California Kid is the man at Fontana: Kyle Larson wins to break runner-up streak


After three consecutive runner-up finishes, Kyle Larson finally broke through to win his first NASCAR Cup race of the season, capturing Sunday’s Auto Club 400.

Larson, who started from the pole and won Stage 1 of the event at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, held off a number of drivers including Brad Keselowski (finished second), Clint Bowyer (third), Martin Truex Jr. (fourth) and Joey Logano (fifth) to earn his second career Cup Series win.

MORE: Results, stats for Auto Club 400 at Fontana; Kyle Larson scores second career Cup win

MORE: Kyle Larson extends points lead after California win

Larson winds up sweeping the weekend, having won Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Fontana, as well.

“I was staying as calm as I could be, but also frustrated at the same time because it seemed like every time I get to the lead at the end of one of these things, the caution comes out and I have to fight people off on restarts,” Larson told Fox Sports.

MORE: Kyle Larson wins Stage 1 of Auto Club 400 at Fontana

MORE: Martin Truex Jr. has commanding performance in Stage 2 win at Fontana

Larson, nicknamed The California Kid because he hails from the northern part of the Golden State, had a nearly two-second lead when Gray Gaulding hit the wall with 21 laps left in regulation. While the driver of the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet came back out on-track in the lead, Truex had a slow stop and fellow Toyota driver Denny Hamlin became the next to challenge Larson.

On the restart on Lap 184, Truex tapped the rear of Matt Kenseth, spinning the latter hard into the inside SAFER barrier, bringing out yet another caution.

The race restarted on Lap 189 — 11 laps shy of the scheduled 200-lap event. But that lasted just three laps as Corey LaJoie spun on Lap 192. Three drivers stayed out on the ensuing pit stops — Hamlin, Truex and Jamie McMurray.

Hamlin took the lead on the restart but faced a furious battle with Truex, Larson, Keselowski and Ryan Blaney. Then, on Lap 196, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spun, bringing out the caution yet again.

The race resumed on Lap 200 and Larson roared back to the lead for the two overtime laps, which he’d never relinquish.

“We had a good last restart, had some good clean air and came home with the win,” Larson told Fox.

There were 17 lead changes and seven cautions in the extended 404-mile event.

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE: Brad Keselowski came back after two early race incidents – being involved in an accordion-like crunch on the first lap and then being spun by Jimmie Johnson on lap three – to finish second. … Third-place finisher Clint Bowyer earned his best Cup showing since finishing fifth at Bristol in August 2015 (his last third-place was at Sonoma, two months earlier).

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: In finishing 36th, Kenseth suffered his third DNF of the season (in just five races) after wrecking on Lap 184. He also had DNFs at Daytona and last week at Phoenix. Kenseth had a total of four DNFs in the entire 2016 season.

NOTABLE: Today’s race marked the fourth straight time that a Cup race at Fontana has gone into overtime. … Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 16th in his 600th career NASCAR Cup start.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “This is just amazing. We’ve been so good all year long. Three seconds in a row and I’ve been watching all the TV that ‘he doesn’t know how to win.’ But, we knew how to win today.” – Race winner Kyle Larson to Fox Sports.

WHAT’S NEXT: After three weeks on the west coast, the series moves to the half-mile paperclip at Martinsville Speedway for Sunday’s (April 2) STP 500.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

BK Racing court filing reveals expenses, revenue for each race

Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Court documents filed Thursday show that BK Racing made a net income of $359,619 through the Phoenix Cup race.

The documents are part of BK Racing’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case. The team filed Chapter bankruptcy Feb. 15.

COURT DOCUMENTS: Click here to view the BK Racing filing

MORE: Peek into race purses under charter system

A hearing is scheduled this afternoon in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of North Carolina, on a motion by Union Bank & Trust. The bank claims it is owned more than $8 million in loan payments and seeks to have a trustee oversee BK Racing’s finances “to an end to the Debtor’s years of mismanagement,’’ according to court documents from the bank.

