AJ Allmendinger – It’s hard to pick AJ Allmendinger with confidence at Auto Club Speedway, but it hasn’t been a bad track for him. In the last two even years he’s finished 8th, and since 2011 minus 2015 he’s finished 17th or better every race and has a 13th place average finish. That said on Sunday I would look for him to likely be a low-twenties to mid-twenties driver. That’s being generous because at the two intermediate tracks visited this year he has results of 29th and 30th. In 2017 at 2.0 mile ovals all of his results were between 17th and 20th. Last year at Auto Club Speedway he didn’t run well. He finished 17th, had a 21st place average running position and had a 21st place average running position. In 2016 he had a strong performance. He started in the rear of the field, finished 8th and had a 15th place average running position. In 2015 he was really uncompetitive and finished 34th. In 2014 Allmendinger had a quality performance. He finished 8th and over the second half of the event I would estimate his average running position was around 12th.
Michael McDowell – Michael McDowell’s track record at Auto Club Speedway is as bad as it gets. His average finish is 38.5 and his best result is 31st. That said you really can’t read into his track record too much because in his first six starts he never completed more than 60 laps and was a start and park driver. Last year at Auto Club Speedway he didn’t run well. He finished 33rd and had a 31st place average running position. His race also wasn’t incident free. While he was running around 28th on lap 72 he made an unexpected pit stop because of a flat tire. In 2016 in his one other legitimate start he finished 31st. It should be noted he was better than his finish and his average running position was 26th. If the late caution that brought out the Green-White-Checker didn’t occur he was poised to finish 27th. On Sunday I would look for him to be a low to mid-twenties driver.
David Ragan – Big 2.0 mile intermediate tracks really show how teams aero programs stack up against each other. That’s bad news for Ragan because last year his team didn’t run well at these venues. In 2017 his three results at tracks of this length were 29th, 30th and 31st. There is some hope though with them now getting more help from Roush Fenway, but there’s more to racing then just getting moderately better equipment. Last year at Auto Club Speedway, Ragan was really bad. He finished 31st and had a 33rd place average running position. He didn’t have problems, he was just that uncompetitive. In the two Auto Club races prior to that he ran better and had results of 22nd and 18th. This year at intermediate tracks Ragan has a pair of 23rd place finishes.
Matt DiBenedetto – Like most weekends, there’s really no upside for Matt DiBenedetto at Auto Club Speedway. His only real playability is if your in the situation where you need to pick someone in “The Low-Low Tier.” Performance wise you should look for him to be about a 25th to 30th place driver. Last year at Auto Club he finished 29th and had a 30th place average running position. In 2016 he finished 27th.