Hendrick Motorsports’ Alex Bowman took his second NASCAR Cup win after claiming victory at Fontana – a venue he previously hadn’t finished in the top 10 at.
Bowman, who started third, was one of the fastest drivers across the 200-lap race in his Chevrolet Camaro and was towards the front of the field throughout.
He outduelled polesitter Clint Bowyer, Hendrick team-mate Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Blaney – who started mid-pack – to win the first stage.
Blaney took the spoils in the second stage after climbing up to the front pack as early as lap 10. The middle of the second stage featured the only caution period – outside of the stage conclusions – when polesitter Bowyer suffered a cut tyre.
The third and final stage was largely about Blaney and Bowman. Once both had got past Johnson on the final restart, the pair were largely unchallenged and pulled away from the rest of the pack.
Bowman held a lead of around five seconds through much of the final stage until Blaney – who entered this race as the Cup points leader – had to pit for a cut tyre with just three laps to go and would eventually finish 19th.
Bowman crossed the finish line 8.904s ahead of reigning Cup champion Kyle Busch, who had gradually worked his way through the field.
One of the fastest cars throughout was that of Martin Truex Jr – who had to start towards the back after his car failed pre-qualifying inspection multiple times. Starting 32nd, Truex had worked his way into the top 15 by lap 10 and lingered there for a sizeable portion of the first stage.
But by the final stage he was right in the mix. However, during the final round of pitstops he suffered an issue with a wheel gun which dropped him well down the order and he could only recover to 14th.
Behind Kyle Busch was brother Kurt, who recovered from a pitstop mishap of his own to finish third, ahead of Chase Elliot, Brad Keselowski – who had a largely anonymous run to fifth – Denny Hamlin, Johnson, Aric Almirola, Kevin Harvick and Erik Jones.
Polesitter Bowyer could only finish 23rd after his issues earlier in the race. In addition to the single caution period there was also only one retirement, when Christopher Bell suffered an engine issue on lap 80.
Results – 200 laps
|1||Alex Bowman||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||2h37m07.s|
|2||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||8.904s|
|3||Kurt Busch||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||9.917s|
|4||Chase Elliott||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||13.705s|
|5||Brad Keselowski||Team Penske||Ford||17.323s|
|6||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||21.839s|
|7||Jimmie Johnson||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||22.047s|
|8||Aric Almirola||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||22.214s|
|9||Kevin Harvick||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||22.524s|
|10||Erik Jones||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||23.880s|
|11||Tyler Reddick||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||28.810s|
|12||Joey Logano||Team Penske||Ford||29.318s|
|13||Matt DiBenedetto||Wood Brothers Racing||Ford||29.892s|
|14||Martin Truex Jr.||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||32.514s|
|15||William Byron||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||33.947s|
|16||Chris Buescher||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||35.895s|
|17||Ross Chastain||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||42.709s|
|18||Cole Custer||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||1 Lap|
|19||Ryan Blaney||Team Penske||Ford||1 Lap|
|20||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||JTG Daugherty Racing||Chevrolet||1 Lap|
|21||Kyle Larson||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||1 Lap|
|22||Michael McDowell||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||1 Lap|
|23||Clint Bowyer||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||1 Lap|
|24||Austin Dillon||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||1 Lap|
|25||John Hunter Nemechek||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||1 Lap|
|26||Ty Dillon||Germain Racing||Chevrolet||1 Lap|
|27||Darrell Wallace Jr.||Richard Petty Motorsports||Chevrolet||2 Laps|
|28||Daniel Suarez||Gaunt Brothers Racing||Toyota||2 Laps|
|29||Corey LaJoie||Go FAS Racing||Ford||3 Laps|
|30||Ryan Preece||JTG Daugherty Racing||Chevrolet||3 Laps|
|31||J.J. Yeley||Rick Ware Racing||Ford||3 Laps|
|32||Brennan Poole||Premium Motorsports||Chevrolet||5 Laps|
|33||Joey Gase||Rick Ware Racing||Ford||7 Laps|
|34||Garrett Smithley||Petty Ware Racing||Chevrolet||7 Laps|
|35||Quin Houff||StarCom Racing||Chevrolet||8 Laps|
|36||Reed Sorenson||Spire Motorsports||Chevrolet||9 Laps|
|37||Timmy Hill||MBM Motorsports||Toyota||16 Laps|
|38||Christopher Bell||Leavine Family Racing||Toyota||Engine|
Published at Sun, 01 Mar 2020 23:45:44 +0000