NASCAR Race Review: Auto Club 500


Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. This week’s race review for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series takes us to the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Ca. for the Auto Club 400. This year this is the lone race at this track. And what a great race it turned out to be. Maybe NASCAR should look into having only one race at more tracks.

42 Juan Pablo Montoya starts from the pole with a speed of 184.653 mph and 38.99 seconds. Can he finally win at an oval track? The driver who leads the first lap here has never gone on to win the race. 11 Denny Hamlin sits beside him on the front row.

09 this week is Landon Cassill. 60 is Todd Bodine (NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion). 32 is veteran Ken Schrader. 99 Carl Edwards has six top two finishes in the last six races. Can he keep it up? 18 Kyle Busch swept the weekend last week at Bristol Motor Speedway. He won the Nationwide race here on Saturday. Can he sweep this weekend also? 48 Jimmie Johnson won his first career win at this track and has won four more in the last seven races. Can the five time champ do it again?

There was more rain overnight. Hopefully the “weepers” are taken care of and will not be a problem. (Practice on Friday was delayed to dry them out.) There were twelve drivers who were caught speeding the last race here. That is a sure way to cut your chances of winning. 20 Joey Logano had to change the engine and will start the race from the rear after qualifying third.

So, here we go! 18, 11  and 78 Regan Smith battle for second while 42 leads from the pole. 21 Trevor Bayne slides into the wall. 42 and 11 battle for the lead but 11 can’t clear. 37 Tony Raines is blowing up but he makes it to the garage and there is no caution. 17 Matt Kenseth gets by team mate 6 David Ragan for fourth. 42 and 11 race side by side for the lead and 11 finally takes the lead. 18 gets by 42 for second. 31 Jeff Burton gets by 17 for fourth. 00 David Reutimann, 56 Martin Truex, Jr., 78 and 39 Ryan Newman race each other for position.

11 and 18 battle for the lead, 18 slides through the corner and 11 retains the lead. (How dare Denny not moving over for Kyle. He admonishes Denny for not being a good team mate!). 18 finally takes the lead when he goes high for momentum and then drops low to get by. There is a round of Green Flag Pitting and 48 leads, then pits. 46 J. J. Yeley leads, then runs out of fuel.

56 Martin Truex, Jr. and 83 Brian Vickers race for third with 56 taking the spot. 56 gets by 11 for second. 14 Tony Stewart gets by 83. There is a second round of Green Flag Pitting and 56 takes the lead. 7 Robby Gordon is slow on the track. 14 takes the lead. 31 gets caught speeding.

The first caution comes out for debris, bringing an end to the record laps run under Green. 31 stays on the lead lap. 78 Regan Smith gets back onto the lead lap. 14 stays out and 39 takes two tires to come out of the pits first. 39 takes the lead. 14 holds off 18, and 39 takes off. 18 finally gets by 14 for second. 11 is slow and may be blowing up. 48 and 5 Mark Martin race side by side. 56 drives under 48. 4 Kasey Kahne gets “slideways”. 14 gets back by 18 for second.

34 David Gilliland gets into the wall and the second caution comes out for debris. 11 gets back on the lead lap. They are three wide out of the pits and 18 jumps ahead of them to come out of the pits first. 18 leads and they are three wide for second, and four wide further in the pack. 33 Clint Bowyer brushes the wall. 17 drives under 42. 56 gets around 31. 11 heads for the garage. (He shouldn’t have said “all we do is win!” Lady Luck doesn’t like that.)

48 gets by 17 for fifth. 56 nearly gets into the wall. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. scoots by 56 and 56 gets back by 88. There is another round of Green Flag Pitting. 18 retains the lead after the pitting. 33 and 39 race side by side for seventh. 33 finally clears.

The third caution comes out when 71 Andy Lally gets loose and slides the car all over the track. 09 Landon Cassill gets back onto the lead lap. Out of the pits, it’s 18, 14, 29, 48 and 17 for the top five. 48 gets by 29 for third. They are racing three wide and 88 and 42 drive by on the outside. 21 scrapes the wall again. 48 clears 14 for second.

The fourth caution comes out with fifteen laps to go. 47 Bobby Labonte cuts a tire and slides into the wall. He gets stopped at the top of pit road, so pit road is closed until they can remove the car. The top seven stay out, along with 09. The Green Flag flies with nine laps to go. 18 chooses the outside. 20 passed before he was allowed and gets a penalty. 33 drives between two cars to get by.

18 and 48 race side by side for the lead and 48 takes the lead. 18 gets into the wall and 29 takes second. On the last lap 29 catches 48 and bumps him. 48 moves over and 29 gets by on the outside to take the lead. 29 Kevin Harvick wins the Auto Club 400, taking the lead just before the Finish Line. That was the only lap he led all race. But it was the one lap that counted. There were ten different leaders. Kevin was the fifth different race winner this year in five races.

In my opinion, this race is what NASCAR racing is all about. RACING! And not a whole lot of cautions to slow them down. Or drivers making mistakes and getting into one another. So, was it a boring race because there were no spectacular crashes? I say it was an exciting race with Green Flag Pitting, lots of racing going on all over the track and an exciting last minute pass for the win. Just what this NASCAR fan ordered.

Carl Edwards now leads the points standings with 187 points. Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson round out the top five, all within seventeen points. Harvick jumped six spots into ninth with that win, after blowing up early in the Daytona 500.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. I Love NASCAR.


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One Response to “NASCAR Race Review: Auto Club 500”

  1. Scooter Accidents Says:

    I am really glad that they cut the race to 400 miles. This was by far the best race at the speedway. The amazing finish helped too!

    I too was glad to see there weren’t too many cautions, especially debris cautions. The racing was great and enjoyable to watch. California isn’t the boring race it used to be. I hope the race stays like this for the years to come!

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