Kyle Busch gets first Fontana NSCS win for Toyota

Final lap crash puts Hamlin in hospital after contact with Logano as the two battled for the victory.

As the No. 22 Penske Racing Ford of Joey Logano and the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Denny Hamlin battled side-by-side, making contact, for the win in the Auto Club 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Fontana, Calif., on Sunday, Kyle Busch drove his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota by them both to claim the win.

"They (Logano and Hamlin) forgot about me, though," Busch said. "I knew they would've."

Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished second in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, and Kurt Busch was third in the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet.

Logano was able to make it to the end after hitting the wall on the last lap to finish sixth. Hamlin, though, made hard, head-on contact with the inside retaining wall and was transported to a local hospital. He was able to get out of his race car on his own and was awake and alert while being transported to the hospital.

As Hamlin was being tended to, Logano faced an angry Tony Stewart, who headed to Logano's car right after climbing out of his No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet. Stewart threw punches as a result of anger stemming from Logano blocking him on the final restart of the race in the final 15 laps.

"I had to throw a block there," Logano said. "That was a race for the lead."

Hamlin started on the pole, but lost the lead on the first lap to JGR teammate Matt Kenseth in the No. 20 Toyota. Busch then took over, claiming the lead from Kenseth on lap 11 and going on to lead more than half the race. Logano moved into second following a restart after a lap 37 caution. From then on, he and Busch ran up front for most of the race. Logano led 41 laps, second-most behind Busch.

"I think our Auto Club Ford was very strong," Logano said. "That thing ran the last seven or eight laps with no water in it."

They got shuffled back several positions, though, when a handful of drivers opted to take only two tires during a caution with 70 laps to go. Stewart, the No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota of Clint Bowyer, the No. 2 Penske Racing Ford of Brad Keselowski and Kenseth got off pit road first through fourth to restart the race in the first two rows.

Busch quickly got back toward the front and moved back into the lead with 53 laps to go. Kevin Harvick in the No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet ran second to Busch for several laps until Logano was able to move back into the second spot on a restart with just under 30 laps remaining.

Logano and Hamlin both got by Busch for first and second with sixth laps to go. They then waged a side-by-side battle for the win that lasted until the last lap when the two made contact after Logano's car moved up the race track. With the contact, Busch drove by to take the win.

"Low and behold, I put my foot to it and drove around it," Busch said.

It was the first win for Toyota at Auto Club Speedway and snapped a 31-race winless streak for Busch.

"Finally, we got the home win for Toyota," Busch said.

Carl Edwards finished fourth in the No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, and his RFR teammate Greg Biffle finished fifth in the No. 16 Ford after starting the race in the back because of an engine change.

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About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Race report
Tags auto club speedway, busch, chevrolet, earnhardt, fontana, ford, hamlin, logano, nascar-cup, nascar sprint cup, toyota