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Ryan Gifford spun out after 59 laps into Friday night's NASCAR K&N Pro Series (Combined East/West) race at Iowa (Newton) Speedway.

He started the No. 2 Toyota 30th in the lineup for the Autolite Iridium XP 150. Gifford was credited with a 40th place DNF. He is currently 17th in the 2014 K&N Pro Series-East point standings after this event.
Sun, Aug 3, 2014 08:36:00 PM

Kyle Larson posted the fastest single lap in the first practice session for the Auto Club 400 with a speed of 189.071 mph.

That was 6/10ths of a second faster than second-place Denny Hamlin’s 188.462 as most drivers spent the majority of time working on qualification trim. Larson suffered crash damage last year in the Auto Club 400, but he has a great record on two-mile tracks overall and should be considered a favorite this week. Larson’s best previous qualification effort at Auto Club Speedway was a fifth in 2015.
Mar 24 - 3:03 PM

Jimmie Johnson spun late in the first practice session for the Auto Club 400. He appeared to damage the nose and splitter significantly and will go to a backup. Johnson spun off of turn four during his mock qualification run.

Since the accident happened before qualification, Johnson should be able to keep his starting position. Qualification will be held later on Friday. Johnson has six previous wins on this track, including last March’s Auto Club 400. "A lot of loose," Johnson told reporters from the garage. We "crossed the line there, for sure." He had the 17th-fastest lap at the time.
Mar 24 - 2:41 PM

Paul Menard has been mostly good, very consistent, but is currently trending down on two-mile tracks.

Menard had six consecutive top-10s on this track type from 2013 through spring 2015. That summer, he fell to 12th at Michigan, was 15th last spring at Auto Club, and now has a pair of 18ths in his latest two races. Still, he enters this week’s contest with 13 consecutive results of 18th or better on two-milers. All of them have ended on the lead lap.
Mar 24 - 1:35 PM

Ty Dillon finished 16th last week at Phoenix International Raceway, behind his two principal Rookie of the Year contenders Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones, who scored top-10s.

Predicting top-10s for rookies is difficult because it usually entails a certain amount of luck and track position. Dillon will earn several strong finishes this year, but our best guess says he will wind up with only half as many as Suarez and Jones.
Mar 24 - 1:34 PM

In four starts this year, Corey LaJoie has experienced crash damage three times.

The most recent two incidents were severe enough to force him to retire. He made only 16 laps in the Kobalt 400 to finish last in 39th. One other car beat him to the garage at Phoenix International Raceway when he cut a tire and pounded the wall on lap 115 of 314.
Mar 24 - 1:33 PM

Derrike Cope had a season-best finish of 33rd last week at Phoenix International Raceway.

Cope was seven laps off the pace and much of his advance came as the result of attrition, but it is still notable that in three starts this year, he has improved each time. There is some benefit to the slow-and-steady approach.
Mar 24 - 1:33 PM

Ryan Blaney has finished in the top 15 only one time in five previous starts on two-mile tracks. He was fourth last August in the Pure Michigan 400.

Three of his disappointing results came with crash damage, including a DNF in last year’s Auto Club 400. He has been running strong in recent weeks and his record is not long enough to infer much, so he should be watched closely in prelims.
Mar 24 - 1:32 PM

There are at least two solid reasons to consider Ricky Stenhouse Jr. this week: His top-five last week at Phoenix International Raceway and a fifth last year in the Auto Club 400.

An argument could be added for a third reason: Roush-Fenway Racing has a longstanding history of running strong on two-mile tracks and with the recent uptick in their results, Stenhouse should be able to challenge for a top-10.
Mar 24 - 12:43 PM

In similar equipment to that which he will pilot this week, David Ragan finished 22nd at Auto Club Speedway and in Michigan International Speedway’s first race last year.

That most likely defines his high water mark because in the summer Michigan race he was in the high-20s. The competition for 20-something results is pretty strong and track position will play an important factor late in the Auto Club 400.
Mar 24 - 12:33 PM

If Timmy Hill is going to have a strong finish at Auto Club Speedway this week, he will probably need some help via attrition.

Hill has made two starts this season and both ended in the 30s. At Las Vegas Motor Speedway he was part of the attrition and finished 37th. At Phoenix International Raceway, he was running at the end in 32nd.
Mar 24 - 12:32 PM

Chris Buescher has alternated 20th-place finishes with results in the mid-30s in four attempts on two-mile tracks.

Buescher finished 20th in a pre-rookie warm-up at Auto Club Speedway in 2015. He returned to that track last year to finish 33rd, then was 20th in Michigan International Speedway’s spring event, and 35th in the summer. If the pattern holds, he could challenge for another 20th this year.
Mar 24 - 12:31 PM




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