FONTANA, CA. – The west coast swing continues this week as the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Auto Club Speedway for the third race of the season.
After picking up the win last Sunday in Las Vegas, Joey Logano, is headed to California with a little bit of momentum. Last season Logano followed up his Vegas win with a second-place finish at Auto Club Speedway. Logano has 13 career starts at Fontana with six top fives and seven top tens. Although a win has escaped Logano here, he does have an average finish of 13th with a driver rating of 90.4.
Defending series champion hasn’t had a great start to his season. Kyle Busch suffered from engine troubles and finished 34th in the season opening Daytona 500 and never quite got on track and finished 15th last week at Las Vegas. Last year at Fontana Busch picked up the victory for his fourth win at the two-mile track. Busch also has 10 top fives, 15 top tens, with a driver rating of 111.5.
The resident master of Auto Club Speedway is Jimmie Johnson and he leads all active drivers with six career wins, 13 top fives, 17 top tens, an incredible average finish of 7.4 and a series best driver rating 114.0. Johnson should be encouraged heading into the race this weekend after a fifth-place finish last week at Las Vegas, his first top five since Daytona last summer. Even though his last win came in 2017, the improvement of the Chevrolet’s this season could lead to an end of the winless streak for the No. 48 team this weekend.
The point standings, after Las Vegas, show Ryan Blaney is the points leader followed by Joey Logano in second, Kevin Harvick in third, Kyle Larson fourth and rounding out the top five is Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. Reigning series champion, Kyle Busch, is in 27th place.
Ryan Newman continues to improve as he recovers from a head injury suffered in the last lap crash at Daytona. Newman returned to the Roush Fenway shop on Monday to a standing ovation from the crew. No word on when Newman will return to the driver’s seat of the No. 6 Ford Mustang, for now, Ross Chastain will fill in for Newman for the second race. Chastain finished 27th last week at Las Vegas.