The NASCAR Xfinity Series rolls into Southern California for the TreatMyClot.com 300 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Kyle Busch is looking to win his fourth race in a row, becoming the first winner of four races in a row in 33 years. A total of 42 cars have entered into the race, with only 40 positions available. Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, Kevin Harvick, Austin Dillon, Kyle Larson, and Aric Almirola will perform double-duty this weekend by racing in the NASCAR Xfinity and Sprint Cup Series.
Auto Club Speedway is a two-mile D-shaped oval located in Fontana, California. The track is 75 feet wide with a 15 feet banking. All the turns are banked at 14 degrees. The frontstretch is banked at 11 degrees, and is 3100 feet in length. The backstretch is banked at three degrees, and is 2500 feet in length. The TreatMyClots.com 300 is 150 laps.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series has competed at Auto Club Speedway for 26 races. Erik Jones, driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, is the youngest NASCAR Xfinity Pole Sitter at Auto Club Speedway. Tony Stewart holds the qualifying record at Auto Club Speedway at 185.941 mph set in February 2005. Kevin Harvick is the defending race winner.
Last years race at Auto Club Speedway say 13 lead changes among eight drivers, three cautions for 12 laps, 17 drivers finish on the lead lap, and a margin of victory of 3.317 seconds.
Drivers are excited about returning to Auto Club Speedway.
Ryan Reed, driver of the No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, alongside two crew members, are excited to be racing in front of a hometown crowd this weekend. “It’s cool that I share a history of attending races at Auto Club with members of my team,” said Reed, in a press release. “Memories of watching my dad race here growing up are really special to me and it really means a lot to him that I’m following in his footsteps. I know it would mean a lot to all of us if we could get a win here and I would love nothing more than to do that this weekend.”
In a press release, Elliott Sadler has set his expectations high. “It’s the last week of the West Coast swing and we have high expectations for this weekend. We have a nice top-10 streak going and our cars have a lot of speed. We’re going to keep working hard to get our OneMain Chevrolet into Victory Lane.”
Jeb Burton is hoping to repeat the success he had at Atlanta Motor Speedway at Auto Club. "I'm excited to race at Auto Club Speedway this weekend. We ran really well a few weeks ago in Atlanta. Hopefully, we can repeat that at another intermediate track this weekend. For the amount of time we have been together as a team, I am very proud of what we have done so far. We missed it a little last week, but I'm confident Drew (Blickensderfer) and the guys will get me a fast Ford Mustang this weekend. Drew has some good success here, so hopefully, we can add to that this weekend."
NASCAR Xfinity Series Points leader, Daniel Suarez, is excited about the challenges in Fontana. "I'm excited to race at Auto Club Speedway this weekend. We ran really well a few weeks ago in Atlanta. Hopefully, we can repeat that at another intermediate track this weekend. For the amount of time we have been together as a team, I am very proud of what we have done so far. We missed it a little last week, but I'm confident Drew (Blickensderfer) and the guys will get me a fast Ford Mustang this weekend. Drew has some good success here, so hopefully, we can add to that this weekend."
Going into the TreatMyClot.com 300, Daniel Suarez has an eight point lead over Elliott Sadler in the Driver Standings.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will hit Auto Club Speedway for their first on-track activities at 3 pm Eastern on Fox Sports 1.
Friday, March 18
3 p.m., NASCAR Xfinity Series practice, FS1
5:30 p.m., NASCAR Xfinity Series final practice, FS1
Saturday March 19
5:30 a.m., NASCAR Xfinity practice (re-air), FS1
Noon, NASCAR Xfinity Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FS1
3:30 p.m., NASCAR RaceDay: Xfinity, FS1
4 p.m., NASCAR Xfinity Series 300, FS1
The Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 was no match for Las Vegas, Nev. native Kyle Busch as he and his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates continued their hot streak. The driver of the No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota led 175 of 200 laps to capture his 79th NASCAR Xfinity Series win. He now has three straight victories in the series.
