California is a big 2.0 mile track where teams that have a good aerodynamics package will excel. In my opinion California is a relatively easy to track to prepare for if you know what you’re doing.
When you set your lineup for California the most important thing to do is evaluate how your drivers perform during long runs in Happy Hour. I can guarantee you that the winner of the race will be among the best drivers in Happy Hour. Practice doesn’t matter in basketball to Allen Iverson but it does to Jimmie Johnson. “Practice…We’re talking about practice”. If you don’t know what I’m talking about click here. It’s funny. Practice is key here.
The ifantasyrace.com Top 5 drivers for California are……..
1) Mark Martin- Yes his stats pale in comparison to Jimmie Johnson’s but lets remember how well this team has performed at the similar tracks this year. Martin won at both Michigan and Chicago in the 5 car in 2009. Martin also had a top ten day going for him in the spring California race until his engine blew up. I truly believe this is the best intermediate track team in NASCAR at this moment and I see no downside in selecting Martin for California. In 16 California races Martin has 1 win and 7 top tens.
2) Jeff Gordon- Jeff Gordon has been very confident about his intermediate program all year long and he has every reason to be. Here’s how Gordon has performed on the similar tracks this season: Spring California 2nd, Spring Michigan 2nd, Chicago 2nd, Fall Michigan 2nd, and at Kansas he finished 2nd. He certainly seems like a safe pick to me. In 18 races Gordon has 3 wins and 9 top tens at California. (I was first alerted to the Gordon 2nd place fact on twitter from Dan Beaver at twitter.com/fantasyrace).
3) Jimmie Johnson- Stats wise no one is even on the same playing field as Johnson. I listed his great achievements on my California Fantasy Picks page under Mr. Obvious’s pick. So your probably wondering what I’m holding against Johnson. Well the honest answer is that he’s run very good on the similar tracks except that the 48 hasn’t been able to close the deal once. In my opinion I thought Johnson should have won both Michigan races and Chicago but they all slipped away from him. In thirteen races at California Johnson has 3 wins, 8 top fives, and 9 top tens.
4) Kasey Kahne- This teams bread and butter is the intermediate tracks. I expect Kasey Kahne to have a very good race at California. The only draw back I see against this team is that there no longer using the R6 engine which propelled Kahne to victory at the semi similar Atlanta motor speedway recently. Kahne has 1 win and 7 top tens in eleven races at California.
5) Kurt Busch- My pre-chase championship sleeper pick is certainly looking good so far in the Chase and I don’t expect that to change at California. California is a track where big horse power is important and this Dodge with the R6 will have it. In 14 races at California Kurt has 1 win and 6 top tens. Depending on what type of league your in it may interest you to know that Kurt does have 3 poles at California which is the highest among Chase drivers.
Other drivers to keep an eye on: Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Brian Vickers.