New team, new manufacturer, no problem.
Two-time NASCAR Cup champion Kyle Busch secured his 61st career premier series victory on Sunday evening and his fifth Cup win at Auto Club Speedway.
Busch lit the silly season world on fire this past offseason after it was announced he would be departing longtime team Joe Gibbs Racing after 15 years in favor of a new ride at Richard Childress Racing.
More notably, this race marked the final event for the Cup Series on the two-mile configuration at Auto Club. The track is expected to return to the schedule in an unspecified number of years as a short track.
Busch battled Ross Chastain, who won the first two stages, for a majority of the afternoon before a late-race pit stop separated him from Chastain and Chase Elliott, who entered the battle late.
After a rainy Saturday, practice and qualifying were washed out leaving Christopher Bell on pole based off of NASCAR’s formula. A competition caution was added at lap 15.
Defending race winner Kyle Larson had issues before the planned yellow, pitting with an electrical malfunction early and falling several laps down.
Brad Keselowski had an early spin on lap 42 following contact with Corey LaJoie. During the pit cycle, Kyle Busch was penalized for speeding.
AJ Allmendinger was the first retiree of the race, crashing as a result of a stack-up on the backstretch on lap 75.
Corey LaJoie, who had been involved in both prior incidents spun on lap 81 of the nose of Tyler Reddick’s Toyota.
The ensuing restart saw a 10-car pieup, the largest in Fontana’s Cup history. A check-up by the leaders in the newly expanded Restart Zone resulted in Ty Dillon, Christopher Bell, Ryan Blaney and others spinning.
Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Aric Almirola and Ryan Preece were knocked out of the race due to damage.
The final caution for incident occured on lap 141 after Ty Dillon’s engine expired and he stalled on track.
Bubba Wallace experienced engine issues late, but made it to the pits before the yellow flag came out.
When it was all said and done, Kyle Busch recovered from the pit penalty to capture his first win with RCR.
The west coast swing carries on next weekend at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which happens to be Busch’s home track.
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