1) Kevin Harvick (Starting – 7th)
Auto Club Fantasy Spin – Kevin Harvick is a super elite performer at Auto Club Speedway that will be tough to beat. Year in and year out he’s performed at an extremely high-level at his home track. This year at intermediate tracks Harvick has been fast in both races. Atlanta is very similar because of the extreme level of tire wear and at that venue a few weeks ago he dominated the competition. In Happy Hour Harvick had the 5th best ten lap average. On Sunday I expect Kevin Harvick to finish in the top five, and compete for the win.
Auto Club Track History – Auto Club Speedway has been a great track for Kevin Harvick. He’s a past champion and over the last 9 races minus 2014 he has a 5.1 average finish. In our PROS Extended Rankings he’s ranked in the top 4 over the last four years. Last year at Auto Club Harvick had a great car and earned the #1 position in our PROS Rankings. When the checkered flag waved he finished 2nd and led a race high 142 laps. If there wasn’t a late caution he would’ve won. In 2015 he once again finished runner-up. Additionally from that race he earned the 2nd best driver rating, had a 2nd place average running position and led 34 laps. In 2014 he had one of the best cars but two flat tires while he was running in 3rd (first one on lap 19 and a second flat with 62 laps to go) were his undoing.
Yahoo A Driver / DraftKings $10,800
2) Kyle Larson (Starting – 1st)
Auto Club Fantasy Spin – Points leader / pole sitter Kyle Larson will be a favorite at Auto Club Speedway. He has tons of momentum and over the last three races he’s finished runner-up. At Auto Club Speedway Larson should run very well and I expect the good times to continue. He loves the lowest down force package and the last time it was used at a 2.0 mile oval (Michigan #2 in 2016) he raced his way to victory lane. In both practice sessions on Saturday Kyle Larson had good long run speed. He had the 3rd best ten lap average in Happy Hour and the 4th best ten lap average in practice #2. Look for Kyle Larson to be tough to beat on Sunday.
Auto Club Track History – Kyle Larson’s Auto Club track record isn’t great. He’s raced here three times and his last two results are bad. Last year Larson didn’t run well and his afternoon ended early after he wrecked which led to his last place finish. Prior to wrecking he looked low-twenties good. In 2015 he performed well but finished 26th. Performance wise he had top ten potential but during the Green-White-Checker he plummeted in the running order after having problems. His average running position in that event was 12th. In 2014 he was probably around 8th place good but he finished 2nd after having a strong final restart with four fresh tires.
Yahoo B Driver / DraftKings $9,100
Further Recommended Reading – Happy Hour Notes, Happy Hour Speeds, Practice Notes/Practice Speeds Center, DraftKings Start Page, Yahoo Start Page, PROS Rankings, PROS Rankings Extended Edition, Asterisk Mark Report, Scouting Report,
3) Chase Elliott (Starting – 13th)
Auto Club Fantasy Spin – Chase Elliott is a 2.0 mile master who’ll be a factor at Auto Club Speedway. Last year at tracks of this length he scored the most points, had the best 3.3 average finish, the second best average running position (5.7) and the 3rd best driver rating. This year at intermediate tracks he’s been a strong competitor at both intermediate tracks visited (results of 3rd and 5th). On Sunday look for Elliott to compete for a top five and don’t be surprised if he wins. A few Hendrick drivers in the past have won their first race here. In practice Chase Elliott had very good speed. In Happy Hour his ten lap average ranked as the second best. Don’t be concerned about his contact with the wall.
Auto Club Track History – Last year Chase Elliott had a strong showing at Auto Club Speedway. He earned the 5th best driver rating, finished 6th and had an 8th place average running position.
Yahoo B Driver / DraftKings $9,600