Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 American Ethanol Chevrolet, poses for a photo after winning the Coors Light Pole Award during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 18, 2016 in Fontana, California.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400
Auto Club Speedway Distance: 400 miles (200 laps)
Sunday, March 20 3:30 p.m. ET TV: FOX, 3 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
NASCAR XFINITY Series TreatMyClot.com 300 by Janssen
Auto Club Speedway Distance: 300 miles (150 laps)
Saturday, March 19 4 p.m. ET TV: FS1, 3:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Alpha Energy Solutions 250
Martinsville Speedway Distance: 131.5 miles (250 laps)
Saturday, April 2 2:30 p.m. ET TV: FS1, 2 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM Ch. 90
NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
Car 3 Austin Dillon American Ethanol Chevrolet won the Coors Light Pole Award for the 20th Annual Auto Club 400 with a lap of 38.200 seconds, 188.482 mph. This is Dillon’s 2nd pole in 90 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races & this is his 1st pole and 3rd Top 10 start in 2016. This is also his 1st pole in 3 races at Auto Club Speedway. 2nd Place Car 4 Kevin Harvick Jimmy John’s Chevrolet with a lap of 38.231 & speed of 188.329. Kevin Harvick posted his 4th Top 10 start of 2016 and his eighth in 23 races at Auto Club Speedway. 3rd Place Car 11 Denny Hamlin Sport Clips Toyota with a lap of 38.372 & speed 187.637. Denny Hamlin posted his 9th Top 10 start at Auto Club Speedway & it is his 3rd in 5 races this season. 8th Place Car 24 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet with a lap of 38.545 & speed 186.795 was the fastest qualifying rookie.
Team Penske racing team is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, announced the construction of Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California on April 20, 1994. The track was completed in 1996 and NASCAR held its first test session there from May 5-7, 1997. A month later the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series held its first race at the two-mile oval on June 22, which was won by California native Jeff Gordon. Overall, Penske has won two Sprint Cup races at Auto Club with drivers Brad Keselowski (2015) and Rusty Wallace (2001).
NASCAR Origins: Track Record-Holder Johnson Returns To Site Of First Win
It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No. It’s Jimmie Johnson.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series active wins leader heads to his home track of Auto Club Speedway – the site of his first victory – decked out in a Superman firesuit and paint scheme. And Johnson is the undeniable “Man of Steel” at the two-mile track. He ranks first all-time at Auto Club in wins (5), top fives (12), top 10s (15), average finish (6.4), average running position (6.0), driver rating (119.4) and laps led (955).
The No. 48 Chevrolet driver is sporting the Superman paint scheme to promote the upcoming Warner Brothers film “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
If Jimmie Johnson is Superman, Kevin Harvick can be called The Flash.
Since 2014, Harvick ranks first among all NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers with 4,702 laps led, almost 2,000 more than the next closest driver – Brad Keselowski (2,749). Keselowski is followed by Joey Logano (2,498), Jimmie Johnson (2,014) and Matt Kenseth 1,553. Harvick (surprise) led an event-high 139 laps in last weekend’s Good Sam 500 for his fifth win in the last six races at Phoenix International Raceway. In the process, Harvick edged out Carl Edwards for the win by 0.010 seconds, a margin of victory that ranks tied with four others – including Denny Hamlin’s MOV in this year’s Daytona 500 – as the seventh closest in NASCAR history since the advent of electronic scoring in 1993. Harvick will attempt to win for the second straight weekend in Sunday’s Auto Club 400. In 22 starts at Auto Club, he has recorded one win, five top fives, 10 top 10s and a 96.8 driver rating. The No. 4 Chevrolet driver finished second there last season after leading 34 laps.
Busch A Blockbuster Hit At Auto Club
Betting on Kyle Busch to win at Auto Club is probably a good idea.
