On Sunday, Kyle Busch snags an early win in the last NASCAR Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in the Palo Casino 400.
Sunday’s race at Auto Club Speedway marked the last NASCAR Cup Series race on the two-mile oval. The track is set for a reconfiguration in 2023. NASCAR will leave behind the old asphalt and the wide sweeping corners for a short-track venue. For drivers and fans, Auto Club Speedway has a lot of character and will surely be missed.
The Polesitter, Christopher Bell, Leads the Field
Christopher Bell kickstarts the race by taking the green flag from the pole position. Alex Bowman quickly soared to the lead from the fourth position and led the rest of the way to the competition caution on lap 17. Ross Chastain was the driver moving to the front after winning the race off pit road. He was in the top spot for ten laps before a pass by Joey Logano.
Logano took off with the race lead, but another caution flag was waved on lap 42. Brad Keselowski spun out of the second turn making contact with Corie Lajoie.
Then, with 18 laps left in the stage, Ross Chastain took the lead on the restart and did not look back. He flexed his speed muscle early to win the opening stage.
Several Leaders with Only One Driver Prevailing
The second stage took a couple of tries to get moving. Two early cautions forced the field to stay bunched together. One of those cautions came for J Allmendinger spinning into the inside wall. On the restart, ten cars wrecked after an accordion style stack up for the second caution.
On lap 87, the race finally returned to the green flag. Logano took the early lead but was quickly passed by Denny Hamlin. Hamlin led for five laps before Chastain made another run to the front of the field.
Chastain looked like the car to beat through the first two stages. He led the final 32 laps taking the sweep of the stages by winning the second stage.
Kyle Busch versus Ross Chastain
Kevin Harvick tried to take the early lead in the third and final stage, but Kyle Busch received a big shove putting him in the top spot instead. Four laps into the segment, the yellow flag waved for Ty Dillon stalling out in the second turn. Kyle Busch battled with Ross Chastain to retake the lead on the restart, but Chastain moved into the top spot. Staying close together, Busch and Chastain created a gap from the rest of the field.
Joey Logano short-pitted under the green flag, forcing the rest of the field to cycle down pit road too. Kyle Busch beat Ross Chastain off pit road and took off with the sole lead.
Kyle Busch Snags an Early Win in Last Race at Auto Club Speedway
The rest of the race ran green, and Chastain was on a mission to track Busch down. However, Kyle Busch led the final 21 laps to get his first win of 2023 and his first win racing for Richard Childress Racing.
The move from Joe Gibbs Racing to Richard Childress Racing over the off-season delivered a big dividend for Kyle Busch.
The Pala Casino 400 Results
There has been plenty of speculation about how good Kyle Busch would be this year after switching teams and manufacturers. And just two races into the season, Kyle Busch has answered with an early win in the last race at Auto Club Speedway. So both moves seem to be paying off. Kyle Busch came home third from the Clash. After leading in the duel, he wrecked out of the race. Then, he was one lap short of winning the Daytona 500. Finally, Busch was able to seal the deal Sunday and win at Auto Club Speedway. Kyle Busch is blossoming at RCR as the man to beat and an early favorite to win the 2023 championship.