Kyle Larson padded his points lead Sunday after winning the opening stage, finishing second in the second stage and then winning the NASCAR Cup race at Auto Club Speedway. Larson has a 29-point lead on Chase Elliott heading to next Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway. Martin Truex Jr. is 38 points behind Larson, Brad Keselowski is 64 points behind Larson and Joey Logano is 69 points behind Larson. Larson scored 59 of a maximum 60 points Sunday.
While there’s no guarantee a Ford will win Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway, a Ford will definitely start it. Track officials announced Monday that Edsel Ford II, great-grandson of Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford, will bring the field to the starting green flag as honorary pace car driver, behind the wheel of a Ford Shelby 350GT. “I was talking with (Ford) in Daytona and he mentioned to me that he had never been to Martinsville, so I figured what better way to welcome him than to invite him to be our honorary pace car driver,” Martinsville Speedway president Clay Campbell said in a release. Ford currently serves as a member of the auto manufacturer’s board of directors. “I’ve known
This time there would not be another hard-charging comeback by Jimmie Johnson. Johnson, the record six-time winner at Auto Club Speedway and defending winner of the Auto Club 400, had to start near the rear of the 39-car field Sunday after he failed to qualify because he crashed his practice car. Johnson climbed back to about mid-field but not much higher in his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. He finished 21st. And on Lap 155, he found himself spun around in his pit stall and facing the pit wall after swerving to avoid hitting Martin Truex’s Toyota during a pit stop. “We definitely didn’t have the fastest car out there today,” said Johnson, who won his seventh championship in the Monster