Smoke wins rain shortened race at Auto Club Speedway

[media-credit name=”Simon Scoggins” align=”alignright” width=”225″][/media-credit]Tony Stewart won the rain shortened Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on Saturday for his second win of the season, 46th of his Sprint Cup career and seven wins of the past 15 races.

Stewart led twice for 42 laps, including the final 22. He took the lead on lap 85 and held on until the race was red flagged on lap 129.

“I’m definitely not losing anything with age.  I’ve had some really great race cars.” Stewart said about recently turning 40.  “I’m really proud of Steve Addington (crew chief) and all of our guys. This Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevy is bad fast.”

American Muscle

Kyle Busch finished second, Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished third, Kevin Harvick fourth and Carl Edwards finished fifth.

“We had a great race car there from the beginning of the race. Got the lead from Denny (Hamlin) after the first lap, led a lot of laps. I just wish we led 30 more and we’d be in a different position right now. Had a great car. The Interstate Batteries Camry was fast.” Busch said. “Wish we would have been able to race the whole thing on one hand, but on the other hand I’m kind of glad we’re not because we kind of have a little bit of damage that slowed us down there about 20 laps ago.”

Greg Biffle finished sixth and holds a seven point lead over Harvick in the series standings.

“I thought we were getting closer at the end because we started closing in on the 29, and then he got his car going. If they would have gotten the track cleaned off and going again, I think we would have had a chance because we’re good on a cold, green track. When it gets hot and slick, we’re not as good as they are.” Biffle said.

Jeff Gordon had another disappointing day. Gordon had to serve a stop-and-go penalty for dragging his fuel can and gasman out of his pits on lap 108. He lost one lap and then the race was red flagged with no change to make up the mistake. Gordon finished 26th and now sits 25th in the series standings.

Jimmie Johnson was the beneficiary of the rain. While running around under caution, smoke started coming from the front of the car. He was able to keep pace with the race was red-flagged and the field was brought to pit road. Johnson finished 10th.

“We are not exactly sure. Either a piece of debris hit an oil line and knocked the fitting off or split the line and snagged a line. We clipped an artery bottom line it’s losing blood fast, it’s either that or possibly an oil cooler. I really don’t know what had happened, I was just idling along and my friends pulled up alongside of me and were pointing.” Johnson said.

With his third place finish, Earnhardt Jr. sits in third place, 17 points out of the lead in the series standings.

“We didn’t have an opportunity to do anything other than what we had planned from the start. I like how our season is going so far. If we keep going like this, maybe we can get some opportunities and seal the deal.” Earnhardt Jr. said.  “Our car was fast we had a great car in practice right at the end of practice I told the guys ‘this thing is really good’. The Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet was great from the drop of the green and we moved forward all day long. We had great pit strategy stopping a little earlier than most people gaining some track position that way too.”


Unofficial Race Results
Auto Club 400, Auto Club Speedway
Pos. St. No. Driver Make Points
1 9 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 47
2 2 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 44
3 14 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 41
4 7 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 40
5 12 99 Carl Edwards Ford 39
6 4 16 Greg Biffle Ford 38
7 6 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 37
8 13 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 36
9 23 51 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 35
10 10 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 35
11 1 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 34
12 3 55 Mark Martin Toyota 32
13 15 17 Matt Kenseth Ford 31
14 11 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 30
15 5 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 29
16 25 22 AJ Allmendinger Dodge 28
17 24 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet 27
18 17 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge 26
19 27 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet 25
20 22 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet 24
21 29 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford 23
22 19 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 22
23 33 13 Casey Mears Ford 21
24 8 20 Joey Logano Toyota 20
25 28 43 Aric Almirola Ford 19
26 21 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 19
27 18 10 David Reutimann Chevrolet 17
28 26 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota 16
29 40 93 Travis Kvapil Toyota 15
30 41 38 David Gilliland Ford 14
31 38 34 David Ragan Ford 13
32 16 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 12
33 34 36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet 11
34 42 32 Ken Schrader Ford 10
35 36 249 J.J. Yeley Toyota 9
36 31 83 Landon Cassill Toyota 8
37 30 26 Josh Wise * Ford 7
38 32 98 Michael McDowell Ford 6
39 20 30 David Stremme Toyota 5
40 39 119 Mike Bliss Toyota 0
41 35 23 Scott Riggs Chevrolet 3
42 43 74 Reed Sorenson Chevrolet 0
43 37 33 Brendan Gaughan Chevrolet 1

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