Stewart-Haas Racing Sweeps Auto Club 400 Front Row

Stewart-Haas Racing Sweeps Auto Club 400 Front Row

by March 20, 2015 0 comments

Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images

By: Hunter Thomas
Twitter: @HunterThomas08

FONTANA, Calif. – Kurt Busch and Stewart-Haas Racing teammate, Kevin Harvick will bring the field down to the green flag on Sunday in the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.

In only his second start this season, Kurt Busch paced first practice on Friday and backed the effort up, capturing the Coors Light Pole Award after running a lap of 38.889 seconds at 185.142 mph. It’s his fourth pole at the speedway and the 17th of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career.

“It’s incredible to do it here in Gene Haas’ back yard. Haas Automation is over in Oxnard (California),” Busch said. “Drove over there yesterday, battled that good L.A. (Los Angeles) morning traffic, that was fun. To do an appearance there to see all the employees and everybody that has been so anxious for me to get back and feel the love and the warmth from them it gives you that extra motivation. That is probably what got us on the pole today was all the love from Haas Automation.”

Kevin Harvick is looking to sweep NASCAR’s West Coast swing on Sunday, and he’ll have a great starting spot to assist with that effort. Harvick will roll off in the second position. He has three top-10 starts this season and seven at the speedway. Harvick was 12th during first practice on Friday.

“Yeah, I’m just really proud of everybody on our Jimmy John’s/Budweiser team,” Harvick said. “I want to congratulate Kurt (Busch) and everybody on the No. 41 and everybody at SHR (Stewart-Haas Racing), Hendrick engines and chassis for everything that they do for all these cars. I got down into Turn 3 and I was committed to the bottom and there were three cars on the apron that were cooling off. I wanted to run the apron because I ran it in the second round and thought that I knew what I needed to do in the third round. I got through (Turns) 1 and 2 fairly good, got to the green really good and then I had to abort down here, all-in-all still a good effort.”

Matt Kenseth will start third in the Auto Club 400 on Sunday. It is his third top-10 start this season and sixth at Auto Club Speedway. Kenseth finished out first practice 14th fastest. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver is looking to earn a win for manufacture, Toyota that calls the speedway a home track.

“I really like this track and with Toyota being out here and stuff, it’s fun to come here and race – you want to do well and you want to do well every week,” Kenseth said. “We have a really good Dewalt Dollar General Camry. I just missed lap two and I started to miss lap three too. I kind of got most of it, but I didn’t get all of it so I feel bad that we got beat by that much. I think that was driver error more so than car. Overall, it’s a good spot to start.”

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will have two practice sessions on Saturday with the first session starting at 11:30 a.m. ET on FOX Sports 2. Final practice will begin at 2:30 p.m. ET and can be watched on FOX Sports 1.

Coverage for the Auto Club 400 will air live on FOX and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Auto Club 400 Starting Lineup:
1.) #41 Kurt Busch
2.) #4 Kevin Harvick
3.) #20 Matt Kenseth
4.) #18 David Ragan
5.) #42 Kyle Larson
6.) #11 Denny Hamlin
7.) #24 Jeff Gordon
8.) #2 Brad Keselowski
9.) #31 Ryan Newman
10.) #15 Clint Bowyer
11.) #27 Paul Menard
12.) #78 Martin Truex Jr.
13.) #22 Joey Logano
14.) #48 Jimmie Johnson
15.) #19 Carl Edwards
16.) #9 Sam Hornish Jr.
17.) #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
18.) #47 AJ Allmendinger
19.) #5 Kasey Kahne
20.) #14 Tony Stewart
21.) #3 Austin Dillon
22.) #10 Danica Patrick
23.) #43 Aric Almirola
24.) #46 Michael Annett
25.) #33 Brian Scott
26.) #1 Jamie McMurray
27.) #17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
28.) #7 Alex Bowman
29.) #16 Greg Biffle
30.) #55 Brett Moffitt
31.) #51 Justin Allgaier
32.) #35 Cole Whitt
33.) #34 Chris Buescher
34.) #26 Jeb Burton
35.) #98 Josh Wise
36.) #6 Trevor Bayne
37.) #13 Casey Mears
38.) #62 Brendan Gaughan
39.) #32 Mike Bliss
40.) #40 Landon Cassill
41.) #23 JJ Yeley
42.) #83 Matt DiBenedetto
43.) #38 David Gilliland

Hunter Thomas
Hunter Thomas is a journalist who grew up in Darlington, S.C. His first motorsports-based endeavor was working as the Public Relations Director at Dillon Motor Speedway in Dillon, S.C., and his journalism start came while he was freelancing at his hometown newspaper, the News & Press while in college.

Hunter has been working within the NASCAR industry since 2010, and throughout the years, he has done everything from PR/Marketing for drivers and teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, to working at Rockingham Speedway. As a journalist, Hunter has covered everything from regional short tracks to NASCAR, ARCA Racing Series, World of Outlaws, Red Bull Global Rallycross, NHRA and much more.

Follow Hunter Thomas on Twitter by following, @HunterThomas08

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