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NASCAR Cup: Kyle Larson wins in home state

By AMANDA VINCENT


The NASCAR Cup Series’ return to Auto Club Speedway after not visiting the track in Fontana, Calif., last year because of the COCID-19 pandemic culminated in a win by a California native — reigning Cup Series champion Kyle Larson.


“It’s always fun here to win in the home state,” Larson said. “Hard work all weekend there. Didn’t feel great in practice yesterday.”

Larson started in the back after his team worked on the car’s ignition before the race. He took the lead from Joey Logano on lap 167 and led most of the remainder of the 200-lap race.


“Cliff (Daniels, crew chief) and everybody made some good adjustments overnight, and the car handled a lot better,” Larson said. “There were definitely some guys that were quicker than us, but they had their misfortunes. Just kept our heads in it all day. Long race. Just restarts were crazy. The whole runs were crazy. “Definitely wild but cool to get a win here in California and hopefully get on a little streak.”


Larson made contact with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott, resulting in an Elliott spend that put the race under caution for the 12th and final time with nine laps to go.


Daniel Suarez led one of the remaining laps before Larson took his final lead with two laps to go. Suarez fell back to fourth by the checkered flag, capping off a Chevrolet sweep of the top-four positions. Austin Dillon and Erik Jones finished second and third, respectively.


Joey Logano rounded out the top-five after challenging Larson for the lead after the final restart. Logano also started in the back as a result of repairs to his car because of a qualifying crash Saturday.


“The guys did a great job of getting the car fixed after I wrecked in qualifying, and we were fast right off the get-go,” Logano said. “We were okay. The short runs weren’t really our cup of tea with our Auto Club Mustang, here. We had a shot there at the end though going down the backstretch two-wide, and I thought it was my chance. It was a low percentage move and it was kind of too late down the straightaway to make the move, but I thought I had a big enough run that I could maybe get position going in. It was just too late, and I couldn’t get my amigo Daniel Suarez, there, to get far enough back on my quarter. He was on my door, and I had to start chasing it. I don’t know. I probably could have finished second or third if I didn’t make that move, but you have to go for the win. We were so close. I probably would do it again but maybe checked up the entry a little bit anticipating him washing up into Larson. But, hey, I tried.”

Tyler Reddick led a race-high 90 laps, more laps than he had led in his career up to Sunday’s race.  But a flat tire sent him into the wall on lap 152, and William Byron’s car got loose and slid up into Reddick’s already wrecked car.


Reddick dominated and won the first 65-lap stage after taking the lead from Jones on lap 11. Reddick lost the lead briefly to Elliott Elliott on lap 23, but Reddick retook the lead on lap 35, three laps before Elliott spun and brought out the second caution. 

Elliott was the second former champion to struggle early. Kyle Busch spun on lap 15, bringing out the first caution. He was, then, on pit road for an overheating issue when the yellow flag waved for Elliott.


Two of Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammates, Denny Hamlin and Christopher Bell, also struggled with an overheating issue in the race. Hamlin was on pit road when the yellow flag came out when Bell spun on lap 91.


Reddick claimed a second stage win on lap 130.

After previous race leader William Byron suffered a slow pit stop during a caution for Chris Buescher on lap 111, Reddick retook the lead while Byron restarted 17th.


Byron had taken the lead from Reddick on lap 100.


Chase Briscoe also led during stage two, taking the lead from Reddick, with a push from Larson, soon after the race returned to green to start the stage. Reddick retook the lead, though, when he was the first off pit road during the Bell caution.

Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Aric Almirola and Kevin Harvick finished sixth and seventh, respectively. Kurt Busch was eighth, Daniel Hemric ninth and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 10th.


Below, are the results of the Wise Power 400:

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Posted by on February 28, 2022. Filed under Breaking News,Cup Series,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.