NASCAR

Danica Patrick prepares for the qualifying session for the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., Friday, March 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

When NASCAR decided not to fine Austin Dillon for running Cole Custer into a wall last week in Phoenix, other drivers were left wondering how the sport decides who gets fined and who gets away with rambunctious behavior. ''Give me my money back,'' Danica Patrick said Friday at Fontana. Patrick is among several drivers who have been fined for on-track shenanigans seemingly less egregious than the scrape between Dillon and Custer.


Posted: March 25, 2017, 2:06 am

Dale Earnhardt Jr. waits in the garage area prior to the opening practice session for the NASCAR auto race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., Friday, March 24, 2017. Only 24 drivers in NASCAR history have started 600 races, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. joins the club Sunday. After a slow start to his first season back from a concussion, he would love to celebrate the milestone with his first win on the well-aged asphalt at Fontana, where he typically runs quite well. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

''I remember telling Tony that I would switch with him for a million dollars so he could do this instead of me,'' Earnhardt recalled Friday with a chuckle. Along with being NASCAR's most popular driver for most of his career, Junior has 26 victories, 252 top-10 finishes and two Daytona 500 trophies in his first 599 races. ''I just wanted to drive,'' the 42-year-old Earnhardt recalled.


Posted: March 25, 2017, 1:36 am

Kyle Larson drives during the qualifying for the NASCAR auto race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., Friday, March 24, 2017. Larson won the pole. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

Although Kyle Larson has been in second place for most of this NASCAR season, nobody could catch him in qualifying at Fontana. Larson turned a lap in 38.493 seconds Friday in his Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, hitting 187.047 mph to claim the pole for Sunday's race. Denny Hamlin clocked in at 38.507 seconds to earn the fifth front-row start of his career at Auto Club Speedway.


Posted: March 25, 2017, 1:34 am

Jimmie Johnson waves to the crowd during driver introductions for the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Phoenix International Raceway, Sunday, March. 19, 2017, in Avondale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

Jimmie Johnson will start from the back Sunday when he defends his Fontana title after a spin during practice wrecked his primary car. Johnson elected not to participate in qualifying Friday, sending him to the back of the field in his backup car. Johnson lost control on Turn 3 at the Auto Club Speedway's aged 2-mile asphalt, and he slid sideways at 180 mph while trying to stay out of the wall and avoiding Kurt Busch.


Posted: March 25, 2017, 12:07 am

Brad Keselowski makes a pit stop during a NASCAR Cup Series auto race Sunday, March 12, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

NASCAR suspended the crew chiefs for Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick on Wednesday for violations at Phoenix Raceway. Keselowski's car failed post-race inspection on Sunday and NASCAR suspended crew chief Paul Wolfe three races. Wolfe was also fined $65,000 and Team Penske was docked 35 driver and owner points.


Posted: March 22, 2017, 11:33 pm

Kyle Larson (42) drives out of Turn 4 ahead of Kyle Busch during the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Phoenix International Raceway, Sunday, March. 19, 2017, in Avondale, Ariz. Larson finished second in the race. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

Kyle Larson finished second at Phoenix International Raceway and then headed to the beach for a brief family vacation. There was no lamenting his third consecutive runner-up finish because Larson is the current points leader of NASCAR's top series. A two-tire stop put him in position to win Sunday at Phoenix in overtime, but a slip on the restart cost him any chance of running down leader Ryan Newman in the two-lap sprint to the finish.


Posted: March 20, 2017, 11:22 pm

Ryan Newman celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Phoenix International Raceway, Sunday, March 19, 2017, in Avondale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

A big gamble in the desert heat ended a long victory drought for Ryan Newman. When just about everybody else decided to take a tire-changing pit stop in the final few laps on Sunday, Newman figured he'd be going in with them. It was a decision that earned Newman a victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, ending his 127-race winless streak.


Posted: March 20, 2017, 1:17 am

Justin Allgaier celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series auto race at Phoenix International Raceway, Saturday, March 18, 2017, in Avondale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

Justin Allgaier acknowledges there were some very down moments in his long NASCAR Xfinity victory drought. Allgaier held off Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones. Blaney, who started the day 33rd after missing the qualifying, pulled ahead of Jones before the final lap to finish second.


Posted: March 19, 2017, 12:24 am
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