The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series headed to wrap up the West Coast tour on Sunday afternoon. Kevin Harvick was looking to sweep the three races that included Las Vegas, Phoenix and Auto Club Speedway. Kurt Busch who was starting just his second race of the year, earned the pole and was looking to sweep the weekend as he led every practice and of course won the pole.
Toyota which hadn’t won yet in 2015 was looking to pull an upset in their own backyard as the headquarters for Toyota is not too far from ACS. Tony Stewart, who has had a disappointing start to the season is looking to start his turnaround was starting 20th. Jeff Gordon who had some issues with his HANS device would have issues rolling off but he would be able to lineup in seventh behind Kyle Larson.
Busch would lead the field to green as drivers prepared for three, four and five wide heading into turn one. The field would fan out on the start but Busch would hold the lead as Harvick would take the lead by lap seven as Busch settled into second. The battle of teammates between, David Ragan, Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin for third, fourth and fifth started to heat up as they tried to run down the leaders.
Caution waved for Ragan who got loose when Jeff Gordon and him were racing and he spun out. Kenseth would take the lead off of pit road and Harvick would restart third. On the restart Kenseth would hold the lead over Hamlin but Harvick and Busch were trying to make their way back to the front,. Hamlin took the lead on lap 32 from Kenseth with Harvick, Busch, and Brad Keselowski rounding out the top five just 35 laps in.
Hamlin would pace the field but Harvick would begin to cut into his lead as this run went on. Harvick and Busch weren’t as good on this second run as Hamlin was able maintain about a two second lead over Harvick and Busch. Green flag pit stops began as Joey Logano would be some of the first to hit pit road. Hamlin would be able to stretch his lead on Harvick.
Caution waved on la 86 for debris and the field would have a chance to hit pit road for tires and fuel. Kenseth would take the lead off of pit road. Busch would take the lead on that restart. On lap 96, Trevor Bayne and Sam Hornish, Jr. made contact and Hornish had hard contact into the wall. The leaders would hit pit road for fuel and tires. Stewart and Martin Truex, Jr. would take just two tires.
While Truex and Stewart gained some track position on the restart we saw what four tires meant as Busch and Harvick went right back to first and second as Truex settled into eighth and Stewart to 13th.
Green flag stops began on lap 138 as the leaders began to hit pit road. The leaders would hit pit road together and come off the same way as the teams had their first real long green flag run of the day. With this pit stop it would make it a one stop race. With 55 laps to go, Harvick would take the lead from Busch. With 47 laps to go caution waved for debris on the track. Everyone would hit pit road for fuel and tires and what would be the last scheduled stop of the day.
Kenseth would once again blister the field when it came to pit stop and would take the lead off of pit road. Joey Logano would have a uncontrolled tire and would be forced to start tail end of the field. Kenseth would hold off Busch as Harvick seemed to struggle with his race car as he would ride behind the charging Jimmie Johnson. Teams were also worrying about fuel as that last stop would still make some drivers short on fuel. That would be a moot point as caution waved for the fifth time of the day for debris. Kesneth would come in the leaders but would have issues exiting his box and break a axle. With two laps to go caution waved for debris forcing pit crews to make a decision on whether to pit or not.
Gordon, Stewart and Greg Biffle all stayed out while everyone else took two tires. Biffle and would drop through the field and Larson and Ragan would make contact and the caution would wave and it would be the second attempt at a green, white checkered.
Busch would lead Harvick followed by Gordon, Paul Menard and Truex rounded out the top five. It would be Brad Keselowski who would use his four fresh tires and a late crash by Biffle to take advantage of Busch who would hit the wall coming out of turn four.
Keselowski would win his first race of 2015 and his first at ACS. The rest of the top 10 were Harvick, Busch, Menard, Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Logano, Truex, Johnson and Gordon.
Next up is Martinsville Speedway next Sunday on FOXSPORTS 1.