Congratulations to Ryan Newman who picked up his first win since the 2013 season this past Sunday in Phoenix. Ryan elected to stay out on old tires during a late race caution and held off Kyle Larson for the victory. Kyle Busch finished third after leading most of the last third of the race. The stage wins went to Joey Logano and Chase Elliott this week. Logano and Matt Kenseth were notable drivers who blew tires and hit the wall hard, knocking both of them out of the race.
AUTO CLUB 400
The series will stay out west for one more week as the drivers and teams head to the Auto Club Speedway for the running of the Auto Club 400. This track is a two-mile D-shaped oval that is fairly flat. This track is similar in design to Michigan International Speedway so we can look at the driver history at both tracks to get a better understanding on who to have on our teams this week.
Jimmie Johnson: Jimmie has won five of the last thirteen races at this track. He also has thirteen top five and sixteen top ten finishes in his twenty-two career starts here. Being from California, Jimmie really wants to win this race every time he comes here and he leads the series in wins here with six, and laps led with 980 under his belt. If they can find a little bit of speed to compete with what the Ford’s have brought so far this year they will be tough to beat.
Matt Kenseth: Matt always runs well at both California and Michigan. He has won three races at both of those tracks and he has led over 400 laps at both tracks. After a disappointing finish last week at Phoenix, this team will be looking for some redemption this weekend. They shouldn’t have to worry about tire or brake issues this week and can concentrate on making the right adjustments to their car as the race progresses so they are in a position to challenge for the win at the end of the race.
Kevin Harvick: Kevin picked up his lone win here back in 2011 and he has finished either first or second in four of his last eight starts here including second place finishes in the last two races here. This team has been fast every week once again this year and this week should be no different. He will have a great shot at moving up that one position he was short of the last two years and pick up his second win at this track.
Chase Elliott: Chase finished sixth in his only career start at this track last season and he also finished second in both of the Michigan races last year. He has been stellar each and every week this season and I think this could be the track he gets his first ever Cup win at. I really like the way he has run on all of the intermediate tracks so far in his career and he seems to qualify and then run up front all day long in these races.
Kyle Busch: After having a victory snatched away from him by a late race caution last week, Kyle will be looking for a little redemption this weekend. He has won three races at this track and has finished in the top three in four of his last five starts here. This is a wide track and their are going to be a lot of grooves to run in. I think Kyle is one of the best at finding different lines to run during the race and he seems to know when to make the move to those lines to make his car the fastest that it can be.
Joey Logano: Joey sat on the pole last weekend and dominated the first third of the race last weekend before a speeding penalty on pit road put him behind the eight ball and he had to race too hard to try to get back to the front of the pack and that could be what caused him to melt the bead on his tire late in the race and crash into the wall, knocking him out of the race. This team shouldn’t have to worry about those issues this week and will come with a fast car once again.
Brad Keselowski: Brad is another of the Penske drivers who has had a fast car every week this season. Brad picked up his only win here two years ago and that was the only lap he led on the day. He hasn’t fared very well at this track over his short career which only spans eight races here, with only two top ten finishes and thirty-nine laps led during those eight starts. The speed that these Ford drivers have this season could give him the boost he needs to come away with another top ten finish this weekend.
Martin Truex Jr.: You would think that Martin would be very good at this track the way he runs at places like Atlanta and Charlotte. However, his finishing rate is really that great here. He hasn’t won at either California or Michigan in his career. His best finish at this track is a sixth which he has done twice, but he only has four top ten finishes here in sixteen starts. I think I will hold off on using him at this track.
Kasey Kahne: Kasey has looked better so far this season than he has the past few seasons. This is also the kind of track he loves to run on. It is wide and he can run the top if he wants to and carry his speed off the corner. He has one win here and has finished in the top ten in half of the twenty races he has run here. I think he will come away with another of those top ten finished this week and might even have something to say when the checkered flag flies.
Kurt Busch: Kurt won a race here back in 2003 for the only time he has visited victory lane at California. He has finished in the top ten in seven of his last ten starts here and in the top five in three of his last four races. This team should have an even faster car this year than they have had in the past and I look for Kurt to run up front most of the race if they can figure out why they are having so many battery issues this year.
YAHOO! FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY
Yahoo Driver Group A
- Jimmie Johnson
- Kevin Harvick
Yahoo Driver Group B
- Chase Elliott
- Kurt Busch
- Kasey Kahne
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Yahoo Driver Group C
- Erik Jones
- Ty Dillon
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY
- Jimmie Johnson
- Kevin Harvick
- Kyle Busch
- Chase Elliott
- Matt Kenseth
Dark Horse: Kasey Kahne
Stay Away From: Martin Truex Jr.
Big 18: Matt Kenseth