Kyle Larson Back in Victory Lane at Auto Club
- Author: Zachary Reyes Mar 28, 2017,
Mar 28, 2017, 5:48
"The drivers always claim it's exciting, but they're not watching the races. but most of the race was a bore-fest". After the postrace news conference, crew chief Chad Johnston was told to smile and he responded with a "check with me after Homestead" quip. But not any more.
But the breakthrough occurred Sunday where Larson gave Ganassi the chance to use his favorite hashtag by winning at Auto Club Speedway, a race which saw Larson lead 110 of a possible 202 laps and showcase his growing maturity in keeping his composure through a series of late restarts that negated the advantage he held. "It's big and wide and it suites my style". The defending Fontana champion didn't have time to prepare his backup auto after crashing in practice. "Now it's the California stripe".
Haulers from all 40 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams will join the parade and fans are encouraged to line along the route to cheer for their favorites. Penske, who recently turned 80, celebrated his team's 50th anniversary a year ago. "It's just a matter of how long it's going to take". Haas Automation is headquartered in Oxnard and Busch has traveled up the coast in the past before Sunday's race to visit with Haas employees. "Everybody said, What is it this year?" "Our race cars are really fast in Xfinity and Cup, so it's a blast to show up to the race track every week". Sometimes you make the right calls, sometimes you don't.
More raw speed helps a lot. In retrospect that first win and the subsequent way he closed out last season was just a preview of what was to come. "Right now it's in the best shape it's been".
If you missed any of Sunday's race, you can get the full results from the Auto Club 400 here.
Larson quickly got back up to second behind Truex when the race restarted, but after a green-flag cycle of stops halfway through the stage, Larson was third behind Truex and Clint Bowyer. "Now all heck breaks loose". What an awesome race track.
The drivers now consider it their favorite track.
Joey Logano, who started the day 35 on the starting grid, kept gaining ground all afternoon to finish fifth. "But it was just so much fun". So, of course you want to do well. There is everything here. It is the best race track. "In the past I had racetracks where I knew I'd be good, but now we're going to some racetracks that aren't great for me and running well".
NASCAR had been missing from Southern California for a decade with the closures of Riverside International Raceway and then Ontario Motor Speedway in the 1980s. In stock vehicle racing, less predictable is more effective.
When Larson was coming up through the ranks there were times when being heralded as the next Gordon or Stewart seemed like hyperbole, not a standard of excellence that he was capable of meeting.
"Our cars are really good at every race track right now", Larson said.
Automobile racing isn't an easy sport to predict. We got TV. It took a long time to get it out of the South. I don't think I've ever been mad enough that I have ever wanted to punch somebody, mainly probably because I'm scared that I am the one that is going to get beat up.
Michigan, at the time owned by Penske, was built 30 years earlier.
"This is something we've looked at doing for a long time", Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell said. "We have a little more banking and more apron".
It's twice the size of the track at Phoenix, has higher banking in the turns and frontstretch and it will be cooler during the race on Sunday than it was at Phoenix.