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

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NASCAR at California 2016: Start Time, Ticket Info, Lineup, TV Schedule and More
Will Lester/Associated Press
Kyle Busch makes his return to Auto Club Speedway Sunday with the rest of the series.

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

RK DRIVER POINTS
1 Kevin Harvick 154
2 Jimmie Johnson 140
3 Denny Hamlin 131
4 Brad Keselowski 110
5 Kyle Busch 154
6 Kurt Busch 137
7 Carl Edwards 136
8 Joey Logano 127
9 Austin Dillon 122
10 Martin Truex Jr. 117
11 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 115
12 Ryan Blaney 104
13 Aric Almirola 100
14 Kasey Kahne 96
15 Jamie McMurray 94
16 Matt Kenseth 90

Source: ESPN.com

 

NASCAR at California Lineup

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

Fox Sports

Lineup courtesy of Fox Sports.

 

Drivers to Watch

Brad Keselowski

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

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

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

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

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

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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