NASCAR’s final stop on the “NASCAR Goes West” tour has the series heading to Auto Club Speedway for this Sunday’s Auto Club 400. This will be a race of high speeds on the 2-mile oval built to resemble Michigan International Speedway. Those speeds could be slowed somewhat by NASCAR’s new low downforce package but if the first few races of the season are any indication, there should be some great racing Sunday.
Here are our favorites for Sunday’s fifth race of the year for your betting or fantasy racing leagues. The odds are current as of Wednesday morning and the Driver Ratings (stats that are a combination of various stats used to determine the best drivers on a given track) are from NASCAR are based on the last 17 races at Auto Club Speedway (2005 – 2015).
Jimmie Johnson (5-1) posted his first career win here in 2002 and has won four times since and now leads all active drivers with five wins. He has the highest driver rating, 119.6 , however his last win here came in 2010 and he was ninth here last year and 24th the year before. Johnson could easily add to his win total Sunday he will just need a slight improvement over his last two visits.
Kyle Busch (6-1) should be the driver everyone will be looking to beat here Sunday. He has three wins here the last two coming in 2013-2014. The only reason he didn’t win here last year perhaps was due to missing the race because of an injury. Busch has the second highest driver rating, 110.0 and is our favorite to win this Sunday.
Matt Kenseth (8-1) also has three wins here, the last in 2009. Kenseth has had some good runs this season only to see them come up short in the end. He has the third highest driver rating, 106.1. If he could seal the deal Kenseth could finally breakthrough to victory lane Sunday.
Kevin Harvick (5-1) last week’s winner by less than a .010 of a second won at Auto Club Speedway in 2011. He was second here last year and has the fourth best driver rating, 96.8. Coming off his win from last week, Harvick could be looking to make it two wins in a row this season.
Carl Edwards (12-1) is the driver that nearly beat Harvick last week and at Phoenix that’s a tall order. Edwards won at Fontana back in 2008 and runs well here, he has the fourth best drive rating, 97.1 and has been running well early in the season.
Longshots: Brad Keselowski (12-1) is the defending winner of this race scoring his first career Fontana victory in this race last year ,but with a driver rating of 77.8 outside the top 15, Keselowski will have a tall order ahead of him for Sunday. Kurt Busch (10-1) has the sixth best driver rating, 93.2, and while his lone win here was way back in 2003 he was third here last year and has seemingly been on the cusp of winning somewhere for quite a while now, why not Fontana.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup The NASCAR Sprint Cup Auto Club 400 will be run on Sunday March 20. Live coverage will be on Fox starting at 3:00 p.m. ET with the green flag coming at about 3:44 p.m. ET.