Pala Casino 400

Date: Feb. 26, 2023
Event: Pala Casino 400 (Round 2 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California (2-mile oval)
Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (65 laps/65 laps/70 laps)

Race Winner: Kyle Busch of Richard Childress Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Ross Chastain of Trackhouse Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Ross Chastain of Trackhouse Racing (Chevrolet)

SHR Race Finish:
● Kevin Harvick (Started 10th, Finished 5th / Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
● Chase Briscoe (Started 31st, Finished 20th / Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
● Ryan Preece (Started 27th, Finished 33rd / Accident, completed 87 of 200 laps)
● Aric Almirola (Started 17th, Finished 35th / Accident, completed 86 of 200 laps)

SHR Points:
● Aric Almirola (25th with 31 points, 61 out of first)

SHR Notes:
● This was the first time Almirola finished outside the top-12 at Fontana since he joined SHR in 2018.

Race Notes:
● Kyle Busch won the Pala Casino 400 to score his 61st career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his fifth at Fontana. His margin over second-place Chase Elliott was 2.998 seconds.
● There were eight caution periods for a total of 38 laps.
● Only 20 of the 36 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● Ross Chastain leaves Fontana as the championship leader by a single point over second-place Joey Logano.

Sound Bites:
“I took off on the restart and went from second to third gear and, all of a sudden, everybody in front of us just stopped. I think the leader was just playing games, trying to prevent the runs coming from behind, and where they stopped in the middle of the restart zone was right about where they should’ve been accelerating. It was just a huge accordion effect. We were back in 16th, so everybody just started stacking up, and you can’t stop on a dime. It’s disappointing to get wrecked out of the race like that on a silly Mickey Mouse restart, but I should’ve known better.” – Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang

Next Up:
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Las Vegas 400 on Sunday, March 5 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race begins at 3:30 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.