1) Martin Truex Jr. (Starting – 3rd)
Sonoma Fantasy Spin – Martin Truex Jr. will be tough to beat at Sonoma. He’s a past winner and has proven to be a very strong performer on this track type. Last year between the two road courses he scored the 4th most points, in 2013 he scored the most points. One hall mark strength of his in many of the recent Sonoma races is that his cars have been good over long runs, that’s what will separate the contenders from the pretenders on Sunday. In practice Truex Jr. had a great car and many people viewed him as a standard bearer. When AJ Allmendinger talked about how good his car was he compared it to Truex, and said the #78 was faster. When Truex was interviewed about his car he said he really liked his speed in race trim. One attribute I really like about Truex this weekend is his momentum. Over the last five races he’s scored the most points and has a 3.8 average finish. On Sunday look for Truex to compete for a top five, and be a factor to win.
Sonoma Track History – Martin Truex Jr. has been successful at Sonoma. He’s a past winner who’s typically run well in recent races. Last year at Sonoma he was a consistent front runner and was fast. When the checkered flag waved he earned the best driver rating, finished 5th and had a 4th place average running position. It should be noted he was better than his result but fell back a few positions late. Additionally in the race he had the fastest overall green flag speed and the fastest average speed over long runs. In 2015 you can’t read into his result too much because he was taken out in an early wreck shortly after a restart. In 2014 he ran well and was top ten strong but lost a few positions late and finished 15th. In 2013 Martin Truex Jr. raced his way to victory lane in dominant fashion. In the race he led 51 laps, earned the best driver rating and had a 8.1 second margin of victory.
Yahoo A Driver / DraftKings $10,300
2) Kyle Larson (Starting – 1st)
Sonoma Fantasy Spin – Kyle Larson can do no wrong this season and I’m willing to bet that will include coming home with a good finish at Sonoma. His weekend is off to a great start because he’ll be starting on the pole on Sunday. At road courses minus his first Sonoma start and last year’s Watkins Glen race Larson has a 10.8 average finish and a 12.3 average running position. In Happy Hour Kyle Larson was quick and had good speed over long runs. In that session his ten lap average ranked as the best and the lap time on his 15th lap impressed Kyle Busch.
Sonoma Track History – Kyle Larson’s track record at Sonoma isn’t anything to brag about. His average finish is 18.3 but in 2 of his 3 races he’s come home with a misleading result. Last year he finished 12th but it’s important to note he was better than his finish because he had to overcome a late speeding penalty. In addition to finishing 12th he earned the 8th best driver rating and had a 12th place average running position. In 2015 he performed quite well and ran in the top 8 for about the first two-thirds of the race. In the last third he dipped for whatever reason in the running order. When that race reached its conclusion he had a 9th place average running position and finished 15th. In 2014 in his debut he was likely top ten good but had power steering issues that led to his 28th place finish.
Yahoo B Driver / DraftKings $9,300
3) Kyle Busch (Starting – 4th)
Sonoma Fantasy Spin – Kyle Busch is a two-time winner at Sonoma who should be considered a favorite. He’s been knocking on the door to victory lane in recent weeks and I wouldn’t be surprised if it opens at Sonoma. In the last two races here he’s been one of the strongest performers. Last year on this track type between the two races Busch scored the 5th most points, in 2015 he scored the most points. On Sunday I would look for Busch to compete for a top five and wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a factor to win. In practice #1 Busch had the best 10 lap average, in Happy Hour his ten lap average ranked as the 3rd best. Being fast over long runs will be key on Sunday.
Sonoma Track History – Kyle Busch has run really well at Sonoma. Over the last two races at this west coast track he has the best average finish, best average running position (6.5) and the 2nd best driver rating. Last year at Sonoma Busch had a strong car that was fast over long runs (2nd best average speed over long runs). When the checkered flag waved he earned the 3rd best driver rating, had a 5th place average running position and finished 7th. Performance wise he was better than his result. In 2015 he raced his way to victory lane after getting new tires and taking advantage of a late restart. Performance wise in that race he was really about 5th place good. From that race it should be noted he earned the 3rd best driver rating, had an 8th place average running position and led 17 laps. Prior to that race at Sonoma he was in a tough stretch and if you’re thinking of picking him don’t look at it!
Yahoo A Driver / DraftKings $10,200