California NASCAR Cup: Bowman takes dominant Fontana victory

Hendrick Motorsports' Alex Bowman took his second NASCAR Cup win after claiming victory at Fontana - a venue he previously hadn't finished in the top 10 at

California NASCAR Cup: Bowman takes dominant Fontana victory

Bowman, who started third, was one of the fastest drivers across the 200-lap race in his Chevrolet Camaro and was towards the front of the field throughout.

He outduelled polesitter Clint Bowyer, Hendrick team-mate Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Blaney - who started mid-pack - to win the first stage.

Blaney took the spoils in the second stage after climbing up to the front pack as early as lap 10. The middle of the second stage featured the only caution period - outside of the stage conclusions - when polesitter Bowyer suffered a cut tyre.

The third and final stage was largely about Blaney and Bowman. Once both had got past Johnson on the final restart, the pair were largely unchallenged and pulled away from the rest of the pack.

Bowman held a lead of around five seconds through much of the final stage until Blaney - who entered this race as the Cup points leader - had to pit for a cut tyre with just three laps to go and would eventually finish 19th.

Bowman crossed the finish line 8.904s ahead of reigning Cup champion Kyle Busch, who had gradually worked his way through the field.

One of the fastest cars throughout was that of Martin Truex Jr - who had to start towards the back after his car failed pre-qualifying inspection multiple times. Starting 32nd, Truex had worked his way into the top 15 by lap 10 and lingered there for a sizeable portion of the first stage.

But by the final stage he was right in the mix. However, during the final round of pitstops he suffered an issue with a wheel gun which dropped him well down the order and he could only recover to 14th.

Behind Kyle Busch was brother Kurt, who recovered from a pitstop mishap of his own to finish third, ahead of Chase Elliot, Brad Keselowski - who had a largely anonymous run to fifth - Denny Hamlin, Johnson, Aric Almirola, Kevin Harvick and Erik Jones.

Polesitter Bowyer could only finish 23rd after his issues earlier in the race. In addition to the single caution period there was also only one retirement, when Christopher Bell suffered an engine issue on lap 80.

Results - 200 laps

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 2h37m07.s
2 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 8.904s
3 Kurt Busch Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 9.917s
4 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 13.705s
5 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 17.323s
6 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 21.839s
7 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 22.047s
8 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 22.214s
9 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 22.524s
10 Erik Jones Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 23.880s
11 Tyler Reddick Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 28.810s
12 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 29.318s
13 Matt DiBenedetto Wood Brothers Racing Ford 29.892s
14 Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 32.514s
15 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 33.947s
16 Chris Buescher Roush Fenway Racing Ford 35.895s
17 Ross Chastain Roush Fenway Racing Ford 42.709s
18 Cole Custer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 1 Lap
19 Ryan Blaney Team Penske Ford 1 Lap
20 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 1 Lap
21 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 1 Lap
22 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Ford 1 Lap
23 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 1 Lap
24 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 1 Lap
25 John Hunter Nemechek Front Row Motorsports Ford 1 Lap
26 Ty Dillon Germain Racing Chevrolet 1 Lap
27 Darrell Wallace Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet 2 Laps
28 Daniel Suarez Gaunt Brothers Racing Toyota 2 Laps
29 Corey LaJoie Go FAS Racing Ford 3 Laps
30 Ryan Preece JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 3 Laps
31 J.J. Yeley Rick Ware Racing Ford 3 Laps
32 Brennan Poole Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 5 Laps
33 Joey Gase Rick Ware Racing Ford 7 Laps
34 Garrett Smithley Petty Ware Racing Chevrolet 7 Laps
35 Quin Houff StarCom Racing Chevrolet 8 Laps
36 Reed Sorenson Spire Motorsports Chevrolet 9 Laps
37 Timmy Hill MBM Motorsports Toyota 16 Laps
38 Christopher Bell Leavine Family Racing Toyota Engine
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Author Craig Woollard
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