Auto Club Speedway Results 2017 – Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series – March 26, 2017
Today, NASCAR unloaded in California. The series will spark their way around the old worn out surface of Auto Club Speedway. A 2 mile oval race track in Fontana, CA, last paved in 1997. The stars are here, including the 2009 F1 champion, Jenson Button.
Didn’t want to watch a 3 hour race? This is the race report for you. A live, spoiler free report. The winner won’t be mentioned until the end. View the full 2017 Auto Club Speedway results sheet below.
Kyle Larson is your pole sitter. He leads Denny Hamlin to the green flag. Jimmie Johnson wrecked in practice, sat out in qualifying, he starts last. 60 laps in the first segment, another 60 in segment two. The final segment is 80 laps.
Green Flag on Stage 1. They’ve almost crashed! Before the start finish line. Denny Hamlin, on the inside, gets a big push from Brad Keselowski. Denny is sideways across the line. Brad Keselowski backs way out of it, he’s in the middle, getting swallowed by the field. I’m not sure how that wasn’t a 20 car pileup. Keselowski has rear bumper damage from Ryan Newman in the stackup.
Everyone continues, Kyle Larson leads the field into turn 1. They are 3 and 4 wide in the middle of the field. Low air pressure has the sparks flying.
Lap 4, Brad Keselowski has spun. He slides through the grass, exits in the infield with minimal splitter damage. The #2 was testing his damaged car, light on the throttle.
Jimmie Johnson, who started last was climbing through the field at full speed. They met on track, a conflict between on-it and off-it, Johnson bumps Keselowski. Johnson radio, “I don’t think I hit him very hard, but I did touch him. I’m sorry.”
Lap 15 of 60, Kyle Larson leads by 2 seconds over Martin Truex Jr. Chase Elliott runs 3rd. 5 of the top 7, age 26 or younger. Several cars are riding around with tape on the nose or bumper. The lap 1 stack-up put dents in a lot of cars. Repairs were made during the lap 4 pitstop.
35 to go, Kevin Harvick has a flat tire. No caution, the Stewart-Haas Racing machine will be making a green flag pit stop. Meanwhile, Jimmie Johnson made contact with another driver, he smells smoke from inside the cockpit.
28 to go, green flag pitstops have begun. Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr are in the pits. Chase Elliott is the new leader. 25 to go, the pit stop cycle has been completed, Martin Truex Jr is the new leader. Martin Truex Jr was a full second quicker through the entire pit stop cycle, including in and out laps, not just the pit stop.
13 to go, Martin Truex Jr and Kyle Larson are racing through lapped traffic for the stage win. Larson just gained 3 tenths in one lap. Slide job, he takes the lead!
7 to go, Stewart-Haas Racing is struggling today. Clint Bowyer is the only team car on the lead lap. Kurt Busch, Danica Patrick and Kevin Harvick are all laps down. Bowyer is running 6th. Every winner from 2017, except Truex is also a lap down.
2 to go, Danica Patrick nearly spun. She got into the back of Michael McDowell, it sent her to the infield. No caution, Kyle Larson continues to lead. Truex is a half second behind Larson.
Kyle Larson wins stage 1!
Stage 1 Results – Auto Club Speedway: 1) Kyle Larson; 2) Martin Truex Jr; 3) Chase Elliott; 4) Jamie McMurray; 5) Kyle Busch; 6) Clint Bowyer; 7) Joey Logano; 8) Erik Jones; 9) Ryan Blaney; 10) Denny Hamlin.
Kevin Harvick enters a closed pits, on purpose. He has more damage to repair. 18 cars on the lead lap, Brad Keselowski will get the free pass. The field hits pit road. Kyle Larson slides through his box. Martin Truex Jr exits the pits as the leader, Larson exits in 5th. Austin Dillon and Ryan Blaney suffer pit stop penalties.
Jeff Gordon asks Kyle Larson about his lane at the bottom, “We started catching traffic. I had to go down there to pass a lapper. It felt really good and I gained ground to the 78. So I just kept committing at it to get by him and hit that stage win.”
Green flag on stage 2. In 60 laps we’ll have another stage winner. Clean restart, Martin Truex Jr leads the field into turn 1. Kyle Larson heads to the top, in 1 lap he’s back in 3rd. He dives to the inside of McMurray on lap 2. It took just two laps for Kyle Larson to grab 2nd. Truex is a full second ahead of everyone.
Kasey Kahne and Ricky Stenhouse Jr make contact off turn 4. Slight contact, Kasey is on the radio, “The bumps really effect me. It’s hard to hit the bumps under throttle and not go a certain direction.” Meanwhile, Michael McDowell has a flat tire, he’s in the wall. No caution, green flag pit stop for the #95.
35 laps to go in stage 2. Chase Elliott gets by Kyle Larson for 2nd. Martin Truex Jr continues to pull away from everyone.
30 to go, Kasey Kahne makes contact with the wall, his car is evil. Kahne continues, no caution. The race leader and everyone else in the top 5 hits pit road, green flag stops. Pit stop cycle complete, Truex continues to lead, now by 5 seconds. Clint Bowyer is now running 2nd, passing two cars in the cycle. Larson passes Elliott on track for 3rd.
20 to go, 19 cars are on the lead lap. Rookie Erik Jones has just placed himself inside the top 5. In search of his best MENCS finish ever. Brad Keselowski has rebounded, with tape all over the rear bumper, he runs 11th.
Kyle Larson slipped passed Clint Bowyer. Now, Chase Elliott is putting pressure on Boywer. Meanwhile, Martin Truex Jr and team are discussing a fuel strategy, planning ahead.
5 to go, the sun is out, the track is changing. It isn’t effecting Martin Truex Jr, he now leads by nearly 10 seconds.
