Five cool Dale Jr. stats in addition to 600 starts
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary As Dale Earnhardt Jr. prepares to make start No. 600 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series on Sunday at Auto Club Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), we thought it'd be fun to find five other interesting stats about Junior, courtesy of RacingReference.com : 170,689 Matt Kenseth (176,372) is the only active driver with more laps than Earnhardt Jr., who ranks 21st on the all-time list with 170,689 laps. Dale Earnhardt Sr. is 15th with 202,288 laps, and Richard Petty is tops with 307,836. Earnhardt Jr. has averaged about 9,000 laps per season, so it's conceivable he could catch his dad in about three to four years. .1752 Junior is third in winning percentage in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at .1752 (17 percent). He's behind only Kyle Busch (.2636) and Mark Martin (.2076). Earnhardt Jr. has 24 wins in 137 career XFINITY Series races, with 13 of those victories coming in 1998 and '99 when he won back-to-back series championships. 94 Earnhardt Jr. has 94 podium finishes (first, second or third place) in the Monster Energy Series, which puts him 25th all-time in this category. He's four behind Matt Kenseth and five back of Kyle Busch. Richard Petty is tops with 461 on a list that reads like the head table lineup at a NASCAR Hall of Fame banquet. 412 Junior has 412 lead-lap finishes in the Monster Energy Series, which puts him in eighth place all-time. That's a testament to his longevity and consistency, and puts him just eight behind his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson. Former teammate Jeff Gordon sits atop this list with 588. 148 Earnhardt Jr. has 148 top- five finishes in the Monster Energy Series, tying him with Kyle Busch for 24th place all-time heading into Auto Club. Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson are the only active drivers ahead of Junior on this list. Richard Petty is on top of the mountain with 555 top- five finishes. Junior has 26 career Cup wins, but he's been in contention for wins many times. Do your own stats query on RacingReference.com . &<span _rtetemp="spchk" style="background-color: #ffffaa;" _rtespchksugg="Lt"alt"ult"flt"let"lit"lat"lot"ltd"t">am</span>p;lt;/p&amp;gt;
Rookie William Byron impresses with second straight top-five day
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Auto Club RELATED: Full race results FONTANA, Calif. – Kyle Larson won the race, but William Byron bested the field of XFINITY Series regulars in one of the most competitive, hard-fought XFINITY Series events of the year at Auto Club Speedway on Saturday. It wasn't a win, but it was a well-timed boost of confidence for the rookie. Byron finished fifth in the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet, the top finishing XFINITY Series regular, just ahead of Roush Fenway Racing's Darrell Wallace Jr. and JR Motorsports teammate Elliott Sadler. It was his second consecutive top- five finish and places the rookie second in the series standings, 17 points behind his veteran teammate Sadler. A week ago Byron won the pole position at Phoenix and scored a career-best fourth place in the race – the showing buoying him for his debut on California's two-mile oval. "Been good lately to get some top-fives," said the 19-year old Byron, allowing a smile. "We were able to make some good adjustments during the race today. I felt like we kinda struggled some in traffic getting the car to handle right. Ultimately, we got it to handle right, the guys did a great job on pit road, led a lap and got a good finish." Byron started the race from the sixth position and ran among the lead cars early on. Battling a rough handling car midway through the race, he praised his team for good pit stops and timely adjustments and was able to join in the dramatic final laps of tight racing. "It was really fun," Byron said. "It was a blast out there. I'd never been here before. You have a lot of options, so many places to run your car. It makes the hard work pay off." </p>
Post-Race Reactions: Fast Five 225
Kevin Harvick, Nelson Piquet Jr., Parker Kligerman and James Buescher comment on their solid runs at Chicagoland Speedway.
Byron nabs top five in his first race at Auto Club
XFINITY rookie William Byron reflects on his first trip to Auto Club Speedway that led to a fifth-place result in Saturday's Service King 300.
