Jr. posted the second-fastest lap (187.378 mph) in the Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Toyota. Ryan Blaney was third-fastest in the Wood Brothers' No. 21 Ford, with Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Erik Jones -- Truex's Furniture Row teammate -- fourth-best in the No. 77 Toyota. Coors Light Pole Award winner Kyle Larson was fifth-fastest in the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet. He drove away from a slight brush with the wall shortly after Elliott's incident. WATCH: Busch's smoky slide in practice Kyle Busch, a three-time Auto Club winner, was involved in a solo spin at the 34-minute mark of the 50-minute session, avoiding contact with the wall or other cars. He limped his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota back to the garage. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s Roush Fenway Racing No. 17 Ford and Kurt Busch's Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Ford were also among several cars to brush the wall during Saturday's final tune-up. "No, I think I was above the seam by the time the car got loose," Busch told FS1. "It over-rotated on me. I tried getting in the throttle and getting it to rotate a little bit and it just kept going too far. Spun it out on exit there, and unfortunately just didn't keep all the air in the tires in order to be able to drive it back and not damage the car a little bit more than we already did. Not too bad. "We're just missing it a little bit. There's just something that we can't get right on (corner) entry this weekend and we've been trying to work on that, and it's kind of messing up the rest of the corner for us." WATCH: Harvick hits the wall in practice Kevin Harvick, who made contact with the wall in Saturday's earlier practice, returned for the final session and posted the eighth-best lap (185.706 mph) in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Ford. Erik Jones fast in Saturday's early session Erik Jones topped Saturday's opening practice session at Auto Club Speedway ahead of Sunday's Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the fifth race of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. Jones posted a lap of 187.251 mph in the Furniture Row Racing No. 77 Toyota to pace the 55-minute session. He was also fastest in the category of consecutive 10-lap averages. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate will start 14th in Sunday's 400 -miler, the last of three races in the NASCAR Goes West swing. RELATED: Consecutive 10-lap average speeds Chase Elliott registered the second-fastest lap, ringing up 186.843 mph on the speed chart in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet. Ryan Newman, last week's winner at Phoenix Raceway, was third-fastest in the Richard Childress Racing No. 31 Chevrolet. Jimmie Johnson, who damaged his primary car in Friday's opening practice, turned his first laps with his reserve Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet on Saturday morning. He was fourth-fastest at 186.384 mph. Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five in the first practice of the day. RELATED: Johnson passes on qualifying after practice wreck Pole sitter Kyle Larson, who also topped Friday's lone practice, placed 22nd on the board in the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet. The practice was marked by two incidents late in the session. Kevin Harvick scraped the right side of his Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Ford on the Turn 4 wall with just over 10 minutes left in the session. Harvick managed the sixth-fastest speed in the 14 laps he turned before the incident. A more significant impact for David Ragan's No. 38 Ford into the outside retaining wall brought the session to a close with less than two minutes of practice remaining. His Front Row Motorsports team will opt for a reserve car for the balance of the race weekend. WATCH: Ragan hits wall, will go to backup "We just cut a left-rear tire going down the back straightaway and I tried to start slowing it down as quick as I could, and just couldn't slow it down fast enough," Ragan said. "By the time I got to Turn 3, I was wrecking before I even got to the corner. It's certainly unfortunate. I felt like our Camping World Ford was pretty decent. We made a few adjustments and hadn't put new tires on yet, and I felt like our speeds hadn't fallen off a lot, so it's unfortunate. Hopefully, we can get our backup out in time to make a few laps in the second practice." Five teams were held out of the opening 15 minutes of practice because of technical violations Friday. Trevor Bayne's team was docked for failing on two passes through the Laser Inspection Station (LIS). The cars of Joey Logano, Gray Gaulding and Matt DiBenedetto failed LIS on their second pass through. The No 38 Ford of David Ragan was penalized for an improper seal for transmission or gears. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Larson leaps atop first practice at Auto Club
