Kyle Busch wins in second start for RCR

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.”

Race results

Finish Start Number Driver Team Manufacturer Laps Status
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
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year