Alex Bowman dominates en route to Auto Club win

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Alex Bowman dominated, leading 110 of the 200 laps to win Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.

It was the second career Cup win for the driver of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, adding to last year’s triumph at Chicagoland Speedway.

“I’ll take it, after last week, I wish we would have had three (career wins),” Bowman told Fox. “We’ve been so good to start this season. We started the season very poorly over the last two years and it just means the world to show up at the race track and have the first run be almost perfect and just be able to fine-tune the race car. (Crew chief) Greg Ives has made the right calls.

“We’ve got to go win a bunch more, but man, it feels good to have one this early.”

Bowman — who finished 24th at Daytona and 13th at Las Vegas — now has one more thing to do to celebrate his win.

“I promised my buddy Aaron we’d get matching 88 tattoos if I won, and I think I have to go get a tattoo now, but it’ll be a good time,” Bowman said.

MORE: Results, point standings after Auto Club 400

Kyle Busch finished second, followed by Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott and Brad Keselowski.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Kyle Busch told Fox. “We tried to work on it and make everything we could all day long, all weekend long. It wasn’t a second-place car but thankfully we got a good finish out of here. We finished the end of last year so strong, I don’t know what we’re missing here.”

Ryan Blaney was on track to potentially finish second but was forced to pit on Lap 197 of the 200-lap race when he suffered an issue with his right rear tire. Blaney led 54 laps and  finished 19th.

“Racing happens, just a cord in the right rear there at the end and gave up a good finish,” Blaney told Fox. “It just didn’t work out in our favor. Just an unfortunate end to the day again.”

STAGE 1 WINNER: Alex Bowman

STAGE 2 WINNER: Ryan Blaney

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Kyle Busch (second) and Kurt Busch (third) both earned their first top-10 finishes of the season. Kyle finished 34th at Daytona and 15th at Las Vegas, while older brother Kurt was 33rd at Daytona and 25th at Las Vegas. … Tyler Reddick was the highest finishing rookie (11th).

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Midway through the first stage, Denny Hamlin forced Kyle Larson into the wall, causing moderate damage to Larson’s No. 42 Chevrolet. Larson pitted and and fell off the lead lap while repairs were made and was never a factor from there. Larson finished 21st. … Cup rookie Christopher Bell’s woes continue. He finished last in the 38-car field due to bolt coming off another car and knocking a hole in his car’s oil cooler, following finishes of 21st at Daytona and 33rd at Las Vegas.

NOTABLE: Each of the three manufacturers have now won a race this season: Toyota (Daytona), Ford (Las Vegas) and Chevrolet (Auto Club). … Making his second start for the injured Ryan Newman, Ross Chastain finished 17th, an improvement from his 27th place finish last week at Las Vegas. … There were no post-race inspection issues, although the No 8 (Tyler Reddick) and No. 41 (Cole Custer) each had one unsecured lug nut.”

WHAT’S NEXT: The three-race West Coast swing concludes at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday, March 8 at 3:30 p.m. ET on Fox.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Sonoma Xfinity starting lineup: Kyle Larson wins pole


SONOMA, Calif. — Kyle Larson will start on the pole for Saturday’s inaugural Xfinity Series race at Sonoma Raceway.

Larson won the pole with an average speed of 91.393 mph around the 1.99-mile road course. Justin Allgaier joins Larson on the front row after a lap of 90.562 mph. Sheldon Creed (90.429 mph) qualified third. Aric Almirola (90.375) will start fourth. AJ Allmendinger (90.274) will start fifth.

MORE: Sonoma Xfinity starting lineup

MORE: Alpha Prime Racing’s road woes don’t keep team from competing

Larson is one of seven Cup drivers entered. The others are Almirola (starting fourth), Allmendinger (fifth), Ty Gibbs (seventh), Ross Chastain (15th), Daniel Suarez (17th) and Ty Dillon (32nd).

The green flag is scheduled to wave at 8:20 p.m. ET Saturday on FS1.

Could Daytona International Speedway host NFL games?


The president of Daytona International Speedway says track officials plan to speak with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars about hosting the team’s games if Jacksonville’s stadium is renovated.

The Jaguars will need a temporary home site if plans go forward to renovate the team’s stadium. Daytona International Speedway has been mentioned as a possible candidate. The Jaguars released details Wednesday of what the stadium will look like after the renovation project.

