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>
That's a hoot! Owl interrupts NASCAR practice
RELATED: Read more Inside Groove NASCAR's latest brush with wildlife stopped practice Friday at Auto Club Speedway as an owl decided to set up camp on the racing surface during opening Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice. Practice was interrupted until safety workers were able to corral the bird, which initially took low-flying evasive action on the track apron. No word on whether NASCAR race official David Hoots or Chase Elliott sponsor Hooters were involved. Friday's incident marked the third consecutive year that nature has caused a disruption at the 2-mile California track. A swarm of bees crowded the Auto Club flag stand between practices last season. The previous year, bees were a menacing presence around Derrike Cope's hauler, trapping the team inside the transporter. MORE ANIMALS: Groundhog at Michigan " Bees at Auto Club
Furniture Row No. 77 hauler damaged in accident
Two Furniture Row Racing hauler drivers were uninjured after the No. 77 team's transporter was involved in a hit-and-run highway crash early Thursday morning. The No. 77 hauler was damaged on Interstate 15 on the way to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, site of this weekend's NASCAR races for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and XFINITY Series. Driver Travis Watts and co-driver David Shano escaped injury. According to the Denver, Colorado-based team, a car pulled off to the road's shoulder then back onto the interstate directly in the hauler's path. There was no damage reported to the trailer, race cars and equipment, but the team has rented a replacement truck to complete the trip to the 2-mile California track. "We're all very relieved no one was injured in the incident," team president Joe Garone said in a release provided by the team. "There was substantial damage to the tractor but everything in the trailer was checked out thoroughly and is OK. We've rented a tractor and the No. 77 hauler is on schedule to arrive at Auto Club Speedway later today." The car and its two occupants left the scene of the accident, approximately 15 miles north of Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Both were later located and arrested by the Nevada Highway Patrol. Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Erik Jones is in his first year driving the No. 77 Toyota for Furniture Row. He sits 18th in the series standings ahead of Sunday's Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the fifth race of the season.
Ragan goes to backup car after practice crash
Watch as David Ragan hits the wall in Auto Club 400 practice. The No. 38 will have to go to a backup car.
No. 22, three other cars miss qualifying after tech holdups
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary RELATED: No. 48 opts not to make qualifying run " Larson on pole FONTANA, Calif. -- Joey Logano will join defending Auto Club 400 race winner Jimmie Johnson near the rear of Sunday's starting grid. They are among a small group of drivers who did not turn a single qualifying lap in Friday afternoon's time trials at 2-mile Auto Club Speedway. While Johnson's Hendrick Motorsports team chose not to attempt a qualifying lap after going to a backup car, Logano's Team Penske group was unable to clear inspection in time to get his car on track. It had been fifth fastest in opening practice. MORE: Starting lineup for Sunday's race Five cars in all did not participate in qualifying. Trevor Bayne, Matt DiBenedetto and rookie Gray Gaulding joined Logano and Johnson without a qualifying attempt in the late-afternoon session. While frustrated with the turn of events, Logano remained optimistic about his chances come race day. "No sense being mad about it now," said Logano, driver of the No. 22 AAA Southern California Ford. "You have to look ahead and I think our car is fast. Tires wear out here so as everyone is making laps on their first run tires now, that's our advantage. The disadvantage is we're starting form the back. "But here we go. It'll be exciting. We'll be making big moves, I know that." Bayne, Logano, DiBenedetto and Gaulding all will lose 15 minutes of practice time because of the qualifying inspection issues. The No. 6 failed LIS twice; the Nos. 22, 23 and 32 all failed LIS the second time through. In addition, David Ragan will be on a 15-minute practice hold Saturday after his No. 38 was found to have missing seals. &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;
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