Kyle Busch was the fastest for most of the day but he would have finished third if Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano didn't knocked each other off the race track on the final lap of Sunday's Auto Club 400, allowing Kyle Busch to steal the win and earned his first victory of the season when he sped past Hamlin and Logano on the final turn.
Logano eventually hit the outside wall at Fontana and managed to finish third, while Hamlin never made it to the line after hitting the inside wall with force.
Tony Stewart made all the right moves Sunday at Auto Club Speedway, and the last one proved decisive in taking the three-time champion to Victory Lane in the rain-shortened Auto Club 400.
The victory is the 46th in Stewart's phenomenal career and it was his second career triumph at Auto Club Speedway.
Kyle Busch, who stayed out with Stewart, finished second, with Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards completing the top five.
Denny Hamlin, who started the race at the pole position, finished 11th.
Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Jimmy John Chevrolet) claimed his first victory at Auto Club Speedway in a stellar finish at Sunday’s Auto Club 400 before an announced crowd of 88,000, the Speedway’s largest since 2006.
Despite early rain and overcast skies throughout the day, Southern California race fans turned out en masse to watch California natives Harvick of Bakersfield and Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet) of El Cajon battle in a fight to the finish.
Harvick overtook the No. 48 car on the final lap to win by a margin of .144 seconds. Kyle Busch (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota) led a total of 151 laps during the race and finished in third.
Jimmie Johnson started the "real" NASCAR season where he left off 2009, but the four-time defending Sprint Cup champion apparently has new competition.
Catching a break on a pit stop just before a caution, Johnson held off the resurgent Richard Childress Racing Chevrolets of Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton to win the Auto Club 500. "Fortune came our way," he said after triumphing at Auto Club Speedway, where he earned his first win in May 2002. "Life is good, man."
Johnson's 48th career victory (matching the number on his Hendrick Motorsports Impala) was keyed by the timing that has marked his unprecedented run of titles. He pitted with 26 laps to go as the yellow flew but stayed on the lead lap by exiting the pits ahead of Burton, the leader.
The most recent Auto Club 500 in 2009 ended with Matt Kenseth as the victor.
This win was already Kenseth's second of the year, having also won the season-opening Daytona 500 just one week prior.
Kenseth is only the second driver ever to win the first two races in a season (Jeff Gordon, 1997) and the third driver to win the Daytona 500 and the race immediately following (Cale Yarborough, 1977).
Matt Kenseth also, took the victory in 2006 and 2007, Greg Biffle in 2005, and Jeff Gordon in 2004.
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