Jimmie Johnson

Speed Tweets: Trash talk, yearbook, spare firesuit

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NASCAR’s West Coast swing is over, but we can’t close the book on it just yet.

It’s time for our weekly look at contributions to NASCAR Twitter you may have missed during the Auto Club Speedway race week.

Early last week a Twitter user got the bright idea to troll Tyler Reddick over his 2018 Xfinity Series title, calling him “lucky.”

The last time we checked, leading the final 37 laps of the championship race and winning by 6.9 seconds is the opposite of lucky.

The Richard Childress Racing driver – who leads the points after five races this season – agreed.

Jimmie Johnson has signed a lot of autographs in his nearly two decades in the Cup Series.

But you know you’ve truly made it in life when someone asks you sign your high school yearbook.

That’s the situation he found himself in over the weekend at ACS, which is roughly two hours north of his hometown of El Cajon, California.

A day after beating Kyle Busch in the Xfinity race, Cole Custer was on high alert.

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver very quickly became a potential Richard Childress Racing driver as Austin Dillon competed in the Cup race while fighting flu-like symptoms.

In the end, a Ford driver did not have to relieve a Chevy driver and a rip in the space-time continuum was avoided.

Dillon managed to earn a 10th-place finish while Custer got to spend a few hours snug in another driver’s firesuit.

Clint Bowyer had a very quiet exit from Sunday’s race, falling out on Lap 130 to due to overheating problems.

He made sure to inform Twitter of his race progress.

Oh, and he has thoughts on the new rules package.

One driver who did not have a quiet race was Bubba Wallace.

His left front tire went boom on Lap 165. With it went a handful of fan names inscribed on the car through  a special deal with sponsor Plan B Sales and Marketing.

 

You didn’t think we’d go this entire post without mentioning Kyle Busch, did you?

Remember the tall flag Busch waved around after scoring his 200th national NASCAR win?

Well, it had a camera attached to the top of it.

Cole Custer wins Xfinity race at Auto Club Speedway

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Cole Custer won Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Auto Club Speedway, beating Kyle Busch for his third career Xfinity win.

Custer, a native of Ladera Ranch, California, led the final 19 laps, scoring his first victory since last fall’s playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway.

“It means a ton,” Custer told Fox Sports 1. “To start the year off with a new crew chief in Mike (Shiplett) and a new engineer in Davin (Restivo), they just did a good job in coming over here, just trying to work through all the things. We’ve been a little frustrated with ourselves, we’ve been wanting to run better than fourth and top five. But today we accomplished that.”

Custer is the first non-Cup competitor to win at ACS since Scott Riggs in April 2002 (23 races).

“Kyle Busch is one of the legends of our sport,” Custer said. “To keep him … from getting 200 (NASCAR wins) means a lot. I am sure he is probably a little frustrated but we have a great time racing him and hopefully we do it more in the future.”

Busch, who led 98 of 150 laps, finished second after he bounced back from an uncontrolled tire penalty on pit road in the middle of the final stage. That forced him to restart 13th with 33 laps to go. Busch will have to wait at least one more day to earn his 200th national NASCAR series win.

“I just wasn’t fast enough,” Busch said. “At the end there, he (Custer) was really good and really fast and had a good car. They got better throughout the day and got closer to our rear bumper there on that second-to-last run before we had our pit road problems and dropped us back in the pack. Obviously, we were able to rebound, but when you have a fast guy out front and a fast guy in second, they run the same times and they stay the same distance apart. We just weren’t quick enough there at the end to chase them down.”

The top five was completed by Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick and Chase Briscoe.

Reddick fought back from an unscheduled pit stop for a cut tire on Lap 108 to earn his top five.

Austin Cindric (sixth), Brandon Jones (seventh) and Ryan Preece (eighth) all bounced back from spins to place in the top 10.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Kyle Busch

STAGE 2 WINNER: Kyle Busch

Click here for race results

Click here for the point standings.

WHAT’S NEXT: My Bariatric Solutions 300 at Texas Motor Speedway at 1 p.m. ET on March 30 on Fox Sports 1

Tyler Reddick wins Xfinity pole at Auto Club Speedway

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Tyler Reddick won the pole for today’s Xfinity Series race at Auto Club Speedway.

Reddick posted a top speed of 179.861 mph around the 2-mile track to claim his second pole of the season.

Reddick will be joined on the front row by Kyle Busch (179.654 mph).

Busch is attempting to win his 200th NASCAR national series race today.

