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NASCAR at California 2016: Start Time, Ticket Info, Lineup, TV Schedule and More

Kyle Busch makes his return to Auto Club Speedway Sunday with the rest of the series.
Kyle Busch makes his return to Auto Club Speedway Sunday with the rest of the series.Will Lester/Associated Press
Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistJanuary 3, 2017

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and its new aero package takes to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, Sunday for the Auto Club 400.

New package or not, it has been business as usual for the series through four races, with Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick picking up wins.

Granted, the much-talked about aero packages have created some thrilling finishes, and some would point out the small sample size means a reduction in cautions. Possibly, though the event in California will put any budding theories to the test while the old guard jockeys for position in the standings.

Before the spectacle gets underway, here is everything to know.

 

Viewing Details

Where: Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California

When: Sunday, March 20, at 3:30 p.m. ET

Watch: Fox

Live Stream: Fox Sports Go

Tickets: ScoreBig.com

 

Sprint Cup Standings

RKDRIVERPOINTS
1Kevin Harvick154
2Jimmie Johnson140
3Denny Hamlin131
4Brad Keselowski110
5Kyle Busch154
6Kurt Busch137
7Carl Edwards136
8Joey Logano127
9Austin Dillon122
10Martin Truex Jr.117
11Dale Earnhardt Jr.115
12Ryan Blaney104
13Aric Almirola100
14Kasey Kahne96
15Jamie McMurray94
16Matt Kenseth90
Source: ESPN.com

 

NASCAR at California Lineup

PositionDriver
1Austin Dillon
2 Kevin Harvick
3Denny Hamlin
4Ryan Newman
5 Carl Edwards
6Kyle Busch
7Trevor Bayne
8Chase Elliott
9Joey Logano
10Jamie McMurray
11AJ Allmendinger
12Kasey Kahne
13Paul Menard
14Ryan Blaney
15Brad Keselowski
16Chris Buescher
17Martin Truex Jr.
18 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
19Jimmie Johnson
20Matt Kenseth
21Brian Scott
22Greg Biffle
23Casey Mears
24Brian Vickers
25 Aric Almirola
26Kurt Busch
27Dale Earnhardt Jr.
28Regan Smith
29Clint Bowyer
30Michael McDowell
31Danica Patrick
32Kyle Larson
33Matt DiBenedetto
34Landon Cassill
35David Ragan
36Cole Whitt
37Josh Wise
38Michael Annett
39Jeffrey Earnhardt
Fox Sports

Lineup courtesy of Fox Sports.

 

Drivers to Watch

Brad Keselowski

Brad Keselowski enters as defending champion looking to gain momentum.
Brad Keselowski enters as defending champion looking to gain momentum.Ralph Freso/Associated Press

Keselowski knows a thing or two about winning at Auto Club Speedway.

The Team Penske driver took home the checkered flag last year at the same event, leading all of one lap—albeit the most important one. A late debris caution sealed the deal there, but it's something Keselowski recalls rather fondly, as captured by USA Today's Jeff Gluck:

The karma police caught up with me, because there were probably a half-dozen races after that I had stolen from me in the same sense because of debris cautions or whatever. Looking back on it, if I could have traded that one out for races I lost to debris cautions, I would have in a heartbeat.

In the same note, Keselowski said he has a strong understanding of a track he used to dislike. Getting a win there last year certainly didn't hurt things.

Keselowski has looked good so far this year, especially at the start of March, when he led 24 laps to win the Kobalt 400 event in Las Vegas. He's in a good position to hit the familiar track in an aggressive manner and see what happens.

A repeat isn't out of the question, especially as Keselowski continues to like the track more by the year.

 

Kevin Harvick

Kevin Harvick has looked like his usual dominant self so far.
Kevin Harvick has looked like his usual dominant self so far.Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

Harvick sits atop the standings for good reason.

The man recorded a top-10 finish at each of the four events this year, including a pair of top-five performances highlighted by taking the checkered flag last time out in Phoenix.

Maybe "highlight" isn't the best word, though few come to mind after a finish as epic as the one Harvick put on in the desert. SportsCenter snapped the photo:

"That's really what NASCAR racing is all about," Harvick said, according to the Associated Press (via the Boston Herald). "You're coming to the checkered flag and he wants to win for his team and I want to win for my team. There's a lot on the line."

Harvick had a similarly strong start last year, tallying two checkered flags before the event in California, where he wound up finishing second after leading 34 laps.

In other words, the cream continues to rise to the top, and Harvick has both the experience and momentum to take down this race Sunday and put some serious distance between himself and the rest of the field.

Should he do so, a new package might not even be enough to help the rest of the drivers keep pace.

 

Kyle Busch

Busch looks to make it three in a row Sunday.
Busch looks to make it three in a row Sunday.Ralph Freso/Associated Press

It's been a while since folks have seen Kyle Busch at Auto Club Speedway.

Technically, Busch hits Sunday looking to make it three in a row after winning the 2013 and 2014 versions of this event, though most know he missed it last year while on the way back from an injury before his epic run.

It's easy to forget, though NASCAR shared a critical reminder this week:

As one would expect, Busch is excited to get back to it at one of his preferred tracks.

"[Auto Club is] a fast racetrack and you just have to be able to carry a lot of speed through the corners," Busch said, according to the Sports Xchange (via KCII.com). "You're in the corner for a long time, but the more speed you carry through the turn, the better it makes your straightaways."

Busch has yet to win an event outright this year, but it's clear he's due. He's finished in the top four in as many races, leading laps in all.

Driving perhaps the best of anyone right now, Busch in familiar settings in a locale he's dominated over the years is bad news for the rest of the field.

And good for fans, of course.

 

Stats and info courtesy of ESPN.com unless otherwise specified.

 

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