Kyle Busch takes Stage 1 win following last-lap wreck

Kyle Busch took a big step toward his 200th NASCAR victory with his Stage 1 win at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday.

Kyle Busch takes Stage 1 win following last-lap wreck

Busch went from fourth to first on a one-lap restart before a caution was displayed for a multi-car wreck that erupted behind him.

Denny Hamlin ended up second, Joey Logano third, Kevin Harvick fourth and Aric Almirola completed the top-five.

Also collecting stage points were Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones, Jimmie Johnson, Daniel Hemric and Ryan Blaney.

Among the cars receiving damage in the last-lap incident were Ricky Stenhouse Jr., William Byron, Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Newman and Kyle Larson.

Austin Dillon started on the pole but Hamlin went three-wide to lead Lap 1. Over the next three laps, first Dillon and then Almirola made their way to the front.

Ten laps into the stage, Almirola held a small advantage over Hamlin with Kyle Busch running in third.

One lap later, Hamlin got around Almirola to re-take the lead. On Lap 12, Kyle Busch moved into the runner-up position.

By the next lap, Kyle Busch got a draft to get around Hamlin to take the lead for the first time in the race.

 

With 40 laps to go in the first stage, Kyle Busch moved out to a nearly 2-second lead over Hamlin. Almirola was third and Austin Dillon fourth.

On Lap 26, Ryan Blaney was the first to make a green-flag pit stop, hoping to get his handling corrected for the remainder of the stage. He was followed quickly by Harvick and Keselowski.

Kyle Busch made his stop from the lead on Lap 30.

Once the cycle of green-flag stops was completed on Lap 36, Busch was back out in the lead, followed by Hamlin and Almirola.

After the stops, Clint Bowyer continued to complain about a smell in his No. 14 Ford and was worried his engine might not last much longer.

With 20 laps remaining in the first stage, Kyle Busch had built up more than a 3.5-second lead over Hamlin. They were followed by Almirola and Logano.

With 10 laps to go, Hamlin had gained some ground on Kyle Busch and Almirola remained about nine seconds behind the lead in third.

With four laps remaining in the stage, a caution was displayed when smoke poured from Austin Dillon’s No. 3 Chevrolet after he tagged the wall and developed a flat right-rear tire.

Many lead-lap cars elected to pit, but Hamlin elected not to pit and remained on the track and inherited the lead. On the restart with one lap to go in the stage, Hamlin was followed by Stenhouse and Bowyer.

Front Row Motorsports teammates Michael McDowell in the No. 34 Ford and Matt Tifft in the No. 36 Ford started the race from the rear of the field. McDowell failed pre-race inspection twice and Tifft changed engines.

McDowell also had his race engineer ejected from the track for the rest of the weekend and will serve a 15-minute practice hold next weekend at Martinsville, Va.

Saturday’s Xfinity Series race winner, Cole Custer, remained on standby in the No. 3 team’s pit in case he was needed to substitute for Austin Dillon, who was experiencing flu-like symptoms Sunday.

shares
comments
Austin Dillon has speed, now needs to overcome "mistakes"

Previous article

Austin Dillon has speed, now needs to overcome "mistakes"

Next article

Kyle Busch dominates second stage at Fontana

Kyle Busch dominates second stage at Fontana
Load comments

About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Fontana
Author Jim Utter
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 13, 2021
Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption Prime

Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a chance of redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Effectively replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith...

NASCAR Cup
Feb 11, 2021
Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon Prime

Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon

In this exclusive one-on-one interview, Roger Penske reveals the inner drive that has made him not only a hugely successful team owner and businessman but also the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. He spoke to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Dec 28, 2020
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Prime

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future…

NASCAR Cup
Nov 18, 2020
Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture Prime

Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture

“You can’t hear me? Hey n*****” Those fateful words uttered by Kyle Larson, spoken into his esports headset on April 12, were directed at his sim racing spotter – but instead they quickly became amplified around the world via social media, including his own Twitch stream.

NASCAR Cup
Oct 29, 2020