The Auto Club 400 (Complete Results HERE) was a race characterized by tire issues, but it provided some breathtaking moments. Since NASCAR this year allowed the teams to increase the camber of the wheels, the tires wore out much faster and above all, the bumps on the racetrack gave life to a long list of blown tires. In the end, Kyle Busch took the lead on a Green-White-Checkered and was able to edge out a super-fast Larson and go to Victory Lane leading only five laps of the race.
The race started with Matt Kenseth sitting on the pole but he soon lost the lead in favour of Brad Keselowski. We then witnessed a long series of lead changes, both because of battles on track and because of pitstops during the many cautions. While the Goodyear tire massacre took the scene, involving drivers like Harvick, Stewart, Biffle, Earnhardt Jr, Bowyer and Patrick, Jimmie Johnson got into the lead and started setting his pace.
The only driver able to sustain Johnson’s pace turned out to be Jeff Gordon who soon started to close in on him, making the fans hope to see a fight for the win in the last few laps. But then the unpredictable happened and Johnson blew a tire too leaving Gordon with the victory in his hands. With two laps to go he was still leading with a good advantage on the rest of the field when Clint Bowyer had a tire go down and spun in turn four, bringing out another caution.
When the green flag flew again the situation was completely different: Landon Cassil chose not to pit and found himself in the lead; the front row was completed by Kurt Busch, followed by Stewart, Kenseth and Kyle Busch. Cassill did not last for long in the first spot and was passed by many drivers, Kyle Busch along with Larson overtook Stewart and Kurt Busch and they went on to finish first and second after a crazy race.
This crazy race proved to be a tough one for many top-level drivers: Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Ricky Stenhouse Jr and Jimmie Johnson were all affected by tire issues and could not get back in the first positions, while Kasey Kahne and Joey Logano were stopped by mechanical failures. On the other side, some drivers could get good finishes also thanks to the problems their opponents had: obviously Kyle Larson, AJ Allmendinger, Danica Parick, Sam Hornish Jr (substituting Denny Hamlin who did not race because of a sinus infection) and Michael Annett obtained a good result.
Next sunday the Sprint cup series will race at Martinsville, with the green flag waving at 1:00 PM ET.