Kyle Larson’s Late-Race Heroics Earns an Auto Club Victory 

#FONTANA, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 27: Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 Chevrolet, takes the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Cup Series Wise Power 400 at Auto Club Speedway on February 27, 2022, in Fontana, California. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

Kyle Larson’s late-race heroics earns an Auto Club victory in the NASCAR Cup Series Wise Power 400 on Sunday afternoon in Fontana, CA.

After a one-year break, the NASCAR Cup Series returns to Fontana, California for the Wise Power 400 at Auto Club Speedway. This track has been one of the most fun tracks to race at for obvious reasons. Wide, sweeping corners and an abrasive surface have drivers begging for new tires after the first fifteen laps. Multiple grooves will work at this track; the trick is finding the correct one. 

Polesitter Austin Cindric Leads Off the First Stage

Austin Cindric started alongside Erik Jones on the front row. The pair battled for the lead as the field roared down into the first turn. Jones came out of the second turn with the lead and was closely followed by Tyler Reddick. Erik Jones was able to hold off Reddick until lap 11.

Reddick was able to make a move and complete the pass for the lead. A handful of drivers took a spin in the first segment. Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, and Josh Bilicki all had issues controlling their cars.

Tyler Reddick was able to keep the lead through the early madness without issues to take the win at the end of the stage.

 Reddick’s Momentum Prevails in the Second Stage

Holding the lead coming out of the stage break, Tyler Reddick did not have it for long. On the second lap of the segment, he was passed by Chase Briscoe.

On lap 91 it was Christopher Bell’s turn to take a ride. He took a spin coming out of the fourth turn to bring out the first caution of the stage.

Tyler Reddick cycled back into the lead after winning the race off pit road. He cleanly jumped out front and took control of the second half of the segment. Reddick was able to lead through a late caution caused by Chris Buescher to win the second stage as well. 

Disaster Strikes for Reddick

Tyler Reddick continued to lead into the last segment, but disaster struck on the fifteenth lap as he lost a left rear tire. The aftermath collected William Byron as the caution flag came out. Two more cautions came out as the field returned to green. Drivers struggled to maintain control late into the afternoon.

Kyle Larson’s Late-Race Heroics Earns an Auto Club Victory

As the race settled down, Kyle Larson held the lead with five laps remaining. Kyle Larson and Daniel Suarez were in a heated battle for the lead. Larson was able to catch a run on Suarez with two laps to go and made a pass on the front stretch. That was all Larson needed to seal the deal. Larson led the last lap cleanly to win his first race of the season at Auto Club Speedway. 

NASCAR Cup Series Point Standings

Sunday’s race seemed like the first true test of the next-gen car. Teams struggled to keep it together in practice, qualifying, and the race. It seems obvious that this car is entirely different than the Gen 6 car of the past several years. Drivers are forced to lift in the corners and deal with a lot less downforce. It will take some time for drivers to adjust their driving styles.

If that race defines how the rest of the season goes, then race fans are in for a wild ride.