Auto Club Recap
The NASCAR Cup Series visited Fontana, California this past weekend for the first time since 2020.
The race was canceled last year due to the ongoing pandemic with many unsure when NASCAR would return to the track and what the shape of the track would be.
Nonetheless, NASCAR had what many would consider a successful weekend in which the Next-gen car showed, once again, why fans should be excited about it.
The race started with a five-wide fan salute, a move that is accustomed to the track. The race ran green for around 14 laps when Kyle Busch brought out the first caution due to a spin-off of turn two.
This was only the beginning of his problems. Most of the beginning of the race was dominated by Tyler Reddick, a driver who excels at tracks like these where you can ride on the top close to the wall.
Chase Elliot tried to challenge Reddick for the lead at this point but was unsuccessful as he hit the wall shortly after taking the lead. Reddick retook the lead and would go on to win stage one, despite a late-stage caution for a Josh Bilicki spin.
The beginning of stage two saw an intense, three-car battle for the lead between Reddick, Kyle Larson, and Chase Briscoe. Reddick eventually would win this battle and continue his dominance.
Stage two also saw the continued demise of Kyle Busch’s day as he had a left rear tire fail, causing him to lose all the position he had gained.
Unfortunately for Joe Gibbs Racing, the issues were not limited to Kyle Busch. In one fell swoop, both Denny Hamlin and Christopher Bell both suffered issues with Bell spinning and Hamlin overheating. Overheating would be a common theme for the JGR cars during the race.
The seventh caution of the day took place when Brad Keselowski, who was still trying to find his footing with his new team, spun from a top-five position, a move that he wouldn’t recover from. While William Byron was able to get around Reddick at around the midpoint of the stage, Reddick was able to get back around to win stage two.
But at the beginning of the final stage, it all fell apart for Reddick. Reddick became the newest driver to be hit with the tire plague on the day when he lost a tire in turn one and was slammed by Byron.
Effectively ending his chances at getting his first cup win and completely ending Byron’s chances for a win. Brad Keselowski’s bad day continued as he once again spun in front of traffic, causing a huge accident that took out several contenders.
As the laps wound down, it looked like the race would come down to a battle between Larson, Elliott and Joey Logano. Larson pulled a controversial move on Elliott going into turn one as he cut off Elliott and put him into the wall, a move that would result in a flat tire and spin for Elliot.
On the restart with just a few laps to go, Larson, Logano and Daniel Suarez battled fiercely for the lead. But in the end, it was Kyle Larson who was able to continue his dominance from last season and win.
Next week NASCAR heads to Las Vegas for a race that will start at 3:30 pm EST.
Ethan Ellis is a first-year student majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
First year /
Ethan Ellis is a first year student at Penn State University. He is from the small town of Rocky Mount in the southern part of Virginia. He is currently majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in sports studies and is work towards becoming and sports announcer for ESPN.