Elliott Sadler and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. react after a thrilling conclusion in Phoenix.
Get up to speed before Sunday's Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m., FOX) Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live What: 19th Annual Auto Club 400 . Where: Auto Club Speedway , Fontana, California When: Sunday, March 22; 3:30 pm ET. TV/Radio: FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Distance: 200 laps; 400 miles Pit road speed: 55 mph Caution car speed: 65 mph Fuel window: 40 laps On the front row " Full starting lineup 1. Kurt Busch , Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Chevrolet (185.142 mph) 2. Kevin Harvick , Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet (185.047 mph) Fast fact: Jimmie Johnson (2008) is the only driver to win this race from the pole. Failed to qualify Reed Sorenson , RAB Racing No. 29 Toyota; Travis Kvapil Team Xtreme No. 44 Chevrolet Fastest in practice First practice: Kurt Busch , Stewart-Haas Racing , No. 41 Chevrolet (186.741 mph) " Full results Second practice: Kurt Busch , Stewart-Haas Racing , No. 41 Chevrolet (187.115 mph) " Full results Final practice: Kurt Busch , Stewart-Haas Racing , No. 41 Chevrolet (184.971 mph) " Full results Harvick, Jimmie Johnson and David Ragan (filling in for the injured Kyle Busch ) were also consistently fast in practice. Last year's winner: Kyle Busch won last year's race at Fontana and the race in 2013 but won't be here to defend the title as he remains at home in North Carolina recovering from a broken leg and foot -- injuries sustained in an accident during the season-opening NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona. On the line: Harvick has finished first or second in the last seven Sprint Cup races dating back to the end of the 2014 season -- a mark last accomplished by Richard Petty 40 years ago. Harvick holds a two-race winning streak entering Sunday's race and a win would give him a sweep of NASCAR's West Coast swing. History lesson: Six-time champ Jimmie Johnson has a series-best five wins at his "home track." The El Cajon, California native is far and away the top-rated driver here. Joe Gibbs Racing driver Matt Kenseth (3), Johnson's Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon (3) and Stewart-Haas Racing 's Tony Stewart are the only other drivers in Sunday's field with multiple wins at Auto Club Speedway . Johnson, Kenseth and Carl Edwards are the only drivers to have made multiple starts here and have top-10 average finishes. Super Subs: Three drivers are substituting for others this weekend. Brett Moffitt , 22, is driving the No. 55 Toyota for regular driver Brian Vickers who is sidelined while taking blood-thinning medication to treat a reoccurrence of blood clots. It's Moffitt's fourth Cup start this year and his second with Michael Waltrip Racing this season. His last start with MWR was an eighth-place finish at Atlanta three weeks ago. David Ragan is driving the defending race-winning No. 18 Toyota car for the injured Busch. XFINITY Series regular Chris Buescher is making his Cup debut in the No. 34 Ford that Moffitt has driven the last two weeks. Redemption: Denny Hamlin is one driver with extra motivation to win here. He was badly injured in an accident while challenging for the lead in the final lap of the 2013 race. Last year, he had to pull out of the race only minutes before the green flag after a piece of metal was embedded in his eye. Hamlin is tied with a series-best three pole positions at Fontana including three straight front row starts from 2011 to 13, yet has only one top-five in 13 starts here to show for it. California Dreamin': There are 10 drivers in Sunday's field from California, the largest representation of any state and a mark of NASCAR's exposure West. The reigning Sprint Cup Series champion Harvick (Bakersfield), along with six-time champ Johnson (El Cajon) and four-time champ Gordon (Vallejo) are among those hailing from the Golden State. Those three drivers have nine wins among them at Auto Club Speedway and California drivers have the most of any state. They said it: "We love coming out here. The weather is great . I was watching clips from this race the last time we were here where we were five-wide through the corners. You can't make that kind of racing up. That is incredible. I think that everybody needs to recognize just how good of a race track this is and also the market and how important it is to NASCAR and its growth." -- Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet) Driver Rating Best driver rating average at Auto Club Speedway based on past 10 years: Jimmie Johnson , Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet (120.1) Matt Kenseth , Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota (106.2) Tony Stewart , Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Chevrolet (100.7) Former Auto Club Speedway winners in the field Jimmie Johnson (5); Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth (3); Tony Stewart (2); Kevin Harvick , Carl Edwards , Kurt Busch , Kasey Kahne and Greg Biffle (1) MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Joe Gibbs reflects on what the win at Martinsville means for the team after an emotional week.
With two laps remaining in the Great Clips 200 , points co-leader Elliott Sadler, Cole Whitt and Brendan Gaughan collide.