Final lap, Chase Elliott is looking to the inside of Clint Bowyer. Martin Truex Jr is in his own zip code.
Martin Truex Jr wins stage 2!
Stage 2 Results – Auto Club Speedway: 1) Martin Truex Jr; 2) Kyle Larson; 3) Chase Elliott; 4) Clint Bowyer; 5) Erik Jones; 6) Jamie McMurray; 7) Kyle Busch; 8) Joey Logano; 9) Denny Hamlin; 10) Brad Keselowski.
17 cars on the lead lap. The field hits pit road. Erik Jones loses two spots on pit road.
Stage 2 winner knows the race isn’t over, “It ain’t over yet. Anything can happen. Got a long way to go.”
Green flag on the final stage, 80 laps to the finish. Kyle Larson spins his tires on the inside line. Martin Truex Jr leads the field into turn 1. Kyle Larson throws it deep on corner entry. He slides in front of Truex to take the lead. 3 wide behind them.
57 laps to the finish, Joe Gibbs Racing has surfaced. Kyle Busch is running 6th. The outside pole sitter, Denny Hamlin runs 7th. Matt Kenseth is the other Gibbs car inside the top 10, he runs 9th.
50 to go, teams are discussing tire wear. This will likely be a longer run than all the previous runs. Kyle Larson is in the lead by 2 seconds, perhaps he didn’t get the message.
Meanwhile, Team Penske takes a gamble with a 2 stop strategy, Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski are the first on pitroad. Many other drivers mirror the plan; Dale Earnhardt Jr, Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott, Clint Bowyer and more.
45 to go, Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr hit pitroad. The strategy has changed for both. Jimmie Johnson has spun entering the pits. He stomped the brake to let truex slide by in the pits, he nearly passed his pit stall. He pulled into his box at 90 degrees, has to reverse to exit his box.
41 to go, Kyle Larson side drafts Chase Elliott. They nearly touch down the front straight away. Larson takes 3rd. 1 lap later, Martin Truex Jr slides passed Elliott as well.
39 to go, Kyle Busch is the leader by 23 seconds over Ty Dillon. He’s losing 2 seconds per lap. Kyle hits pit road. Ty Dillon is the new leader. Truex has caught Larson on track.
36 to go, Kyle Larson passes Ty Dillon, just as Dillon hits pit road. Dillon needed a caution, he didn’t get it.
25 to go, Larson leads by a full second.
21 to go, Joey Logano is in the pits. Caution. Gray Gaulding is in the wall. A blown tire put him in the wall. This changes everything.
The field hits pitroad. Larson resumes as the leader. Bad stop for Truex, he lost 5 positions. Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth both pick up 4 spots, they took 4 tires. Denny Hamlin comes out 2nd. Kyle Busch is 3rd.
Green with 16 laps to go. Denny Hamlin dives to take the lead, he slips. Kyle Larson takes it back on the high side. Matt Kenseth spins, he hits the inside wall hard. Martin Truex Jr clipped Kenseth on corner exit. Kenseth was trying to leave roon on the outside, they were 3 wide. Truex radio, “We got together in a bad spot I guess.”
11 to go, green flag. Kyle Larson leads Kyle Busch off turn 2. Martin Truex Jr is on fire. 5 wide behind them. Denny Hamlin gets around Kyle Busch for 2nd. Martin Truex Jr also slips by, he’s now in 3rd.
9 to go, caution. Corey Lajoie spins. Kyle Larson pits. Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr and Jamie McMurray stay out. New tires will win this race. Kyle Larson is first off pitroad. Pit road penalty to Erik Jones.
5 to go, Larson restarts 4th. Larson looks to the outside. He’s passed Truex. Denny Hamlin blocks the top, Larson low. He takes the lead. Ricky Stenhouse Jr spins off the front bumper of Trevor Bayne, caution. It will be GWC finish at Auto Club Speedway. Chase Elliott pits, 15+ stay out.
Green. Martin Truex Jr dives inside Larson. He slips, Clint Bowyer drives by. Larson is gone. Brad Keselowski runs 2nd. Denny Hamlin is in the wall coming to the line.
Kyle Larson, the California kid wins at Auto Club Speedway! It’s his second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory.
Kyle Larson speaks from victory lane on late race cautions, “I was staying as calm as I could be. But also frustrated at the same time.”
He continued to say he’d been watching TV this week. He heard people saying, “He didn’t know how to win.” Well, today he did.
Brad Keselowski climbs from his machine. While looking at the car, “This things torn to pieces!”
Author: Shane Walters
2017 Auto Club Speedway Results
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
March 26, 2017
1) Kyle Larson
2) Brad Keselowski
3) Clint Bowyer
4) Martin Truex Jr
5) Joey Logano
6) Jamie McMurray
7) Daniel Suarez
8) Kyle Busch
9) Ryan Blaney
10) Chase Elliott
11) Austin Dillon
12) Erik Jones
13) Kevin Harvick
14) Denny Hamlin
15) Ryan Newman
16) Dale Earnhardt Jr
17) AJ Allmendinger
18) Ty Dillon
19) Aric Almirola
20) Kasey Kahne
21) Jimmie Johnson
22) Ricky Stenhouse Jr
23) Trevor Bayne
24) Kurt Busch
25) Chris Buescher
26) Danica Patrick
27) Landon Cassill
28) Paul Menard
29) Matt DiBenedetto
30) Corey LaJoie
31) David Ragan
32) Cole Whitt
33) Michael McDowell
34) Reed Sorenson
35) Timmy Hill
36) Matt Kenseth
37) Gray Gaulding
38) Derrike Cope
39) Jeffrey Earnhardt