RELATED: Practice 1 results " Buy tickets for Auto Club Kyle Larson put his name atop the early speed charts at Auto Club Speedway, topping the first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice. Larson powered to a best lap of 189.071 mph on the 2-mile track, setting the early pace in the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet. The unofficial lap was better than the track qualifying record of 188.511 mph, set by Denny Hamlin in Coors Light Pole Qualifying last year. Hamlin continued his show of California speed, logging the second-fastest lap in the 85-minute session, posting a lap of 188.462 mph in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota. Kevin Harvick (188.344 mph), Jamie McMurray (187.94 mph) and Joey Logano (187.588 mph) completed the top five in preparation for Sunday's Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the final event of the three-race NASCAR Goes West swing. The opening practice was an eventful one with three stoppages -- including one for an incident involving seven-time series champ Jimmie Johnson, a six-time Auto Club winner. Johnson spun his Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet off Turn 4, narrowly avoiding the car of Kurt Busch on the apron before his car's body plowed into the infield grass. The damage was not major, but significant enough that the crew opted to unload and prep its reserve car for the balance of the race weekend. "We just showed up at the track swinging hard and trying to get all that we can," Johnson said, noting to FS1 that the team was focused on improving its qualifying efforts. "We crossed the line there for sure and the car came around on me." The session's other interruptions were varied. The opening of practice was delayed for sweepers and blowers to clean off the backstretch. Shortly after practice began, an owl planted itself on the race track, halting the cars until safety workers were able to remove it. RELATED: Owl disrupts opening practice Ryan Newman, last week's winner at Phoenix Raceway, was 15th-fastest at 188.921 mph in the Richard Childress Racing No. 31 Chevrolet. Several drivers served penalties at the start of practice for their teams' tardiness to inspection last weekend at Phoenix. The following drivers were held 15 minutes for being late to qualifying inspection: Trevor Bayne, Daniel Suarez, Chase Elliott, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chris Buescher, David Ragan, AJ Allmendinger, Timmy Hill, Derrike Cope, Corey LaJoie and Michael McDowell. The cars for Erik Jones and Matt DiBenedetto were held 30 minutes for being late to pre-qualifying and pre-race inspection. </p>
Larson right at home with Coors Light Pole at Auto Club
BUY TICKETS: Qualifying results " See every car " Buy tickets for Auto Club WATCH: 1-on-1 conversation with Larson California native Kyle Larson stormed to the Coors Light Pole Award in Friday qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Auto Club Speedway. Larson notched a best lap of 187.047 mph with the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet around the 2-mile track. He'll lead the 39-car field to the green flag in Sunday's Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the series' fifth race of the season and the closing event in the three-race NASCAR Goes West swing. "Really happy though, our Target team has been amazing to start the season and to get a pole is great," the series points leader said following qualifying. "I haven't gotten a pole since my rookie season. Yeah, this is awesome. "I can't say enough about everybody at our race shop for all the hard work they have been putting in." The Coors Light Pole is Larson's first of the season, first at the home-state speedway and second of his Monster Energy Cup Series career. His other pole came at Pocono Raceway during his rookie season in 2014. MORE: Larson tops first practice, to o Denny Hamlin's Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota will flank Larson's car on the front row after grabbing the second starting position with a lap of 186.979 mph in the last of three qualifying sessions. Hamlin had the provisional pole until Larson knocked him off, leading the JGR driver to playfully fling water at Larson's car as it came back to pit road. Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr. and last week's winner, Ryan Newman, completed the top five in Friday's qualifying. Larson's pole run capped an eventful qualifying session, with five cars failing to make qualifying attempts for different reasons. Jimmie Johnson, a six-time Auto Club winner, crashed his primary No. 48 Chevrolet near the end of opening practice. With no laps on an untested reserve car, the Hendrick Motorsports team opted to skip the session. RELATED: Johnson sits out qualifying Joey Logano, Trevor Bayne, Gray Gaulding and Matt DiBenedetto failed to log speeds in the opening 20-minute round after their cars did not make it to the grid through pre-qualifying inspection. MORE: Logano, more miss qualifying after tech holdups "It happens. We're a team, right?" Logano said after missing out on the first round. "Obviously, everyone's trying to push it and get every ounce of speed out of our cars when we can. I don't even know why we didn't make it through on time. ... No big deal." Keselowski and Paul Menard both drove away after scrapes with the Turn 2 wall during the second of three rounds. Two more practice sessions are scheduled Saturday for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. &lt;/p&gt;
Snapshot: Auto Club