Reddick claimed the pole a day after he was involved in two single-car incidents in practice.

“I unfortunately made our day very, very long for all our guys at RCR, getting in the wall, spinning out and having to fix a lot of things,” Reddick told Fox Sports 1. “They worked really hard into the evening last night. … I’m trying to give them a little bit back for how hard they’ve been working, especially this weekend getting this car back to 100 percent.”

The top five was completed by Cole Custer, Christopher Bell and Noah Gragson.

Caesar Bacarella crashed in Turn 3 during his qualifying run in Round 1.

The green flag is scheduled for 5:16 p.m. ET on FS1.

Click here for qualifying results.

 

Xfinity practice report from Fontana

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Justin Allgaier wrapped up the second and final Xfinity Series practice session Friday at Auto Club Speedway with the top speed (178.059 mph).

Tyler Reddick was second fastest (177.139), followed by Christopher Bell (176.956), Kyle Busch (176.670) and Noah Gragson (176.432).

Sixth through 10th were Ryan Preece (176.280), Cole Custer (176.061), Chase Briscoe (175.794), John Hunter Nemechek (175.640) and Brandon Jones (175.200).

A total of 34 drivers took to the track in the session.

Qualifying will take place Saturday at 1:10 p.m. ET.

A few hours later, the Production Alliance Group 300 race (150 laps/300 miles) will take the green flag at 5 p.m. ET (Fox Sports 1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Click here for the full second practice speed chart.

FIRST PRACTICE:

Cole Custer was fastest in the first of two Xfinity Series practices Friday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

The Stewart Haas Racing driver roared around the 2-mile high speed oval in his Ford Mustang at 177.039 mph, the only driver to exceed 177 mph.

Christopher Bell was second fastest (176.882 mph), followed by the man who is getting the most attention this weekend, Kyle Busch (176.350 mph), who is seeking to become only the second driver in NASCAR history to reach 200 wins in a career.

Busch comes into this weekend with 199 career NASCAR wins: 52 in Cup, 53 in Trucks and 94 in Xfinity. He can reach 200 with a win in Saturday’s Xfinity race or in Sunday’s Cup event.

Tyler Reddick was fourth fastest in the session (175.970 mph), leading a surge of five Chevy drivers in a row, followed by Justin Allgaier in fifth (175.833), Noah Gragson (175.653), Jeremy Clements (174.834) and John Hunter Nemechek (174.478).

Rounding out the top 10 were Austin Cindric (174.338 mph) and Ryan Preece (174.350).

The final Xfinity practice will take place later this afternoon from 4:35 to 5:25 p.m. ET.

Click here for the full Xfinity practice speed chart.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Kyle Busch wins Xfinity race in Phoenix

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Kyle Busch won Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at ISM Raceway in Phoenix, claiming his 11th victory on the 1-mile track.

Busch led 116 of 200 laps, including the final 67, to score his second win in a row after he won last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Joe Gibbs Racing has won all three races since the season-opener at Daytona.

Busch beat Ryan Truex, who made his first start of the year in JR Motorsports’ No. 8 Chevrolet. It is Truex’s fourth career Xfinity top five and matched his career-best result (Dover, 2012).

The top five was completed by Tyler Reddick, Cole Custer and Austin Cindric.

Christopher Bell, who started from the pole and led 68 laps, was eliminated in a crash with 70 laps to go. Both he and Justin Allgaier suffered damage after a catastrophic engine failure on Stephen Leicht‘s car, which they were running behind, put fluid down on the track.

It is Bell’s first DNF of the season and the second consecutive race he’s been in an incident.

“Christopher was certainly going to give me a run for my money today,” Busch told Fox Sports 1. “I hate that he got caught up in that mess. Obviously, it was going to be a really fun run to the end there.”

STAGE 1 WINNER: Austin Cindric

STAGE 2 WINNER: Christopher Bell

Click here for race results

Click here for driver points.

NOTABLE: Busch’s win gives him 198 wins across all three of NASCAR’s national series … Ryan Sieg continued his career-best start to the season with a 10th-place finish. He has three top 10s in the first four races … Noah Gragson finished 11th. He’s placed in the top 11 in all seven career Xfinity starts, tying the record held by Kurt Busch and Darrell Waltrip for most starts prior to finishing worse than 11th.

WHAT’S NEXT: Production Alliance Group 300 at Auto Club Speedway at 5 p.m. ET on March 16 on Fox Sports 1