In a Toyota post-race press release, Busch explained that he doesn't really know why he's been successful on the Arizona mile. "It's just a knack for this place," he said. "We've been off a little bit on the Cup side for years but here we seem to be a lot better. Last year, we improved a lot. I can't say enough about Chris Gayle (crew chief) and everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing. We didn't sit on the pole but our teammates did."
Busch mentioned that his teammates did indeed give him a run for his money. "They were obviously really fast and made me run hard all day long," he said. "There was nothing left in this car. Instead of having to go back to the shop and freshen her a little bit, they're going to have to rebuild."
Busch is known for whipping the entire Xfinity field week after week but he believes it helps him on Sundays. "It's fun to come here and participate," said Busch. I learn a lot and I do that for a reason in order to try and make myself better on Sundays and hopefully it helps."
Pole-sitter Erik Jones took home a second-place finish aboard his No. 20 Reser's Fine Foods Toyota. He now has three top-10 finishes so far this season. Jones managed to lead five laps over 200 miles throughout the afternoon. Jones explained, also in the Toyota press release, how he came up short. "I thought we were just as good as them (No. 18 team) if not better and started to work underneath him (Busch)," Jones explained. "Then with the pit stop, we lost some ground coming off pit road and after that I was too tight and he started to run away. Just lost too much ground but overall a good day for the Reser's Camry."
After Phoenix, Daniel Suarez is still the Series points leader by eight points over Elliott Sadler. The driver of the No. 19 Juniper Networks Toyota earned his second top10 finish in four races with today's third place finish. Like Jones, Suarez explained his day. "In the second part of the race, maybe I got stuck a little bit in traffic and I was trying to be over-agressive to make my way back to the front," said Suarez. "After that, the car was al little bit too tight. I just need to keep working and minimizing my mistakes and try again next week."
Next week, the Xfinity Series heads to Auto Club Speedway. Race coverage begins at 12:30 PM PT (track time), 3:30 PM ET on FS1, MRN and Sirius XM Channel 90.
Here are the final results:
- Kyle Busch
- Erik Jones
- Daniel Suarez
- Justin Allgaier
- Chase Elliott
- Ty Dillon
- Austin Dillon
- Elliott Sadler
- Brad Keselowski
- Brennan Poole
Current points leader Daniel Suarez led round one with a lap time of 26.318, and a speed of 134.489 MPH. The driver of the No. 19 Juniper Networks Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing also finished second in two of the three practices held yesterday afternoon. He'll make his third top‐10 start in three races in the 'Valley Of the Sun'.
The second and third rounds were led by top‐ranked Sunoco Rookie driver Erik Jones, who would later grab the pole in the final round. This marks the 19 year old's first pole in four starts at Phoenix and his fourth in the Xfinity Series in 30 races. A teammate of Suarez, the driver of the No. 20 Resers Fine Foods Toyota posted a time of 26.507, a speed of 135.813 MPH. Jones also led the first two practice sessions on the one‐mile Arizona oval a day ago. To top it off, Jones was the fastest qualifying rookie.
While JGR claimed the top‐three starting positions, like they did a week ago in Vegas, hot on their heels is Ty Dillon. The driver of the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing will start fourth. He posted a time and speed of 26.588, 135.399 MPH to secure his spot.
The 200‐lap race will roll off later this afternoon at 12:30 PM MT (track time), 2:30 PM ET. FOX (local), MRN and Sirius XM Channel 90 have the coverage.
Here's how the qualifying rounds stacked up:
1. Daniel Suarez
2. Erik Jones
3. Chase Elliott
1. Erik Jones
2. Kyle Busch
3. Darrell Wallace Jr.
1. Erik Jones
2. Daniel Suarez
3. Kyle Busch
Top 10 Starters
1. Erik Jones
2. Daniel Suarez
3. Kyle Busch
4. Ty Dillon
5. Chase Elliott
6. Austin Dillon
7. Brad Keselowski
8. Brandon Jones
9. Darrell Wallace Jr.
10. Justin Allgaier
There are 42 drivers on the entry list for race No. 4 of the NASCAR Xfinity Series, the 12th Annual Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200. at Phoenix International Raceway. Four are racing double-duty - the Xfinity race on Saturday and the Sprint Cup series race on Sunday. After the qualifying session, two will be eliminated and 40 will start the 200-lap, 200-mile race on the mile-long Arizona speedway.