RELATED: Starting lineup for Sunday's race " Buy tickets for Auto Club At a Glance What: Auto Club 400 Where: Auto Club Speedway, 2-mile oval in Fontana, California. Green flag: 3:47 p.m. ET TV/Radio: FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Forecast: Mostly sunny with a high near 69, according to the National Weather Service. Southwest winds 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph possible. National anthem: Skylar Stecker Grand Marshal: Scott Eastwood, star of the upcoming film, "The Fate of the Furious" Race distance: 200 laps, 400 miles Pit road speed: 55 mph Caution car speed: 65 mph Stage lengths: Stage 1 ends on Lap 60. Stage 2 ends on Lap 120. Final stage is scheduled to end on Lap 200. More: Race-day schedule " Kyle Larson on the pole &amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;gt;
DraftKings: Auto Club 400 Price Check
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Stage 1, 2 results at Auto Club
RELATED: FAQ for race format Stage 2 saw the top-two finishers of Stage 1 switch places with Martin Truex Jr. putting down a blistering pace for the stage win with Kyle Larson finishing second and Chase Elliott getting by Clint Bowyer late in the stage for third. Truex led all but five laps in the stage as he earned the lead on pit road on Lap 64 for a segment that stayed green throughout its run. Truex swept all three stages of the NASCAR Goes West opener at Las Vegas to take the checkered flag. Larson and Truex traded the lead back and forth during Stage 1 of the Auto Club 400 and combined to be out front for 55 of the 60-lap segment (Larson led 43 laps, Truex led 12 laps). It ultimately was the polesitter Larson who took the top spot. This was the Chip Ganassi Racing driver's first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series stage win, and he earns a playoff bonus point. The driver of the No. 42 Chevrolet entered this weekend's action at Auto Club Speedway as the series points leader. The top 10 finishers in both Stage 1 and Stage 2 receive race points. The race winner will receive 40 points and five playoff points at the conclusion of the Final Stage. MORE: 2017 season stage points
Best in-car audio from the Auto Club 400
Relive some of the best moments from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway.
Johnson sits out qualifying after accident at Auto Club
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary RELATED: Johnson at 'home track' " No. 48's Auto Club stats FONTANA, Calif. -- Defending race winner Jimmie Johnson did not make a qualifying attempt for Sunday's Auto Club 400 , the team announced late Friday afternoon just before qualifying was to begin at the 2-mile track. Johnson's No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet was involved in a single-car incident during practice and the team opted to bring out a backup car. Work on the car was not completed in time for him to turn any laps in the final practice and his Hendrick Motorsports team decided not to participate in qualifying with the car untested. "We had a tough practice session and mid-pack was probably going to be our goal anyway so to take our lumps here at a track that's really wide with a lot of lanes, a long race ... we'll take our lumps and get the car right," Johnson said. "We'll take advantage of the precious minutes we'll have in Saturday's practice session and go from there. "Pit road is going to be a problem," the six-time California winner conceded. "We're not going to have a good pick there. We're definitely not in a position we want to be in, so we're going to take the time now and make sure we get everything right, get the car right." WATCH: Johnson spins in practice " Lineup in photos Said No. 48 crew chief Chad Knaus: "I just felt it was wiser to get the car prepared correctly rather than qualify poorly. I wasn't comfortable putting Jimmie in a position where he would have to hustle a car that he hasn’t turned a lap in yet. "We are all the way out here on the west coast, and brought two race cars. If we were to crash this car, we would have to pull a car from a teammate and it would be a very difficult obstacle to overcome. We want to be prepared to put the best race car on the track for our driver, Lowe's, Chevrolet and all of our sponsors. So, we are going to take the time to do that by working on it this afternoon." Johnson will start 37th for Sunday's race, but he did not seem overly concerned. He started last in the 2016 season finale at Miami and rallied to win the race and his record-tying seventh Cup title. RELATED: Full lineup for Sunday -- Johnson starts 37th "If I was to tear this car up again in qualifying we'd be heading next door to the 88 team to get their backup car, put a wrap on it, change (the) interior," Johnson said. "We just felt it best to get everything right and get prepared for (Saturday). We'll start from the tail end, but I think my history shows I can make up plenty of spots, pass plenty of cars. "We'll just make it exciting coming back." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Hot Lap: Take a ride around Auto Club Speedway with Matt Kenseth
Matt Kenseth takes you for a pace car ride around Auto Club Speedway before the Auto Club 400 , explaining the intricacies of the race track.
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