Provided the project is approved by the city of Jacksonville, it is believed the Jaguars would need to find another home site for a couple of seasons while work is being done to its stadium. Daytona International Speedway is among possible sites for the Jaguars to play. More than 100,000 people saw Ricky Stenhouse Jr. win this year’s Daytona 500.

“Daytona International Speedway is a world-renowned sports and entertainment venue and hosts a full schedule of events each year,” said Frank Kelleher, president of Daytona International Speedway, in a statement. “As good neighbors in the Florida sports community, DIS will be speaking with the Jacksonville Jaguars to see if we can assist them with their potential upcoming facility needs around our scheduled events.”

Daytona International Speedway hosted Soccer Fest in July 2022. An announced crowd of 7,573 fans saw the Orlando Pride and Racing Louisville play in a National Women’s Soccer League game at Daytona.

NASCAR displays counterfeit part from Chase Briscoe car


SONOMA, Calif. — NASCAR displayed the counterfeit part from Chase Briscoe‘s car on Saturday at Sonoma Raceway, showing how the part did not correspond to what should have been in the car.

NASCAR found the issue at its R&D Center after last month’s Coca-Cola 600. The sanctioning body fined crew chief John Klausmeier $250,000 and suspended him for six races. NASCAR also docked Briscoe and the team 120 points and 25 playoff points for the L3 infraction.

“We want to be transparent on the penalties,” said Brad Moran, managing director of the Cup Series as he displayed the counterfeit part to media.

Moran displayed a a portion of the engine panel from Briscoe’s car. He noted the engine duct was counterfeit. He said the proper pieces are 3D printed at the R&D Center and Fiberworks Composites sells them and installs them for teams. Moran said the duct is “in the bottom of the car under the engine panel. It’s to help cool the driver. It was added prior to the first race. During testing … we realized we wanted to get heat out of the engine compartment, and that’s what this piece does.”

Moran noted that with the counterfeit part, “we can clearly see the textures are different (from the proper part).”

He displayed what officials call a gauge that determines if the duct fits the proper parameters. He showed it fitting a proper duct and not properly fitting in the counterfeit part.

“It was a part that was made, and it was made for whatever reason,” Moran said. “It was, I guess, put on by error, but it was on the vehicle. It is a piece that should not have been made in the first place, and it was spotted at our teardown at the R&D Center.”

Moran said the issue was found in a visual inspection of the part. NASCAR inspected it further and Moran said “there are certain little characteristics that are in (a proper piece)” that officials did not see in the one on Briscoe’s car. “The more we examined it, the more we realized that’s not a part they bought.”

Moran noted that while the penalties were severe, they could have been worse based on the rulebook.

“It was the low end of the L3,” Moran said. “It’s a real big hit for any team. If it continues, and we feel we are not where we need to be, unfortunately, it’s going to ramp up. We’re not going to stop.

“The deal with this car is it needs to be run without modifying. It costs teams a lot of money in development. All the owners agreed. We all agreed where we need to be to make this a successful program, and we’re not going to give up.”



Sunday Cup race at Sonoma Raceway: Start time, TV info, weather


The Cup Series heads to wine country to compete on the 1.99-mile road course at Sonoma Raceway. This race leads into the final off weekend of the season. After the break, the series races 20 consecutive weekends. NBC and USA will broadcast those races.

Details for Sunday’s Cup race at Sonoma Raceway

(All times Eastern)

START: Adam Devine will give the command to start engines at 3:38 p.m. … The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:50 p.m.

PRERACE: Cup garage opens at 12:30 p.m. … Drivers meeting is at 2:45 p.m. … Driver intros are at 3 p.m. … Earl Smith, pastor for the Golden State Warriors and San Francisco 49ers, will give the invocation at 3:30 p.m. … Tiffany Woys will perform the national anthem at 3:31 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 110 laps (218.9 miles) on the 1.99-mile road course.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 25. Stage 2 ends at Lap 55.

STARTING LINEUP: Qualifying begins at 6 p.m. Saturday

TV/RADIO: Fox will broadcast the race at 3:30 p.m. … Coverage begins at 2 p.m. on FS1 and switches to Fox at 3 p.m. … Performance Racing Network coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. and also will stream at SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the PRN broadcast.


FORECAST: Weather Underground — Partly cloudy with a high of 69 degrees and a 1% chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST YEAR: Daniel Suarez won his first career Cup race last year at Sonoma. Chris Buescher finished second. Michael McDowell placed third.


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