With NASCAR's annual trip to Southern California complete, here is a look at the winners and losers from Fontana.
It would be cliché to say that Kyle Busch has matured and what we're seeing is the "new" Kyle Busch. Those stories have been written previously and each time they have proved to be incorrect.
But what Busch exhibited in winning Sunday was something else he hasn't shown much of: patience. And it was that patience which also allowed him to overcome a rough start to his year, which previously would have sent the young driver into a tizzy and threatened to derail his season before it ever really got going.
After the first three races of the year where the results didn't match the performance, it would have been easy to think that the Kurt Busch/Furniture Row Racing relationship would quickly turn sour.
Instead, driver and team have hung tough and posted back-to-back top-five finishes -- a first for the organization. Also, Busch has moved up to 14th in points and with that his odds of making the Chase are no longer as remote as they once seemed as this is a group very much on the upswing.
When Ryan Newman makes it to the checkered flag, he finishes in the top 10, just as he did Sunday (10th) and two other times previous this year. And it's worth noting that through five races, he has as many top 10s as Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin and Jeff Gordon combined. The only thing holding Newman back this season is a pair of DNFs, which explains he's only 20th in points?
The defending champ overcame having to start in the rear due to a pre-race engine change and was in the top 10 by lap 30. He was even able to rally back after a speeding penalty.
But it was an overheating motor that proved to be too much for Brad Keselowski and consequently he crossed the line in 22nd, ending his streak of top five finishes at four. And to pour salt in the wound, the subpar outing also cost him his point lead.
If Tony Stewart wants to draw a line in the sand and say that he's no longer going to tolerate someone blocking him, that's his prerogative.
However, the problem stems from the fact that twice since October Stewart has caused multi-car incidents due directly to him putting a block on someone. You can't find fault in others for something you're doing yourself.
When is a 12th-place result considered a disappointment? When you're Jimmie Johnson and you have a track-best five victories at Fontana with an average finish of 5.4. However, the No. 48 team never showed signs of being competitive Sunday and ran the majority of the afternoon outside the top 10. This is a rare miss for this bunch.