Get the on-track times for everything at the Lone Star track Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series head to Texas Motor Speedway for a doubleheader of NASCAR action, while the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is off. Check out the full schedule below. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;nbsp; All times are ET THURSDAY, APRIL 9: ON TRACK -- 4:30-5:30 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series practice ( Follow live ) -- 6:30-8 p.m.: XFINITY Series final practice ( Follow live ) GARAGECAM ( Watch live ) -- 4 p.m.: XFINITY Series FRIDAY, APRIL 10: ON TRACK -- 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice ( Follow live ) -- 2-3:20 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice ( Follow live ) -- 4:45 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying ( Follow live ) -- 6:45 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying ( Follow live ) -- 8:30 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series O'Reily Auto Parts 300, FOX Sports 1 ( 200 laps, 300 miles) ( Follow live ) GARAGECAM ( Watch live ) -- 11 a.m.: Sprint Cup Series SATURDAY, APRIL 11: ON TRACK -- 7:30 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 , FOX (334 laps, 501 miles) ( Follow live ) MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today
Junior: 'It's only a 50-lap race so it would be over and done before I even do it' Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live As an owner, Dale Earnhardt Jr . ran his first Camping World Truck Series race on Saturday at Martinsville Speedway with Cole Custer finishing 16th. When will he make his debut as a driver in the series? He may have given a hint during the FOX Sports 1 "Setup" pre-race show when feature reporter Ray Dunlap mentioned that Pocono Raceway hosts the series on August 1 (1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). "That would be an opportunity for me to get in there and get my feet wet," Earnhardt said. "It's only a 50-lap race so it would be over and done before I even do it. "I do have interest in driving a truck. I've always had interest in driving a truck, just never really found that opportunity or was focused more on the Cup side at that point in time. But this does open the door a little wide for me. If we don't do it this year, we're going to continue to keep the truck around and work with this program and continue to try to grow it." Serving as an analyst, two-time Camping World Truck Series champion Todd Bodine said Pocono "absolutely" would be a good place for Earnhardt to get behind the wheel. "He's not going to own a race car or race truck that he doesn't get to drive, and you heard him say that he's wanted to drive a truck so it's a perfect opportunity if you own it," Bodine said. Earnhardt recalled his father's Dale Earnhardt Inc. Truck Series team that won two of the first four championships in series history with Ron Hornaday Jr . "I have a lot of great memories of that team," Earnhardt said. "We actually worked in the same shop together, and it had two bays in the back. They were in one bay, and I was across from them in another bay building my Late Model cars that I'd run at Myrtle Beach. I was in there every day, watching them and sort of mimicking them as they built their first truck. I did everything they were doing to my Late Model that they would do to that truck. "I formed a great relationship and friendship with Ron Hornaday so that was pretty cool to be able to forge that relationship early with him." As Earnhardt builds his own Truck team for 17-year-old Custer, he's helping the NASCAR Next driver and sponsor Haas Automation achieve their objectives while JRM is meeting its own milestones. "Their goals are to get Cole into the XFINITY Series at some point so this was an opportunity to begin a relationship with us," Earnhardt said. "It made sense to get into the Truck Series. "For me, it's actually exciting because it's a 10-race deal. You're just kind of getting your feet wet. It's a great way to ease into it so we had the room. We had the interest. They had the program already together, the relationship with Chevrolet. We made it work." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Newman to start alongside Logano on the front row RELATED: See the full 43-car field " Full race starting lineup MARTINSVILLE, Va.—For last year's spring race at Martinsville Speedway , Joey Logano set a track record during qualifying but didn't win the pole. On Friday at the paper-clip-shaped track, Logano reversed the outcome. Though he failed to match his record of 100.201 mph, he saved his best lap for the final round of knockout qualifying in claiming the top starting spot for Sunday's STP 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race (1 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1). Trailing Logano in the 27th starting position will be Chase Elliott , the heir apparent to Jeff Gordon 's No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, who qualified for his first Cup race, one of five starts he plans to make this year. Logano covered the .526-mile distance in 19.232 seconds (98.461 mph) to win the 10th Coors Light Pole Award of his career, his second of the season and his first at Martinsville. Logano's Team Penske Ford edged the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Ryan Newman (98.328 mph) for the right to lead the field to the green flag in the sixth Sprint Cup race of the year. Martin Truex Jr ., who has a string of five straight top 10s to start the season, qualified third at 98.048 mph, followed by Gordon (97.613 