Here we are at the third and final leg of the West Coast tour, ending it with the Auto Club 400 at Fontana. The first two were something to remember as far as wild weather and close finishes were concerned. Shouldn’t be no issue with weather this time, but closer finishes are more welcome. The track record set by Kyle Busch in 2007 at Auto Club Speedway fell three times during qualifying, and Denny Hamlin ended up with it at 38.194 seconds. The pole however went to Austin Dillon at 38.20 seconds, becoming the fourth different driver and scoring his second career pole.
Kevin Harvick won here in 2011 and was one of the three to break the track record in round one. Harvick starts in the front row in second and Hamlin third. Dillon’s teammate Ryan Newman qualified fourth, tying his best start of the season as he also looks for his first top 10 finish. Carl Edwards won here in 2008 and will start fifth. Edwards was beat out by Harvick last week by .001 in Phoenix last week.
Three time winner Kyle Busch looks for his fifth straight top 10 as he rolls off sixth. Trevor Bayne gets his second top 10 start in seventh as he too looks for his first top 10 finish. Chase Elliott gets his second top 10 start in eighth as he tries to earn his third top 10 in five races.
Joey Logano starts ninth for the second straight week. Jamie McMurray gets to start 10th as he looks for his first top 10 finish of the season. Between McMurray and Kyle Larson, Larson is the only driver with a top 10 finish this season.
Even with bad starting spots this Sunday, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr are helping promote the new Batman vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice movie coming out March 25. Johnson has the Superman paint scheme and Dale with Batman. Johnson has won at Fontana five times and will need more than superpowers to get number six.
Junior on the other hand doesn’t make it out of round one for the second straight week, but it hasn’t stopped him scoring a top 10 finish the last three races. Brad Keselowski is the defending champion starting in 15th.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Bryan Law