In 2005, Kyle Busch scored his first NASCAR Cup Series victory at Auto Club Speedway in a Chevrolet. Nearly two decades later, having returned to the manufacturer, he is once again in Auto Club’s Victory Lane.
Running just his second points race for Richard Childress Racing, Busch led the final twenty laps and held off his new Chevrolet colleagues Chase Elliott and Trackhouse Racing Team to score the Pala Casino 400 victory. Busch started mid-pack but reached the front before passing Michael McDowell, who was on older tyres, for the lead on lap 180.
RCR team-mate Austin Dillon finished ninth to complete a solid day for the two-car outfit. Chevrolets dominated the affair with Camaros occupying the top four and Trackhouse’s Ross Chastain leading the most laps with ninety-one.
With his win, Busch surpassed Richard Petty for the most consecutive Cup seasons with at least one win at nineteen.
“I felt like there was going to be a little bit of a learning experience, a little bit of a growth pattern, but also on the flip side of that, I always just kind of looked back and watched some of their results and success that they had last year with Austin,” said Busch. “He ran second here last year, and (Tyler) Reddick was super, super fast. They were fast at the Clash before they broke, the #8 car was.
“It’s just been really, really cool. We’re making history, but a great piece of opportunity to go out there and continue to win races at a new team with RCR, so I can’’t say enough about Austin giving me a call, first and foremost, but then Richard and (wife) Judy giving me this opportunity to go out here and race for wins.”
Conversely, Busch’s old coworkers at Toyota struggled with bad luck with only Denny Hamlin finishing in the top ten. His ex-Joe Gibbs Racing team-mate Christopher Bell led the first lap but was caught in a massive wreck on lap 88 triggered by a stack-up coming to the restart that also collected Reddick, Aric Almirola, Ty Dillon, Ryan Blaney, Todd Gilliland, Ryan Preece, and Cody Ware. On the other hand, JGR’s Martin Truex Jr. placed eleventh after being two laps down for an equipment interference penalty.
Busch is the final Cup winner on Auto Club Speedway’s two-mile configuration before the track is changed into a short track by 2025. Fontana will be removed from the 2024 calendar to accommodate renovations. Busch has five Cup victories at Fontana including Sunday, along with six in the Xfinity Series and two in the Craftsman Truck Series; amusingly, his first memory of the track was when he was booted from the 2000 Truck race, which was sponsored by Marlboro, due to being underage.
“We’ve had five wins, including today, so just a great time at California Speedway,” he continued. “There’s a few in there that I missed out on, but I think it was also here where I was the first person to win two NASCAR races in the same day, Xfinity race and a Truck Series race if I’m not mistaken. Yeah, this place has had a lot of great memories.”
|1||21||8||Kyle Busch||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||200||Running|
|2||33||9||Chase Elliott||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||200||Running|
|3||8||1||Ross Chastain||Trackhouse Racing Team||Chevrolet||200||Running|
|4||7||99||Daniel Suárez||Trackhouse Racing Team||Chevrolet||200||Running|
|5||10||4||Kevin Harvick||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||200||Running|
|6||13||11||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||200||Running|
|7||16||6||Brad Keselowski||RFK Racing||Ford||200||Running|
|8||4||48||Alex Bowman||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||200||Running|
|9||28||3||Austin Dillon||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||200||Running|
|10||3||22||Joey Logano||Team Penske||Ford||200||Running|
|11||14||19||Martin Truex Jr.||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||200||Running|
|12||2||47||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||JTG Daugherty Racing||Chevrolet||200||Running|
|13||5||17||Chris Buescher||RFK Racing||Ford||200||Running|
|14||12||7||Corey LaJoie||Spire Motorsports||Chevrolet||200||Running|
|15||24||21||Harrison Burton||Wood Brothers Racing||Ford||200||Running|
|16||23||54||Ty Gibbs||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||200||Running|
|17||25||38||Todd Gilliland||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||200||Running|
|18||26||34||Michael McDowell||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||200||Running|
|19||34||43||Erik Jones||Legacy Motor Club||Chevrolet||200||Running|
|20||31||14||Chase Briscoe||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||200||Running|
|21||29||31||Justin Haley||Kaulig Racing||Chevrolet||199||Running|
|22||20||42||Noah Gragson||Legacy Motor Club||Chevrolet||199||Running|
|23||22||15||J.J. Yeley||Rick Ware Racing||Ford||199||Running|
|24||30||78||B.J. McLeod||Live Fast Motorsports||Chevrolet||199||Running|
|25||32||24||William Byron||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||198||Running|
|26||9||12||Ryan Blaney||Team Penske||Ford||196||Running|
|27||11||51||Cody Ware||Rick Ware Racing||Ford||195||Running|
|28||19||2||Austin Cindric||Team Penske||Ford||194||Running|
|29||15||5||Kyle Larson||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||185||Running|
|30||18||23||Bubba Wallace||23XI Racing||Toyota||172||Engine|
|31||36||77||Ty Dillon||Spire Motorsports||Chevrolet||140||Engine|
|32||1||20||Christopher Bell||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||88||Accident|
|33||27||41||Ryan Preece||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||87||Accident|
|34||35||45||Tyler Reddick||23XI Racing||Toyota||87||Accident|
|35||17||10||Aric Almirola||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||86||Accident|
|36||6||16||A.J. Allmendinger||Kaulig Racing||Chevrolet||75||Accident|