Event: Auto Club 400 (Round 5 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California (2-mile oval)
Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (60 laps/60 laps/80 laps)
Start/Finish: 20th/13th (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Point Standing: 18th (105 points, 132 out of first)
Race Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):
● Daniel Suárez started Stage 1 from the 20th position and ended the stage seventh to earn four stage points.
● On the first lap Suárez was able to work his way up to 11th position, and by lap three he was in eighth.
● The first caution of the race came out on lap 57, just before the end of the Stage 1 break, and the Mexican native pitted for fuel, four tires and adjustments to help with his car’s tight condition.
● In the one-lap shootout to end the stage, the Haas driver maneuvered his way to seventh.
● Suárez didn’t make a pit stop during the Stage 1 break and began Stage 2 in fifth.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):
● The No. 41 driver started Stage 2 in fifth and completed it in 11th.
● The entirety of the stage ran under the green flag, but Suárez did complete one scheduled green-flag stop on lap 91 for fuel, four tires and adjustments to help with his tight-handling condition.
● The 27-year-old returned to the track under green and completed the stage in 11th.
● During the Stage 2 break, Suárez pitted for fuel, four tires and adjustments and began the final stage in 14th.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 121-200):
● The Mexico native began the final stage in 14th and concluded it in 13th.
● On the first green-flag lap of the final stage, Suárez powered his way up to eighth. As the run ran long, he slipped back to 13th.
● By lap 144 he was back up to the 11th spot.
● On lap 160 Suárez made a scheduled green-flag pit stop from 11th for fuel and four tires. Shortly after the stop, the caution came out and forced Suárez and multiple competitors to take the wave-around.
● He restarted 15th on lap 169 and worked his up to 13th, where he ultimately finished the race.
● Suárez earned his second top-15 of the season and his second top-15 in three career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Auto Club Speedway.
● Suárez finished seventh in Stage 1 to earn four bonus points.
● Kyle Busch won the Auto Club 400 to score his 53rd career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his fourth at Auto Club Speedway. His margin of victory over second-place Joey Logano was 2.354 seconds.
● This was Busch’s milestone 200th victory across the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (53 wins), Xfinity Series (94 wins) and Gander Outdoors Truck Series (53 wins).
● There were four caution periods for a total of 22 laps.
● Twenty-one of the 38 drivers in the Auto Club 400 finished on the lead lap.
● Busch leaves Auto Club Speedway as the championship leader with a 15-point advantage over second-place Logano.
Daniel Suárez, Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“We had another good Haas Automation Mustang this weekend. We have a few things we have to clean up as a team with pit road, etc., but we had a good car. We had a top-10 car and we showed that at some points, but we’re still learning each other and we’ll get better and better the longer we work with each other.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Martinsville 500 on Sunday, March 24 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1.