Alex Bowman (88) wins his second career NASCAR race as he led 110 laps in convincing fashion and won the 2020 Auto Club 400, a two mile oval track at Fontana, California. This race like the first two ran under the new rules which Nascar has reduced engine horsepower and changed the aerodynamic package, since Toyota’s win at Daytona, the make have been struggling, it shows as Ford and Chevy has gone to victory lane the past two weeks. This race also ended in disappointment for the Cajon, Cali native, Jimmie Johnson (48) who has already won this race a record setting five times could not manage to make it lucky number six with a seventh place finish ending his last race at his home town track. Some bad news for Ryan Blaney (12) as this was the second race in a row he had to make a stop at pit road in the final five laps while he was in second place, this time he ran out of fuel resulting in an unfortunate 19th place finish.
Stage One (1-60), the first 10 laps were led by poll winner, Clint Bowyer (14) but as he was passed by Johnson (48) he sat in the middle of the pack for the rest of the race. However, Johnson (48) wouldn’t be in the lead for long as Bowman (88) took the lead and would hold no prisoners to capture the Stage One win. To round out the top three, in second place, Ryan Blaney (12); in third place, Jimmie Johnson (48). Stage Two (61-120), it was Blaney (12) passing Bowman (88) on lap 69 to take the lead and it became the “Blaney (12) Show.” Johnson (48) and Bowman (88) made it interesting running three wide on lap 71 but Blaney (12) sneaks back to regain the lead. At lap 93, Bowyer (14) popped his front left tire leading to the only caution of the race, after one brief stop at pit road, his car was back on the track but nothing getting in Blaney's (12) way to take the Stage Two win. Alex Bowman (88) came in second and Jimmie Johnson (48) in third to round out the middle stage. Now onto the 3rd and final stage (121-200), finally, things get a bit more exciting, especially if you are a diehard Bowman (88) fan. Blaney (12) would go back in front but once Bowman (88) got a fresh pair of tires and refueled gas, No. 12, Ford Mustang was left in the dust as he was passed with just 34 laps to go. What rotten timing for Blaney (12) as he got a flat tire with 4 to go as he heads to the pit lane from second. Bowman (88) would take a commanding 3 second lead over Blaney (12) to steal the victory.
As the saying goes, “bad things come in threes.” Let’s hope that’s the case for Ryan Blaney (12) who should be a 3 time cup winner for the start of the 2020 season instead he finds himself ranked first driver with 122 points in front of Joey Logano (22). As Alex Bowman (88) rode into victory lane to receive his trophy at the Auto Club 400, he remains the only Arizona born Nascar driver to win a cup series race. A top 3 finish early on this season performed by an all out dominant Bowman leading 110 of 200 laps and a job well done by the 88 Chevrolet pit crew. This marks the 257th win for Hendrick Motorsports and with Hendrick’s reputation this will be the first of many more wins this season. On a sad note for Nascar fans everywhere, former Nascar and IndyCar driver, John Andretti passed away at age 56 due to colon cancer.