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 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>
Johnson relishes Auto Club legacy but isn't done making history
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary RELATED: No. 48 team opts out of qualifying " Lineup FONTANA, Calif. -- More than once while meeting with reporters in the Auto Club Speedway media room Friday, Jimmie Johnson motioned to a framed poster showing a 15-years-younger version of himself celebrating his first-ever Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory here at his "home" track in 2002. That was 79 victories, seven championships ago -- a definitive day in his career and life. And still, Johnson smiled -- even bristled just a bit -- receiving immediate questions about when he might win a race this season after only one top-10 finish through the first four races. "Sixteen years, 80 wins, and seven championships and people want to question us? I mean come on," Johnson said. "You can't be on top forever. I think that we do have some work to do, especially on the short run. We haven't executed as cleanly as we need to. "Daytona, we are running second or third and get crashed. Last week we were a good top-five -- maybe top-three -- car on the long run, but finished with some short restarts that was our weak point. Yeah, sure, absolutely we have work to do, but nobody should panic." Johnson certainly is not in panic mode, and certainly not here. He left the press conference to be enshrined in the track's Hall of Fame. He is the defending winner of this race and has six victories here in all. This is home for the California native. And even for one of the sport's biggest champions, that feeling is warm and distinctive. Listening to Johnson recall the importance of that inaugural win on this particular venue, on a warm spring afternoon, it's easy to see the difference it made for him. And, ultimately, for NASCAR.
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;
GarageCam from the XFINITY Series garage at Auto Club
GarageCam hosts talk with Darrell Wallace Jr., Justin Allgaier, more in the garage at Auto Club Speedway
DraftKings: Auto Club 400 Price Check
WATCH: Auto Club 400 Price Check, sponsored content provided by DraftKings.
Through the years: Celebrities at Auto Club Speedway
From Stevie Wonder to Magic Johnson, celebrities have flocked to the Southern California-based Auto Club Speedway for many years; see the highlights.
Cole Custer wrecks hard at Auto Club
After contact in Saturday's XFINITY Series race at Auto Club Speedway, Cole Custer turns into the wall, and fire his No. 00 car bursts into flames.
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
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.
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