FONTANA, Calif. – Kurt Busch banged the outside wall during Saturday’s first practice and damaged the right rear of his No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet. The team opted to roll out a backup car, which may not be a bad thing. Last year’s Auto Club pole winner was 26th in Friday’s qualifying, so the backup car may be an improvement. Busch, however, will lose 13 positions when he drops to the rear to start Sunday’s Auto Club 400…
Aric Almirola, who qualified 25th on Friday, also scraped the wall in practice, but his No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports team opted to repair the damage…
Roughly 30 minutes into final practice, Kyle Larson’s No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet got loose in Turn 4, tapped the outside wall and slowed noticeably. Coming off the corner, Greg Biffle was unable to steer his No. 16 Ford away from Larson’s car and rammed the right rear, damaging both cars severely.
“We were on new tires,” Biffle said. “That was our second lap, and the 42 was on old tires, so our closure rate was super-fast. I was kind of looking at my mark on the wall and on the race track, and he wrecked in front of me and I just couldn’t get stopped.
“There wasn’t anywhere for me to go. The groove is right up against the fence, and I was going probably 15-20 miles an hour faster than he was. By the time I saw him sideways I was catching him so fast that I don’t know what happened.”
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