FONTANA, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on the NASCAR race at Fontana (all times local):
Martin Truex Jr. has cruised to victory at Fontana, claiming the first win of the season for last year’s NASCAR Cup Series champion.
Truex led both stages and won a race for the third time in his career, holding off defending Fontana champ Kyle Larson in second.
Truex finished fourth at Fontana last year, but his Furniture Row Racing Toyota was too quick for the field in a fairly clean race. Kyle Busch was third, and Brad Keselowski fourth.
Kevin Harvick’s streak of three straight victories ended when he hit the wall after contact with Larson on the 37th lap. Harvick’s car was repaired and he finished the race.
Martin Truex Jr. has won the first two stages of the NASCAR race at Fontana, staying ahead of a pack of contenders that doesn’t include Kevin Harvick.
After winning the first stage from the pole, Truex stayed in front of Brad Keselowski to keep the lead with 80 laps left at Auto Club Speedway. Truex is the only driver to win both stages and a race since NASCAR introduced stage racing, and he has done it twice.
Trevor Bayne heavily smacked the wall to cause a caution with six laps left in the second stage, moments after Paul Menard also hit the wall.
Harvick is six laps down and essentially out of contention after colliding with Kyle Larson during the first stage.
Martin Truex Jr. has won the first stage of the NASCAR race at Fontana, while Kevin Harvick is essentially out of the running for his fourth consecutive victory after an early wreck.
Truex pushed in front of Kyle Busch and eventually won the first stage under caution. The defending NASCAR Cup Series champion lost the lead to Joey Logano early in the second stage.
Six-time Fontana champion Jimmie Johnson scored his first stage points of the season by rolling into the top 10 after starting deep in the field.
Harvick is five laps down after stopping for repairs, but he has been cleared to continue racing because he met the minimum speed requirement.
Kevin Harvick’s quest for a fourth consecutive NASCAR Cup Series victory took a huge hit Sunday when he collided with Kyle Larson early at Fontana.
Harvick hit the wall during the first stage, damaging his rear end. Harvick had won in Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix before arriving in his home state for an attempt to become the second driver in this century to win four straight.
Harvick was running third when he moved down the track toward Larson on the back stretch, possibly upset about Larson’s driving earlier.
Harvick’s flapping bumper was the most obvious problem, but he made a nice save down the track to avoid an interior wall.
The Stewart-Haas Racing Ford crew is attempting to keep Harvick in the race.
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