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It was a beautiful California afternoon in Fontana where all the top drivers in NASCAR were dreaming of winning the Sprint Cup race being held there. The race proved to be one of the most exciting with the Gen-6 cars building maximum speeds at well over 200 mph and even better being able to run side-by-side for passing. That led to 17 lead changes between eight different drivers throughout the Auto Club 400. The hard racing also led to nine caution periods for 35 laps for everything from crashes from cars getting together as well as blown tires and engine failures.
When the race wound down to the final laps, Kyle Busch who had led the most laps in the NASCAR race (125 laps total) was chasing Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano around the track for the win. Denny and Joey have had issues both on and off the track prior to this Sprint Cup race. When Joey came up the track and got into the side of Denny the two cars started sliding and crashed. That was the opportunity Kyle needed to speed past them and capture his first win in 31 races in the Sprint Cup series.
When asked about racing behind Denny and Joey on the last laps of the Auto Club 400, Kyle said: “Well, those guys went to racing each other really hard, which is what this sport is all about and what's great about NASCAR. But unfortunately it got a little dirty there at the end, and it was just running -- those guys were running each other really, really hard, especially down the straightaways, just side drafting one another and slowing each other down. That was the easiest time for me to gain time, just being able for me to run my own race right there and to run around the top. I finally got my momentum going and got a little bit of the tight that was in the car out of it, and we ran those guys down, and then was able to pass them there in three and four before the big wreck ensued.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. slipped past the two wrecking cars also to finish in second place behind Kyle. Joey managed to slide his wrecked car across the line in third place. Carl Edwards and Kurt Busch rounded out the top five in fourth and fifth place respectively. Get the complete race results for the Auto Club 400 HERE.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s second place finish was enough to move him up to the lead in the point standings. Brad Keselowski slipped back to second place by 12 points. Jimmie Johnson was able to stand pat in third place in the points while Carl Edwards jumped up four places to fourth in the standings. Greg Biffle holds steady to round out the top five. See the complete NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings HERE.
The drivers will get this week off for Easter. The next time the Sprint Cup series hits the track they will be short trackin’ again. The STP Gas Booster 500 will take place at Martinsville Speedway Sunday, April 7th.
By: Buck Stevens
(Feature photo credit: NASCARmedia.com/284217Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)