mph) and Jimmie Johnson (97.583 mph). Logano went out late in the second round and put just two laps on his tires in posting the eighth fastest time and advancing to the final round. Keeping laps off his tires was the factor Logano thought was decisive in winning the pole. "I'm pretty sure we ran less laps than anybody going into the third round," said Logano, who ran five laps combined in the first two rounds, a number matched by Gordon. "That was the advantage that we had going for us, that we were able to see how many cars had run and know what we had to run to get into the next round. "So in the second round, all we had to make was two laps, and we felt pretty confident about where we were. Keeping those laps off the tires was good." As well as Logano has run in Martinsville time trials in the past, he was elated to add a pole to his list of accomplishments. "It feels great to finally get the pole here. We've been close so many times," he said. "Throughout my career, I feel like we've always qualified well here but I've never been able to get a pole. I caught pretty much of a hard time about getting the track record here but not getting the pole here, so to have a pole to back it up feels great ." If Logano was delighted, Elliott was relieved that he had made the field—and that rain that had been forecast for the area failed to materialize in the afternoon. "That was goal number one, to get in," Elliott said. "So it's definitely a big relief for us. We're excited. It's weird being excited about qualifying, wherever we qualified, 27th, but we're in the show, our first Sprint Cup Series race with (sponsor) NAPA on board. We're excited for Sunday." Brendan Gaughan and Ron Hornaday Jr . failed to make the 43-car field. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today
Last-minute sub for Kyle Larson finishes 16th at Martinsville Speedway Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Kyle Larson was hours away from Martinsville Speedway on Sunday afternoon, staying in a Charlotte medical facility while Regan Smith filled in as an 11th-hour substitute in the No. 42 Chevrolet he usually drives. That doesn't mean he wasn't tuned in to how his Chip Ganassi Racing outfit was doing, leading to an entertaining back-and-forth over the team radio communications during pace laps. "We know you're listening, Kyle. We're going to get one for you." "He just texted me to say 'I'm listening.' " "We can't get away with anything." With their talented driver eavesdropping the day after he fainted at an autograph session, Smith wheeled Ganassi's No. 42 to a solid 16th-place finish in the STP 500 , rallying from a mid-race spin and a last-place starting spot. Ganassi officials contacted the NASCAR XFINITY Series regular on Saturday night, shortly after Larson was transported to a local hospital for tests, to inquire about his availability. When Smith awoke at 5:30 a.m. ET, he was already tapped for substitute detail. "I definitely appreciated them calling me in that situation," Smith said. "I hate it for Kyle -- he's a friend and a competitor, so you don't ever want to see that happen. I know it probably tore him up today." On such short notice, the makeshift accommodations -- Smith was fitted using CGR teammate Jamie McMurray 's seat as a model, and he borrowed a crew member uniform for his firesuit -- took some getting used to. He was forced to drop to the rear of the field from the seventh starting position that Larson earned in Friday's Coors Light Pole Qualifying because of the driver change, making his battle an uphill one before the green flag ever unfurled. But Smith made progress, getting to the fringes of the top 10 until he spun after a nudge from Kurt Busch in the 286th of 500 laps during a traffic jam. "It was just a check-up, a chain-reaction deal and by the time it got back to me, I hit the car in front of me and whoever was behind me hit me even harder," Smith said. "It's typical Martinsville. We saw it happening all day. Sometimes it's such a big check-up that you can't do anything about it. It's just a racing deal." The contact dropped him from 17th to 27th, last on the lead lap, for the next restart, but Smith still found momentum that kept him on the leader's pace. "We just fought hard all day long, stayed on the lead lap. That was a big goal, starting where we did," Smith said. "It's tough sometimes to stay on that lead lap here. I thought the car was a little better than where we finished at the end. I got hung on the last restart on the outside and then couldn't get through some of the traffic as quick as I needed to. But nonetheless, good day for sitting at the house last night, thinking I wasn't going to be doing anything." In the span of the last 21 Sprint Cup races dating back to last August, Smith has subbed in for three teams -- the No. 14 and 41 cars from Stewart-Haas Racing and Sunday's ride in the No. 42. The effort wasn't lost on crew chief Chris Heroy, who applauded Smith's versatility in running a largely clean race at one of the sport's roughest tracks. "I was really impressed," Heroy said. "To jump in cold like that and be able to run solid in the top 15 is a real credit. We struggled from time to time with Kyle here, with Juan here, so it's a nice run for our program, and I can't say enough about what a great job he did." Heroy said he spoke to Larson on Sunday morning, saying that his evaluations were going well thus far. "He's in good spirits," Heroy said. "He's passing all his tests. He's an incredible student down there, so I'm going to go check on him right now and drive back to Charlotte." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
