Martin Truex Jr. wins second straight pole at Fontana

NBC Handout via USA TODAY NETWORK

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

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Martin Truex Jr. drove three things on Sunday afternoon at Auto Club Speedway. In happened in on Lap 22 of the first stage when he was racing side by side with Kyle Larson for third place.

Truex, who won eight races in 2017, led 125 of the 200 laps en route to the victory.

Harvick, who will try for his fourth consecutive Cup victory on Sunday, posted the fastest lap of the day in the first round, running 188.744 miles per hour (38.147 seconds), eclipsing Denny Hamlin's track-record 188.511 miles per hour (38.194 seconds) set in March 2016.

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The deciding moment in the face came with 37 laps remaining, when the leaders all pitted. Kevin Harvick entered the event riding a wave of three straight wins and was the heavy favorite to win a fourth, having dominated Saturday's practices in race trim.

When the cycle of stops were completed on Lap 95, Truex had reclaimed the lead followed by Larson, Logano, Kyle Busch and Hamlin. Round 2 I got the seam a little bit and lost some time and that bit me but luckily third round was able to put a lap together.

Larson overcame that early incident with Harvick to finish second. Harvick's flapping bumper was the most obvious problem, but he made a nice save down the track to avoid an interior wall.

"I think everybody is extremely confident, " Harvick said of his Stewart-Haas Racing team.

"I don't think it's his fault", Harvick said. 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 consecutive. "I would have liked to be one spot better, but I couldn't even see Martin", said Larson, the race's defending champion.

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BACK AND FORTH: Truex and Busch traded the lead during the final stage, but Busch had a problematic pit stop that left his auto handling poorly.

Truex passed Busch with 32 laps remaining when Busch's auto wiggled down the down the backstretch, then drove away to handily score his first win of the season.

Trevor Bayne's day ended on the 108th lap when he smacked the wall.

Six-time Fontana champion Jimmie Johnson scored his first stage points of the season by rolling into the top 10 after starting deep in the field.

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