In its motion to appoint a trustee, Union Bank filed documents stating that the team lost nearly $30 million from 2014-16.

The updated budget filed Thursday on behalf of BK Racing breaks down income and expense for each of the first four points races and anticipated income and expenses the rest of the season.

The document shows that BK Racing had $50,000 sponsorship for the Daytona 500, $10,000 sponsorship each for the Atlanta and Las Vegas races and $30,000 sponsorship for the Phoenix race.

BK Racing listed prize money as:

$29,946 for its qualifying race at Daytona

$428,794 for finishing 20th in the Daytona 500

$91,528 for finishing 36th at Atlanta

$98,754 for finishing 33rd at Las Vegas

$82,000 for finishing 34th at Phoenix

The high payout for the Daytona 500 has given BK Racing more than $350,000 in net income. For other races, though, the team’s net income has been small.

At Phoenix, the team listed a net income of $790.

The team had $120,250 in revenue for the Phoenix weekend. It was broken down this way:

$82,000 in prize money

$30,000 in sponsorship

$8,250 in other revenue

The team listed $119,460 in expenses that weekend. Among the team’s expenses for Phoenix:

$35,000 for its engine lease

$21,000 for salary and wages

$10,525 for airfare for team personnel

$9,000 for tires

$9,000 for contract payroll

Those expenses alone totaled $84,525, exceeding what the team made in prize money and showing how important sponsorship is in the sport.

BK Racing provided a budget for the remaining races. The team’s budgeted expense was more than $103,000 for every race. That included everything from engine lease and tire bills to hotels, meals, salary and wages, entry fees, insurance, payroll taxes and more.

The most expensive race is the Daytona 500 at $135,502, which included an engine lease of $50,000. Next listed was Auto Club Speedway at $125,606, which included $9,500 in airfare and $10,000 in tires.

BK Racing’s prize money estimates on remaining races is based on a 30th-place finish in each event.

BK Racing lists its sponsorship budget for future races as $50,000 per race, progressing to $100,000 and to $150,000 for the final 13 races. That would give the team a sponsorship budget of $3.505 million.

Court documents filed by Union Bank & Trust show that BK Racing collected $1.5 million in sponsorship in 2016 and $1.05 million in sponsorship in 2015.

 and on Facebook

A rare peek into race purses, payouts under the charter system

Robert Laberge/Getty Images
Leave a comment

A new filing before a Thursday bankruptcy court hearing for BK Racing provided a window into the payouts of NASCAR’s charter structure.

The system, which went into effect two years ago, guaranteed revenues and race attendance for 36 cars. Funding was based on four categories: entering a race, historical performance over the past three seasons, the traditional points fund (with extra cash) and race results. It was partly intended to help teams by providing more predictable revenue guarantees for budget projections.

MORE: Court filing reveals expenses, revenue for each race

Prior to the 2016 season, each race had a purse that paid out for finishing position and contingency awards (which rewarded the most competitive teams). Under the new system, money paid for results was based solely on finishing position, and NASCAR abolished publishing purse totals and race winnings in box scores.

The BK Racing document, which was filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of North Carolina, sheds some light on those now shielded numbers. It lists the total purse for every race during the 2018 season and also lists BK Racing’s prize money for each of the first four races in the No. 23 Toyota with driver Gray Gaulding.

–Daytona 500 (total purse $15.466 million): The team earned $428,794 for finishing 20th.

–Atlanta Motor Speedway (total purse $2.477 million): The team earned $91,528 for 36th.

–Las Vegas Motor Speedway (total purse $2.647 million): The team earned $98,754 for 33rd.

–ISM Raceway near Phoenix (total purse: $1.459 million): The team earned $82,000 for 34th.

Though the formula was different for structuring the purse and race payouts, here were the total purses and payouts for those positions in 2015, the last year that earnings were publicly made available.

