Even before Saturday’s outstanding finish in the Nationwide Series race, where Kyle Larson held off Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch for his first career NASCAR win, Auto Club Speedway president Gillian Zucker had a big smile on her face.
The reason: track officials early Saturday afternoon declared that Sunday’s Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup main event is sold-out.
All that’s left are standing room only tickets. And after Larson’s inspiring win, don’t be surprised if those get scooped up pretty quick on race day morning.
“Southern California fans have proven the Auto Club Speedway is the place to be March 23rd,” Zucker said in a statement released by the track. “Let’s go racing!”
Matt Kenseth will start from the pole, with Sprint Cup points leader Brad Keselowski on the outside pole, the fourth consecutive race that the 2012 Sprint Cup champ has sat on the front row to start an event this season.
Six-time and defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, a California native, starts third alongside Kevin Harvick.
The race begins at 3 pm ET/Noon Pacific.
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Juncos Racing continued to bolster its entries in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires by signing Carlos Cunha to pilot a third Juncos Pro Mazda entry for 2018. Cunha, who finished third in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season on the back of seven podium finishes, joins Rinus VeeKay and Robert Megennis in Juncos’ Pro Mazda lineup for 2018.
Cunha previously tested with the team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in October and joined Juncos for the Chris Griffis Memorial test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in November, testing cars for both the Pro Mazda and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires teams.
“It’s great to become a part of Juncos Racing,” said the 18-year-old Cunha. “I am really excited to start the 2018 season with Juncos Racing. This fall we did some testing together and from there I was able to see how focused everyone on the team is and I even felt like I became a part of their family in no time. I am confident we will get great results together next year and I look forward to learning and growing more with the team. It will be a huge pleasure and also a great responsibility to carry the number one on my car, thanks to (2017 Pro Mazda champion Victor Franzoni) and I hope to deliver it back to the team at the end of the year!”
Team owner Ricardo Juncos added, “We are excited to add Carlos to our Pro Mazda lineup. From the moment we started testing with him in early October, we knew he would be a great fit for our team. Carlos has been very quick in testing and even had an impressive showing in the Indy Lights car at the Chris Griffis test back in October. He had a great run this past season in the Pro Mazda series and we are confident he will carry that momentum into the 2018 season.”