This Week in Auto Racing March 21 – 22

Fontana, CA ( – The NASCAR Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series
conclude its three-week West Coast swing at Auto Club Speedway.


Sprint Cup Series

Auto Club 400 – Auto Cub Speedway – Fontana, California

This weekend, Kevin Harvick is hoping to accomplish something that he has
never done before in his Sprint Cup Series career — win three races in a row.

Harvick, the defending Sprint Cup champion, is 2-0 in NASCAR’s three-week West
Coast swing. He’ll aim for the trifecta on Sunday at his home track, Auto Club
Speedway. The Bakersfield, California native has never won three consecutive
races during his 15-year career in NASCAR’s premier series.

When Harvick and his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet team headed to Las
Vegas earlier this month for the start of the West Coast tour, they never
imagined completing it with a sweep. They have one more race to go to do it.

“We never talk about stuff like that,” Harvick said. “We don’t talk about
things we’ve done. We always talk about the things we do wrong, and we talk
about the things we need to do differently. It’s never really anything about
last week. It’s always about next week and the things we have to do to try to
be prepared when we come to the racetrack.”

Perhaps they should have a broom on hand at this two-mile Southern California
track on Sunday afternoon.

Harvick has one win and nine top-10 finishes in 21 Sprint Cup starts at this
track. His victory here occurred in 2011 when he passed Jimmie Johnson and led
only the final lap.

He finished 36th at Fontana last year, his first season with Stewart-Haas
Racing after spending the past 13 years in the series with Richard Childress

“I know everybody kind of wants to redeem themselves after last year,” Harvick
said. “We ran really well and had two or three flat tires and things didn’t
finish well. But it was a great performance for us all in all.”

Last weekend, Harvick won at Phoenix for a record-extending seventh time,
including his fourth victory in a row there. He also continued his streak of
finishing either first or second to seven races, dating back to last season.
Not since Richard Petty in 1975 has a driver in the series finished in the
top-two in seven or more consecutive races.

What’s been Harvick’s secret to success?

“I think that just comes down to the guys on my race team and everybody at
Stewart-Haas Racing for just bringing really good cars to the racetrack,” he
said. “Particularly the No. 4 team and being able to capitalize and manage the
weekends, races, and keeping the cars together, as well as doing all the
things it takes to just make laps and keep yourself in contention.

“Just really proud of everybody on my team for everything they have done.
Hopefully, we can keep it rolling. We will try to ride the wave as long as we

After California, the series heads back east to Martinsville (March 29) and
then Texas (April 11) followed by Bristol (April 19) and Richmond (April 25).
Harvick has finished in the top-two at each one of those tracks in the past.

No driver in Sprint Cup has won three or more consecutive races since 2007
when Johnson claimed four victories in a row during the championship Chase
(Martinsville, Atlanta, Texas and Phoenix).

Johnson, who hails from nearby El Cajon, California, holds the record for most
wins at Fontana with five. His most recent victory here happened in February

Kyle Busch has won the Sprint Cup race at this track the past two years. Busch
continues to be sidelined due to a fractured right leg and left foot he
sustained during an accident in the Feb. 21 Xfinity Series race at Daytona.
David Ragan has been substituting for him in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing

Forty-five teams are on the entry list for the Auto Club 400.

Xfinity Series 300 – Auto Cub Speedway – Fontana, California

The Xfinity Series is set to run its fifth race of the season on Saturday at
Auto Club Speedway.

One year ago, Kyle Larson became a first-time race winner in NASCAR’s second-
tier series after holding off Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch in the closing laps
at Auto Club Speedway. Larson’s maiden Xfinity win came in his 38th start. He
had finished second five times in the series before capturing his first

Larson’s hometown is Elk Grove, California, a suburb of Sacramento. This is
his second full season competing in the Sprint Cup Series, driving the No. 42
Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing. He has yet to win a race in NASCAR’s top
racing circuit.

This year, Larson is running a limited Xfinity schedule for HScott Motorsports
with Chip Ganassi. He is sharing driving duties with Brennan Poole in the No.
42 car. Poole has driven the car in the past two races, finishing ninth at Las
Vegas and 26th at Phoenix.

“Auto Club (Speedway) has a lot of meaning to me because I won my first career
Xfinity Series race there,” Larson said. “It’s also nice to return to my home
state to race. Auto Club is a very fast, multiple-groove track. The more
grooves there are, the better it is for us as drivers, and it puts on a great
show for the fans.

“Qualifying (on Saturday) will be important because the race usually has long
green-flag runs. Brennan did a great job the last few weeks, and I am very
excited to be back behind the wheel of the ENEOS (team sponsor) Chevy.”

Larson finished sixth in the 2013 Xfinity race at ACS. He was a rookie in the
series at the time. Larson is one of six Sprint Cup regulars scheduled to
compete in Saturday’s Xfinity event here. Austin Dillon, Kevin Harvick, Denny
Hamlin, Sam Hornish Jr. and Brad Keselowski are the others.

Ty Dillon enters this race with a 14-point lead over Chris Buescher and a 22-
point advantage over Ryan Reed. Chase Elliott, the defending Xfinity champion,
trails by 25.

Forty teams are on the entry list for the 300.