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NASCAR at California 2018: Start Time, Ticket Info, Lineup, TV Schedule and More

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2018

FONTANA, CA - MARCH 16:  Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Busch Beer Ford, climbs into his car during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 16, 2018 in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)
Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

Make it three checkered flags in a row for Kevin Harvick as the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series next takes on the Auto Club 400 on Sunday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

Harvick has his foot on the throat of the series as well as the pedal at this point, boasting three wins in four events. The lone other winner so far this year is Austin Dillon, the driver to triumph at the Daytona 500. 

The season-opening win at Daytona seemed to hint at another year of unpredictable parity atop the leaderboard. A year ago, new winners popped up left and right while the entire season battled new rules and the debut of the stage-based format. 

This year, not so much. Sunday's event isn't one to miss though, as the rest of the drivers are bound to be tired of seeing Harvick in Victory Lane. 

          

Viewing Details

Where: Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, California

When: Sunday, 3:30 p.m. ET

Watch: Fox

Live Stream: Fox Sports GO

Tickets: StubHub

             

Auto Club 400

1. Martin Truex Jr. (38.592)

2. Kyle Busch (38.619)

3. Kyle Larson (38.683)

4. Erik Jones (38.770)

5. Austin Dillon (38.770)

6. Joey Logano (38.798)

7. Kurt Busch (38.880)

8. Ryan Blaney (38.903)

9. Ryan Newman (38.903)

10. Kevin Harvick (39.038)

*Full results can be found at NASCAR's official website

          

2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Standings

1. Kevin Harvick168
2. Austin Dillon114
3. Kyle Busch156
4. Martin Truex Jr.156
5. Joey Logano152
6. Ryan Blaney152
7. Denny Hamlin137
8. Brad Keselowski134
9. Kyle Larson131
10. Clint Bowyer125
11. Aric Almirola123
12. Kurt Busch117
13. Ryan Newman101
14. Paul Menard97
15. Erik Jones93
16. Alex Bowman91
ESPN.com.

         

Drivers to Watch

Kyle Larson

Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

Kyle Larson might have what it takes to provide a breath of fresh air to the series right now. 

Larson, who won this event a year ago, has a pair of top-10 finishes over his last three outings. Granted, he showed up at the last event in Phoenix and started second before finishing 18th. 

As usual, though, Larson is remaining cool under fire and expects a rebound. 

"I wasn't too nervous about it, really," Larson said, according to ESPN.com's Bob Pockrass. "You don't know what to expect. Our team has done a good job of adapting to it and I feel like we're in a better spot maybe than what Toyota was at the start of last year."

True to form, Larson went out and qualified for the third spot. Now he's looking to rebound at an event he won a year ago while not even thinking about the recent hiccup. 

The No. 42 Chevy being in Sunday's event until the end wouldn't come as a surprise. 

         

Kyle Busch

Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

One spot above Larson this Sunday is a guy named Kyle Busch. 

That guy has come close to taking a checkered flag twice, finishing second in two consecutive events and giving him three top-10 finishes overall. 

As usual, it feels like a matter of time before Busch makes it to Victory Lane—it's just going to take upending Harvick. 

Here's what Busch had to say last week, according to Omnisport's Joe Rodgers (via SportingNews.com): "Before the race, I knew the 4 (Harvick) was the car to beat. I didn't think we were going to be the second-best car today but we actually had a shot to out-race 'em and beat 'em, but it just didn't work out."

It's going to be the same story this weekend. Harvick starts 10th and, based on his recent form, won't have any problems climbing the leaderboard in a hurry before fighting for the checkered flag. 

Busch has taken his time getting his first win in the past, but now seems like a good time to strike and steal some of the spotlight.  

      

Kevin Harvick

Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

It feels like Harvick is only just getting started. 

The No. 4 Ford looks almost unstoppable, leading 181, 214 and 38 laps over his three-race streak, the final one a week ago and chronicled by Stewart-Haas Racing: 

Stewart-Haas Racing @StewartHaasRcng

.@KevinHarvick captures his ninth win at @ISMRaceway and the 40th of his #NASCAR Cup Series career. 🏁 Incredible! #4TheWin https://t.co/EZO49rqcbO

Those laps led tell the whole story, too, as Harvick has been dominant and also turned it on late when he needed it most. 

For his part, Harvick doesn't sound overly focused on any records associated with a winning streak, according to USA Today's Mike Hembree: "Really, it's about winning championships and races. Winning any race, whether it's a sprint car race or a Cup race or late model race, that's what we sit in these things for. That's what we show up to do."

Rest assured the rest of the world will start talking about potential records soon enough. Harvick clearly has his ticket punched to the postseason and isn't slowing now. 

It's up to Busch or a recent winner like Larson to slow him down. 

           

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

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