–Daytona 500: Total purse $19.8 million; $348,803 for 20th

–Atlanta: Total purse $6.3 million; $101,370 for 36th

–Las Vegas: Total purse $6.5 million; $118,724 for 33rd

–Phoenix: Total purse $5.1 million; $74,805 for 34th

A hearing on the BK Racing bankruptcy case will be held in Charlotte at 2 p.m. Thursday.

Click here to view the BK Racing filing.

Carl Edwards says he’s ‘enjoying life’ on the farm

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Former driver Carl Edwards says he’s “having fun, enjoying life” and doesn’t have plans to return to racing.

Edwards talked with host Claire B. Lang on “Dialed In” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Wednesday night.

Edwards shocked the sport when he announced in January 2017 that he was leaving. He returned to his home in Columbia, Missouri.

“I’m basically just doing what I told everybody I was doing, spent a lot of time with friends and family and traveling a lot, farming a lot and really enjoying it,’’ Edwards told Lang.

Asked about any return to racing, Edwards said: “I don’t have any plans to come back. I do miss a lot of people.’’

Asked about any potential political ambitions, Edwards said: “You never know. I think like probably almost every person listening to this channel right now, I really believe in, I believe in America, I believe the Constitution is the set of rules that let us have all this success and freedom. I care about that being there for generations to come. If sometime in the future there is a chance for me to help that cause, try to lend some assistance to not letting us get off track, then heck yeah, I would consider, but, no, there is not some campaign started. I’m not going to be doing anything anytime soon.’’

Edwards made his Cup debut in August 2004 at Michigan International Speedway, finishing 10th in a race won by Greg Biffle.

Edwards won 28 Cup races in 445 starts. Every retired driver who has at least as many wins and is eligible for the Hall of Fame has been inducted. Jeff Gordon is eligible for the first time this year. Edwards and Tony Stewart will be eligible for Hall of Fame consideration next year.

Edwards’ 28 wins includes the 2015 Coca-Cola 600 and 2015 Southern 500. He won four Cup races at Bristol and Texas, his highest victory total at any track. Edwards also won 38 Xfinity races in 245 starts.

At the end of the interview Wednesday, Edwards was asked if he had any final words for fans.

“I think I would just say thank you to everybody,’’ he said. “Thank you to the fans, the competitors and everyone, the tracks and NASCAR. That part of my life was just spectacular. I wouldn’t trade one second of it for anything. And then I would say, I just hope everybody out there is enjoying what they’re doing and you’re getting the most out of every day and really having fun.’’

 and on Facebook

NASCAR America: Favorite upsets in NASCAR history

Leave a comment

Last week, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County made history when it became the first No. 16 seed in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament to beat a No. 1 seed.

In the spirit of the historic event, NASCAR America’s analysts discussed the greatest sporting event they’ve witnessed and their favorite NASCAR upsets.

Dale Jarrett picked Dale Earnhardt’s 1998 victory in the Daytona 500 as his greatest sports moment.

“He’d done everything, I’m not talking about once, but multiple times,” Jarrett said of Earnhardt’s record at Daytona. “That drive down the pit lane after he won and seeing every single crew member, owner, everybody that was there that could get on pit road to show that respect to Dale Earnhardt, all of us going to victory lane to congratulate him, what that mean, to me that’s the greatest even I’ve ever seen.”

BUMP & RUN: Biggest upsets in NASCAR 

When it comes to favorite upsets in NASCAR history, Letarte chose what happened in the Daytona 500 13 years later when Trevor Bayne won in just his second Cup start.

“Everything was different about that week, practice was different, the way the cars drafted was different,” Letarte said. “But none of that could really build up to the fact that nobody that you ever heard of or dreamt of won the Daytona 500 in one of the most iconic car numbers to ever race, the 21 for the Wood Brothers. You add those two together and I think that’s the biggest upset I’ve ever seen.”

Watch the above video for more.