Kevin Harvick kicks off Fontana weekend with Xfinity win

2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Kevin Harvick took home the win after dominating at Fontana, to start off this weekend the right way.

Kevin Harvick put on a racing clinic, of sorts, at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., on Saturday, running up front for most of the 150-lap Drive4Clots.com NASCAR Xfinity Series race on his way to the win. He led a total of 100 laps.

"Just got to thank everybody from JR Motorsports, Tax Slayer, Hunt Brothers Pizza," Harvick said. "Lot of fun to be in these race cars right now."

Brendan Gaughan finished second, Erik Jones was third, Chase Elliott fourth, and Chris Buescher rounded out the top-five.

"Restarts," Gaughan said were the key to his second-place finish. "Richard Childress lets me do whatever I want for restarts with my transmissions."

Heading to the front

Harvick raced from third to the lead on a restart following a lap 33 caution and was a mainstay up front through the rest of the afternoon, except when the field ran through lengthy cycles of green flag stops with drivers on varying pit schedules.

"To start the race, we weren't strong on restarts," Harvick said. "This is just one of those places; the more you race, the better you feel."

Other Sprint Cup regulars Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin ran near the front early in the race, but Hamlin was nabbed speeding on pit road under green with just under 40 laps to go. He also experienced overheating issues to compound the problem. As a result of his troubles, Hamlin found himself a lap down after the final caution of the race without an opportunity to get back onto the lead lap.

Hamlin was the only driver other than Harvick to put double digits in the laps-led column, leading a total of 33 laps before losing the lead to Harvick early in the race.

Pit road troubles

Keselowski overshot his pit stall on his first trip down pit road during the first caution of the race on lap 33 and restarted in the back of the top-10. He went on a drive toward the front on four fresh tires taken during the final caution of the race and raced his way up to third before falling back in the closing laps and finishing eighth.

Jones ran second to Harvick throughout most of the laps led by Harvick before Gaughan made a convincing move toward the front to take the second spot from Jones with just under 25 laps to go. Gaughan didn't look to be much of a factor until his team made a chassis and tire pressure adjustment on the last pit stop.

"We had a good car. The 88 (Harvick) was just so fast," Gaughan said. "We're really close. We're right on the verge, man."

Brian Scott finished sixth, Kyle Larson was seventh, Keselowski eighth, Regan Smith ninth, and Elliott Sadler was 10th.

 

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Event Fontana
Sub-event Saturday post-race
Track California Speedway
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Brendan Gaughan , Regan Smith , Elliott Sadler , Brad Keselowski , Denny Hamlin , Brian Scott , Kyle Larson , Chris Buescher , Chase Elliott , Erik Jones
Teams JR Motorsports
Article type Race report