If the race in Las Vegas last week is any indication of how even the teams are going to be this season we are all in for some great action. The Hendrick teams were all fast, the Penske teams were all fast, the Stewart-Haas teams were all fast. Guess what? All of the teams were fast. If not for three of the Gibbs cars starting at the back I’m sure they all would have been running with the rest of them.. Let’s not for get the small teams either. They were all competitive this past weekend. Now let’s see if they can keep that up.
AUTO CLUB 400
This week the series stays out west as the drivers head to the Auto Club Speedway for the running of the Auto Club 400. This is a two-mile D-shaped oval track in Fontana, CA. This race is really going to show us which teams have the speed which is going to be a major factor in whether a driver and team can compete here due to the long straightaways. With the way everyone ran last week my job of predicting races just got a lot harder for this race.
Martin Truex Jr.: I’m going to go with Martin to win this week’s race. He was running towards the front all last week until a mistake with some loose lug nuts caused his to have to come back to pit road under caution where he lost a lot of track position and ended up getting squeezed up into the wall which took him out of contention. I think he is going to be really fast on the straightaways and the mistake won’t be repeated this week.
Joey Logano: Last week’s winner can’t be ruled out once again this week. He has momentum on his side as he looks for his first win at this track. He finished second in this race last year and has a run of four straight top five finishes at this track. I think he a Paul Wolfe are going to get along real well and will contend for another championship this season.
Brad Keselowski: Brad has finished in the top five in four of his last five start here including a win back in the 2014 season. They weren’t quite as fast as Joey and Ryan last week but, they were competitive. I think this team will get better as the year progresses and driver and crew chief get more comfortable with each other.
Kevin Harvick: Kevin was really fast on short runs last week but, faded on the longer runs. This is exactly how things started out for him last season and this team figured it out late in the year and started winning races just before the playoffs started. I think they will go back to what made them better last year and will figure it out much quicker this year.
Chase Elliott: Chase was the class of the field in the first two stages of last week’s race. I the four races Chase has run at this track he has never finished worse than sixteenth. He always seems to run well at Michigan which is a very similar track. They are hungry for a win and I see them picking their first one up for the year very soon.
Kyle Busch: Kyle has won three of the last six races he has run at this track and has finished in the top three in six of his last eight starts here. He never really competed last week after having to start at the rear of the field when his team couldn’t get through inspection. I think if he gets to start towards the front this week he will be in the hunt at the end.
Ryan Blaney: Another driver who has only run four races here, Ryan finished thirty-fifth in his first but, ended up in the top ten in the last three races. He was really fast the whole race last week and it was looking like he might win until a late race caution came out and they didn’t make the right call in the pits. They are going to be fast once again this week.
Jimmie Johnson: Jimmie looked really good last week and he leads all active drivers with six wins at his home track. Even though he struggled last season, what I saw from this team last week, it looks like this team is on the right track to be competitive once again this season. In fact, all of the Hendrick teams were fast last week and that is a good indication they have figured something out and are going to compete each and every week this year.
Kyle Larson: Kyle has finished in the top two in three of his six career starts at this track. I thought he would have run better last week at Las Vegas and was a little disappointed in how they ran there. I think I am going to wait and see how they run the next few races before I put him in my lineup. I think they will get better as the year progresses.
Denny Hamlin: Denny is another driver I was a bit disappointed in last week also. I know he had to start in the back due to not passing inspection but, I thought they would be able to make their way back to the front. At one point he almost went a lap down. He is still looking for his first career win at this track but, has finished in the top ten in three of his last four starts here.
DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY
Driver Group Game Group A
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Joey Logano
Driver Group Game Group B
- Ryan Blaney
- Jimmie Johnson
- William Byron
- Alex Bowman
Driver Group Game Group C
- Ross Chastain
- Cole Custer
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Joey Logano
- Chase Elliott
- Ryan Blaney
- Kyle Busch
Dark Horse: Matt DiBenedetto
Stay Away From: Chris Buescher
Big 18: Martin Truex Jr.