Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman split stage wins at Fontana

Building upon a scorchingly hot start to the season, Team Penske driver Ryan Blaney picked up his first stage win of 2020 by winning Stage 2 of Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.

The No. 12 Ford driver has seemed to get faster as the race rolls on, overtaking Stage 1 winner Alex Bowman early in the segment to lead a race-high total of 69 laps and take the green-white-checkered flag.

Hendrick Motorsports’ Bowman placed second, followed by six-time Auto Club winner and teammate Jimmie Johnson, making his final start at his home track in Fontana, California. Penske and Joe Gibbs Racing entries rounded out the top five, with Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr. placing fourth and fifth, respectively. Truex started from the rear after his No. 19 Toyota failed pre-qualifying inspection three times.

On Lap 81, Christopher Bell’s No. 95 Toyota dropped a cylinder and was forced to the garage area. He finished 38th.

The caution came out on Lap 93, as pole-sitter Clint Bowyer’s No. 14 Ford was spitting sparks after a flat tire. He was 24th at stage end.

After contact with Denny Hamlin in Stage 1 put him off the pace, 2017 Fontana winner Kyle Larson remained down a lap and in 27th place until the stage break caution put him back on the lead lap.

Finish Driver Team Points
1 Ryan Blaney Team Penske 10
2 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports 9
3 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports 8
4 Brad Keselowski Team Penske 7
5 Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing 6
6 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports 5
7 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing 4
8 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing 3
9 Erik Jones Joe Gibbs Racing 2
10 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing 1

Alex Bowman zooms to Stage 1 win at Fontana

Sporting perhaps the strongest car of the weekend, Alex Bowman scored the Stage 1 win in Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.

The No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet driver led a stage-high 44 laps, picking up his first stage win of the season — and of his career.

MORE: Full Fontana Stage 1 results

Points leader Ryan Blaney continued his hot start to 2020, placing runner-up in the stage after starting 16th. Jimmie Johnson, making his last scheduled start at his home track, started the race second and placed third in the stage. Aric Almirola and Kurt Busch rounded out the top five in fourth and fifth, respectively.

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Clint Bowyer picked up just the fourth pole of his career but wasn’t able to do much with it, sinking back to 16th in the stage.

On Lap 34, Denny Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota touched the rear of Kyle Larson’s No. 42 Chevrolet a bit too hard, sending Larson’s rig up the track and scraping the wall. Larson needed to come down pit road for fixes and placed 32nd in the stage.

After his car failed three times in pre-qualifying inspection, Martin Truex Jr. started the race from the back of the pack but worked his way up to 13th.

Ross Chastain, filling in for No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing driver Ryan Newman, placed 19th in the stage.

Finish Driver Team Points
1 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports 10
2 Ryan Blaney Team Penske 9
3 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports 8
4 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing 7
5 Kurt Busch Chip Ganassi Racing 6
6 Brad Keselowski Team Penske 5
7 Joey Logano Team Penske 4
8 Matt DiBenedetto Wood Brothers Racing 3
9 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports 2
10 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing 1