Kyle Busch passed three cars in the final lap to win at Fontana.
In somewhat of a repeat of the closing laps of Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Kyle Busch and the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet of Kyle Larson battled for the win in the closing laps of the Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race at the track on Sunday. Busch came out on top, claiming his 29th-career Cup win and his third victory at ACS. Larson finished second, and Kurt Busch wound up third in the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet, his first top-20 finish of the season.
Tire issues plagued several drivers throughout the race, with at least 20 tire problems reported throughout the event that was scheduled for a 200-lap distance. A tire problem that resulted in a spin by the No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing Chevrolet of Clint Bowyer brought out the ninth and final caution of the race with three laps to go of the scheduled 200, sending the race into overtime for a 206-lap distance and a green-white-checker finish.
"What do you expect when you get a green-white-checker finish and everybody heads down pit road for four (tires)?" Kyle Busch asked. Just a few laps prior to the final caution, the Hendrick Motorsports duo of Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48 Chevrolet and Jeff Gordon in the No. 24 Chevy were showing the way. But Gordon fell back several positions after reporting to his crew that he felt a vibration. Later, on lap 193, Johnson gave up the lead to make an unscheduled stop because of a flat tire.
When the yellow flag finally waved for Bowyer's spit in the closing laps, Landon Cassill opted to stay out in his No. 40 Hillman Racing Chevrolet. Everyone else pitted, but strategies varied. Stewart-Haas Racing teammates, Kurt Busch in the No. 41 Chevrolet and Tony Stewart in the No. 14 Chevrolet, along with the No. 27 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, took only two tires to gain track position. When the race returned to green for the final two laps, Cassill was disposed of immediately, and Kyle Busch and Larson made their ways to the front, Busch from fifth and Larson from ninth, to battle for the win.
Kurt Busch was able to hold on to third, while Stewart dropped a couple of spots to finish fifth. Matt Kenseth was fourth in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.
Johnson and the No. 2 Penske Racing Ford of Brad Keselowski combined to lead most of the race, with Johnson leading a race-high 104 laps, and Keselowski running up front for 38. Gordon was third in the laps-led department with 23. But all three fell victim to tire problems at least once in the race and wound up outside the top-10 at the finish. Keselowski suffered multiple tire problems.
The No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet of Jamie McMurray was sixth, the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota of Brian Vickers seventh, the No. 47 JTG-Daugherty Racing Chevrolet of A.J. Allmendinger eighth, the No. 27 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Paul Menard was ninth, and the No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford of Carl Edwards finished 10th.
Sam Hornish piloted the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to a 17th-place finish, filling in for regular driver Denny Hamlin. Hamlin was transported to a nearby hospital before the race when a sinus infection led to vision problems.
"He (Hamlin) has a sinus infection and it's affecting his vision, so he won't be able to start the race today," Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs said before the race.