NCS: Auto Club finale has Busch California Dreamin’

After a weekend full of unusual weather conditions in Southern California, a familiar face strolled into victory lane after leading 27 of the 200 laps during the final running of the Pala Casino 400 at Auto Club Speedway. Kyle Busch, only two points paying races into the 2023 season, wins with Richard Childress for the first time, and nabs his 61st ever career victory. 

“I felt like there was going to be a little bit of a learning experience and a little bit of a growth pattern,” Busch stated in the media center, talking about his quick success with RCR. “On the flipside of that, I always just kind of looked back and watched some of their results and success that they had last year with Austin. He ran second here last year, and Reddick was super, super fast.”

Busch continued on by saying, “It’s just been really, really cool, and it’s been a great piece of — we’re making history, right, but a great piece of opportunity to go out there and continue to win races at a new team with RCR, so I can’t say enough about Austin giving me a call, first and foremost, but then Richard and Judy giving me this opportunity to go out here and race for wins. I’m thankful to be a part of our Lucas Oil Chevrolet team today.” 

Busch’s win Sunday afternoon is almost symbolic in many ways. This is where he famously kicked out of the truck race in 2001 after a controversy with the track’s sponsor being Marlboro,  as well as the same place he scored his first Cup Series win in 2005. He also scored his 200th NASCAR National touring series win in 2018, and even broke Richard Petty’s record of most consecutive seasons with at least one win after his win Sunday. Since this was the final weekend for the two mile superspeedway in its original configuration, Busch had comments about the future of NASCAR in SoCal. 

“We need to be in Southern California. I think the Clash is kind of a cool exhibition opportunity where we get to be in LA, like really out over that way, but man, I was really, really pleased and happy with the crowd that came out today. I just hope that the next track that we have (in Fontana, Calif.) puts on the show that we’ve been able to see here for the last probably 10 years, 12 years, but repaves are always tough. It takes a good five years for a repave to turn into something that’s decent.”

Busch will look to score his second straight win at a track that might have more meaning to him than any other on the schedule – with NASCAR racing in Las Vegas, Nev., next Sunday. 


Kaleb Vestal
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