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March 30, 2015
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Posted: Thursday, March 20th 2014 at 4:00am

NASCAR Preview: Edwards makes it four-for-four for Chase

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Carl Edwards places a winner’s decal on his car in victory lane after winning Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. / Photo: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images
FONTANA, CA - It’s win-and-you’re-in … and with his victory at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday night, Carl Edwards more than likely locked himself into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

But, with a bevy of different winners so far this season, there’s a key phrase in the above sentence: “more than likely.”

If there are more than 15 winners in the first 26 races, all bets are off – a race winner could be left out of the Chase. But again, it’s unlikely.

Last year, there were five different winners to start the season – and the regular season still ended with “only” 13 different winners in the first 26 races. The record is 10 different winners to start a season, in 2000.

In other words, if you have won a race, rest easy. You’re likely going to make the Chase Grid come lap 400 at Richmond in September.

So, if there’s another new winner, who’s the best guess this weekend? It all starts with Jimmie Johnson.

Johnson, an El Cajon, CA, native, has won a record five races at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. Johnson also has the most top fives (12), most top 10s (14), most laps led (851), top driver rating (119.6) and best average start (9.6) and finish (5.7). He’s good there.

The six-time champion has finished in the top 10 in 10 of the last 11 races; his worst finish during that stretch was a 12th last season.

And, seemingly, he’s due. He has finished in the top six in three of the first four races this season – and probably would’ve notched another top 10 if not for a tire issue at Bristol. He’s tallied double-digit laps led figures in three of the four races, and scored triple-digit driver ratings in three of the four.

WDUN will have live MRN Radio coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 from Auto Club Speedway beginning at 2 pm Sunday afternoon on 102.9 FM and 550 AM.

Nationwide Series: Rarefied Air - Joe Gibbs Racing Goes For Unprecedented Record

In Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series 300 at Auto Club Speedway, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Elliott Sadler have the opportunity to reach double digits – that is, win Joe Gibbs Racing’s 10th consecutive race at ACS.

In February 2008, Tony Stewart, in his final season with Joe Gibbs Racing, gave team owner Joe Gibbs his first victory at the two-mile track in Fontana, CA.

What happened next was unprecedented and unlike anything else anyone had seen before in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. JGR’s drivers reeled off win after win at the track located about an hour east of Los Angeles. In March 2013, Busch took home the last trophy at Auto Club for JGR’s ninth straight win.

Between Stewart’s 2008 and Busch’s victory last season, Joey Logano captured two checkered flags at the track while Busch claimed the other six. Stewart and Logano have since moved on to other organizations and have been replaced by NASCAR Nationwide title contender Sadler, who is currently fifth in the series standings, and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular Kenseth.

Since all three JGR drivers in Saturday’s race have at least one national series victory at Auto Club, it is very possible that the streak is extended. Although Sadler has never won a NNS event at the track – his best outcome is a pair of fifth-place finishes – he was victorious in the Sept. 2004 Sprint Cup race.

Kenseth has compiled four victories at the track in the NNS, most recently in February 2004. He has also visited the track’s victory lane three times in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. All seven of his wins came with Roush Fenway Racing – the team he left to come to JGR prior to the 2013 season.

With 10 total victories among the three national series, Busch reigns supreme in Fontana, especially in Nationwide where he’s racked up six wins. He has two wins apiece in the NASCAR Camping World Truck and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Busch and Kenseth are 1-2 atop the NNS wins list at Auto Club.

WDUN will have live MRN Radio coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Treat My 300 from Auto Club Speedway beginning at 4:30 pm Saturday afternoon on 102.9 FM.

Camping World Trucks: Martinsville Is One Of The Truck Series’ Original Tracks

Martinsville Speedway is set to host the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for the 31st time on March 29, second only to Texas Motor Speedway (32 races).

Former series champion Mike Skinner, Kevin Harvick and Dennis Setzer lead all drivers with three wins at the track with four previous race winners scheduled to compete in the KROGER 250.

Johnny Sauter leads that group with a pair of wins; Ron Hornaday, Jr., Timothy Peters and last fall’s winner Darrell Wallace, Jr. complete the list.

While there are several drivers looking for their second Grandfather clock – the popular trophy awarded to Martinsville race winners -- others will be looking for their first. Among those will be Ryan Blaney, Jeb Burton, Ben Kennedy Erik Jones and German Quiroga.

All five drivers scored a top-seven finish at Martinsville last season, with Burton the only driver to finish in the top five in both events coming home third in both races at his home track.

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