Joey Logano is last year's race winner but he will be in the TV booth to help call the action. Brad Keselowski will pilot the defending winner's No. 22 Discount Tire Ford for Penske Racing. Logano went to Victory Lane by leading 26 out of 200 laps. Keselowski has made 17 Xfinity starts at Phoenix, with one win and 10 top-five finishes.
Joining Keselowski for double duty are three other NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers. Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott and Austin Dillon are all former series champions.
Ones To Watch
Like last week, let's focus on just the Xfinity favorites:
- After his secondplace finish last week in Las Vegas, Daniel Suarez currently holds the championship lead in the Xfinity Series. The driver of the No. 19 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing is just three points ahead of Elliott Sadler. According to loop data, Suarez has made two Phoenix starts, posting one topfive and an average finish of 7.5.
- Elliott Sadler will make his 15th start on the desert track, winning this race back in 2012. The driver of the No. 1 One Main Chevrolet for JR Motorsports also boasts four top fives, seven top 10's and an average finish on 12.4 at Phoenix.
- Erik Jones gained four point positions in the standings and currently sits 7th. Despite an early pit road penalty, the driver of the No. 20 Reaser Fine Foods Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing finished third last week in Vegas. At Phoenix, Jones has made three Xfinity starts and posted two topfives. His current average finish is 4.7.
- Spencer Gallagher comes over from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series to make his Xfinity debut. He is driving the No. 21 Kingman/Allegiant Chevrolet for GMS Racing. This also marks the first start for the race team.
- JJ Yeley is a Phoenix native. The driver of the No. 14 Toyota for Tri-Star Motorsports will be making is 13th series start on his home turf. He has three top 10s and an average of 19.4 at Phoenix.
Coverage of the threeround group qualifying session begins tomorrow morning at 9:45 AM MT (track time), 11:45 AM ET on FS1. Switch over to local FOX, MRN or Sirius XM Channel 90 for the race starting at 12:30 PM MT, 2:30 PM ET.
The last few laps proved to be a nailbiter for Busch. "We were worried about fuel, but more so, we were worried about (Daniel) Suarez," he said in the Toyota post-race press release. "He was on me there at the end, he was really, really fast. He was faster than us when he got a clean track. Everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing prepares some really fast Camrys and this one was the best.”
Suarez took over the NASCAR Xfinity points lead with his second-place run in the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota. Erik Jones suffered an early pit road penalty but he rebounded back to a third-place finish in the No. 20 Interstate Batteries Toyota.
Suarez did his best to run down Busch but in the end, he came up short. "It took me too much time to figure out how to be fast with a loose race car in traffic," Suarez said in a FS1 post-race interview. "I'm super proud of Joe Gibbs Racing. The car was one of the fastest all day long."
There was not enough time for Justin Marks to make a split-second decision when he was involved in an incident with Cody Ware and Darrell Wallace Jr. that brought out a red flag at lap 137. " I'm fine. When a car spins out and stays up at the wall like that it makes everybody's decision pretty easy but when that car starts sliding down the race track off the wall, we have to make a decision pretty quick," Marks said in a PRN interview after the wreck. "It was a matter of luck. The 16 and 98 barely got through as one went high and one went low. Darrell went low and got into it and I went high and got into it."
Wallace Jr. suffered heavy damage when he clipped the No. 25 Chevrolet of Marks. “It's just unfortunate", he said in a post-crash Ford release. "We were making gains on our Ford Mustang all day and getting it better and better. By the time I slowed down, it just jumped out from under me. Just unfortunate circumstances."
Next week, the Series heads to Phoenix International Raceway. The race is scheduled to start at 12:30 PM MT (track time), 2:30 PM ET on FOX, MRN and Sirius XM Channel 90.
1. Kyle Busch
2. Daniel Suarez
3. Erik Jones
4. Chase Elliott
5. Austin Dillon
6. Brandon Jones
7. Ty Dillon
8. Elliott Sadler
9. Justin Allgaier
10. Brendan Gaughan