Cooler heads prevail after Harvick-Larson wreck — NASCAR at Fontana


The pair combined to lead 187 of the 200 laps. Truex and Busch gave Toyota two of the top three spots in the race.

"I crashed going into the green flag last year, " Harvick said, referring to damage on his nose in the opening moments of last year's race. "The thing just came alive". "From there, it was just managing my tires and being smart".

"At one point we fell back to fifth, and then we needed to work our way back up". It must be good luck.

Coming off the 2-mile track's second turn, Harvick fought for control and bobbled, then veered left into the side of Larson's No. 42. When stage two ended, Larson sat right where he finished in second. "It always seemed like we would get to third or fourth and kind of stall out there". All in all, a good day. "The race vehicle was there, it was just a mistake", he admitted.

"We've just got to find our rhythm in what we need to do to do our jobs and go from there". But after dominating at Auto Club Speedway, Truex's team was no longer certain Harvick has the fastest ride in the field. Logano has three top-five finishes already this season, and four in the top seven.

Kyle Larson finished second followed by Kyle Busch. The 2015 premier series champion finished second in stage one and third in stage two. Kyle Busch was third, and Brad Keselowski fourth. Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones, Ryan Blaney, Jimmie Johnson and Austin Dillon completed the top 10.

Yep, everybody in the NASCAR Cup Series knows they're chasing Harvick on this wide, weathered California oval today.

"Yeah, each week we have been getting a little bit better". We were right on top of the 78 [Truex] yesterday.

SMACK: Harvick had won in Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix before arriving in his home state for an attempt to become the second driver in this century to win four straight. Harvick and Larson were racing for the third position when Larson unbeknownst to Harvick pulled to his inside, and when Harvick tried to go low himself he banged into Larson's auto turning him into the outside backstretch wall.

Martin Truex Jr. has won the first stage of the NASCAR race at Fontana, while Kevin Harvick is essentially out of the running for his fourth consecutive victory after an early wreck. "I would side draft him down the front stretch and he would side draft me down the back stretch and I don't know if he was just coming down to side draft me or what but we made contact and it spun his vehicle to the right".

"I went down to side draft and he was coming up and just knocked the thing to the right and just spun out", Harvick said. "You know you're going to hit hard, and I feel like I should be hurting right now as hard as that was, so that's a testament to what NASCAR has done with safety because I feel like I should be looking at you amusing right now and I feel great". "I think that's my fault for coming down the race track ..." I was just trying to get a little too much right there.

"For passing as many cars as we did, it's just frustrating to get wrecked 30 laps into a race for no reason", Johnston said. But on lap 39, Kevin Harvick's hopes swept into the outside wall along with his No. 4 Busch Beer Ford Fusion.

The local Bakersfield native finished 35 and nine laps down.

UP NEXT: Martinsville on March 25.