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;
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.
Johnson will not make qualifying attempt at Auto Club
Jimmie Johnson, who will race in a backup car following practice problems, will not make a qualifying run for Sunday's Auto Club 400
DraftKings: Auto Club 400 Price Check
WATCH: Auto Club 400 Price Check, sponsored content provided by DraftKings.
Auto Club Speedway by the numbers
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary RELATED: Full weekend schedule Jimmie Johnson was driving a Superman car and wearing a cape the last time he saw Victory Lane at Auto Club Speedway in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series' stop there in 2016. It's appropriate since he almost owns the place. Johnson has six wins at Auto Club , spanning a decade and a half. He also has five runner-up finishes, an impressive average finishing place of 6.5 and has led 980 laps around the 2-mile circuit in Fontana, California. Roger Penske has a stake in the place as well, having been one of the architects, alongside Les "Coach" Richter. The track officially opened June 22, 1997, and it's celebrating its 20th anniversary as NASCAR returns to Fontana this weekend for Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and XFINITY Series racing. Penske got his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win at the track on April 29, 2001 with Rusty Wallace piloting the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford. Brad Keselowski put Team Penske back in Victory Lane at Auto Club Speedway in 2015. Penske's open wheel drivers also have had success at the track. Penske built a fast race track, leading to some stout stats in the speedway's lore: -- A 188.511 mph qualifying speed record set by Denny Hamlin in 2016 -- A 155.012 mph race speed record set by Jeff Gordon in 1997 Digging into the numbers a bit more: -- Hendrick Motorsports has 10 wins, the most of any team -- Ford has 11 wins at the track, and Chevrolet has 13. Kyle Busch has taken home two Auto Club 400 trophies for Toyota in back-to-back races in 2013-14. -- Farthest back in the field a winning driver started: 31st, Matt Kenseth, spring of 2006 -- Pole-sitting winners: Only one, Johnson in 2008 -- The closest margin of victory was 0.144 seconds, as Kevin Harvick edged Johnson in 2011
20 great moments from Auto Club's 20 years
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary Look through 20 great moment's from Auto Club's 20 years in this gallery .
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