Race Recap for the Auto Club 400
Date: March 26, 2017
Event: Auto Club 400 (Round 5 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California (2-mile oval)
Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (60 laps/60 laps/80 laps)
Start/Finish: 9th/8th (Running, completed 202 of 202 laps)
Point Standing: 10th (136 points, 107 out of first)
Race Winner: Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing in overtime (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):
● Kyle Busch started 9th, finished 5th.
● Busch battled a tight-handling condition on exit throughout Stage 1.
● The Interstate Batteries driver raced as high as fifth by lap 38.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):
● Started 4th, finished 7th.
● After ending Stage 1 in the fifth spot, Busch’s Interstate Batteries crew gained a position on pit road during the caution period, allowing Busch to start Stage 2 in fourth.
● Busch was able to gain a position on the Stage 2 restart, racing his Toyota Camry up to third.
● Busch pitted under green-flag conditions on lap 91, reversing the changes made during the previous stop during the Stage 1 caution period to help the front end and left-rear handling issues.
● Seventeen cars ended Stage 2 on the lead lap.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 121-200):
● Started 6th, finished 8th.
● The Interstate Batteries crew gained a position on pit road during the Stage 2 caution period, restarting sixth on lap 127.
● Busch continued to work through the tight-handling condition that plagued his short-run handling during the race.
● Several teams chose to employ a two-stop strategy from lap 159 to the end, if the race was to go green the entire time, whereas crew chief Adam Stevens opted to attempt a one-stop strategy, electing to pit later in the fuel window.
● Busch restarted second on lap 189 after Stevens made the call for the Interstate Batteries team not to pit.
● The final stage went to overtime, and Busch ultimately finished eighth.
● Busch led one time for seven laps.
● Twenty-three drivers finished on the lead lap.
● The race went two laps beyond its scheduled 200-lap distance via a green-white-checkered finish.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
“Our Interstate Batteries Camry was good on long runs, but we struggled in traffic and on the short run. Ultimately the cautions at the end of the race really hurt us since we couldn’t quite get free enough on all of those restarts. We won the Martinsville race last spring, so I’m looking forward to getting back there and try and get another win.”
Team Interstate Results:
● Daniel Suarez (Finished 7th / Running, completed 202 of 202 laps)
● Kyle Busch (Finished 8th/ Running, completed 202 of 202 laps)
● Denny Hamlin (Finished 14th/ Running, completed 202 of 202 laps)
● Matt Kenseth (Finished 36th / Accident, completed 184 of 202 laps)
Next Up: The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the STP 500 on Sunday, April 2 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1.