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Joe Gibbs Racing: 2014 Auto Club 400 preview

Kyle Busch swept the Fontana weekend last year
Kyle Busch swept the Fontana weekend last year
Getty Images: Todd Warshaw

The fifth race of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season is the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California on Sunday, March 23rd. Also on the race card: the treatmyclots.com 300 for the Nationwide Series on Saturday, March 22nd. Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth have a combined five Cup Series wins at the two-mile track, but their record in the Nationwide Series is even more impressive – nine straight wins dating back to 2008.

Busch, in the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry on Sunday, has 11 top 10 finishes in 16 races at Fontana, two of them wins, including last year’s race. With an average finish of 10.7, Auto Club Speedway ranks as one of Busch’s top five tracks. He’ll also be in the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry in the Nationwide race on Saturday, at a track where he has collected 12 top 10 finishes – including six wins – in 15 starts.

Kenseth, in the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota on Sunday, has three wins at the track, his last coming in the spring 2009 race with Roush Fenway Racing. Kenseth has 14 top 10 finishes in 21 starts, and an average finish of 10.1 in the Cup Series at Fontana. He’ll be joining Busch in Saturday’s Nationwide Series race, driving the No. 20 GameStop/Turtle Beach Toyota. He has 10 top 10 finishes – including four wins – in 13 starts in the series at Fontana, but will be making his first start since 2007.

Denny Hamlin, in the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota, has four top 10 finishes in 13 starts at Fontana, but he knows how to get around the track fast – he’s got there poles there, including the last two. Last year, Hamlin got involved in an on-track incident with Joey Logano, resulting in Hamlin’s back injury which kept him out of the car for four races.

Elliott Sadler, in the No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota in Saturday’s Nationwide Series race, has five top 10 finishes in nine starts in the series at Auto Club Speedway, but has yet to get a win. JGR has wins in the last nine Nationwide Series races, dating back to February 2008 with Tony Stewart behind the wheel. Busch has six of the remaining victories while Logano had two.

Sprint Cup Series qualifying for the Auto Club 400 gets underway Friday at 4:40 p.m. PT, with the race going green on Sunday at noon PT. Saturday’s Nationwide Series qualifying gets underway at 10:35 a.m. PT, with the treatmyclot.com 300 going green at 2:00 p.m. PT. Keep up with the action at joegibbsracing.com.

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