Danica Patrick was fined for her actions at Fontana last year. After NASCAR decided not to punish Austin Dillon for his actions in the Xfinity Series race at Phoenix, Danica Patrick wishes NASCAR had previously used that monetary discretion when it comes to giving drivers consequences. Dillon used his wrecked car to pinch Cole Custer into the wall during last week’s race after contact with Custer led to Dillon’s initial incident.
NASCAR Cup rookie Erik Jones was fastest in the first of two practice sessions Saturday at Auto Club Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Auto Club 400. Jones drove his No. 77 Furniture Row Racing Toyota to the top of the speed charts at the Fontana, California track with a best lap of 187.251, the only driver to exceed 187 mph. Jones was followed by Chase Elliott (186.843), Ryan Newman (186.732), Jimmie Johnson (186.384) and Brad Keselowski (186.292). There were two incidents of note during the session: * With just over nine minutes remaining in the practice session, Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet hit hard into the outside retaining wall, sustaining damage on the right side.
Sprint car driver David Steele was killed Saturday night in a crash at Desoto Speedway in Bradenton, Florida. He was 42. Steele, who drove in two NASCAR Xfinity races in 2000 for car owner Felix Sabates, was competing in a Southern Sprintcar Shootout Series race at the 3/8-mile paved oval. The track issued a statement on its Facebook page Saturday night: “Desoto Speedway owners and staff are saddened by tonight’s passing of David Steele in the Sprint car feature. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends, who were all in attendance to see him try to win his 100th Florida race.” Steele was the U.S. Auto Club’s Silver Crown Series champion in 2004 and ’05. His 16 series victories ranks behind