By Shaun Burke
Kevin Harvick only led one lap in the Auto Club 400, but it was the one every driver wants to lead! Harvick made a bold last corner pass on Jimmie Johnson to pull away to his first win of 2011 and fifteenth of his Sprint Cup career.
After “stealing” the Nationwide race Saturday, Kyle Busch dominated the race leading a race high 151 laps and looking pretty much untouchable. After leading the field on a restart with nine laps to go, he was passed by both Jimmie Johnson and Harvick with just a couple laps to go.
Behind Harvick, Johnson and Busch were Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman. Carl Edwards finished sixth and will go into Martinsville as the points leader.
The first caution of the race didn’t occur until lap 76 and broke the record at Auto Club Speedway for most green flag laps from the start of a race. The only major incident of the race occurred on lap 185 when Bobby Labonte blew a right front tire and clobbered the wall in turn 4. The caution came after a 12 lap run and set up a situation where eight drivers stayed out. The rest of the field took a variety of two and four tires.
Next week, NASCAR heads back to one of the oldest tracks on the circuit, Martinsville. Carl Edwards looks to extend his points lead and Jimmie Johnson is looking for his first win in 2011.