17-year-old held lead late, but spin-out took him out of contention PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live RELATED: Full race results " See the dramatic closing laps MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- NASCAR's oldest national-series track often shines its light on veterans, sometimes chewing up newbies like so many hot dogs coming from the infield concession stand. Cole Custer , though, nearly turned conventional wisdom on its head, almost converting an amazing comeback at the tender age of 17. Custer, making just his first start of the season and his 10th NASCAR Camping World Truck Series appearance overall, nearly sewed up some Martinsville magic in Saturday afternoon's Kroger 250 , rallying twice from pit-road penalties to become a contender for the victory in the final laps. Custer actually sprang to the top of the scoring pylon with four laps left in regulation with a bold, full-contact move to get past veterans Matt Crafton and Joey Logano . But the teenager was far from home free, anticipating payback from one of the two. Crafton delivered with a series of bumps, sending the youngster spinning to bring out one final caution flag and send the race to overtime. From there, Custer limped home with what he figured was a damaged rear gear to finish 16th as the final truck on the lead lap. "I knew he was going to come back for me, though," Custer said after emerging from his battered No. 00 Chevrolet, the first truck series effort for JR Motorsports. "You know, he did it respectfully and I just gave him all I had to stay up there. … It's Martinsville. You're going to beat and bang for the win. It's what it is." Custer started second alongside eventual race winner Logano but faced an unexpected deficit early on because of pit-road penalties. Custer's No. 00 was flagged for speeding in a 36th-lap exchange of pit stops, then was tagged again on Lap 143 of a scheduled 250 for exceeding the limit again. The repeat offense had both Custer and crew chief Joe Shear Jr. scratching their heads, especially since Custer said he was never over their target RPMs on the tachometer. Either way, Custer methodically marched from the tail end of the field, helped by the second set of eyes and advice provided by spotter Eddie D'Hondt -- Jeff Gordon 's spotter in the Sprint Cup Series. Custer was characteristically stoic on the team communications Saturday, but the encouragement from Shear and D'Hondt made all the difference. "Eddie's helped me a lot this weekend," Custer said. "That's a big reason why we were fast. Joe brought a great truck to the race track, and I was happy with the day. Didn't get the finish, but at least we were fast. It was a big step up from last year for me, so we'll come back here in the fall, and I think we'll have something, too." He almost had something Saturday, gaining on front-runners Crafton and Logano as their battle for the lead became more heated as the laps wound down. By the time 10 laps remained, it was a free-for-all that went from a two-horse race to three. While the two veterans ahead of him scrapped and scraped, Custer saw opportunity, driving hard into the corner entry to push both trucks up the race track. Custer dove low beneath both Crafton and Logano to squirt out in front, and D'Hondt keyed his mic: "Don't you look in that mirror! I got it." Had he looked, he would have seen that Crafton's bright No. 88 Toyota was coming full-bore and that Logano's No. 29 Ford had recovered nicely, too. Crafton, the two-time defending Camping World Truck Series champ, laid the bumper to the youngster multiple times in the 248th lap, forcing Custer to lose control, spin and stall as he brushed into the lead. "I was kind of nervous," Custer said after suddenly rising to the top spot. "I didn't know there were so many laps left. I thought there were only a couple laps left, so I thought if I could get in front, I could've stayed there. Matt was just a little bit better than us and could catch us, and I deserved to get punted back." Crafton described Custer's pass for the lead with the words "pounded" and "pile-drove" but chalked up the contact to the nature of short-track racing. Logano wasn't displeased with how their run-in eventually unfolded. "With inside 10 (laps) to go, I heard that he was coming, but I heard that he was about 3 or 4 (truck-lengths) back," Logano said of Custer's late charge. "The next thing you know, here he comes banzai-ing in there and takes both of us up the race track. I haven't seen a replay yet or not, but my initial reaction I was really mad, and I guess I wasn't disappointed to see what I saw." Though Custer was powerless to mount an improbable third comeback to the front, Shear commended his young driver on the cool-down lap: "They knew that we were here." Martinsville remains the only track where Custer has multiple truck series starts, and Shear said he noticed the difference from his earlier efforts. He also noticed how Custer kept his composure at a track that usually riles up even the most patient drivers. "He's young still. He'll learn how to flip out like the rest of these Cup drivers someday," Shear said with a laugh. "But no, he did a good job with that. He could've easily gotten rattled and torn up even worse than he did, so he did a fantastic job. He's definitely a really mature kid for his age, and I'm proud to work with him." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
NASCAR.com's Nick Duncan talks with Denny Hamlin after winning the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway to claim his 5th Martinsville clock.