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Kyle Busch Takes RCR to Victory Lane in Cali

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Busch cruises to the win in Fontana as Childress back on top

FONTANA – February 26, 2023 – Anthony Holbrook – Bluegrass Sports Nation

The NASCAR Cup Series points race #2 shifts gears to the Auto Club Speedway, (formally California Speedway) Sunday, February 26, 2023  for the Pala Casino 400.

The 2.0 mile, D-shaped oval, offers 14 degree banking each of the four turns with 11 and 3 degree banking for the front and backstretch respectfully.  Though NASCAR events utilize the 2.0 tri-oval; the facility additionally features a drag strip track as well as an infield road course, allowing the track to host multiple racing events. Unfortunately, the completion of race will mark the final lap of an NASCAR Cup event at the Fontana track 2.0 mile track configuration.

While uncustomary wintry elements blanketed the Southern California Auto Club Speedway, Nascar Cup Series Officials were forced to cancel scheduled practice and qualifying.  Ricky Stenhouse Jr. received the nod and Pole Position in accordance of points ranking and 2021 Nascar Cup Series Champ Kyle Larson, odds on favorite, was ready to defend his 2022 event victory. 

Stage 1 Recap: – 2023 Pala Casino 400

Laps: 65 (1-65 / 200)

Stage 1 – Alex Bowman charged to the lead as Daytona 500 winner and pole sitter Ricky Stenhouse Jr. decelerated out of line, back in the pack.”

Nascar Cup Series Officials scheduled a mandatory Competition Caution after lap 15 to inspect track surface and also, allow race teams to conduct necessary car adjustment to coordinate with track conditions.

Ross Chastain’s efficient pit service accelerated the Track House Racing Driver out of pit first and will lead the field to green after Competition Caution.

Brad Keselowski brought out the 3rd caution of the day, courtesy of Corey Lajoie’s Bumper-Horn on lap 42. 

Ross Chastain assumes the post leading the field after caution lifted.

Ross Chastain claimed Stage 1 honors.

Stage 1 Results: – 2023 Pala Casino 400

1. Ross Chastain

2. Ryan Blaney

3. Daniel Suarez

4. Alex Bowman

5. Denny Hamlin

6. Willian Byron

7. Joey Logano

8. Kevin Harvick

9. Martin Truex Jr.

10. Chase Elliott

Stage 2 Recap: – 2023 Pala Casino 400

Laps: 65 (66-130 / 200)

Stage 2 – JGR Driver Denny Hamlin was bump drafted to the lead only to be sharp-shooted by the assailant and steal the lead compliments from the 2022 Nascar Cup Champion Joey Logano on Lap 75. 

An aggressive Tyler Reddick punted Corey LaJoie in Turn 4 bringing out another Caution Flag and a pivotal restart on same lap (75).

Joey Logano bunched the field for the Green Flag Restart initiating a multi-car collision of carnage.  Drivers- Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick, Aric Almirola, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney, Ryan Preece, Justin Haley and many others sustained damage in route to Joey’s error.

After the smoke cleared, Denny Hamlin rotated to the front, only to relinquished his lead to a charging Chastain as 30 laps remained in Stage 2.

Ross Chastain captured to his Second and Stage 2 victory of today’s event.

Stage 2 Results: – 2023 Pala Casino 400

1. Ross Chastain

2. Kyle Busch

3. Joey Logano

4. Kevin Harvick

5. Daniel Suarez

6. Denny Hamlin

7. Chase Elliott

8. Alex Bowman

9. Austin Dillon

10. Brad Keselowski

Final Stage Recap – 2023 Pala Casino 400

Laps: 70 (131-200 / 200)

Stage 3 – Retiring Nascar Cup Champion Kevin Harvick won the race out of the pit on his final Stage at the Auto Club Speedway.

Newly acquired RCR Driver Kyle Busch teamed up with his Chevy Comrades to overtake the lead and set the pace for those to challenge.

Engine issues ended a prosperous day for Ty Dillon as the field is flown under caution with only 60 laps remaining.

Ross Chastain resumed the lead as Kyle Busch’s Chevy was glued to his rear bumper, unfortunately both Drivers’ calculated six laps less of fuel to finish race an require an expedite pit stop.

Kyle Busch and Chastain teamed up for a green flag pit stop as 33 final circuits remainied to decide the victor. Kyle Busch is best of the bowties and leads Ross Chastain out of pit service.

Chase Elliott contested Kyle Busch for the lead only to fall short and fade in the tracks of the eventual race winner as the laps dwindled down.

Kyle Busch pulled away and wins the Pala Casino 400 uncontested.

Kyle Busch checked off his first Victory under new team-owner Richard Childress Racing in his second points event.

Auto Club 400 Results

NASCAR Cup Series

February 26, 2023

Pos | Driver

1. Kyle Busch

2. Chase Elliott

3. Ross Chastain

4. Daniel Suarez

5. Kevin Harvick

6. Denny Hamlin

7. Brad Keselowski

8. Alex Bowman

9. Austin Dillon

10. Joey Logano

11. Martin Truex Jr

12. Ricky Stenhouse Jr

13. Chris Buescher

14. Corey LaJoie

15. Harrison Burton

16. Ty Gibbs

17. Todd Gilliland

18. Michael McDowell

19. Erik Jones

20. Chase Briscoe

21. Justin Haley

22. Noah Gragson

23. JJ Yeley

24. BJ McLeod

25. William Byron

26. Ryan Blaney

27. Cody Ware

28. Austin Cindric

29. Kyle Larson

30. Bubba Wallace

31. Ty Dillon

32. Christopher Bell

33. Ryan Preece

34. Tyler Reddick

35. Aric Almirola

36. AJ Allmendinger

The NASCAR Cup Series continues the West Coast Campaign rolling to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube.

Sunday, March 5th 2023, 3:30 p.m. EST.  

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