By Earl Heath  

Contributing Sports Writer

It was just after a restart Kyle Larson was trailing Daniel Suarez while both cars were riding high near the wall in the RISE 400 at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.  

Larson in the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet made a move to the inside lower track took the lead and held off a charging Austin Dillon by .195 seconds came away with his first victory of the season, his second at the 2-mile track and the 17th of his career.   

“There were some guys quicker than us but they had their misfortune,” said Larson. “Just kept our heads in it all day, the whole race was crazy, but definitely good for California its always good to win in your home state,” the Elk Grove native added.  

Dillion came in second Suarez dropped to fourth and Erick Jones and Chevrolets took the top four spots.  

“We had a fast car but we went through a lot of adversity,” said Suarez. “It was a lot of fun to race like that.”  

It was a race that featured a record tying 12 cautions for 59 laps, Larson, who started from the rear of the field because of unapproved adjustments to his Camaro, took the lead from Joey Logano on Lap 167 of 200 and held it for 27 of the final 34 circuits on the way to the victory. It was Larson’s second win in Fontana. The other coming in 2017.    

Fontana Auto Club Speed way is the oldest track on the NASCAR circuit. At times it showed as dome drivers had trouble handling the slicker track. Most teams expected the new car to create challenges. The blend of five lanes in the two mile oval led to several bumping without many wipeouts. 

Daytona winner Austin Cindric won the pol but finished 17th. 

Tyler Reddick won the first two stages and led 90 laps. That feat was more than his previous career combined. He was leading with 48 laps to go and was tagged by William Byron that led him to hit the wall finishing his day. 

 Reddick had led 90 laps to that point—17 more than in his first 75 Cup starts combined—and had won the first and second stages in convincing fashion. During qualifying on Saturday given a 15 minute practice 10 cars spun and crashed. 

Bubba Wallace and Brad Kozlowski made contact with 43 laps remaining.  

Wallace who finished 19th took responsible for the hit. “Tell the 6 (Kozlowski) I’m sorry been fighting the nose all day,” said Wallace. 

Kozlowski finished 27th  on the day.