Kyle Busch wins his first race with Richard Childress Racing in Fontana

Kyle Busch wins his first race with Richard Childress Racing in Fontana

When Kyle Busch remembers being kicked out of his first race at California Speedway in 2001, he still smiles. The upstart driver, who was just 16 years old, won a NASCAR Truck Series practice, but he was told he couldn’t compete in a Marlboro-sponsored race because he was too young to smoke.

According to Busch, “That was my ‘Welcome to NASCAR’ moment and my ‘Welcome to California Speedway’ moment.

Busch’s favorite fuels have always seemed to be anger, conflict, and disrespect, and the record-setting veteran burned a lot of them Sunday while rewarding his new team and leaving this cherished track in style.

After receiving an early speeding penalty, Busch surged from behind to claim his first victory for Richard Childress Racing and his fifth and final victory at this two-mile Southern California track.

In the final NASCAR Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway, which will soon be demolished to make room for a proposed half-mile track, Busch defeated Chase Elliott and Ross Chastain. After Busch burned some of that asphalt one more time on his way to Victory Lane, he asked Fontana officials for a piece as a memento.

“That’s what I enjoy the most about this racetrack,” Busch said. “It’s big. It gets spread out. But man, you can move around and you can spread out and you can make your own destiny by trying to find something that will work for your race car. It’s a sad day for me to see this racetrack in its last race being a two-mile configuration. Glad I was able to win the final run here.”

In only his second race with RCR, Busch won with his Chevrolet. RCR took him in in December after his 15 years with Joe Gibbs Racing came to an end. This victory was Busch’s first on asphalt since Pocono in 2021, his first since Bristol last season.

Busch won for the 61st time in his career, breaking a tie with Richard Petty for the most Cup victories in a single season. Busch stated that “a long, long time ago” Busch focused on Petty’s longevity record.

“I’m just so thankful for the opportunity to set that bar, and would love to continue to keep raising it,” Busch said.

Kyle and Kurt Busch won for the 95th time together, breaking the NASCAR record previously held by Bobby and Donnie Allison.

Elliott’s Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet finished 2.998 seconds behind Busch. In his 750th Cup start, Daniel Suárez came in fourth, and Kevin Harvick came in fifth.

Elliott said, “Congratulations to Kyle.” It’s pretty cool that he left and went to do the job that way. He has always been very kind to me, and I’m so glad for them.

The Las Vegas native has had a lot of fun since his teenage troubles at Fontana on the I-15. In 2005, Busch won his first Cup race at this track in a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Only Jimmie Johnson (6) has won more Cup races at this track.

Even California fans appreciate a driver who frequently receives jeers following victories: As he took home yet another surfboard trophy, Fontana serenaded him with cheers.

“There’s nothing more rewarding than being able to go to Victory Lane,” Busch said. “I death-gripped that wheel throughout the second half of that race, but we got the victory.”

Busch was enraged when he received the penalty early in the race for speeding on pit road. To totally no one’s amazement, he thundered through the field accordingly, passing Michael McDowell for the lead with 20 laps to go.

“That’s why he’s won as many races as he has,” said Randall Burnett, Busch’s crew chief. “Because he always pushes it to the limit.”


The traditional five-wide salute given before the race was more moving because this race was the end: With vague plans to construct a new track in its place and the sale of much of the surrounding property, NASCAR is closing Roger Penske’s track.

The decision ends a fun era for stock car racing in the rich car culture of Southern California. With its coarse grip and wide open spaces, the big track east of Los Angeles has been a favorite of nearly every racer in multiple disciplines, producing impressive racing for a quarter of a century.

In 2024, NASCAR will have no place to race, and the new track might not even be ready by 2025, if it ever happens.


After a week of unusual rain and snow, NASCAR successfully dried the asphalt prior to the race on Saturday night. Despite the fact that sand and debris bothered some drivers, the track was able to avoid major issues thanks to rainwater collecting in cracks in the surface.


Prior to the race’s halfway point, a major wreck caused by a restart involved ten cars, the most in any Cup race at Fontana. After the accident that sent several cars skidding across the infield, four drivers, including pole sitter Christopher Bell, were unable to continue.


Following engine trouble on the first lap, defending champion Kyle Larson was eliminated from contention. Busch was sent to the back after Brad Keselowski spun from contact with Corey LaJoie.

Topics #Fontana #Kyle Busch #Richard Childress

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