Larson is fast , atop the standings and having fun
RACE DAY: Full starting lineup " Race-day rundown " Key info FONTANA, Calif. -- Kyle Larson carried his 2-year-old son Owen into the Auto Club Speedway Media Center on Friday afternoon, minutes after winning the pole position for Sunday's Auto Club 400. Young father and young son were smiling, interacting, just enjoying the together time on stage -- Larson thoughtfully answering reporters' questions, Owen playfully leaning into the microphone to add his own toddler commentary. Life is especially good like that when you're leading the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings. For the first time in his four-year Monster Energy Series career, the 24-year old Californian Larson tops the championship standings, assuming the lead last week at Phoenix after scoring his third consecutive runner-up finish -- just in time for his return home. It's not only a career milestone for Larson, but also marks the first time his No. 42 Target Chevrolet Chip Ganassi Racing team has been Numero Uno since retired Ganassi driver Sterling Marlin held the point in 2002. RELATED: Larson's year of feats "I know I've won a handful of championships throughout my racing, but I've never been one to be a points racer or be as consistent as I've been," Larson said. "Going into this year I made it a goal of mine to be more consistent and make fewer mistakes. It's only been four races, but we have been off to a good start on limiting our mistakes and running up front. That has helped put ourselves in position to win each race this season. "Just been really proud of everybody on our race team and happy with kind of how I've been performing. Been trying to work a little bit harder this year and it seems to all be paying off." Sunday's starting spot is Larson's second career pole position -- the last came at Pocono in his 2014 rookie season -- and leading the field to the green flag this week feels appropriate considering Larson's current place in the standings. And … he won Saturday's XFINITY Series race for the second time.
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;
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;
Rhodes' rebirth leads to top five in Atlanta
RELATED: Race results " Standings " Detailed breakdown HAMPTON, Ga. -- The fire that forced a midseason rebuilding effort at ThorSport Racing last year impacted all of its four teams in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. From a results standpoint, ThorSport driver Ben Rhodes was not immune. That's why Saturday's showing at Atlanta Motor Speedway gave Rhodes reason for optimism as he dives into his second full season in the series. Rhodes finished fourth in the Active Pest Control 200, finishing just behind race winner Christopher Bell of Kyle Busch Motorsports, Rhodes' ThorSport teammate, runner-up Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter. RELATED: Bell takes Atlanta Truck Series race The top- five effort helped soothe some of the hardships Rhodes & Co. endured over the latter part of 2016. The strength he showed in the opening nine races of the year gave way to four DNFs and just one top-10 over the final 14 events. Saturday, things started looking up. "I had a really tough year, so it's really encouraging that we can come out here and get a good finish like this and see that we can run strong," Rhodes said after emerging from his No. 27 Toyota. "And now that the truck's all in one piece, that's an added bonus because all last year, it seemed like no matter what we did, something would happen and we would get caught up in somebody's mess. Tire would blow, engine would blow … something would happen. So it's really, really nice to put a good finish together." After a rookie season that held so much promise, Rhodes and his crew have made the earliest steps toward a rebirth. The 20-year-old driver has a new crew chief in Eddie Troconis, a new car number based on sponsor Safelite's preference, and a new, reconstructed shop in their Sandusky, Ohio, home. RELATED: ThorSport rebuilds after devastating fire "Ever since the shop's been rebuilt, these guys have worked their tails off over the wintertime, working 80 hours a week to get these trucks built and build some fast Tundras at that," Rhodes said. "I really think that we're going to be a contender for many, many, many wins throughout the season." Said Troconis: "We came here and we showed that ThorSport regrouped over the offseason and worked really hard all December and January, and now we're trying to beat the KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) trucks. They were the dominant team last year, and we're right there with them. We showed that it's not just one truck with Crafton that has a lot of experience, but also the young rookie guns. "So Ben's second year, we have a lot of work to do still, but I feel like definitely we're going to have a lot of potential. We're going to give a run at KBM." Rhodes battled back from a pair of hurdles during Saturday's 200-miler. He first made progress from a 15th-place qualifying effort that left him with a midpack start. And he also found himself at a disadvantage in a series of late-race restarts, mired in the treacherous outside lane and at a higher risk of wheel spin. The lineup shuffle for the final two restarts gave him the preferred inside lane and kept him in victory contention. Though he settled for fourth, he still managed a grin when asked about the race's possibilities. "If a couple things play out a little bit differently, I think we could be on the frontstretch doing donuts right now," Rhodes said.
