Matt Kenseth – I wouldn’t want to bet against this Roush Fenway Ford in the Auto Club 400. Kenseth is a three time winner at Auto Club Speedway and last year he finished 4th. In 2011 on 2.0 mile ovals Kenseth had the second best average finish (5.3) and the second best average running position (5.0). At Las Vegas Kenseth had a top five car but late problems ruined his day. I would highly recommend Matt Kenseth to fantasy racers this week. Look for lots of experts to be jumping on the Roush Fenway bandwagon for this race.
Jimmie Johnson – Jimmie Johnson is a juggernaut at Auto Club Speedway. Since 2007 Johnson has only finished lower than 3rd once at his home track. Last year he was leading coming to the white flag but Kevin Harvick passed him in the last set of turns. In the COT races at Fontana Johnson has the best driver rating in the series by a wide margin. His driver rating is 133.2 and Jeff Gordon has the second best (104.5). Some of his other notable loop data Auto Club COT stats are his average starting position (5.4), average running position (3.1), average finish (2.7) and laps led (630). These stats are why many will predict Johnson will win his first race of the season this Sunday.
Tony Stewart – Tony Stewart has won the last three intermediate track races in a row. How can you not like that! Seriously. In 2010 Tony Stewart won the fall race at Auto Club Speedway. Last year at Fontana Stewart finished 13th but that’s only really because of how poorly her performed in a late race restart (Yahoo! race chart). Loop data wise last year he had the second best driver rating (117.3) and was the only driver who ran the entire race in the top fifteen.
Carl Edwards – In 2008 Carl Edwards won the first COT race at Auto Club Speedway. Since then he has three other top tens in five races. Carl Edwards is an extremely consistent driver at Fontona. In 14 races at this 2.0 mile oval he has 11 top ten finishes. One slight concern about Edwards is that it appears he’s off his game this year. Regardless though I don’t expect a bad performance out of the #99 team in the Auto Club 400.
Greg Biffle – Greg Biffle is the type of driver who you want on your fantasy team this week. He’s a former winner and Roush cars are always good at Auto Club Speedway. In four out of the last six races Biffle’s finished in the top eleven. Last year he started 32nd and finished 11th. What I really like about Biffle is how impressive he was at Las Vegas. He had the second best driver rating (121.8) and finished 3rd.
Kyle Busch – Kyle Busch absolutely dominated this race until the closing laps of last years Auto Club 400. He led 151 laps and recorded a 143.4 driver rating (best by 26.1). Last year on the 2.0 mile ovals Busch won one race and was the only driver who finished in the top five in all three races. On this style of track in 2011 he had a 2.3 average finish and a 3.7 average running position. In 2005 Busch won his first Sprint Cup Series race here.