The No. 18 driver won the 2013 and 2014 races at the Southern California oval before missing last year’s due to injury. In his 2011 and 2012 starts there, he finished third and second, respectively. Busch boasts three wins, eight top fives (47.1%) and 12 top 10s in 17 Auto Club starts. Among active drivers, he ranks second at the two-mile track in average running position (8.9) and driver rating (110.0). Auto Club brings back some nostalgia for “Rowdy.” In 2005 there, Busch became the youngest pole winner in series history (19 years, 9 months, 23 days) in advance of his eighth career start. Seven months later, Busch returned to Auto Club where he set the record for youngest race winner in series history (20 years, 4 months, 4 days). Joey Logano has since broken both marks. Still winless this season, Busch has produced a top-five finish in his last eight starts.
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES
Suárez Extends Standings Lead On Way To California
Following the second installment of the #NASCARGoesWest part of the XFINITY Series schedule, Daniel Suárez now finds himself with an eight-point lead over second-place Elliott Sadler. Suárez is honing his skills and has been quite impressive in the first four races of the season, posting two top fives and four top 10s, including a third-place finish this past weekend at Phoenix. Not only is Suárez racking up strong finishes, he is producing hefty loop data statistics. He hasn’t posted a driver rating less than 100 points this season and his average running position is 5.3. Suárez is also one of only five drivers this season to complete 100 percent of the laps scheduled thus far.
The 24-year-old Joe Gibbs Racing driver heads to California this weekend for the TreatMyClot.com 300 at Auto Club Speedway (4 p.m. ET on FS1). The young driver made his series track debut at Auto Club Speedway last season, starting 13th and finishing ninth.
Much of Suarez’s success can be attributed to his relationship with crew chief Scott Graves. Graves came to Joe Gibbs Racing this season following a 2015 campaign in which he led driver Chris Buescher and Roush Fenway Racing to a series title. Graves and Buescher finished fifth in this event last season.
Top Five In Points Are Well Represented By JRM and RCR
Joe Gibb Racing currently holds the top spot in the NASCAR XFINITY Series standings with driver Daniel Suarez, but the rest of the top five is made up of drivers from JR Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing.
In second is JR Motorsports driver Elliott Sadler (-8). Sadler held the points lead for the first two races of the season, but dropped to second following Las Vegas. Sadler’s consistency has been his advantage. In four starts this season, he has posted one top five and four top 10s. His average finish in 2016 is 7.3. Sadler has made 11 starts at Auto Club, posting three top fives and seven top 10s.
Third is occupied by Richard Childress Racing’s Ty Dillon (-9). Dillon’s season started slow with a 13th-place finish at Daytona, but has since picked up, finishing the subsequent three races with a top five and two top 10s. Dillon has two starts at Auto Club, posting one top 10 and an average finish of 11.0.
Fourth currently belongs to veteran Justin Allgaier (-12), who joined JR Motorsports this season. In four starts this year, Allgaier has posted one top five and three top 10s. Allgaier has made seven series starts at Auto Club posting two top 10s and an average finish of 14.6.
Rounding out the top five in points is Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate / Richard Childress Racing driver Brandon Jones (-15).
Jones kicked the season off with a top-10 finish at Daytona and has run consistently ever since. His average finish this season is a 9.8. This weekend will be Jones’ series track debut.
Erik Jones A Serious Contender This Season
Erik Jones is looking to become the fourth driver to win a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and a NASCAR XFINITY Series title, joining Greg Biffle, Johnny Benson and Austin Dillon. Despite Jones’ hiccup to open the season at Daytona, he has been the best championship contender since then, posting three top fives and sitting sixth in the series standings, just 18 points behind his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Daniel Suárez.
In the last three races (Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix), Jones hasn’t started worse than second and hasn’t finished worse than third. His average finish in the last three races is 2.7. In the process, Jones has jumped from 22nd to sixth in championship points.
Jones heads to California this weekend to continue his streak of top-three finishes he has going this season. In his series debut at Auto Club Speedway last year, he won the pole and finished third.
