The first NASCAR Cup Series race at the Auto Club Speedway was won by California born driver Jeff Gordon. Can the last one be won by a native of the Golden State too? Hailing from Elk Grove, California, Kyle Larson returns to his home state to defend his last season NASCAR Cup Series win at Auto Club Speedway, located in Fontana, California about 420 miles south of Larson’s hometown.
Larson is looking to become just the third different driver to win back-to-back victories at Auto Club Speedway; joining Jimmie Johnson (2009-2010) and Kyle Busch (2013-2014).
If Larson were to win this weekend, he would extend Hendrick Motorsport’s all-time record for the most NASCAR Cup Series wins at Auto Club Speedway to 13 victories. Larson is one of five Hendrick drivers to win at Auto Club Speedway – 12 victories – Jeff Gordon (1997, 1999, 2004), Kyle Busch (2005), Jimmie Johnson (2002, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2016), Alex Bowman (2020), Kyle Larson (2022).
Larson has made eight career starts at Auto Club Speedway posting one pole, two wins and four top fives. His average finish at Fontana is 13.0. He also has four Top-2 finishes in seven career Fontana tries including another win in 2017 and a runner-up a year later. In five Xfinity Series starts on the track, he has a pair of wins and a top 8 finish in each.
At Fontana’s sister track in Michigan, Larson has three top eight finishes in as many tries too including a pair of top threes to total 8 top 8 finishes in 8 combined tries.
On the Cup level at Michigan, Larson has three wins including each consecutively between the summer race of 2016 and his 2017 sweep. He was third there in 2021 and seventh last season.
In his third season at HMS, Larson had found victory lane by the fifth race in each of the first two years.
Joey Logano back on top of Cup point standings just like he ended 2022
Team Penske’s Joey Logano finished the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season as the champion on top of the point standings and following the season-opener of 2023 at Daytona, the 32-year-old finds himself back atop the points right where he left off. Following Daytona, Logano holds a two point lead over RFK Racing’s Chris Buescher in second.
Logano, finished a close second to Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the 2023 DAYTONA 500 earning 42 points on the day, but the Connecticut native managed to win the Duel he was in last week, and in doing so earned an additional 10 points to catapult him to the standings lead heading to Auto Club Speedway.
Logano will look to keep the early season success flowing this weekend at Auto Club Speedway where he has made 15 series career starts, posting seven top fives and eight top 10s. He finished fifth in the NASCAR Cup Series Auto Club Speedway race last season.
Harvick to make 750th consecutive NASCAR Cup Series career start this weekend
Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick will reach a career milestone this weekend, as he will be making his 750th consecutive NASCAR Cup Series career start at Auto Club Speedway, becoming just the third different driver to accomplish the feat.
Kevin Harvick is ranked third on the NASCAR Cup Series all-time consecutive starts list, behind only Jeff Gordon with 797 consecutive Cup starts from 1992-2015 and Ricky Rudd with 788 consecutive Cup starts from 1981-2005. Harvick’s streak of consecutive starts began on April 21, 2002 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Harvick has made 28 series career starts at Auto Club Speedway posting one win (2011), seven top fives and 14 top 10s.
Among active drivers, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. has the next longest active streak of consecutive starts in the NASCAR Cup Series behind Kevin Harvick with 613.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. earns infamy with DAYTONA 500 win, plus a trip to the Playoffs
No bigger race to win than the DAYTONA 500 and JTG Daugherty Racing’s Ricky Stenhouse Jr. found this out firsthand on Sunday and the following days. Not only did Stenhouse grab his third victory of his career snapping a 199-race winless streak, but also secured his spot in the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs – which will be his first appearance in the postseason since 2017.
Now, the Olive Branch, Mississippi native, Stenhouse, heads to Auto Club Speedway looking to become the sixth different driver to win the first two races of a NASCAR Cup Series season; joining Marvin Panch in 1957 (Lancaster, Concord), Bob Welborn in 1959 (Daytona, Champion), David Pearson in 1976 (Riverside, Daytona), Jeff Gordon in 1997 (Daytona, Rockingham) and Matt Kenseth (Daytona, Auto Club). Stenhouse has made nine career starts at Auto Club Speedway posting one top five and two top 10s. His average finish of the 2-mile track is a 17.5.