The west coast swing, as it was labeled, offered up a final twist in the swing. It was Fontana, CA and the Auto Club 400 which went just a little over with a double-shot green-white-checker finish. It was the 2nd GWC that threw the twist in the end that was almost the first GWC…
They had raced all afternoon and it was, for the largest part, pole-sitter Kurt Busch and team mate Kevin Harvick leading the field. Harvick was after a west coast sweep having already won in Las Vegas and Phoenix. Busch was out to roll momentum into a late start for his season as Fontana was only his second time out in the #41.
The western twist came with pit strategies on late race pit stops. Two or four tires or none at all as many only had 10 or 11 laps on. Race off the line and Stewart and Gordon were left back as the newer tires pushed out front with Harvick chasing down Busch.
Coming up on the scheduled finish Kyle Larson was bumped a bit into scraping the wall and leaving his rear body panel behind which set up the first green-white-chedkered finish. The race out put Kurt Busch out in front again and it looked like his second race of the season was going to put him into Chase contention with a win.
Another debris caution set the stage for the second green-white-checkered run. The debris might have been a piece of car or it might have been an official Auto Club Speedway soda cup. Either way, the restart again put Kurt Busch out front with Harvick close behind.
Brad Keselowski and the #2 came from what seemed like nowhere to get by Harvick and challenge Kurt Busch. Busch went wide and loose driving hard giving Keselowski the line by while Greg Biffle was spinning back in the field. White flag lap and no caution and the race to the line went to the #2 with Harvick in second and Busch regaining a straight line to finish third.
Keselowski in California. The way the day had been for the Stewart-Haas duel of the #4 and #41 having the #2 in Victory Lane wasn’t on the radar.
Until the last lap which, apparently, is the one that really matters.