Credit: Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Credit: Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Kyle Busch – Kyle Busch is a good fantasy NASCAR pick to win at Auto Club Speedway. Last year he missed the race but in the four combined events prior to 2015 he had a 1.8 average finish, 3.0 average running position, the best driver rating by a healthy margin and led 361 laps . Currently at Auto Club he has back to back wins. In 2014 he had a good car but by no means did he have the best car. In the event he had a 6th place average running position and earned the 2nd best driver rating. If the race would’ve played out “naturally” without the flat tires and the late caution at the end he likely would’ve finished 4th. The key moment for him was the final round of pit stops. He was the first driver who came off pit road with 4 fresh tires and from there he navigated the #18 car to victory lane. In 2013 Kyle Busch won after Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin took each other out. For much of the race his car was in a zip code of its own. He led 125 laps, had a 2nd place average running position and had a near perfect 148.0 driver rating. In the rain shortened 2012 race he arguably had the best car but Tony Stewart out raced him in the end. In that race he started 2nd, finished 2nd, had a 2nd place average running position and led 80 laps. In the 2011 event he had perhaps his most dominant performance but he was once again out raced in the closing laps by Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick. Also in 2011 he finished 3rd, earned the best driver rating, had a 2nd place average running position and led 151 laps. In 2005 Kyle Busch got his first of three career wins at Auto Club. Also at Auto Club it should be noted he’s finished in the top five 47% percent of the time and in the top ten 71% percent of the time. In 2016 at high-speeding intermediate tracks Kyle Busch has scored the second most points and has results of 3rd and 4th. (Yahoo A Driver) (DraftKings – $10,300)

Jimmie Johnson – In order to reach victory lane at Auto Club Speedway you need to beat Jimmie Johnson. He’s proven himself to be a super-elite performer at this west coast track. In 21 races he has 5 wins, 12 top fives, 15 top tens and has only once finished lower than 16th. Also it should be noted he has a 6.8 average finish and has led 955 laps. Last year he ran very well and was better than his 9th place result. Performance wise he was top five strong but the Green-White-Checker cost him a few positions at the end. Also in the race it should be noted Johnson earned the 4th best driver rating and had a 7th place average running position. In 2014 he dominated the race and would’ve won if he didn’t have a flat tire while leading with 7 laps to go. In that race he earned the best driver rating, had a 4th place average running position and led more than half the race (104 laps). Over long runs his car was the class of the field. In 2013 at Auto Club Speedway when the Gen 6 car rolled out Johnson was a little off at Auto Club. He finished 12th, had a 16th place average running position and earned the 16th best driver rating. I wouldn’t base his fantasy value off that race too much. In 2012 at Auto Club Speedway he finished 10th. In 8 of the 9 races between 2007 and 2011 Johnson finished in the top 3. His one finish not in the top three over that stretch was a 9th place finish. If you’re looking for a good default fantasy pick at Fontana you can’t do any better than Jimmie Johnson. This year at high-speed intermediate tracks Jimmie Johnson has scored the most points and has a 2.0 average finish. (Yahoo A Driver) (DraftKings – $10,400)

Further Recommended Reading – Front Runner Rankings, Mid Pack Predictions, Scouting Report – Auto Club, DraftKings Auto Club 2015 Points

Kevin Harvick – Kevin Harvick will be very tough to beat at Auto Club Speedway. It’s a great track for him and lately he’s been racing like he has a home field advantage. Since 2010 minus 2014 when he had problems Harvick has a 4.8 average finish and a 7.8 average running position. Last year Harvick had a great car and ran well throughout the event. Over long runs he may have had the fastest car on the track. In the race he started 2nd, finished 2nd, had a 2nd place average running position, earned the 2nd best driver rating and led 34 laps. In 2014 he had a great car but didn’t have an incident free race. In the event he started in 4th and immediately jumped to the top lane. Running that groove allowed him to get tremendous runs down the straightaway. Adversity first struck him on lap 19 when he had a flat. At that time he was running in 3rd and he got some minor body damage on his left rear. That problem didn’t ruin his day though. By about lap #75 he reached the top ten again and he remained there until he had another flat with 62 laps to go. At the time of his second incident he was running in 3rd. That dropped him off the lead lap and he wasn’t able to bounce back. When the checkered flag waved he finished two laps down in 36th. Speed wise in the race I think he was a lock for a top three. In 2013 Harvick finished 13th but his car was better than that. During the final caution he restarted in 4th but faded against competition that was on fresher tires. From lap 130 to the finish I would estimate his average running position was around 5th. In 2012 at Auto Club he finished 4th, had a 7th place average running position and earned the 8th best driver rating. In 2011 at Auto Club Speedway he was very strong. He reeled in Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson late in the race and pulled off the last lap pass for the win (video). This year at high-speed intermediate tracks Harvick has scored the 4th most points (tied with Earnhardt Jr.), has the second best driver rating and a 6.5 average finish. (Yahoo A Driver)(DraftKings – $10,500)

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