California

Fontana, California: The Auto Club 500 was run at the 2 mile D-shaped oval which is paved with asphalt, has four turns banked at 14 degrees, a front stretch banked at 11 degrees and a back stretch that is relatively flat at 3 degrees. The circuit is smooth and wide and a pleasure to race on if you have a setup that will allow you to move between multiple racing lines.

My version of this event based on a 25% race length and a 4X pit stop frequency is a 63 lap race with a full fuel load providing an estimated 13 laps under green flag racing conditions. This would result in an approximately 4.85 pit stops during the event.

I ran 16 laps in practice and had the fastest time with 39.376, 1.064 seconds faster than second place Kyle Busch. I executed two pit stops during this practice session, the first on lap 12 when my crew chief said I was running low on fuel, and the second on lap 15. In the two lap qualifying session, I captured the pole position with a time of 39.202, 0.678 faster than second place Mark Martin.

The race started with a track temperature of 66 degrees, clear skies and a 5mph wind coming from the west. The first pit stop sequence for me would occur after a caution flag for a wreck entering the front stretch when Jimmy Johnson cut down on J.J. Yeley and collected A.J. Allmendenger, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Regan Smith.

I would come around under that caution flag and pit on lap 12 in first place. The restart would come on lap 15 with my still having the top spot. Once clear of lapped cars lined up on the inside for the restart, I would power away from the field and build up a 10 second lead over any car trailing me in second place.

The race continued under green for some time, and I made the next pit stop on lap 26, coming in while in first place and regaining the lead by lap 28. The third pit sequence came on lap 40 when I pitted while leading, having retaken the lead by lap 43. My final pit stop occurred on lap 54 when I came in while leading, and maintaining the lead throughout the sequence.

The second and final caution flag of the day would fly on lap 57 when David Gilliland (three laps down) wrecked Bobby Labonte (two laps down). I did not need to pit for fuel or tires, so I stayed on the track to maintain first place. Freaking back markers.

The pace car made an extra circuit, which set up a green-white-checkered finish with my taking the green flag on lap 61 with Dave Blaney in second place (we had lapped the rest of the field). I was able to take the checkered flag with a 6.312 second lead over Blaney who finished in second place.

The win, my second in two races gives me a 44 point lead Denny Hamlin.

















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