Starting Line Up by Row Auto Club Speedway 20th Annual Auto Club 400
Provided by NASCAR Statistics – Fri, March 18, 2016 @ 05:55 PM Pacific
Driver Date Time Speed
Track Race Record: Tony Stewart 03/25/12 01:36:39 160.166
Position Car Driver Team Time Speed mph
1. Car 3 Austin Dillon American Ethanol Chevrolet 38.200 188.482
2. Car 4 Kevin Harvick Jimmy John’s Chevrolet 38.231 188.329
3. Car 11 Denny Hamlin Sport Clips Toyota 38.372 187.637
4. Car 31 Ryan Newman Caterpillar Chevrolet 38.446 187.276
5. Car 19 Carl Edwards Subway Toyota 38.457 187.222
6. Car 18 Kyle Busch M&M’s 75 Toyota 38.459 187.212
7. Car 6 Trevor Bayne AdvoCare Ford 38.520 186.916
8. Car 24 Chase Elliott # NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 38.545 186.795
9. Car 22 Joey Logano AAA Southern California Ford 38.594 186.557
10. Car 1 Jamie McMurray McDonald’s Chevrolet 38.638 186.345
11. Car 47 AJ Allmendinger Food4Less/Scott Products Chevrolet 38.775 185.687
12. Car 5 Kasey Kahne Farmers Insurance Chevrolet 38.371 187.642
13. Car 27 Paul Menard FVP/Menards Chevrolet 38.401 187.495
14. Car 21 Ryan Blaney # Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford 38.404 187.480
15. Car 2 Brad Keselowski Wurth Ford 38.455 187.232
16. Car 34 Chris Buescher # Love’s Travel Stops Ford 38.471 187.154
17. Car 78 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Toyota 38.497 187.028
18. Car 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Fastenal Ford 38.600 186.528
19. Car 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet 38.648 186.297
20. Car 20 Matt Kenseth DeWalt Toyota 38.654 186.268
21. Car 44 Brian Scott # Albertsons Co/White Tail Ford 38.673 186.176
22. Car 16 Greg Biffle Ford EcoBoost Ford 38.694 186.075
23. Car 13 Casey Mears GEICO Chevrolet 38.757 185.773
24. Car 14 Brian Vickers Jnssn Arnie’s Army Chrtble Fndtn Chevrolet 38.797 185.581
25. Car 43 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 38.627 186.398
26. Car 41 Kurt Busch Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevrolet 38.690 186.095
27. Car 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Nationwide/Batman Chevrolet 38.693 186.080
28. Car 7 Regan Smith AIPAC Chevrolet 38.773 185.696
29. Car 15 Clint Bowyer Visine Chevrolet 38.785 185.639
30. Car 95 Michael McDowell WRL General Contractors Chevrolet 38.817 185.486
31. Car 10 Danica Patrick TaxAct Chevrolet 38.898 185.099
32. Car 42 Kyle Larson Target Chevrolet 38.921 184.990
33. Car 83 Matt DiBenedetto Cosmo Motors Toyota 39.001 184.611
34. Car 38 Landon Cassill MDS Transport Ford 39.091 184.186
35. Car 23 David Ragan Dr Pepper Toyota 39.333 183.052
36. Car 98 Cole Whitt Rinnai Tankless Water Heaters Chevrolet 39.485 182.348
37. Car 30 Josh Wise SBC Contractors Chevrolet 39.571 181.951
38. Car 46 Michael Annett Pilot Flying J Chevrolet 39.865 180.610
39. Car 32 Jeffrey Earnhardt # Can-Am Ford 39.908 180.415
Did Not Qualify: None.
Manufacturer Starting Lineup DNQs
Chevrolet 21 0, Toyota 7 0, Ford 11 0
Starting Line Up by Row unless a team make an engine change, unauthorised modifications, engine change or switch to back-up car
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series
Graphics & Photos Courtesy of NASCAR