By: Becca Cottingham
Headline Photo Credit: Gantdaily.com
The Mencs Auto Club 400 started off with some great racing on the track. The battle for the lead went back and forth for the first several laps. They finally started to settle down after the lead went back and forth between Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola, and Kyle Busch. Kevin Harvick started off strong and then dropped off bee The field did decide it would be best to split the first stage and started pitting around lap 30.
Cars were going three and four wide around the track creating tons of excitement. Once things started settling down a little bit, Kyle Busch was able to pull away from the pack some and keep his lead even as they went through pit stops. There were two small issues with Brad Keselowski scrapping the wall and then Ricky Stenhouse Jr. getting lose and causing problems prior to the end of stage one.
We entered stage two with a very dominant Kyle Busch. He fell back the first couple of laps as Kyle’s speed and overall performance comes with the longer runs. The longer his car is running at full speed the better he seemed to have gotten. The restart for the second stage we truly got a look at what a spotter has to do for a race like the Auto Club. There is no such thing as a slow race, but when cars are going three and four wide your spotter is key to ensure that you are on the right path. Green flag pit stops went over well during stage two except for Bubba Wallace. He was to fast on pit road and had to do a pass-through penalty.
Stage three came with Kyle Busch having to go to the back of the pack due to a pit road penalty. He was also to fast on pit road and since they were under caution he had to go to the back. This for most drivers would cause problems but Kyle Busch was the car to beat all day. He showed this as he made his way back through the field in the final eighty laps of the race. I’m sure the caution for Bubba Wallace’s tire also helped him too. In the end, Kyle Busch was able to show why he is a talented driver. When he took the checkered flag at Auto Club he also claimed win two hundred across all three series.
March 24: Martinsville @ 2pm