Snapshot: Fontana preview
March 22, 2014, Zack Albert, NASCAR.com
What: 18th annual Auto Club 400
Where: Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, Calif.
When: Sunday, March 23
TV/Radio: FOX; MRN; SiriusXM Channel 90
Distance: 200 laps; 400 miles
Time: 3 p.m. ET
Pit Road Speed: 55 mph
Caution Car Speed: 65 mph
Avg. Time of Race: 2 hours, 48 minutes
Fuel window: 40 laps
On the Front Row : 1. Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota (187.315 mph) 2. Brad Keselowski, Team Penske No. 2 Ford (187.105 mph)
Surf's up for Kenseth: Matt Kenseth's fast lap sealed his first Coors Light Pole Award of the season. He took home a special surfboard trophy for his handiwork. It's Kenseth's first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole since qualifying fastest for last year's season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
No. 2 on the car, No. 2 in your lineup: Keselowski qualified second for the second consecutive week in the No. 2 Ford, extending an impressive streak of four straight Sprint Cup starts on the front row.
Manufacturer mix: Toyota notched its first victory at Auto Club last season, ending a five-year streak of wins at the 2-mile track by Chevrolet drivers. Chevy has 12 wins at Fontana, just two more than Ford's 10 Auto Club wins. Toyota and Dodge have one each.
Failed to Qualify : None.
Fastest in Practice: First Practice: Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet (188.664 mph) Second Practice: Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet (186.018 mph) Third Practice: Brian Vickers, Michael Waltrip Racing No. 55 Toyota (185.926 mph)
Defending Auto Club 400 Champion : Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota
Former Auto Club Winners In Field: Jimmie Johnson (5); Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth (3); Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart (2); Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne (1).
Milestone ahead : Kyle Busch enters Sunday's main event with 9,933 laps led in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition. If he leads 67 laps in the Auto Club 400, he'll become the 15th driver in NASCAR's premier series to break the 10,000-lap barrier.
Fantasy Sleeper (powered by Rotowire.com): Tony Stewart.
Stewart's injury and six-month layoff make him a somewhat risky fantasy play and his slow start to this season is also concerning. However, his top-five finish at Bristol this past week will help to dispel those concerns. The return to the two-mile oval circuit should be most welcome to the driver of the No. 14 Chevrolet. Smoke is a two-time winner at Fontana (2010 and 2012) and he's led over 300 career laps at the two-mile oval. The three-time Sprint Cup Series champion has been one of the most consistent performers on the two-mile ovals the last couple seasons. (Click here for more fantasy advice.)