Larson hangs on for XFINITY triumph at Auto Club
RELATED: Results " Larson on pole for Sunday's race " Detailed breakdown FONTANA, Calif. -- Kyle Larson kept pole-sitter Joey Logano at bay after a restart with four laps left in Saturday's Service King 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Auto Club Speedway and held on to win by .127 seconds. Larson and Logano had swapped the lead on three successive laps before Brandon Jones plowed into the outside wall on Lap 142 to bring out the seventh and final caution of the afternoon. The lead cars pitted for fresh tires under the yellow flag, with Larson exiting pit road first and Spencer Gallagher grabbing the second spot with a two-tire stop. That proved Logano's undoing, as his No. 22 Team Penske Ford was pinned behind Gallagher's GMS Racing Chevrolet for the restart on Lap 147 of 150. Logano chased Larson to the checkered flag but couldn't prevent the driver of the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet from scoring his first victory of the season, his second at Fontana and the sixth of his career. "The racing there at the end with Joey was awesome," said Larson, a California native who got his first NASCAR XFINITY Series victory at the 2-mile track. "I had just a couple-lap fresher tires than he did, and I was able to chase him down. That was a lot of fun. WATCH: Larson overcomes speeding penalty to win "I wish that last caution wouldn't have come out, because it would have been easier for me to win, I think. But a heck of a race. I honestly didn't think we would be here yesterday. I was struggling bad in practice. Fought the balance a lot throughout the race, too. Finally, the last few runs, we hit on it and it felt good for the short run and throughout the long run." MORE: Larson fast , atop Monster Energy Series standings Both the winner and the runner-up had obstacles to overcome. Larson recovered from a pit road speeding penalty to win the race. Logano sped on pit road and subsequently fell to the back of the field when the jack on the left side of his Ford dropped prematurely during an extended stay on pit road. But Logano -- who led six times for a race-high 70 laps -- was in prime position at the end, though he acknowledged that Gallagher's two-tire call deprived him of the chance to overtake Larson. "What's his number? 23?" Logano asked. "Yeah, I don't know about that move. That wasn't a good move. I don't know what they were thinking, but that maybe wasn't the best play at this race track. I knew he was going to spin them (his tires). There's no way he couldn't. It wasn't his fault. "He was a sitting duck and I was a sitting duck behind him that lost too much track position on that restart being too far behind Kyle. If not for that, we would have probably been door-to-door across the line bumping and banging or something. We were able to catch Larson the last few laps. We were definitely faster, but I needed another lap, maybe two." Kyle Busch led 55 laps and finished third after scraping the wall on Lap 122 while in pursuit of Logano, who was leading at the time. Erik Jones ran fourth and Sunoco rookie William Byron fifth as the highest-finishing series regular. The action-filled race wasn't without a number of hard crashes. Paul Menard's Chevrolet nosed hard into the outside wall after contact from Jones, who appeared to misjudge his Turn 4 exit on Lap 94. WATCH: Fiery hit for Menard at Auto Club "I don't know if he tried to push me or if he was just crossing over," Menard said after leaving the infield care center. "Definitely had a brain fart." Cole Custer took a wild ride when he clobbered the Turn 1 wall with an assist from Ryan Sieg -- and was upset when he exited the car. "I just got hooked going into the corner," Custer said. "I think I hit him (Sieg) a tick just on my side-draft going off of (Turn) 4, and then he decided just to hook us going into Turn 1 and wreck us. I thought we could have competed for a win there. We had a bad pit stop. We were going to work our way back up there, but just got our day ended by a clown move." The incident left him with a wrecked car for the second straight week. "Last week it was all my fault and I'll take that all on me," said Custer, who finished 35th. "Today it was just a clown. I don't understand what his reasoning was to pay us back that much, but that's just a joke." Notes: Byron is second in the series standings, 17 points behind seventh-place finisher Elliott Sadler… Darrell Wallace Jr. finished sixth for the fourth-straight race… Busch won both the first and second stages of the race, earning a total of two playoff points toward the owner's championship. Contributing: Staff reports </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;
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